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TuesdayJanuary 10, 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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Latino Youth Urged to Vote by Evangelical Christian Leadership

Latino Youth Urged to Vote by Evangelical Christian Leadership

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Hispanic evangelical leaders on Tuesday issued an urgent call for “comprehensive and fair” immigration reform and encouraged young Latinos to register to vote and participate in the U.S. presidential election in November.

“All of us Latino evangelical leaders are lobbying for comprehensive immigration reform that provides undocumented immigrants with a path toward citizenship,” the Rev. Gabriel Salguero, president of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, which represents some 3,000 congregations, told Efe on Tuesday.

He exhorted young Hispanic evangelicals to participate actively in the November elections “in favor of a law that seeks the common well-being of immigrants and the poor,” as well as access to equitable education.

“We’re in favor of immigration reform and we want it now,” emphasized Salguero, who explained that the country’s roughly 11 million Latino evangelicals share this feeling based “on the Bible and on moral and just laws.”

The pastor made his remarks within the framework of the campaign his group, known as NaLEC, is waging in states such as Florida, Ohio, Arizona and Pennsylvania to mobilize the evangelical Latino vote.

At a telephone conference held on Tuesday, Salguero, colleague Melanie Santiago and DREAM Act advocate Lucas DaSilva said that the Latino evangelical church “is not going to stop until reform comes.”

“We’re persistent and believers” and also “people of hope,” said Salguero. “We will not stop until immigration reform is carried out.”

The DREAM Act, which could benefit up to 2.1 million young people, would allow the legalization of undocumented students who entered the United States before the age of 16 and complete at least two years of college or enlist in the Armed Forces, among other requirements.

With regard to the controversial state immigration laws such as Alabama’s HB 56 and Arizona’s SB 1070, which criminalize the presence of undocumented immigrants, Salguero said that they are initiatives that, “in reality, harm not only the families they separate but also the state,” since they “have a negative economic impact.”

“They are not just or moral laws, they make no sense and they don’t benefit either the nation or families,” he said.

Pastor Melanie Santiago said that the objective is “to mobilize young evangelicals” so that they register to vote.

Voters registration is on the agenda for NaLEC’s Tuesday night rally in Orlando, Florida.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latino Blotter:  Carolyn Vasquez $6.2 Million Medicare Fraud Gets Her 5-Year Prison Sentence

Latino Blotter:  Carolyn Vasquez $6.2 Million Medicare Fraud Gets Her 5-Year Prison Sentence

Photo: Carolyn Vasquez and Medicare Fraud

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A Los Angeles woman who pleaded guilty to using fraudulent medical clinics and the stolen identities of physicians to defraud Medicare of more than $6.2 million was sentenced to 60 months in prison today, the Department of Justice, the FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced.

Carolyn Ann Vasquez, 47, was also ordered to pay $6.2 million in restitution by U.S. District Judge Consuelo B. Marshall of the Central District of California. In addition, Judge Marshall ordered Vasquez to serve three years of supervised release following their prison term.

In March 2011, Vasquez pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud. In her plea agreement, Vasquez admitted that from 2007 to 2008, she conspired with others to use a series of fraudulent Los Angeles-area medical clinics to defraud Medicare. Vasquez admitted that her co-conspirators used the identities and Medicare provider numbers of physicians who both worked and did not work at the clinics to submit false claims to Medicare for reimbursement for services the physicians did not perform and for power wheelchairs, medical equipment and diagnostic tests that the physicians did not order or prescribe.

According to court documents, physician assistants recruited to work at the clinics by Vasquez and working at her direction and the direction of others, performed services that were medically unnecessary and prescribed and ordered the wheelchairs, medical equipment and diagnostic tests that were medically unnecessary.

According to court documents, Vasquez obtained access to physicians’ personal and Medicare information, which she stole to further the fraud scheme at the medical clinics. Vasquez admitted that in approximately 2007, a physician contacted her about a job at one of the fraudulent medical clinics, but the physician decided not to accept the job.

Nevertheless, Vasquez’s co-conspirators printed prescription pads with the physician’s name and Medicare provider number on them. Vasquez admitted that she instructed a physician assistant working at one of the fraudulent medical clinics to use the prescription pads to write fraudulent prescriptions and medical documentation for diagnostic tests, power wheelchairs and other medical equipment in the physician’s name even though Vasquez knew that the physician did not work at the clinic. Medicare was defrauded of approximately $6,268,899 as a result of her conduct. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spanish Government States Relationship with Latin America is “Capital Priority”

Spanish Government States Relationship with Latin America is “Capital Priority”

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Spain’s new conservative government is committed to maintaining “the best relations” with Latin America, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Tuesday.

Ties with Latin America are a “capital priority that I will never abandon,” the premier told Agencia Efe in his first interview since taking office last month.

Rajoy said the first message he conveyed to his foreign minister, Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, was the importance of Spain’s relationship with Latin America.

“I believe we can do very many things together, in a world ever more open, ever more globalized,” the prime minister said of prospects for cooperation between his country and Latin America.

Besides vital trade and investment links, Rajoy said, Spain and Latin America are united by a shared history, language and culture, and many Spaniards have spent time in the New World.

Noting that both he and wife are Gallegos, or natives of the northwestern Spanish region of Galicia, the prime minister said: “I don’t know a single Gallego who hasn’t had someone in or hasn’t been in Venezuela, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and, let’s say it, in Buenos Aires, which some call the fifth province of Galicia.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican Filmmaker to make part 2 of Mexico Blockbuster - “A Day Without a Mexican”

Mexican Filmmaker to make part 2 of  Mexico Blockbuster - “A Day Without a Mexican”

Photo: A Day Without a Mexican

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Mexican director Sergio Arau and his wife, actress Yareli Arismendi, are working on a sequel to the film “A Day Without a Mexican” to keep the subject of immigrants in the public eye.

“It’s going to be called ‘Another Day Without a Mexican,’ and of course we’re a little scared because ‘Part 2’ of anything is rarely good, but we think we have to keep the public focused on this subject,” the filmmaker told Efe in an interview

While the original film got moviegoers thinking about what would happen to the city of Los Angeles if someday all its Hispanics disappeared, the sequel will address the harsh immigration law Arizona adopted in 2010, SB 1070, and copycat measures in states such as Alabama and Utah, Arau said.

“I see it as similar to when Robert Rodriguez made ‘El Maricahi’ and later made ‘Desperado’ - it’s really the same movie but done bigger, with more investment and a much wider distribution, because what really excites us is getting the message to more people,” he said.

“A Day Without a Mexican,” which came out in 2004, was the second biggest box-office hit in the history of Mexican movies, but in the United States it was basically seen only in California, Arau said.

The fact of having made it with a Mexican studio put some limitations on its distribution, so this time he’s going at it with more financing as well as a more complete, more up-to-date screenplay, but always keeping Arau’s characteristic sense of humor and critical thinking.

If all goes as planned, “Another Day Without Mexicans” will be in movie theaters by late 2012. “We hope to be in theaters before the Mayan prophecy comes true,” he laughed.

At 60, Arau also plans to assemble an integrated collection of his work as painter, musician and caricaturist, passions he has indulged simultaneously since he was a teenager.

“I’ve been very critical with my caricatures and drawings, a defender of Mexican identity with my paintings, and created with my buddies in the Botellita de Jerez group our own version of Mexican rock, full of satire and humor,” he said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Chavez Welcomes Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Venezuela

Chavez Welcomes Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Venezuela

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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez received Monday his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with a proclamation that they share the responsibility of stopping the “imperialist madness” of the United States.

Chavez hugged Almadinejad effusively upon the Iranian’s arrival at Miraflores Palace, describing him as a “true brother” and said that theirs are peace-loving nations.

“This is one of our jobs. We never wanted this task to be ours but it is - to stop, stop, stop the imperialist madness that has been unleashed now as it has not been in a long time,” Chavez said.

The Venezuelan president quipped that according to “the lackeys of imperialism,” Ahmadinejad is in Venezuela to “improve his marksmanship before going to Washington and that some big guns and missiles are coming from here” to attack the U.S. capital.

“It’s something to laugh about but also to keep us on our toes,” Chavez said.

He said that Iran and Venezuela are two of the countries under attack and yet “they try to represent us as the aggressors.”

“They accuse us of being warriors, people out to make war; we don’t make war, Iran hasn’t invaded anyone, Iran’s Islamic revolution has invaded no one, the Bolivarian revolution (Chavez’s term for his leftist program) has invaded no one,” he said.

“We will continue working together with God’s blessing and the support of our peoples and of most of the peoples of the world, because the peoples of the world want no more wars, they don’t want more invasions and they don’t want more imperialism,” he said.

Chavez recalled that 14,000 homes and 26 plants for producing food products have been built with the collaboration of Iranian companies.

Ahmadinejad arrived Sunday night in Venezuela to kick off a five-day Latin American tour that will also take him to Nicaragua, Cuba and Ecuador.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Like the Failed ATF “Fast and Furious”, the DEA is Trying to Track Money They’ve Given to Cartels

Like the Failed ATF “Fast and Furious”, the DEA is Trying to Track Money They’ve Given to Cartels

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According to the New York Times, while attempting to track money that was believed to be making it into the hands of drug cartels, the U.S. government was actually laundering and smuggling money from and for the drug organizations.

The Drug Enforcement Administration has said that the intel provided by money laundering operations allowed them to learn the whereabouts of stash houses, the cartels’ methods for funneling their money and the names of some of the high-ranking cartel members.

A unnmaed former DEA officer told the Times, ‘My rule was that if we are going to launder money, we better show results. Otherwise, the DEA could wind up being the largest money launderer in the business, and that money results in violence and deaths.’

And that’s exactly what many say happened as a result of the ATF’s “Fast and Furious” operation, where officials admit to losing track of the money and weapons laundered and smuggled to and from the Mexican cartels.

Since Mexican President Felipe Calderón declared a war on drugs in 2006, around 40,000 people have died on drug/cartel-related violence.

Read more by HS News Staff →

“Snookify” Yourself With the New Snooki App!

“Snookify” Yourself With the New Snooki App!

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Pint-sized Jersey Shore personality Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi now has her very own mobile application.

The app, which is called “Snookify Me”, allows users to put themselves in Snooki’s outfits and hair.

The app allows users to:

Image• Wear some of the most famous Snooki outfits including her animal prints
• Get a tan without in seconds without a sweat
• Works with photos taken with your device camera or from your photo gallery
• Save results to your photo gallery
• Share with your friends via email or Facebook
• View and rate other submissions
• Upload images to the built in Snooki Gallery and allow others to rate them using the special Pickle rating system

While Snooki is a self-proclaimed guidette, she was actually born in Chile and adopted by Italian-American parents in New York.

“Snookify Me” is available on Apple products and Android phones for $1.99 on both platforms.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Obama Administration Extends Hold on El Salvadoran Deportations

Obama Administration Extends Hold on El Salvadoran Deportations

Photo: U.S. and El Salvador

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The Department of Homeland Security citing “ongoing disruptions” from the 2001 earthquakes in El Salvadoran asked the administration to extend the freeze on Salvadoran deportations.

Today the Obama administration granted the extension until September 9, 2013 – basically protecting El Salvadoran undocumented immigrants from deportation back to their native country.

This temporary protected status was granted in great part to “the substantial, but temporary, disruption of living conditions in El Salvador resulting from a series of earthquakes in 2001, and El Salvador remains unable, temporarily, to handle adequately the return of its nationals,” according to Homeland Security.

This protected status benefits some 215,000 Salvadorans living here. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Many Hispanic Hotel Workers in Indiana See Paychecks Shorted

Many Hispanic Hotel Workers in Indiana See Paychecks Shorted

Photo: Many Hispanic Hotel Workers in Indiana Underpaid For Their Work

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Earlier this week hotel workers in Indiana staged a protest outside Hospitality Staffing Solutions (HSS) after a lawsuit was filed on behalf of 14 workers claiming they were underpaid millions of dollars.

The workers, who are mostly Hispanic, say that while working as bussers, dishwashers, and housekeepers at various hotels they were underpaid, as they were forced to work through their breaks and work overtime without compensation.

Though they work for different hotels, those in the lawsuit all receive paychecks from HSS, but say hotel management was aware that HSS was underpaying the workers.

In the lawsuit, it states that a number of the workers were paid below the legal hourly minimum wage, which is $7.25 in Indiana.

Among the Indianapolis hotels named in the lawsuit are Embassy Suites, Hyatt, Holiday Inn, Marriott, and Westin.

The workers claim that in recent years their workloads have increased while their pay has not.

Hotels are able to cut costs by outsourcing to companies like HSS because they avoid having to pay benefits to the workers.

Among those at Monday’s protest was City-County Councilman Brian Mahern who told ABC RTV6 that when workers don’t get paid, it not only affects them but can harm the community.

“When we see that there are instances where wages have been earned but not paid, that’s troubling from a moral perspective. It’s also troubling because those are dollars that are not going to make their way into our local businesses and shops.”

The federal Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor is currently investigating HSS practices in Indianapolis hotels.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Lawyer Recognizes His Client During Armed Robbery Proceeds to Shoot him Dead

Lawyer Recognizes His Client During Armed Robbery Proceeds to Shoot him Dead

Photo: Lawyer Kills Client in Dominican Republic

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A lawyer in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic apparently shot three robbers, one of which was his client. 

Sunday morning at 4:00am Manuel Polanco Moya was stopped by three armed men near his home, who announced they were going to rob him.  They proceeded to break his front wind shield on his Nissan Pathfinder so he knew they meant business.  He must of also known what type of client he had. 

His client, Ezekiel D’Oleo Polanco, was on trial for killing a Chinese national during an armed robbery last year. 

So the local attorney decided to resist the assault and proceeded to shoot his client.

The client died after being shot in the chest and the other two accomplices Jancel de la Cruz and another id’ed only as El Bairon are being sought by Dominican authorities. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Will Snoop Dogg Make it to Coahcella? Rapper Arrested at Texas Bordertown for Marijuana on Tour Bus

Will Snoop Dogg Make it to Coahcella? Rapper Arrested at Texas Bordertown for Marijuana on Tour Bus

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Rap superstar Snoop Dogg was arrested for marijuana possession in Sierra Blanca, Texas over the weekend.

Snoop Dogg, whose real name is Calvin Broadus Jr., was arrested by U.S. Border Patrol officials Saturday after West Texas Border Patrol agents discovered about.13 pounds of marijuana on the performer’s tour bus.

Snoop is famously known for his love of pot smoking, so the discovery of it on his tour bus shocked no one. CNN has reported that the rapper has a prescription for medical marijuana in California, though he was found with it in Texas.

After freely admitting that the “The Dogg Father” was issued a citation by the Hudspeth County sheriff’s deputies and is ordered to report to court on January 20.

ImageSnoop was arrested at the same border town checkpoint as Willie Nelson, who was found with 6 ounces of marijuana on his tour bus in 2010. The country music star has long been an advocate for marijuana use, even appearing at the end of the beer-guzzling movie Beerfest, when after Beerfest, the characters meet Nelson who invites them to be his teammates at Potfest after other famous stoners Cheech and Chong bail on him.

The question remains however whether Snoop Dogg will be able to perform at Coachella this year. The 2012 Coachella line up was announced earlier this week, with Snoop listed as one of the top performers on both Sundays of the festival, which takes place on April 13-15 and 20-22.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Crafty Thieves Use Watermelon Rinds to Slide ATM Out of Store in Colombia

Crafty Thieves Use Watermelon Rinds to Slide ATM Out of Store in Colombia

Photo: ATM Stolen in Colombia

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A group of thieves entered a drugstore in the Colombian city of Barranquilla and, after subduing a security guard, stole an automatic teller machine, using watermelon rinds to slide the cash machine out the door, police said.

The thieves, who numbered at least 10, managed to empty the ATM of its cash, which they abandoned in the same truck in which they transported it from the drugstore. The police found the vehicle in a parking garage.

The authorities managed to arrest seven of the alleged thieves, who were in possession of almost 60 million pesos ($30,000).

At least two of the thieves were wearing uniforms like the one of the security guard they attacked.

Col. Sergio Lopez, the commander of operations for the Barranquilla Metropolitan Police, announced a reward of roughly $2,500 for information leading authorities to the rest of the band.

The police said that this is the second time that such a robbery has occurred. In 2008, in another part of the Caribbean coastal city, a group of thieves pried an ATM from its base and slid it to a vehicle also using watermelon rinds. EFE

On that occasion, the thieves absconded with about $100,000.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Salma Hayek and Antonio Banderas Announced as Presenters on Golden Globes

While Ricky Gervais makes the Hollywood audience squirm as host of this Sunday’s presentation of the Golden Globes many other stars will be serving as presenters.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association that hosts the Golden Globes today announced some of the presenters it booked and the list includes Salma Hayek and Antonio Banderas.  The duo starred together in the ‘Puss in Boots’ hit from last year.

Other presenters include Nicole Kidman, Natalie Portman, Jake Gyllenhall, Melissa McCarthy, Clive Owen and Freida Pinto. 

The Globes will air on Sunday on NBC at 8 (EST). 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Castro on U.S. Politics:  Robot Better President than a Republican or Obama

Castro on U.S. Politics:  Robot Better President than a Republican or Obama

Photo: Robot for U.S. President

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A robot would govern the United States better, former Cuban President Fidel Castro says in column published Monday in official media.

In a brief article entitled “The Best President for the United States,” Fidel Castro took the opportunity to slam U.S. chief executive Barack Obama, “for whom, in his desperate quest for reelection, the dreams of (Martin) Luther King are more light years away than Earth is from the nearest habitable planet.”

In his opinion, worse still are the Republican hopefuls and the leaders of the Tea Party movement because any one of them “packs more nuclear arms on their backs than ideas about peace in their heads.”

The retired Cuban leader’s comments were inspired by a scientific news article about the creation of a nanocable that would allow the development of the first “quantum computer.”

“Isn’t it perhaps obvious that worst of all is the absence of a robot in the White House able to govern the United States and prevent a war that could put an end to our species?” Fidel Castro writes.

He also expresses his conviction that 90 percent of Americans, “particularly Hispanics, blacks and the growing number of an impoverished middle class, would vote for a robot.

Monday’s article is the second by Fidel Castro in less than a week after almost two months of silence.

The now-85-year-old leader of the Cuban Revolution left power in 2009 due to a grave illness, and delegated the post to younger brother Raul, who definitively assumed the presidency of the island in 2008.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Allegations of Amazon Indian Child ‘Burned Alive’ by Loggers Surfaces

Allegations of Amazon Indian Child ‘Burned Alive’ by Loggers Surfaces

Photo: Allegations of Amazon Indian Child Burned Alive Surface

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Loggers have invaded the Amazon home of uncontacted Awá Indians, one of whom has reportedly been ‘burned alive’.

Members of the Guajajara tribe, which also inhabits the area, have said that they came across the burned remains of an Awá child in the forest, following an attack by loggers, according to Brazilian NGO CIMI.

Clovis Guajajara, who sometimes sees the Awá in the forest whilst hunting, has reportedly said that he has not seen them since the alleged attack, and he believes they have fled.

The Brazilian government’s Indian Affairs Department, FUNAI, has told Survival International that it is conducting an investigation into the reports, and that the child’s death has not been confirmed.

At least 60 uncontacted Awá Indians are thought to live in this part of the north-eastern Brazilian Amazon – they are one of the last nomadic hunter-gatherer tribes in Brazil. The Awá rely on their forest to survive, but vast numbers of loggers are illegally invading their land, which now suffers one of the highest deforestation rates in the Amazon.

More than 30% of one of the Awá’s territories has already been destroyed.

Luis Carlos Guajajara told Survival today, ‘There are uncontacted Awá in the area and the loggers are pressurising them. The loggers’ presence is very dangerous. Indians in the area are scared.’

The Awá have recently suffered a series of brutal attacks, and loggers have warned that the Indians will be killed if they go into their forest.

Survival is lobbying the Brazilian authorities to evict the invaders from the Awá’s land before the devastation puts the Indians’ lives further at risk. 

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Retired boxer Hector “Macho” Camacho Making Television Debut

Retired boxer Hector “Macho” Camacho Making Television Debut

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Retired boxer Hector “Macho” Camacho will make his television debut with a show business news segment on Univision’s evening program “El Gordo Y La Flaca.”

Every Friday, the 10-time world boxing champion in different categories will give his opinion about recent events in show business on the segment “Macho News,” his representatives announced in a press release on Monday.

The boxer recently made a cameo appearance on Alex Wayne’s music video and in 2010 he participated in Univision’s “Mira quien baila” (Look Who’s Dancing) competition program.

Camacho became the first Puerto Rican lightweight to win both the World Boxing Council and World Boxing Organization titles.

He won 79 of his 87 bouts, 38 of them by knock-outs.

Two of his most important victories were against Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard.

Read more by HS News Staff →



TuesdayJanuary 10, 2012