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TuesdayJanuary 17, 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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26 Cuban Boat Refugees Arrive in Florida Keys,  Allowed to Stay Become Legal Residents w/in Year

26 Cuban Boat Refugees Arrive in Florida Keys,  Allowed to Stay Become Legal Residents w/in Year

Photo: Cuban Refugees Make it to Florida Keys

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26 Cuban refugees arrived in Florida Keys possibly being smuggled into the U.S. via a migrant-smuggling operation this past Friday.

Under the ‘wet foot-dry foot policy’ that only benefits Cuban migrant - any undocumented migrant who makes it to land in the U.S. is allowed to stay and can apply for permanent residence after living in the U.S. for more than a year.  However, any undocumented Cuban migrant captured at sea will be sent back to Cuba.

The 26 refugees found ashore near Newfound Harbor is the largest group to make it to the U.S. thus far in 2012.  During 2011 985 Cuban migrants were captured at sea and returned while 696 reached land.  However another 5,000 Cuban migrants entered the U.S. via the Mexican border and were allowed to stay and avoid deportation. 

A speedboat that is believed to have smuggled the 26 boat refugees was spotted in the area but was not captured. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Ecuador Destroys WWII Bombs Found at former U.S. Military Base in Galapagos Islands

Ecuador Destroys WWII Bombs Found at former U.S. Military Base in Galapagos Islands

Photo: Ecuador Destroys WWII Bombs Found at former U.S. Military Base in Galapagos Islands

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Ecuador was to complete on Tuesday the destruction of 11 U.S. bombs of World War II vintage that were found in 2010 by fishermen in the Galapagos Islands, the defense minister said.

The Defense Ministry delegate for the destruction of the Galapagos bombs, Xavier Drouet, told Efe that on Monday they “successfully” blew up the first six bombs, and on Tuesday would explode the other five.

Drouet said the Americans had a military base on Baltra Island in the Galapagos, and these armaments were used for drills and exercises there during World War II.

The bombs were found in October 2010, and since then they have been stored on Santa Cruz Island. Later the Defense Ministry decided to destroy them because they represent “a big risk for the inhabitants,” Drouet said.

Since the explosives belonged to the United States, a group of Ecuadorian soldiers traveled to Oklahoma to be trained in how to dispose of the munitions.

The bombs are being detonated jointly by troops, police and firefighters in the uninhabited military zone of Baltra Island, and “great care is being taken not to affect any Galapagos species” in the process.

Some 16,000 soldiers were based at Baltra, a strategic location for the American Army due to its position in the mid-Pacific Ocean.

The Galapagos Islands are located about 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) west of the coast of continental Ecuador and were named the first World Natural Heritage Site in 1978.

Some 95 percent of the territory’s 8,000 sq. kilometers (a little over 3,000 sq. miles) constitutes a protected area that is home to more than 50 species of animals and birds found nowhere else on the planet.

The islands were made famous by 19th-century British naturalist Charles Darwin, whose observations of life on the islands contributed greatly to his theory of the evolution of species.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Rapper Ivy Queen makes acting debut in “The Vagina Monologues”

Rapper Ivy Queen makes acting debut in  “The Vagina Monologues”

Photo: Rapper Ivy Queen

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Reggaeton artist Ivy Queen will make her acting debut Feb. 26 in a Spanish-language production of the play “The Vagina Monologues,” her representatives said Tuesday.

The singer, whose real name is Martha Ivelisse Pesante, said she felt “very honored” to have been asked to join the cast for the performance in Altamonte Springs, Florida.

Her participation will help “make women and the world more aware that we are all equal and we have the same rights,” said the reggaeton queen, who is spokesperson for a campaign against domestic violence in her native Puerto Rico.

Written by feminist Eve Ensler, “The Vagina Monologues” has been translated into 49 languages and performed in more than 120 countries.

Besides Ivy Queen, the cast of the Florida production includes actress Sully Diaz, boxer Roxana Laborde and sexologist Carmita Laboy.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexicans Hurry to Aid the Tarahumara Upon Hearing False Reports They’re Committed Mass Suicide

Upon hearing that a number of proud Tarahumara indians in Mexico’s northern mountains were committing suicide rather than succumb to famine, Mexicans rushed aid to them. However, the story of mass suicides was not exactly true.

The rumor of the suicides began when a video of a town official from Carichi was posted on social media sites. The video showed the official in the Tarahumara Mountains in northern Chihuahua saying that “the Indians were being driven to despair and suicide after their crops failed because of a combination of severe cold and the worst drought in at least 70 years,” reported the Associated Press.

The official says, “The Indian women get sad after four or five days when they can’t feed their children,” Carichi council secretary Ramon Gardea says on the video. “They are so despairing that up through December, 50 men and women went to the mountain valleys ... and threw themselves into valleys. Others hung themselves.”

Upon seeing this heart wrenching video, groups began springing up to assist the people of the Tarahumara Mountains.

But while these proud people are in trouble and in need of food, the idea that they’re all committed suicide is incorrect.

Those who know about the Tarahumara, know that suicide is not an option and they do not give up easily.

Still, though the reports of suicide were proved to be false, the need for assistance is not.

Read more by HS News Staff →

‘Big Brother Brasil’ Shows Footage of Housemate Allegedly Raping Another While She is Unconscious

‘Big Brother Brasil’ Shows Footage of Housemate Allegedly Raping Another While She is Unconscious

Photo: 'Big Brother Brasil' Shows Footage of Housemate Allegedly Raping Another While She is Unconscious

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Brazil’s version of the reality/game show worldwide crossover hit Big Brother is in serious trouble after a show participant claims she was sexually assaulted by a housemate while the production team sat back and watched.

ImageMonique Amin, one of the housemate/contestants on Big Brother Brasil believed she had been inappropriately touched while she was passed out in bed after a night of drinking.

TV network Globo, which produces Big Brother Brasil, aired the live footage of the alleged rape and after being questioned about the incident Amin believes she may have been raped.

The accused, housemate Daniel Echaniz is seen touching the unconscious Amin, and eventually gets under a blanket with her, and viewers can see him moving on top of her.

The footage was pulled, but the damage was already done.

Echaniz claims he only kissed and hugged her, but Amin does not believe that was the case. Her mother told Brazilian site Ego, “It is clear that there was abuse.”

ImageThe day after the incident, Amin was called into the confessional, which is where the cast members recap and give opinions on what is happening in the house. She was asked if she remembered anything about the incident, but she said that if anything had happened the night before, she was not aware of it. After being asked about it in the confessional, Amin approached Echaniz who told her to “let it go”.

A petition on Change.org now reads that Globo’s failure to intervene that night is “inadmissible” and that no one “is naïve enough to believe” that no one saw what was happening. They are demanding that Echaniz been shown justice for what he did and for Globo to apologize.

Read more by HS News Staff →

NY Teacher Carmen Rodriguez Still Takes Home $75K/yr Despite Numerous Complaints Against Her

NY Teacher Carmen Rodriguez Still Takes Home $75K/yr Despite Numerous Complaints Against Her

Photo: Carmen Rodriguez Still Takes Home $75K/yr Despite Numerous Complaints Against Her

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A New York teacher has managed to survive three separate investigations into her conduct in the classroom to continue to earn $75,000 a year, despite a number of written reprimands and a call for her dismissal by the city’s Education Department.

Carmen Rodriguez, a Queens gym teacher has a long list of inappropriate and often down right raunchy behavior with her students including touching a student’s inner thigh, telling another “you like it rough,” and numerous occasions of cursing in both English and Spanish in the classroom.

In 2011, a number of hearings were held to determine what was to be done about Rodriguez’s behavior. In the end, she was fine $15,000, which was to be taken out from paychecks over 18 months/

In his decision, the arbitrator from the hearings stated, “Not only did she not model proper behavior, the evidence demonstrates she instigated and promoted bad behavior in her class.”

Despite the numerous accusations against her, Rodriguez maintains that she is innocent.

When asked why Rodriguez still has a job, the Education Department spokeswoman Margie Feinberg said, “In 2011, when (investigators) substantiated additional incidents of misconduct, (the Education Department) brought charges seeking her termination. Following a hearing, however, an arbitrator decided not to terminate her.”

Rodriguez’s lawyer said the witnesses brought in to speak against her were not credible, and that the Ed Dept. didn’t have the evidence to terminate.

In September 2011, after the third investigation against here, the GED Plus phys-ed teacher was removed from the classroom.

Prior to her time as a GED Plus teacher at Fort Totten, Rodriguez worked in several schools as a health and phys-ed teacher.

Read more by HS News Staff →

63 lbs of Erectile Dysfunction Drugs Seized by Border Protection inside Luggage at LAX

63 lbs of Erectile Dysfunction Drugs Seized by Border Protection inside Luggage at LAX

Photo: Illegal Erectile Dysfunction Found LAX

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Tom Bradley International Terminal stopped the attempt to smuggle 63.3 pounds of tadalafil, the main chemical component of erectile dysfunction drugs. The substance with an estimated domestic value of $179,000 was seized on Jan. 6.

CBP officers referred a 40 year-old Korean national, for secondary baggage examination. During their inspection of his two carry-on luggage, CBP officers noticed several heat sealed pouches containing a white powdery substance. The passenger claimed the powder was a Chinese herb.

The pouches were detained and samples of the substance were sent to Laboratories and Scientific Services (LSS), CBP’s scientific arm. LSS chemists identified the powder as tadalafil. A filed application or approval is required to introduce a new drug into interstate commerce which the passenger lacked.

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: After Making Meth-Smoking Video Woman Shoots Children, Boyfriend, Cousin, Self

LATINO BLOTTER: After Making Meth-Smoking Video Woman Shoots Children, Boyfriend, Cousin, Self

Photo: Fresno Woman, Aide Mendez shoots her children, boyfriend, cousin, and self

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A California woman is at the center of a horrific murder-suicide that resulted in the loss of four lives, while one hangs on his.

After a fight with her boyfriend, 33-year-old Eduardo Lopez, Aide Mendez, 23, allegedly shot him, her 17-month-old daughter, 3-year-old son, and the Lopez’s cousin. After the attacks on her family, she then killed herself.

Police say that just hours before Sunday’s murder-suicide, Mendez recorded herself and Lopez’s cousin Paul Medina, 27, smoking methamphetamine on an iPad.

She would later kill Medina, her children Aliyah and Isaiah Echeverria, and shoot and stab Lopez, who remains in critical condition at Community Regional Medical Center.

Neighbor Jesus Gonzalez told local ABC affiliate KFSN-TV that just after 7 a.m. he heard gun shots followed by banging on his door. He answered it to find a man bleeding profusely. The man was Lopez. Before Gonzalez could get Lopez inside his apartment Mendez tried to drag him away. When he tried to ask her what happened, Mendez ran off.

Police found Mendez and her small children in the bathroom, the children being in the bathtub. The boy was found dead at the scene and police tried resuscitate the girl, but she later died at a hospital.

About 10 grams of methamphetamine were found in the apartment along with $8,000 in cash and firearms. Of the three guns found, two had been used in the murder-suicide.

Neighbors said they never saw signs of violence in the home, and investigators are still trying to determine a motive.

Family members said Mendez had not handled things well after she had a miscarriage some years ago, but saw no indication that she could do something like this.

Another child had been in the home during the shootings, a 7-year-old girl who lived in the same apartment complex. Luckily, she managed to escape unharmed.

Read more by HS News Staff →

From One Island to Another, Can Jorge Garcia and J.J Abrams Keep “Alcatraz” Afloat?

From One Island to Another, Can Jorge Garcia and J.J Abrams Keep “Alcatraz” Afloat?

Photo: From One Island to Another, Can Jorge Garcia and J.J Abrams Keep "Alcatraz" Afloat?

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For 6 seasons, Jorge Garcia garnered a number of fans while playing the loveable comic relief Hugo “Hurley” Reyes on the ABC series “Lost” but Monday night, he debuted his latest role on Fox’s “Alcatraz.”

ImageGarcia plays Alcatraz historian Dr. Diego Soto, who along with Emerson Hauser, tries to figure out why 300 former Alcatraz inmates who were believed to be dead or at least sent elsewhere in the 1960s are now appearing in present day. They quickly discover the inmates were falsely labeled as dead, as many of them simply disappeared, so where/when are they coming from, and why now?

It appears the J.J. Abrams-produced mystery drama with the sci-fi twist had may have hooked some viewers already. The two-hour premier brought in 10 million viewers and a 3.3 rating among adults 18-49. Viewership did not drop after the first hour, meaning the actual pilot didn’t send anyone in search of something else to watch.

Garcia and Abrams have known each other for years, having worked on Lost together, so maybe the Garcia-Abrams pairing will prove to be magic once again on Alcatraz.

Watch the trailer for Alcatraz, which premiered Monday night on Fox and stars Garcia, Sam Neil, and Sarah Jones, below.

Related Videos

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GOP Hispanic Group Throws Support Behind Gingrich, Chides Romney’s Immigration Stance

GOP Hispanic Group Throws Support Behind Gingrich, Chides Romney’s Immigration Stance

Photo: GOP Latinos Endorse Gingrich

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The biggest organization of Hispanic Republicans in the United States endorsed former House Speaker Newt Gingrich for the GOP presidential nomination.

“We believe Newt Gingrich knows the importance of the Latino community,” Somos Republicanos said in a statement describing the Hispanic community as “a key driver of our nation’s future.”

“While the other candidates seem oblivious to this fact, Newt Gingrich has been working hard for many years to include American Hispanics in the overall conversation for a better America,” the group said.

Gingrich heated up the Republican debate on immigration with a proposal to legalize millions of people who have lived in the country for decades.

Through campaign events in Florida and his participation in events like the Jan. 26-27 Hispanic Leadership Network conference in Miami, the politician is trying to score points with the Hispanic electorate against the more intransigent attitudes of his rivales, particularly front-runner Mitt Romney.

For his part, the former Massachusetts governor is betting on the opposite angle by teaming up with Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who helped draft the anti-immigrant laws of Arizona and Alabama.

Kobach accompanied Romney on Monday at a campaign event in South Carolina, scene of the next primary.

Romney’s approach, an attempt to look iron-fisted against illegal immigration, also includes a direct rejection of the DREAM Act, a bill that would permit the legalization of undocumented students who came to the United States before the age of 16 and who fulfill certain requirements.

The former governor and millionaire hedge-fund chief “takes an non-humanitarian approach to the DREAM Act and legal immigration reform,” Somos Republicanos said, vowing to “veto Romney at the polls.”

The organization also lamented the withdrawal of Jon Huntsman from the primaries, since he backed the DREAM Act, and his subsequent endorsement of Romney on Monday.

In a conference call Monday, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) used the word “appalling” to describe Romney’s alliance with Kobach, “the dark lord of the anti-immigration movement.”

“But boy does it make it crystal clear to Latino voters what is at stake in this election. Mitt Romney can surround himself with all the Cuban Republicans in the world - and he will be doing exactly that in Florida - but the stink of the anti-immigrant positions he is taking will not rub off,” the lawmaker said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

18.2 Million People Visited Mexico’s Archaeological and Cultural Treasures in 2011

18.2 Million People Visited Mexico’s Archaeological and Cultural Treasures in 2011

Photo: 18.2M People Visited Mexico's Monuments

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Mexican archaeological sites, museums and historical monuments attracted more than 18.2 million visitors in 2011, the National Anthropology and History Institute, or INAH, said.

INAH said in a communique Monday that the number topped the 18 million in 2010, making 2011 the second best year since 2006 in the number of visitors - only 2008 with 18 million people had more during that period.

It said that of last year’s visitors, 10.6 million visited archeological sites and 7.6 million went to museums and historical monuments managed by INAH. A total of 14.7 million were Mexicans and 3.5 million were foreign tourists.

The three sites that topped 1 million visits were the Teotihuacan Archaeological Zone, the National Museum of Anthropology, and the National History Museum at Chapultapec Castle.

Teotihuacan ended 2011 with 2.2 million tourists, of whom 1.7 million were Mexicans and 510,367 came from other countries. Meanwhile the National Museum of Anthropology brought in 1.8 million people, 1.6 million of them Mexicans and 198,090 foreigners.

For its part, the National History Museum at Chapultepec Castle had 1.3 million visitors, of whom 1.2 million were Mexicans and 59,539 international tourists.

According to INAH, the increase in visitors last year over 2010 was in part occasioned by new archaeological sites being opened and museums renovated, along with projects to attract more tourists, including presentations at international expos in Greece, India and China.

Another helpful asset was the new infrastructure created to provide the disabled with easier access to these cultural attractions, as well as works of research, restoration, conservation and dissemination, the institute said.

Currently INAH supervises 183 archaeological sites open to the public, 117 museums and 17 of the nation’s historical monuments.

The inauguration of new archaeological and museum facilities are also planned for this year.

As part of the 2012 Maya World Program, the Cancun Archaeological Museum is being built to house pre-Columbian pieces found at different pre-Columbian sites in Quintana Roo state.

Read more by HS News Staff →

‘Collar of the Golden Fleece’ Bestowed on France’s Sarkozy by Spain’s King Juan Carlos

‘Collar of the Golden Fleece’ Bestowed on France’s Sarkozy by Spain’s King Juan Carlos

Photo: Sarkozy Honored by Spanish Royal Family

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Spain’s King Juan Carlos conferred the Order of the Golden Fleece on Nicolas Sarkozy here Monday, praising the French president for his effective collaboration against the Basque terrorist group ETA.

Before bestowing the Collar of the Golden Fleece on him and pinning the insignia identifying him as a Knight of the Order on his lapel, the monarch noted how, in his relations with Spain, Sarkozy has contributed “in a constant, effective and generous way” to the war on terrorism.

Juan Carlos said the French leader always came through “firmly and ably” to make sure France provided “the greatest possible political, judicial and police collaboration” with Spain “in order to end the terrorist violence.”

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and his three immediate predecessors - Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Jose Maria Aznar and Felipe Gonzalez - observed the solemn ceremony from the front row in the Royal Palace’s Hall of Columns after a private meeting between the king and Sarkozy.

Queen Sofia, Crown Prince Felipe and his wife, Princess Letizia, accompanied the king as he conferred the honor on the French president, a ceremony also attended by senior officials from both governments.

Afterwards Sarkozy was to meet with Rajoy.

Considered the world’s most prestigious dynastic honor, the Order of the Golden Fleece was created in 1429 by Philip the Good, duke of Burgundy, and passed eventually to the Spanish monarchy through marriage and inheritance.

Juan Carlos, who received the Order of the Golden Fleece in 1941 from his father, bestowed the honor upon his own son in 1981 and upon a score of others, including Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, Emperor Akihito of Japan and Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II.

Read more by HS News Staff →

El Salvador’s President Mauricio Funes Apologizes for Massacre of 1981

President Mauricio Funes formally apologized on Monday for the Salvadoran army’s 1981 slaughter of nearly 1,000 people in and around the town of El Mozote.

“For this massacre, for the aberrant violations of human rights and for the abuses perpetrated ... I ask forgiveness from the victims’ families in the name of the Salvadoran state,” he said at a ceremony in El Mozote, some 200 kilometers (120 miles) northeast of the capital.

The center-left president visited the town as part of observances of the 20th anniversary of the peace accords that ended El Salvador’s 1980-1992 civil war.

“I ask forgiveness from the Salvadoran people, who were victims of this kind of atrocious violence,” Funes said with tears in his eyes.

Officers and men of the Atlacatl Rapid Reaction Infantry Battalion killed more than 900 people, most of them minors, in the El Mozote area during the period of Dec. 10-13, 1981.

“Countless human rights violations were committed here, innocents were tortured” and many of the victims endured sexual assault prior to their deaths, the president said.

The Salvadoran government just released a list of the 936 people slain, Funes noted, describing himself as the first president to “acknowledge the truth of the events, just as they happened.”

“I come on this historic morning to assume the responsibly that my predecessors, regrettably, did not want or did not stir themselves to assume,” he told the crowd in El Mozote.

Funes is the country’s first chief executive since 1989 not to come from the right-wing ARENA party.

“I am convinced that the best way to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the peace accords is advancing in the recognition of the truth,” he said.

The agreements ending the civil war were signed on Jan. 16, 1992, by the ARENA government of President Alfredo Cristiani and the FMLN guerrillas, later to become the political party now led by Funes.

Some 75,000 people died in the civil war, 12,000 were disabled and a total of 8,000 people disappeared, according to human rights groups.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Local Mexican Police Chief Gunned Down at Gas Station

Assailants gunned down a police chief in the central Mexican state of Morelos in an attack at a gas station, the state Attorney General’s Office said in a statement.

Three gunmen riding on a motorcycle shot Juan Manuel Zamudio, police chief of the municipality of Zacatepec, on Monday outside the small Morelos town of Galeana, local media reported.

Zamudio was rushed to a hospital in the nearby town of Jojutla, where he died minutes later of wounds to the face and abdomen, the state AG’s office.

Earlier Monday, seven gunmen were killed in a pre-dawn clash with Mexican federal police near the city of Cuernavaca, Morelos’ capital.

The incident began when subjects traveling in three vehicles ran a police checkpoint on the Mexico City-Cuernavaca highway, prompting the officers to give chase, the state AG’s office said in a statement.

The pursuit ended in the Las Animas housing development in the Cuernavaca suburb of Temixco, where seven suspects died in the ensuing gunbattle.

One police officer was wounded and a suspect who survived the shootout was arrested.

Police confiscated AR-15 and AK-47 assault rifles as well as the three vehicles, the state AG’s office said.

Morelos, which borders the Federal District (Mexico City), has been the scene in recent months of clashes pitting gunslingers from rival criminal gangs.

These latest killings come amid a wave of drug-related violence in Mexico, where 47,515 people were slain between Dec. 1, 2006 - when President Felipe Calderon was inaugurated - and last September in cartel turf wars and the gangs’ clashes with security forces, according to official figures.

Calderon militarized the struggle against the nation’s heavily armed, well-funded drug mobs upon taking office. The strategy has led to the killings and arrests of cartel kingpins, but the country’s murder total has grown every year.

Unofficial tallies published last month by independent daily La Jornada put the drug-war death toll at more than 50,000.

Read more by HS News Staff →

TuesdayJanuary 17, 2012