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MondayJanuary 9, 2012

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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LULAC Attorney, Jose Garza, Argues Before Supreme Court Today on Texas Redistricting

LULAC Attorney, Jose Garza, Argues Before Supreme Court Today on Texas Redistricting

Photo: Jose Garza Argues Before Supreme Court on TX Redistricting

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Today, at 1 P.M., the Supreme Court heard Perry v. Perez, a case in which the state of Texas used redistricting gerrymandering techniques to delineate districts that dilutes Latino voting strength, in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and in violation of the 14th and 15th Amendments.  Long-time LULAC attorney Jose Garza argued for all plaintiffs, urging the U.S. Supreme Court to affirm the interim maps drawn by the Texas Federal Court.

“In 1965, the federal government created an institutional mechanism, the Voting Rights Act,  to prevent further infringement of minority voting rights due to the state’s history of abuses,” stated LULAC President Margaret Moran. “This act has been violated since the maps drawn by the state reduced the opportunity of Latino voters to participate in the political process in Texas.  The Voting Rights Act was extended to Texas in 1975 and was retroactive to the 1970 redistricting maps.”

The Texas Legislature used 2010 Census information without consideration of the Latino population growth to create inadequate maps for Congress, State Senate, and State House of Representatives.  These maps have been challenged in court.  Investigations have found that the state established district lines in such a way that reduce the voting power of the overwhelming presence of Latinos in Texas. 

Section Five of the Voting Rights Act requires that legislative-drawn maps be pre-cleared by the Department of Justice before they are put into effect.  Because the state’s map has not yet been cleared, it cannot go into effect and be used in the 2012 election.  This will delay voting in primary elections in the state of Texas.

For more than twenty years, Jose Garza has represented LULAC in civil rights abuses that affect the Latino community.  In this case, he was the attorney for the Mexican American Legislative Caucus of Texas, a case that joined with LULAC to fight the transgressions of the Texas Legislature.

Attorney Paul Clement will represent the defendant in this case.  In the past, he has defended Arizona’s unconstitutional law S.B. 1070, as well as, Congress’s prohibition against federal recognition of same-sex marriages.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Puerto Ricans Continue to Call for Top Cop’s Resignation

Puerto Ricans Continue to Call for Top Cop’s Resignation

Photo: Puerto Ricans Continue to Call for Top Cop Emilio Diaz Colon's Resignation

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Disgruntled members of the Puerto Rico Police Department are demanding the resignation of chief Emilio Diaz Colon.

The spokesperson for the movement, officer Nydia Ramos, told Efe on Monday that the request comes in response to Diaz Colon’s failure to implement bonuses and pay hikes already approved by Gov. Luis Fortuño.

“The movement is in favor of the resignation request. I think that six months is enough for those ... plans to bear fruit,” said Ramos regarding the time that Diaz Colon has been PRPD chief after replacing Jose Figueroa Sancha.

Ramos also said she regretted the fact that Diaz Colon is being advised by high officials in favor of an “archaic” plan to confront soaring violence in Puerto Rico.

“If they establish an effective and modern work plan, well then something can be done. You have to go to the police with a broad vision,” said Ramos, a 16-year veteran of the PRPD.

There were 1,116 murders in 2011 on the island, an increase of 15 percent over 2010 and the largest such figure in Puerto Rico since records started being kept in 1940.

Diaz Colon said several days ago that part of the blame for the violent year was due to the arrests of drug kingpins like Angel Ayala Vazquez, alias “Angelo Millones,” which sparked a war to take over his territory.

Ramos said she supported the request for Diaz Colon’s resignation made by police officer Harold Ortiz last week during the burial of a sergeant slain in the line of duty.

The officer shouted “Resign” through the loudspeaker of his patrol car and although Diaz Colon did not respond to the demand a few days later he proposed firing Ortiz.

“There are some rules that have to be followed in the Puerto Rico Police and the rules apply to all police officers,” said Diaz Colon.

Col. Jose Ramirez, the assistant superintendent for internal affairs, said that the legal division of the police recommended the punishment and sent the letter of suspension.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Colombian Designer Adriana Castro nominated for Rising Star Award

Colombian Designer Adriana Castro nominated for Rising Star Award

Photo: Adriana Castro

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Colombian designer Adriana Castro is among the nominees for the Fashion Group International’s Rising Star Award in the category of Accessories.

Castro recently received the 2011 Miami Award in the Women’s Handbags category and also had the honor of opening the 3rd Bogota International Fashion Week.

Her accessories and handbags of exotic animal skins that include alligator, ostrich and python have been welcomed into the wardrobes of celebrities like Eva Longoria, Jennifer Lopez, Kim Kardashian, Heidi Klum and Sarah Jessica Parker.

Famed stylist Patricia Field chose five of her handbags to accessorize leading ladies in the movie “Sex and the City 2.”

Her designs have also been featured in Vogue.

This is the third straight year that Castro has received this nomination. On previous occasions the prestigious award went to such trendsetters as Joseph Altuzarra and Tory Burch

Read more by HS News Staff →

Lionel Messi Awarded FIFA Ballon d’Or for 3rd Consecutive Year - Thanks Team, Coach, Voters

Lionel Messi Awarded FIFA Ballon d’Or for 3rd Consecutive Year - Thanks Team, Coach, Voters

Photo: Lionel Messi Awarded FIFA Ballon d’Or for 3rd Consecutive Year

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At Monday’s Ballon d’Or gala at Zurich’s Kongresshaus, Argentine soccer star Lionel Messi was named the world player of the year for the third time in a row.

Messi became only the fourth player in history to be awarded the FIFA Ballon d’Or three times, and only the second to win it three consecutive times. The FC Barcelona forward won with 47.88 percent of the votes ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona teammate Xavi Hernandez.

While accepting the award, Messi said, “It is a huge pleasure and honor to win my third award. I wanted to share it with those who voted for me, my coach and my team-mates at Barca and in the Argentina national team.

“Moreover, I want to share this award specially with my friend Xavi. This is the fourth time that we are are together at this ceremony and it is a pleasure for me to be with him on the pitch. This Ballon d’Or is also yours. Without your help I would not be here.”

In return Xavi had nothing but great things to say about 24-year-old Messi.

“He’s still young, only 24, and I think he’s going to break all the records that exist in this sport. He’s going to be one of the best footballers in the history of the sport.”

Messi was named one of the most influential people of 2011 on the Time 100 list. In 2011, he also became the highest paid player in history.

Way to go, Leo!

Read more by HS News Staff →

New York Teacher Lies About Daughter Dying to Extend Costa Rican Vacation

New York Teacher Lies About Daughter Dying to Extend Costa Rican Vacation

Photo: New York Teacher Lies About Daughter Dying to Extend Costa Rican Vacation

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A New York mother is in serious trouble after she forged her daughter’s death just so she and her family could stretch out their vacation in Costa Rica for a week longer than she’d requested.

Joan Barnett, 58, had traveled to Costa Rica with her family when she got her own daughters involved in a scheme that would allow her to stay an additional week in Costa Rica on vacation. The Manhattan High School of Hospitality Management teacher had one of her daughters to call the high school and tell them that her sister had suffered a heart attack. Barnett then had another daughter call to say the sister had died while they were still in Costa Rica.

The mother even went so far as to forge a Costa Rican death certificate, as all city employees wishing to take bereavement time off must provide a copy of the document.

The morally questionable mother and teacher was caught when a school investigator noticed that certificate’s fonts were different than those on real Costa Rican death certificates. The forged certificate was for “Xinia Daley Herman.”

It was later discovered that Barnett had booked her flights three weeks in advance, showing that she had every intention of staying in Costa Rica for two weeks instead of one.

Barnett has since lost her job and pled guilty to forgery.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Speaker John Boehner Leads Delegation to Latin America, Brazil First Stop

Speaker John Boehner Leads Delegation to Latin America, Brazil First Stop

Photo: John Boehner Visits Brazil Favelas

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The speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday praised the pacification program being carried out in “favelas,” the shantytowns de Brazil’s second-largest city, during a visit to one of those neighborhoods.

In Brazil on Monday for the start of his Latin American tour with six House colleagues, John Boehner went first to Vidigal, occupied last November by police and soldiers who expelled the drug traffickers that for decades held the neighborhood in its grip.

The Ohio Republican said that in a situation where social and economic segregation is already established, the program by which the Rio de Janeiro state government has recovered dozens of favelas from organized crime “is a great example of how they can bring everyone into society as a whole.”

The U.S. delegation was accompanied by Rio state security chief, Jose Mariano Beltrame, and by the coordinator of the pacification program in the favelas, Col. Rogerio Seabra.

While in Vidigal, Beltrame told the Boehner delegation details about the pacification program that began in December 2008 and has allowed the installation of almost a score of police bases in territories formerly in the power of the drug trade.

Vidigal, a poor neighbor of rich Rio neighborhoods like Leblon and San Conrado, has been in the hands of police for two months.

The delegation accompanying Boehner includes Reps. Dave Camp, Doc Hastings, John Kline, Dan Boren of Oklahoma, Devin Nunes and Greg Walden.

Tomorrow Boehner will visit Brasilia, where he will meet with Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota, after which he will continue on to Colombia and Mexico.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Loudspeaker-using P. Rican Police Officer Suspended After Calling for Superintendent’s Resignation

Loudspeaker-using P. Rican Police Officer Suspended After Calling for Superintendent’s Resignation

Photo: Loudspeaker-using P. Rican Police Officer Suspended After Calling for Superintendent's Resignation

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A Puerto Rican policeman has been suspended for using his vehicle’s loudspeaker to call for the superintendent’s resignation

Since police chief Emilio Diaz Colon took office in police officer Harold Ortiz says his office has been overwhelmed with the crime, saying Diaz Colon is not doing what his people need. In the last year, Puerto Rico has recorded 1,136 killings, which is higher than the previous record of 995 killings in 1994.

Friday, Officer Ortiz was accused of improper use of government property and insubordination after he used his patrol car’s loudspeaker to call for the resignation of Diaz Colon on Wednesday.

At the time of the incident, the superintendent was speaking to the media during the funeral of a police sergeant who was killed. His case remains unsolved like many others on the island.

Read more by HS News Staff →

AZ Girls Apologize After Racist Rant Video Goes Viral (VIDEO)

AZ Girls Apologize After Racist Rant Video Goes Viral  (VIDEO)

Photo: AZ Girls Apologize After Racist Rant Video Goes Viral

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After their racist rant enraged many, a group of girls in Arizona are apologizing for a YouTube video that went viral back in the fall 2011.

Back in August, a YouTuber by the name of INDV101UA reposted a video of two girls (with an appearance from another) shooting off their mouth about Arizona’s law forcing “f*cking illegals” to take their burritos and “go back to [their] homeland.”

“Illegals, god their so nasty and raunchy,” said one of the girls. “And they have kids every 5 f*cking seconds.”

Another girl addressed education and said teachers are “holding the rest of the class back” because they print out homework in Spanish for those who have trouble with English. She states that “it’s obvious” that those who don’t speak fluent English are not American citizens, “otherwise you would’ve learned English first.”

Following the second girl’s statement, the other makes the nonsensical comment, “It’s like, speak some g*ddamn English and get the f*ck out of our country!”

The video (see third video below) lasts nearly 6 minutes, but its notoriety has grown.

Now that those around the world have seen and commented on the racist rant, the girls are apologizing.

In the apology video, the girls say they “formally deeply apologize for offending, hurting, and disrespecting not just illegals, not just Mexicans, but people from all over the world.”

They go on to say they “didn’t mean to offend anyone,” which is interesting considering the extremely offensive and hateful language they spewed.

In an age when everything put online can never be removed, you think these girls would have realized that there was going to be substantial backlash for what they said.


One of the MANY response videos posted after people saw the original racist rant, many of them seeing it only recently. (See below)



Related Videos

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Narco House & Tourist Attraction Where Pablo Escobar Gunned Down is Sold

The house where Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar died, a must-see for tourists in the northwestern city of Medellin, is up for sale, the daily El Tiempo said Monday.

The house in the Los Olivos neighborhood was inhabited for two months by the world’s then-most-wanted man until the day he died on Dec. 2, 1993.

The current owner, Omar Restrepo, an importer of heavy machinery, purchased it in 2008.

“I was looking for a house that could be remodeled to my taste and a gentlemen introduced me to the attorney handling it. When we were about to close the deal he said he had something to tell me - that Pablo Escobar was murdered in this house,” the daily said.

Nonetheless, Restrepo bought the property, which had been empty for more than 15 years and at one time was a hideout for thieves and hired guns.

Escobar died at the hands of a task force organized by the President Cesar Gaviria government after the kingpin’s movie-thriller escape from La Catedral Prison in the Medellin suburb of Envigado.

The head of the Medellin cartel was gunned down on the roof of this house while attempting to elude the police operation.

Restrepo had a lot of fixing up to do on the house because of the way it had been ransacked. Thieves had made off with the furniture, bathroom fixtures, locks and even the electric wiring.

“I even changed the drainage system, laid new flooring and put in some luxury features, but I kept the general appearance so the house wouldn’t lose its historic value,” he said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Woman Dies in Immigration Enforcement Custody as a Result of Hunger Strike

Woman Dies in Immigration Enforcement Custody as a Result of Hunger Strike

Photo: Woman Dies in Immigration Enforcement Custody of Hunger Strike

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A woman in Illinois has died as a result of nearly month-long hunger strike after she was arrested and set to be deported.

Lyvita Gomes, 52, is said to have died of malnutrition at the Lake County Jail. She was arrested on December 14, 2011 after she missed a court date for a resisting arrest charge, though her run ins with the law began when she failed to show up for jury duty.

After not reporting to serve on the jury, police went looking for her. When found, she would not cooperate. She was then charged with resisting arrest for refusing to put her arms behind her back. Upon being booked, it was discovered that a hold had been placed on her by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and she was turned over to the immigration authorities.

Shortly after being taken in my ICE, she began the hunger strike that would ultimately take her life. Though the reason for the strike is unclear, it is thought she stopped eating to protest her likely deportation.

The medical examiner stated that Gomez died of malnutrition and dehydration.

No family or friends have come forward to claim Gomes’ body.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Selena to Perform at Charity Concert to Benefit UNICEF

Selena Gomez has just confirmed that she and her group The Scene are set to perform at their 2nd Annual Charity Concert benefitting UNICEF on Friday, January 20th at the House of Blues in West Hollywood, CA along with surprise musical guests!

Fan club tickets went on sale January 5th. 

Selena has been a UNICEF Ambassador since 2009 advocating for the world’s most vulnerable children by participating in numerous campaigns, events and initiatives on behalf of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.  Gomez is the youngest UNICEF Ambassador.

She notes on her website: “Giving back has always been important to me. This concert allows me to connect with my fans in person which is one of the best parts of my job and to raise money for important causes at the same time I can’t think of anything I would enjoy doing more.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Chile Tries to Rewrite Its History: Eliminates “Dictatorship” Term from School Curriculum

The public school curriculum of Chilean children in first through sixth grade will no longer include the term ‘dictatorship’.  Now that word will be replace with the term ‘military regime’. 

The term ‘dictatorship’ often refers to a dark period in Chile’s history, the 17-year-old brutal regime of General Augusto Pinochet.  So is Chile trying to rewrite its history – yes, say many critics of the new measure. 

During the ‘military regime’ of Pinochet over 35,000 people were tortured and thousands others simply disappeared.

The new rules approved by the National Education Council went into effect last week.

One of the loudest and critical voices is Sen. Isabel Allende, whose father, President Salvador Allende, was ousted by Pinochet.

“It goes against all common sense, because the whole world knows that for 17 years what we had in Chile was a ferocious dictatorship with the most serious violations of human rights,” she said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Check Out Shakira’s Bikini Bod While Vacationing in Miami (VIDEO)

Check Out Shakira’s Bikini Bod While Vacationing in Miami (VIDEO)

Photo: Check Out Shakira's Bikini Bod While Vacationing in Miami

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Colombia singer Shakira is looking as fit as ever as photographers snapped some photos of her bikini bod. The superstar was vacationing in Miami over the New Year.

Related Videos

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Selena Gomez Obtains Three-Year Restraining Order Against Delusional Stalker

Selena Gomez Obtains Three-Year Restraining Order Against Delusional Stalker

Photo: Selena Obtains 3-year Restraining Order

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On Friday, Thomas Brodnicki, himself asked the judge to issue “a restraining order”  to “prevent me from trying to contact Selena.”

Brodnicki was accused of stalking Gomez last year between the months of July and October, threatening to kill her and going to visit her at work. 

Gomez’ earlier requests for a long-term restraining order had been denied in great part because Brodnicki was not able to explain his actions and tell his side of the story.  This time his lawyer presented a sworn statement from Brodnicki basically saying he had to be stopped.

The judge granted Selena a three-year restraining order requiring the delusional man to stay at least 100 yards away from her. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Picasso’s “Cabeza de Mujer” Stolen from National Gallery in Greece

Picasso’s “Cabeza de Mujer” Stolen from National Gallery in Greece

Photo: Picasso's "Cabeza de Mujer" Stolen from National Gallery in Greece

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Pablo Picasso’s painting “Cabeza de mujer” (Woman’s Head) was stolen early Monday from the National Gallery in Athens, Greek media reported.

The museum has not identified the work stolen, but the To Vima newspaper said it was the Picasso painting, the only one by the Spanish master in the gallery’s collection.

The oil painting, which measures 56 centimeters by 40 centimeters (22 inches by 16 inches), was done in 1939 and donated by Picasso himself.

The art thieves broke into the museum through an emergency exit and took the Picasso and another unidentified work, Greek media outlets reported, citing police.

The second painting is by a famous Dutch artist, To Vima said, without providing details.

Some media outlets reported that a third less valuable work was also stolen from the museum.

The museum’s alarm was triggered and a security guard spotted a man running out of the building, police said.

The security guard noticed the paintings were missing and called police.

The National Gallery did not return a call from Efe and has only stated that its director, Marina Lambraki, would comment on the robbery later in the day.

The gallery’s collection mostly consists of Greek art from the 19th and 20th centuries.

Read more by HS News Staff →

USHCC Predicts Small Businesses Will Benefit From Proposed Immigration Rule Changes

USHCC Predicts Small Businesses Will Benefit From Proposed Immigration Rule Changes

Photo: USHCC and Immigration

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The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC), which represents the interests of over three million Hispanic-owned businesses, via over 200 local chambers, and business associations nationwide, applauds the Obama Administration for addressing a major barrier in immigration law.

A proposed rule change by the Administration will reduce the time undocumented spouses and children are separated from relatives, who are American citizens, while they wait to earn legal status in the United States. USHCC President and CEO, Javier Palomarez, says the proposed change addresses one of the challenges faced by small family-owned businesses in the country.

“From a business standpoint, the USHCC believes this proposed rule change will have a positive impact on American small business across the board,” says Palomarez. “Countless small business owners in America depend on family members to help run profitable enterprises and their loved ones will now be able to continue working, while they complete the relevant immigration processes. Companies in the agricultural, transportation, hospitality, construction and manufacturing sectors will benefit, as their employees and their families can now go through the necessary, legal immigration procedures, but in an expedited fashion. This move will minimize the impact to the businesses where they work.”

“A major source of our country’s strength comes from the diversity of thought and ingenuity of its immigrants.  The United States has given birth to some of the most powerful companies in the world. We as Americans stand to benefit from this rule change,” said USHCC Chairman Nina Vaca. “This is a positive change for America’s small business community, which employs 64% of the workforce in our country. These small enterprises begin with the family unit and foster an entrepreneurial spirit and drive that is increasingly important in today’s global market. Over a generation, they may become the next industry leader like Pfizer, Carnival or eBay - all of which were founded by immigrants and their families,” added Vaca.

The USHCC says that it will work with the Administration to ensure that the proposed rule change gets implemented quickly.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Cuban Farmers Set to Sell Directly to Tourist Hotels

Cuban farmers and hotels have begun to accommodate themselves to the new commercial framework that allows them to sell and buy agricultural products directly with each other, a measure included in the recent adjustments to “update” the island’s socialist economic model, government-run media reported.

As of Dec. 23, a total of 71 contracts had been signed between agricultural producers and hotels located in the country’s most important tourist spots, including the Varadero seaside resort, Havana and the eastern provinces of Camaguey and Granma, according to an article published Sunday in the Juventud Rebelde newspaper.

Although the report acknowledges that this commercial alternative is still in an early phase, it says that the liberalized regulations have been received well and it cites the opinions of some of the participants in the deals that have been struck.

Among them is Velio A. Barrera, a marketing expert with the Tourism Ministry, who said that the measure creates an “additional option” and that the advantages include “greater dynamism, variety and quality” in the supply of products for the tourist industry and the reduction in transportation costs.

The small farmers are selling fruits and vegetables, including guavas, pineapples, lettuce, tomatoes and cabbage.

Meanwhile, farmer Roberto Hernandez Rodriguez, the president of an agricultural cooperative, said that in December he experienced “great anxiety” about the option of selling produce directly to hotels.

But he added that the farmers “are happy, there is enthusiasm, but the matter of product pricing has to be worked out, which cannot be an obstacle” to sales.

The possibility for farmers to sell their products directly to the tourist sector, a move authorized at the end of last year, opens up a chink in the state monopoly on agricultural and livestock marketing.

Read more by HS News Staff →

MondayJanuary 9, 2012