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ThursdayDecember 29, 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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ICE Establishes Hotline for Immigrant Detainees Held by State and Local Law Enforcement

ICE Establishes Hotline for Immigrant Detainees Held by State and Local Law Enforcement

Photo: ICE Establishes Hotline for Immigrant detainees

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As part of a broader effort to improve the immigration enforcement process and prioritize resources to focus on threats to public safety, repeat immigration law violators, recent border entrants, and immigration fugitives while continuing to strengthen oversight of the nation’s immigration detention system and facilitate legal immigration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) today announced new measures to ensure that individuals being held by state or local law enforcement on immigration detainers are properly notified about their potential removal from the country and are made aware of their rights.

The new measures include a new detainer form and the launch of a toll-free hotline — (855) 448-6903 — that detained individuals can call if they believe they may be U.S. citizens or victims of a crime.

The hotline will be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by ICE personnel at the Law Enforcement Support Center. Translation services will be available in several languages from 7 a.m. until midnight (Eastern) seven days a week. ICE personnel will collect information from the individual and refer it to the relevant ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Field Office for immediate action.

An immigration detainer (Form I-247) is a notice that DHS issues to federal, state and local LEAs to inform them that ICE intends to assume custody of an individual in the local custody and to request that they notify ICE as soon as possible prior to the time when they would otherwise release the individual.

Read more by HS News Staff →

U.S. Latino and Accused Child Killer, Joshua Morales, Extradited to Mexico

U.S. Latino and Accused Child Killer, Joshua Morales, Extradited to Mexico

Photo: Joshua Morales Extradited to Mexico

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Joshua Moses Morales, 36, of San Diego, was extradited to Mexico today, where he is wanted to stand trial for the alleged 2009 killing of a toddler in Tijuana, Baja California, announced U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner of the Eastern District of California and Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

According to the extradition request submitted by Mexico, Morales is charged with aggravated homicide after allegedly sexually abusing and killing the two-year old daughter of his girlfriend on Feb. 6, 2009.  The alleged killing occurred when the girlfriend was at work and had left her daughter with Morales at their Tijuana apartment.  Later that evening, the toddler was taken to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead due to alleged severe bodily trauma. 

Morales, who is a U.S. citizen, then allegedly fled to the United States.

The U.S. Marshals Service arrested Morales in Corcoran, Calif., in February 2010.  In April 2011, following an extradition hearing in federal court in Fresno, Calif., the court certified his extraditability to Mexico. 

Morales then filed a writ of habeas corpus challenging the court’s findings and his continued detention, and the court denied that writ in December 2011. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

2 Days Before End of Year, Puerto Rico’s Murder Rate Reaches 1,130 - a Record

2 Days Before End of Year, Puerto Rico’s Murder Rate Reaches 1,130 - a Record

Photo: Puerto Rico Reaches Record Murder Rate

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The seven people murdered in Puerto Rico on Thursday raised to 1,130 the tally of violent deaths on the island two days before the close of the year, a figure that has broken crime records.

The death toll for 2011 indicates that Puerto Rico during the course of the year has experienced almost three violent deaths per day.

The latest victims of this ongoing spiral of violence were three men between the ages of 21 and 30 who were shot to death early Thursday morning in a San Juan public housing project.

In the eastern coastal town of Fajardo, a man was riddled with bullets and the woman with him, who was gravely wounded, died en route to the hospital, and in Villalba, in the central part of the island, police found the bodies of two men who apparently had been strangled.

The island’s assistant police director, Leovigildo Vazquez, announced that the murders of the three men in the capital were linked to drug trafficking, which is the cause of about 50 percent of all violent deaths in the U.S. commonwealth.

The magnitude of the problem - starting in October - has led to defendants in violent crimes committed with firearms being tried in U.S. federal court.

Puerto Rico’s resident commissioner in Washington, Pedro Pierluisi, at the beginning of December met with U.S. drug czar Gil Kerlikowske to ask for an increase in police pressure on drug trafficking on the island.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Seven Political Prisoners Being Held in Cuba Pardoned

Seven Political Prisoners Being Held in Cuba Pardoned

Photo: Seven Political Prisoners Being Held in Cuba Pardoned

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The Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation reported Thursday that among the more than 3,000 pardoned prisoners in Cuba are seven political prisoners, two more than had been known of to date.

Commission spokesman Elizardo Sanchez said in a communique that by Wednesday the release of two other political prisoners had been confirmed.

The two additional prisoners are Alexis Ramirez Reyes, sentenced to 18 years behind bars for sabotage, and Modesto Alexei Martinez Torres, who was serving a 12-year sentence for attempted air piracy for planning to steal a crop dusting plane to flee Cuba.

The previously confirmed releases of political prisoners included those of Carlos Martinez Ballester, Yordani Martinez Carvajal, Walfrido Rodriguez Piloto, Iran Gonzalez Torna and Augusto Guerra Marquez.

The rights commission said on Thursday that it felt it was “not very probable that the number of pardoned political prisoners is more than seven.”

According to the Commission, the total number of people convicted of “crimes against the (Cuban) state” now stands at about 60, including 16 who are free on parole.

“Despite this slight reduction, the Cuban government continues to have the largest number of prisoners in the said category in the entire Western Hemisphere, at the same time that it persists in its practice of ‘releasing with one hand and imprisoning new prisoners with the other,’” the communique warns.

The Cuban government last Wednesday published in the official gazette a decree that included the names of all the prisoners benefitting from the pardon for humanitarian reasons announced by President Raul Castro before the national legislature last week.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center Opens Doors to Uninsured Immigrants

Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center Opens Doors to Uninsured Immigrants

Photo: Chicago Rush Hospital

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Pro-immigrant activists in Chicago are celebrating a “Christmas miracle” after an area hospital said it will provide free treatment for undocumented immigrants lacking health insurance, including several who need urgent organ transplants.

“A real miracle has occurred because we didn’t see this solution as possible by any means,” the Rev. Jose Landaverde, pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Anglican Mission in the mainly Mexican La Villita/Little Village neighborhood, told Efe on Wednesday.

Landaverde, members of his congregation and other religious groups, as well as activists fighting to unite families separated by deportations, held a Christmas “posada” ceremony on Sunday at Rush University Medical Center.

After walking for two hours, participants prayed the rosary at the hospital entrance to recall Mary and Joseph’s search for lodging before the birth of Jesus.

“Many doors closed until one finally opened,” said Landaverde, and in this case it was the hospital that agreed to receive them and offer help to them.

He said a Rush representative met with members of all the churches represented and promised to provide medical care for the uninsured undocumented immigrants, in particular those needing transplants.

“Jesus was born in a stable and salvation was his gift to the world. Those who are seriously ill are witnesses of the miracle that occurred during the Rush Hospital posada,” he added.

Landaverde said that at least five undocumented families could benefit immediately, although a formal agreement has not yet been signed.

Rush’s promise to help, he said, “will put pressure on other hospitals, who cannot now deny (medical) attention to undocumented people with serious illnesses.”

Among the cases mentioned is that of Marcela Ortiz, 37, who suffers from leukemia and needs a $100,000 bone marrow transplant.

Also, brothers Elfego and Lorenzo Arroyo, both in their mid-30s, suffer from a rare hereditary illness known as amyloidosis and need liver transplants.

Their older brother Francisco received a liver transplant a month ago and is recovering at Rush. He is the only one of the brothers with his immigration papers in order.

“This promise of help gives hope to the rest of us to continue fighting,” Lorenzo said.

Speaking about the disease they inherited from their mother, who died 14 months ago, he told Efe that it is a very aggressive condition.

The Guadalupe Mission has made a number of collection drives among the Mexican community to acquire funds to allow the Arroyo brothers to be taken care of, since they cannot work.

Elfego and Lorenzo currently are not receiving any kind of treatment, since Cook County Hospital, where most of the uninsured undocumented people in Chicago go for health care, curtailed its services due to budget cuts.

Read more by HS News Staff →

U.S. Treasury Targets Panamian Money Laundering Operation for Narcos in Mexico & Colombia

U.S. Treasury Targets Panamian Money Laundering Operation for Narcos in Mexico & Colombia

Photo: Money Laundering charges

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The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today designated Lebanese-Colombian nationals Jorge Fadlallah Cheaitelly (“Cheaitelly”) and Mohamad Zouheir El Khansa (“El Khansa”) as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers (SDNTs) due to their significant role in international money laundering activities involving drug trafficking proceeds. 

OFAC also designated nine other individuals and 28 entities in Colombia, Panama, Lebanon, and Hong Kong with ties to Cheaitelly and El Khansa.

Jorge Fadlallah Cheaitelly leads a Panama-based drug trafficking and money laundering organization that stretches across the globe, spanning the Americas, the Middle East, and Hong Kong.  Today’s action targets key Colombian members of the Cheaitelly/El Khansa criminal organization, including Cali-based money launderer Jaime Edery Crivosei, Barranquilla-based drug trafficker Benny Issa Fawaz and Maicao-based money launderer Ali Mohamad Saleh.  Cheaitelly’s key financial associates are also targeted, including his siblings, Jaime Fadlallah Cheaytelli, Guiseppe Ali Cheaitelli Saheli, and Fatima Fadlallath Cheaitilly, and two Lebanon-based associates, Fawaz Mohamad Rahall and Ahmed El Khansa.

Today’s action also targets 28 companies controlled by Jorge Cheaitelly and Mohamad El Khansa and their associates in Panama, Colombia and Hong Kong.

Several front companies located in Maicao, Colombia were also designated, including electronics stores Bodega Electro Giorgio and Almacen Electro Sony Star, general merchandise businesses Family Fedco and Comercial Globanty, and luggage stores.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Friends Reconnect After 20 Years, One Gives Life-Saving Kidney to Other’s Husband for Christmas

Friends Reconnect After 20 Years, One Gives Life-Saving Kidney to Other’s Husband for Christmas

Photo: Felix and Margaret Vazquez (left and center) and Allison Buell, life-saving kidney donor

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After high school it’s easy to lose touch with friends and classmates, but for the Vazquez family, a reconnection between two women actually saved one of their husband’s lives.

More than 20 years after losing contact, Allison Buell and Margaret Vazquez (formerly Raduske) of Indiana reconnected after Buell saw an e-mail from a mutual friend mentioning Margaret’s husband. Buell says she immediately “friended” her childhood friend. She learned that Margaret’s husband, Felix, was in need of a kidney due to damage caused by diabetes.

Wanting to help, Buell decided to see a doctor to see if she’d be a match for Felix. When it turned out she was, the preparation began right away.

Buell told the Northwest Indiana Times she looked at the situation with the mindset, ‘I have a spare one. I might as well give it away.’

On Christmas Day, Felix Vazquez was able to leave the Northwestern Memorial Hospital with a new kidney, a new friend, and a life of more Christmases with his wife and family.

Though admittedly, the Vazquez family can never repay the gift Buell has given them, among the gifts they did give, one of them was a clock to signify the gift of time he has given their family.

Read more by HS News Staff →

UC Davis Health Signs Agreement with State of Sinaloa to Improve Health of Rural Population

UC Davis Health Signs Agreement with State of Sinaloa to Improve Health of Rural Population

Photo: UC Health System and Sinaloa, MX Partner

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UC Davis Health System has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the state of Sinaloa, Mexico, to partner to improve the health and well-being of its residents through the exchange of ideas, data and research on telehealth, scientific and technical development, and neurodevelopmental disorders.

Sinaloa has partnered with UC Davis because of the health system’s internationally recognized leadership in telehealth technology and neurodevelopmental research, said Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, who directs the UC Davis Center for Reducing Health Disparities and community engagement for the UC Davis Clinical and Translational Science Center.

Approximately 27 percent of Sinaloa’s population lives in rural settings. The Government and Secretariat of Health of Sinaloa have pledged to strengthen the state’s health infrastructure and to increase access to quality health care using telehealth technology, particularly for populations residing in remote rural areas.

“The government of Sinaloa is interested in creating the infrastructure to support telemedicine and telehealth services to significantly improve access to primary-care services for its nearly 3 million residents,” said Aguilar-Gaxiola, a professor of clinical internal medicine.

“They also would like UC Davis to share its expertise in autism and fragile X syndrome with Mexican health professionals and families to improve early identification, diagnosis and treatment,” Aguilar-Gaxiola said. “A third goal is to foster scientific and technical development to support health education primarily aimed at primary-care settings.”

In 2010, UC Davis Health System partnered with Shriners Hospital for Children—Northern California and the Mexican Health Ministry to establish a burn fellowship program for physicians from Mexico.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Man Pretending to be Doctor Preyed on Sick in Stem Cell Scheme

Man Pretending to be Doctor Preyed on Sick in Stem Cell Scheme

Photo: Man Pretending to be Doctor Preyed on Sick in Stem Cell Scheme

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A man known to many as “Dr. Frank” has been arrested for preying on desperate patients with incurable diseases.

Francisco Morales, 52, is said to have used stem cells from the umbilical cords of women who had given birth at a border area hospital and used them in a scheme to con those in Brownsville, TX with incurable diseases into believing these stem cells were their cure.

Along with Morales, three others have either been arrested or have a warrant out. Tuesday, Alberto Roman, 48, of Del Rio, TX, and Vicent Dammai, 40, of South Carolina were arrested. A warrant has been issued and police are lookin for Lawrence Stowe, 58, of Dallas.

According to the indictment, Roman is a licensed midwife and owner of the Maternity Care Clinic where the umbilical cords were obtained. The mothers believed the cords were being donated to a research facility. However, Dammai, a researcher and assistant pathology professor at the Medical University of South Carolina was actually selling the stem cells to Global Laboratories LLC for whom was a consultant, and the cells were then sold to Morales for the unauthorized procedures on the sick.

Records show Morales received at least 10 shipments form Global Laboratories. With stem cells in hand, he traveled around the U.S. claiming to be a doctor involved with stem cell research at Harvard, Duke, and UCLA.

In total, it’s estimated that Morales made more than $1.5 million in the scheme, which he ran between January 2007 and April 2010.

Tuesday, a federal judge unsealed records of charges against Morales.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Pastor Francisco Antonio Hernandez Accused of Sexually Abusing Children Sees More Charges Added

Pastor Francisco Antonio Hernandez Accused of Sexually Abusing Children Sees More Charges Added

Photo: Pastor Francisco Antonio Hernandez Accused of Sexually Abusing Children Sees More Charges Added

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Earlier this year, Pastor Javier aka Francisco Antonio Hernandez was charged with sexual crimes against children in the Austin,Texas area. Now, additional charges have been added, and he sits in jail with bail set at $220,000.

In October, the “traveling pastor” was charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child and indecency with a child by sexual contact. Last week, another charge of indecency with a child by contact was added.

A group of four women came forward earlier this year claiming that Hernandez had inappropriate sexual contact with them when they were children while in town holding services in private homes.

Starting in the 1960s, Hernandez, now 53, is said to have traveled to various Austin-area homes wheres he would hold nondenominational church services. Police say the services included Bible reading and singing, but what was not brought to light until this year, was that he was allegedly sexually abusing a number of young children.

Back in July, a woman went to police to say she was sexually abused by Hernandez in his bedroom when she stayed with him and his wife when the girl’s mother had to leave town for an emergency. She claims this happened in 1988, when she was 7. Hernandez is said to have paid her $20 to keep quiet, telling her that if she did not, something bad would happen.

The woman said she told her mother years later, but it could not be confirmed if they mother had gone to police at the time. However, a few days before the girl (woman) went to police this year, Hernandez reportedly went to her mother’s home asking for forgiveness.

Since the first woman came forward, another three have come out with allegations of sexual abuse at the hands of Hernandez, whom many simply called ‘Pastor’.

Today, police are asking any additional victims to come forward and share their stories.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican Rivera Resorts to Offer Same-Sex Marriage Rites and Legalization of the Unions

Mexican Rivera Resorts to Offer Same-Sex Marriage Rites and Legalization of the Unions

Photo: Mexican Resorts to offer Gay marriage Ceremonies

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Cancun and other resort areas on the Mexican Caribbean will have a new attraction for gay and lesbian couples from the United States, Canada and Europe, allowing them to legalize their unions thanks to a quirk in the local civil code, activist Patricia Novelo told Efe.

“This market niche ... is very attractive for European, Canadian and American (homosexual) couples,” said the spokesperson for Colectivo Diversidad.

Novelo said that in January the first same-sex group wedding will be held in the resort area as part of local support for the human rights of the gay community.

She said that already several couples have expressed their wish to formalize their unions at the ceremony.

Eight couples have been confirmed to marry in January, most of them Mexican, but she said that more are expected and preparations are being handled by the groups Colectivo Diversidad, Fusion G, Gaytoursmexico and the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association.

The activist said that before the unions of same-sex couples in Quintana Roo state were legally recognized, a great demand from travel agencies for such marriages in Cancun and other resorts already existed from abroad.

Therefore, she said, agreements have begun to be struck with different airlines and hotel chains to hold these marriages all along Mexico’s Caribbean coast.

Novelo said that this “is something very positive. Besides the social part there are many economic benefits because the gay community generates between 45 and 60 percent more income on top of conventional tourism.”

She said gay and lesbian marriages are possible in Quintana Roo, “thanks to a legal gap in the Civil Code,” which only makes mention of “people interested in getting married,” without specifying their gender.

In Mexico, same-sex marriages have been expressly authorized in Mexico City, where through Dec. 15 1,246 such unions had been legally finalized, many involving citizens of other countries.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latin American Region Closes Out Year with Economic Gains, Poverty Rate Drops to 30.4% Level

Latin American Region Closes Out Year with Economic Gains, Poverty Rate Drops to 30.4% Level

Photo: 2011 Latin American Economy Strong

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Latin America and the Caribbean are closing a year marked by economic gains, but the region remains exposed to external shocks, Inter-American Development Bank President Luis Alberto Moreno said in a year-end report. In recent remarks to the IDB’s Board of Executive Directors, Moreno summarized the region’s challenges, the institution’s performance over the past year and its priorities going forward.

Although uncertainty in international markets reduced the rate of the global recovery during 2011, Latin America and the Caribbean averaged a 4.3 percent economic growth rate. Capital inflows to the region’s largest countries reached a record $354 billion. The percentage of the region’s population in poverty continued to fall, dropping to about 30.4 percent. Urban unemployment also dipped, to 6.9 percent.

However, Moreno added, Latin American and Caribbean nations should not be satisfied with their strong performance over the past few years. The region’s outlook is still vulnerable to external factors such as the European financial crisis, the U.S. fiscal deficit or a deceleration of the Chinese economy.

Read more at Inter-American Development Bank →

Toddler Accidentally Shot by Cousin NOT Brain Dead Afterall, Doctor Apologizes for Mistake

Toddler Accidentally Shot by Cousin NOT Brain Dead Afterall, Doctor Apologizes for Mistake

Photo: Kaylen Torres, 2, (seen here younger) accidentally shot by cousin, 21.

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A two-year-old girl is fighting for her life after being accidentally shot by her cousin who was in another room of the home.

Kaylen Torres’ family said the hospital told them that the toddler was brain dead, but a neurologist has since apologized for the mix up saying that there is indeed hope.

Monday, Kaylen was playing with two other children in her Orange County, Florida home when a bullet went through a wall and hit her in the head. She had been shot by her own cousin who was in an adjoining room.

Her 21-year-old cousin, Christian Galarza-Rodriguez, told police his .22-caliber semi-automatic weapon accidentally went off as he was putting it away in a box in his dresser drawer.

Fired at a downward angle, the bullet went through the wall and hit Kaylen in the head as she sat on a pillow on the wall connecting the two rooms.

ImageShe was rushed to Health Central Hospital in Ocoee by Galarza-Rodriguez and the girl’s mother.

Though he ultimately cooperated with police, Galarza-Rodriguez initially gave police a different name when questioned about the incident. He was arrested for giving the false name of Luis Farias.

Thursday, Kaylen’s family said she is responding and is clearly not brain dead as initially reported.

A member of her family told WFTV, “We’re seeing things that, wow there could be a miracle, something could happen. The doctor had apologized to the mother because they had made a big mistake.”

She added, “We tickle her feet, she responds to that, she moves her whole leg up. And I even personally got to touch her arm and she moves her shoulder up.”

She is currently undergoing additional tests, and her parents, while very upset, say they are not giving up on their little girl.

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER:  Vicious Lopez Twins of Norteno Gang Captured by U.S. Marshals

LATINO BLOTTER:  Vicious Lopez Twins of Norteno Gang Captured by U.S. Marshals

Photo: U.S. Marshals Capture Lopez Twins

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Yesterday, Deputy U.S. Marshals and the Las Cruces Police Officers apprehended murder suspects Armando and Mando Lopez. The twin brothers are Norteno gang members wanted out of Los Banos, California for a double homicide that occurred at a night club in Los Banos on August 7.

Both Armando and Mando Lopez have lengthy criminal histories including numerous weapons charges, possession of controlled substances and charges relating to their involvement in a criminal street gang. The brothers are among other suspects that are accused of murdering two Mongol outlaw motorcycle gang members in Los Banos, California. It is believed the pair have been in the Las Cruces area since November. Both were apprehended separately without incident on Wednesday evening by the Las Cruces Police Department SWAT unit and the United States Marshals Service.

The brothers are awaiting extradition back to California.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Is Bradley Cooper Dating “Colombiana” Star Zoe Saldana?

Is Bradley Cooper Dating “Colombiana” Star Zoe Saldana?

Photo: Is Bradley Cooper Dating "Colombiana" Star Zoe Saldana?

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Just over a month after the actress and her fiance called it quits, Zoe Saldana is said to be dating Hollywood’s “Sexiest Man Alive”.

It was only November when Saldana and then-fiance Keith Britton, 33, announced their amicable split, but that hasn’t stopped the Dominican and Puerto Rican starlet from moving on.

After being spotted at a nightclub together, rumors began about a budding relationship between leading man Bradley Cooper and Saldana, co-stars in the upcoming movie “The Words.” At the time, reps were told the two were not a couple, but that has reportedly changed.

ImageA source told E! News that Cooper and Saldana are “totally dating” and were even talking about a Rockie mountain ski trip together.

Cooper has dated a number of Hollywood leading ladies, musicians and actresses alike. Most recently he was linked to Jennifer Lopez, but he’s also dated Jennifer Aniston and Renee Zellweger.

Earlier this year, Cooper was named People’s “Sexiest Man Alive” for 2011, and while his dating life seems to constantly be in the news, he insists he’s not a player and doesn’t see himself as “a ladies’ man.”

Prior to their split last month, Saldana, had been with Britton for 11 years and only announced their engagement in June 2010.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Tourists Evacuated from Popular National Park in Chile due to Fire

Tourists Evacuated from Popular National Park in Chile due to Fire

Photo: Fire in Torres del Paine, Chile

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About 20 tourists had to be evacuated over the past few hours due to a forest fire affecting a sector of Torres del Paine National Park in southern Chile, authorities reported Wednesday.

The tourists are being housed in a shelter two kilometers (1.25 miles) from the central fire zone, located north of Grey Lake. By midday Wednesday, the fire had burned some 20 hectares (50 acres) of native forest and brush country, according to a report by the Conaf forest service.

The flames sprang up late on Tuesday along a hiking path and although the cause of the blaze has not yet been established, authorities suspect that it might have been due to a park visitor’s campfire that was improperly extinguished.

The park is located 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles) south of Santiago.

The difficult access to the site of the fire and winds of up to 80 kph (50 mph) have hindered fire brigades in battling the blaze, Conaf said.

The efforts to fight the fire are being conducted by 67 Conaf firefighters, and officials with the Regional Emergency Office have declared a red alert for Ultima Esperanza province.

Authorities also requested help from the Chilean army and firefighters from the nearby Argentine town of Rio Turbio.

The park is one of the most visited by tourists in Chilean Patagonia. In February 2005, a fire caused by a careless Czech tourist destroyed 13,880 hectares (34,700 acres) there.

The tourist, Jiri Smitak, was arrested and put on trial, but he apologized and the Czech government ultimately agreed to finance the reforestation of the area that was destroyed.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Florida: Leg Washes Up On Beach

Florida: Leg Washes Up On Beach

Photo: Human leg washes up on Florida beach

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A human leg washed up on a private beach in Florida, brought to the site by the current in Tampa Bay, according to local authorities, who on Wednesday were seeking clues that would help them identify the victim.

The Tampa Tribune reported in its online edition that the leg - consisting of the thigh and lower leg, but missing the foot - was found on Tuesday in the city of St. Petersburg on Florida’s west coast by a Canadian tourist couple who had rented a vacation home located on the beach.

Local forensic authorities said that the investigation was focusing on trying to determine the race, sex and age of the victim.

Meanwhile, police on Wednesday combed the waters of the bay searching for other human body parts.

St. Petersburg police officer Mike Kovacsev told the daily, in discussing the clean cut marks by which the leg was evidently severed from the body, that law enforcement authorities do not know the way in which the person’s death occurred, but obviously the supposed killer(s) took great pains in dismembering the body.

At present, authorities believe that the limb is the right leg of a rather heavyset white person - likely a woman - and that it had been in the water for one or two days.

Read more by HS News Staff →

120 Tons of Drug Mixers Seized in Mexico Arriving from China

120 Tons of Drug Mixers Seized in Mexico Arriving from China

Photo: Chemicals Used for Drugs

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Authorities seized 120 tons of a chemical used to produce synthetic drugs in Lazaro Cardenas, a port on Mexico’s Pacific coast, where the substance arrived from China, a multi-agency task force said.

The seizure of monomethylene was made during a joint operation staged by the Attorney General’s Office, the navy and the SAT tax agency in Lazaro Cardenas, which is in Michoacan state.

“The containers came from the Port of Shanghai, China, and had a final destination of Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala,” the agencies said.

More than 1,300 tons of drug precursors have been confiscated this year by customs officials.

The shipment was turned over to the AG’s office, which is handling the investigation.

Last Friday, 229 tons of chemical precursors used to produce illegal drugs were seized in Lazaro Cardenas.

Mexico’s biggest-ever seizure of drug precursor chemicals was the confiscation of 839 tons in July at a warehouse in the central city of Queretaro, a bust that topped the previous record of 200 tons of precursors discovered last year at the port of Manzanillo.

Mexico, which produces most of the crystal meth consumed in the United States, has imposed tight restrictions on the import of chemicals used to make illegal synthetic drugs.

Due to pressure from the security forces, some Mexican drug cartels have increased the production of synthetic drugs in Guatemala, analysts say.

Mexico’s drug cartels are the main suppliers of illegal stimulants to the U.S. market.

The U.S. drug market has seen declining demand for cocaine and a simultaneous rise in demand for synthetic drugs, officials and analysts say.

Synthetic drugs are favored by users for their more prolonged effect and because they come in tablet form and are therefore considered “socially cleaner.”

Read more by HS News Staff →



ThursdayDecember 29, 2011