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ThursdayJanuary 19, 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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Hispanic National Bar Assoc. Launches Veterans Legal Program

Hispanic National Bar Assoc. Launches Veterans Legal Program

Photo: HNBA Launches Legal Aid for Vets

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The Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) is launching the ‘HNBA Veterans Legal Initiative Program’ that will provide pro bono assistance to military veterans and families who are unable to afford these legal services.

By partnering with local veteran services organizations, the HBNA legal clinics ensure that veterans have access to legal information and legal representation. Volunteers will meet individually with veterans and their families to guide them through their legal needs, eligibility requirements for federal veterans benefits and help them complete the necessary applications.

HNBA is offering a lot of opportunities for qualified attorneys to volunteer, they may also start their own legal clinic.  For more information on this important initiative call HNBA at (202) 223-4777.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican with Green Card Dies in ICE Custody in Las Vegas

Mexican with Green Card Dies in ICE Custody in Las Vegas

Photo: Mexican Immigrant dies in ICE Custody

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A Mexican immigrant who had legal permanent residence in the United States died in Nevada while under the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE said.

Miguel Sarabia-Ortega was arrested Tuesday in Las Vegas on suspicion of possession of methamphetamine pipes.

Municipal police contacted ICE after a background check revealed that the agency was looking for Sarabia-Ortega.

Once at the ICE office in Las Vegas, the 36-year-old became agitated and began shouting for his handcuffs to be removed. Hours later, the personnel transporting Sarabia-Ortega to an overnight detention facility noticed he was unconscious and took him to Desert Springs Hospital.

Sarabia-Ortega died shortly after his arrival at the hospital.

The relevant Nevada state agencies and the Mexican Consulate were notified of Sarabia-Ortega’s death, ICE said in a statement.

The incident comes less than three months after the Oct. 25 death of 54-year-old Pablo Gracida Conte at an ICE detention center in Arizona.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Med Schools Looking for Spanish Speaking Latinos

Med Schools Looking for Spanish Speaking Latinos

Photo: Med Schools Looking for Spanish Speaking Latinos

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The high demand for Spanish-speaking physicians to serve the burgeoning U.S. Hispanic community is attracting more Latinos to the medical profession.

While Latinos account for only 3,459 of the 43,919 students at U.S. medical schools, that figure represents an increase of almost 23 percent from 2004, according to statistics compiled by the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Luis Ramirez said he decided to become a doctor after witnessing first-hand the lack of medical care available to residents of poor areas on Chicago’s South Side.

“My dad suffered from Parkinson’s and I often accompanied him to the doctor’s and we didn’t have money,” Ramirez told Efe. “There weren’t many clinics there, there weren’t many doctors.”

“Living there and seeing that there weren’t many options, I saw there was something missing and I thought there was something I could do: be a doctor and return there some day,” he said.

But it took Ramirez, now 35, a long time to begin acting on that conviction.

After graduation from Morgan Park High School, he spent 12 years as an electrician before entering college in 2003. He took classes at night while working full-time.

Ramirez got his bachelor’s degree in 2010 and entered the University of Illinois at Chicago’s College of Medicine in August of that year.

Looking back, he said the biggest barrier he had to overcome was the lack of role models, as neither of his Mexican immigrant parents finished high school.

“I had no mentor to tell me what to expect in school,” he said.

The absence of an example to follow was not an issue for Costa Rica-born Cassandra List, a second-year med student at UIC whose sister, Rebeca, is a physician.

List, 24, said it was while working as an interpreter at a clinic that she resolved to try to become a doctor.

The chance to treat Hispanic patients with respect and cultural sensitivity is what motivated 22-year-old Mexican native Cesar Menchaca to pursue a career in medicine.

“It’s important to have a Latino doctor like you who can understand you,” says Menchaca.

Ramirez, List and Menchaca are affiliated with the Hispanic Center of Excellence at UIC, which offers advice and guidance to Latinos interested in a medical career.

“We provide the information and support that students with talent need to reach their goals,” the center’s director, Dr. Jorge Girotti, tells Efe.

He describes the need for Hispanic physicians as immense.

“The number of Latino doctors who are leaving the profession due to retirement or death is so great that not even the present number of (Hispanic med school) applicants can fill it,” he says.

“Latinos are now 4 percent of all doctors in the United States, but those percentages are even lower among dentists, 2 percent; and nursing, 1.5 percent,” Girotti says. “So we need Latinos in all branches of medical care.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Extreme Cults and Sects in Latin America Highlighted on Discovery en Español

In its new original series, Mundos Extremos, Discovery en Español opens doors and gives viewers exclusive access to the most arcane, secret ways of life.

This program takes viewers into the secret world of cults, political associations, spiritual congregations and other groups in Latin America that are objects for rejection and public ridicule, to learn about their daily lives and what drives them to live out their extreme existence. Nudists, Mennonites, Mormons, Sadomasochists, members of religious orders that practice self-flagellation are among the groups profiled in this series. Mundos extremos premieres Wednesday, February 1 at 10pm ET/ 11pm PT.

Divided into eight docu-reality episodes, Mundos extremos delves into the heart of these and other little known communities in Latin America to learn what life is like for people who choose to violate social norms, either based on their own convictions or because they were born into groups with very specific lifestyles.

To better understand and accurately depict the daily lives, rituals and what motivates these people to live such unconventional lives, the production team immersed themselves into the daily routines of these communities, persuading them to open their doors and allow production team members to live among them. The series also includes testimonials from cult specialists, anthropologists, journalists, historians, sociologists, and the leaders of these groups.

Following is a brief description of some of the Mundos extremos series episodes:

Menonitas: tradiciones violadas - Mennonites: The Rape of Tradition (Bolivia)
In Manitoba, Bolivia, a Mennonite colony is the victim of sexual attacks against more than one hundred women. This episode goes inside the colony to understand the impact of these terrible rapes in a community shaken by uncertainty and panic.

Naturaleza desnuda / Dolor como placer - Naked Nature / Pain as Pleasure (Colombia/Argentina)
In Bogota, a community must become resourceful in order to practice nudism despite the limits imposed on them by society. Meanwhile, in Buenos Aires, the sadomasochist community must hide in order to freely engage in unconventional sexual practices.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Halle Berry’s Hispanic Stalker Sentenced to 1 Year in Jail and 5 Years of Probation

Halle Berry’s Hispanic Stalker Sentenced to 1 Year in Jail and 5 Years of Probation

Photo: Halle Berry Stalker Richard Franco, 28, sentenced to 1 year in Jail, 5 of Probation

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For roughly 6 months, Richard Franco has remained in jail as he awaited trial on charges that he stalked actress Halle Berry.

Thursday, Franco pled no contest to one count of stalking and was sentenced to one year and one day in jail, taking a plea deal from prosecutors. He was also told he must complete one year of psychological therapy.

Franco was arrested after his third attempt to get onto Berry’s L.A. property was interrupted by police who found him scaling a wall outside her home. It was the third attempt in just three days.

He has also been sentenced to five years’ felony probation after he completes his jail time and is banned from attempting to contact the Oscar-winning actress or com within 200 yards of her or her daughter Nahla for the next 10 years.

Berry’s initial restraining order against the 28-year-old was for three years, but the judge extended it.

Back in October, Franco pled not guilty to stalking and attempted burglary.

Franco will get credit for the 193 days he’s already spent behind bars, leaving him with just another 193 days left to serve.

Click here to see the restraining order petition Berry submitted back in July 2011.

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: Men Burglarize New Mexico Home, Try to Escape Via Shopping Cart

LATINO BLOTTER: Men Burglarize New Mexico Home, Try to Escape Via Shopping Cart

Photo: Men Burglarize New Mexico Home, Try to Escape Via Shopping Cart

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Two men were arrested in New Mexico on Tuesday after they burglarized a home and tried to escape in a shopping cart.

Police say the men had burglarized a home in the northeast Albuquerque after using a bat to break a window.

They filled up a shopping cart with all the items they stole and thought they were going to get away. However, while making their escape, a neighbor happened to walk outside and spotted the men and called the cops.

After realizing that they were being followed, the men began running with the cart.

Police were able to catch the burglars and all stolen items were returned to the home owners, as the cart was found discarded and turned on its side.

A neighbor told KOAT, ‘I think it’s actually kind of pathetic that they used shopping carts instead of a car.’

The men have been charged with burglary and conspiracy.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Long Before Movies, Peruvians Had Popcorn! Archaeologists Uncover Ancient Popcorn in Peru

Long Before Movies, Peruvians Had Popcorn! Archaeologists Uncover Ancient Popcorn in Peru

Photo: (Tom D. Dillehay, Vanderbilt University) Ancient Peruvians enjoyed popcorn

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People living along the coast of Peru were eating popcorn 1,000 years earlier than previously reported and before ceramic pottery was used there, according to a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences co-authored by Dolores Piperno, curator of New World archaeology at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and emeritus staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.

Some of the oldest known corncobs, husks, stalks and tassels (male flowers), dating from 6,700 to 3,000 years ago were found at Paredones and Huaca Prieta, two mound sites on Peru’s arid northern coast. The research group, led by Tom Dillehay from Vanderbilt University and Duccio Bonavia from Peru’s Academia Nacional de la Historia, also found corn microfossils: starch grains and phytoliths. Characteristics of the cobs—the earliest ever discovered in South America—indicate that the sites’ ancient inhabitants ate corn several ways, including popcorn and flour corn. However, corn was still not an important part of their diet.

“Corn was first domesticated in Mexico nearly 9,000 years ago from a wild grass called teosinte,” said Piperno. “Our results show that only a few thousand years later corn arrived in South America where its evolution into different varieties that are now common in the Andean region began. This evidence further indicates that in many areas corn arrived before pots did and that early experimentation with corn as a food was not dependent on the presence of pottery.”

Understanding the subtle transformations in the characteristics of cobs and kernels that led to the hundreds of maize races known today, as well as where and when each of them developed, is a challenge. Corncobs and kernels were not well preserved in the humid tropical forests between Central and South America, including Panama—the primary dispersal routes for the crop after it first left Mexico about 8,000 years ago.

“These new and unique races of corn may have developed quickly in South America, where there was no chance that they would continue to be pollinated by wild teosinte,” said Piperno. “Because there is so little data available from other places for this time period, the wealth of morphological information about the cobs and other corn remains at this early date is very important for understanding how corn became the crop we know today.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Disney Employee Accused of Spanking Audience Member’s Butt

Disney Employee Accused of Spanking Audience Member’s Butt

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Kellie Rodriguez is suing the Disney Channel after she says a warm up comedian ahead of the live taping of the show “Good Luck Charlie” spanked her with his hands during an audience participation dance.

The mother of two claims that comedian Ron Pearson called her from the crowd to join in a dance to “YMCA”, the famous song by the Village People. She says that while dancing in front of her family and the rest of the audience, Pearson “started spanking [her] buttocks with his hands.”

ImageThe lawsuit states that on December 22, not only were Rodriguez’s children in the crowd, but her sister-in-law and three nieces were as well, and all witnessed her being spanked. She says Pearson would not stop until she actually turned around to move her rear end away from him.

She also said that when she went to leave, Pearson asked for a kiss on the cheek. Not wanting to spoil the fun everyone else was having, she agreed, but when she leaned in to kiss his cheek, he turned and she wound up kissing him on the mouth.

Rodriguez, says the event was not only humiliating, but also confusing to her children who later asked, “Why did that man kiss you?”

She is suing for unspecified damages, and says Disney “condoned, encouraged or ratified” Pearson’s behavior by hiring him.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Marc Anthony Launches Non-Profit To Help Disadvantaged Kids in Latin America

International singing star Marc Anthony and entertainment impresario Henry Cardenas announced Thursday the launch of the Maestro Cares Foundation, a non-profit to aid disadvantaged children in Latin America.

“I’m blessed to be a part of this project. There are millions of children suffering throughout Latin America. Maestro Cares seeks to make a positive impact in their lives,” Anthony said in a statement.

An orphanage in the Dominican Republic the singer visited last month will be the first recipient of funds from Maestro Cares.

“I’m grateful to Henry Cardenas for his contributions to this initiative and we are both eager to get started. I hope Maestro Cares will inspire others to do the same,” said Anthony, who has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide.

Cardenas said the foundation’s goal is to help create “healthy and safe environments” for children in Latin America as well as addressing the youngsters’ academic needs.

“Education is key for Maestro Cares because it will bring the children closer to their dreams. They are our future leaders,” Cardenas said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: Drunk Mom Has Special Needs Daughter Pretend She Was Driving

LATINO BLOTTER: Drunk Mom Has Special Needs Daughter Pretend She Was Driving

Photo: Drunk Mom Has Special Needs Daughter Pretend She Was Driving

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The Las Cruces Sun-News has reported that a New Mexico woman told her special needs daughter to get behind the wheel of the car after she was pulled over on suspicion of driving drunk in December.

Reyna Guadalupe Quintana, 32, allegedly told her teenage daughter to jump into the driver’s seat of the minivan and pretend she had been driving all along.

Quintana was spotted swerving onto the shoulder and back over the center line by a New Mexico State Police officer, while going just 40 mph in a 55 mph zone.

The officer made the traffic stop after witnessing the swerving as well as the brake lights going on even though the driver was traveling at well under the speed limit.

He stated that once he approached the vehicle, he saw a young female behind the wheel of the car and got a strong whiff of alcohol from inside. He also identified that the girl’s 12-year-old sister was also in the minivan. When he questioned the teen, who it would late be determined has special needs, she admitted that her mother told her to get behind the wheel and pretend that she had been driving the whole time.

The officer noted that Quintana was slurring her speech and that her eyes were bloodshot. Her blood-alcohol content was determined to be nearly twice the legal limit at .14 though she told the officer the alcohol she consumed was “not that much.”

Since the incident, the teen and her sister have been placed with other family members.

In 2003, Quintana was convicted of aggravated drunken driving.

On January 12, a grand jury indicted Quintana on charges of drunken driving, negligent child abuse, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, reckless driving and driving with a suspended license.

Read more by HS News Staff →

WATCH: Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan and His Journey Across the Border to Success (VIDEO)

Watch AOL’s ‘You’ve Got…” video on famed dog whisperer Cesar Millan.  Millan who came from Mexico illegally found success doing what he loved the most dogs and making them the best animal citizens.  Watch Millan talk about his journey from illegal to homeless to American success story.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Birth Rates in Spain Continue to Decline

Birth Rates in Spain Continue to Decline

Photo: Spain Birth Rate Declining

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The 230,537 births recorded in Spain in the first half of 2011 represents a decline of 1.1 percent from the same period of the previous year and continues a trend that began in 2009, the National Statistics Institute, or INE, said Wednesday.

The median number of children per woman remained stable at 1.38 and the median age of first-time mothers was 31.3.

Life expectancy reached 78.8 years for men and 84.8 years for women in the first half of last year, while the number of live births per 1,000 inhabitants fell to 10.46, its lowest level since 2002.

INE data also showed a slight increase in mortality between 2010 and 2011, from 8.25 deaths per 1,000 people to 8.4 deaths.

The number of marriages fell 5.7 percent in the first half of 2011 to 69,864, of which 2.5 percent were same-sex unions, the INE said.

Spain, a nation of more than 47 million people, has been mired in economic woes since the 2008 global financial meltdown and the unemployment rate stands at more than 22 percent.

Read more by HS News Staff →

First Company to Market Educational Products to Poor is Launched in Brazil

First Company to Market Educational Products to Poor is Launched in Brazil

Photo: Products Launched to Help Poor Children, Brazil

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Pupa Empreendimentos Educacionais e Representacao Ltda, a new social business launched by Brazil’s Zoom Editora, will use a $3 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to roll out an innovative early childhood development program that will benefit as many as 224,000 low-income pre-school children in Brazil.

PUPA will offer parents and caretakers easy to follow educational play activities through colorful magazines, LEGO toys and audio-visual aids. PUPA’s program will also train up to 56,000 caregivers in early childhood education techniques, basic nutrition and hygiene, and in the use of their interactive play materials. PUPA representatives will pay regular visits to daycares or homes to answer questions and provide support, and help ensure that materials are being used as designed.

PUPA will work with a network of non-governmental organizations and micro-franchisers, and employ women to sell the educational kits to families and informal caregivers. It is expected that as many as 1,400 women microfranchisees will benefit from business training and employment opportunities through PUPA.

PUPA is the first private company in Brazil to tap into the low-income market for early childhood educational products.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Vice President of Paraguay Assures Country ‘Gifting’ Energy to Argentina

Federico Franco, Vice President of Paraguay, maintains that the expansion of Yacyretá, a binational dam and hydroelectric power plant, will depend on the annulment of debt with Buenos Aires as well as business with Uruguay. 

Recently, Yacyretá, located on the Paraná River in the town of Añacuá, has been the center of much debate.  Argentina wishes to begin an expansion project of this hydroelectric power plant.  This however will not happen without the cooperation of neighboring country, Paraguay.  According to Federico Franco, Paraguay’s Vice President, this expansion will happen if and only if certain expectations are met. 

“We believe that Añacuá is important, but in order to do it, Argentina should clarify that Paraguay does not have any debt on the dam.”  Franco is referring to an old request of 9 billion dollars by the Argentine Treasury. 

In addition to erasing this past debt, Franco also demands that Argentina allow the energy to run from Paraguay, through Argentina and into nearby Uruguay.  He also requests that the price of the energy is discussed and that they finalize the completion plans for the plant. 

Energy generated by Yacyretá sells below market prices.  This trend is estimated to continue until the year 2047.  Last week, however, the Argentine government offered to buy the energy from the dam at market value.  This is in spite of an existing agreement with Uruguay. 

According to Franco, “Yacyretá will never be profitable for Paraguay because we give away the energy to Argentina.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Tougher Consequences for Those Crossing U.S.-Mexico Border

Tougher Consequences for Those Crossing U.S.-Mexico Border

Photo: Illegal Border Crossers, Tougher Consequences

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The U.S. government is seeking to take advantage of its firmer grip on the border with Mexico to impose tougher consequences on nearly all detained undocumented immigrants, including first-time offenders.

The new approach will bring an end to the previous procedure of simply taking the fingerprints and photographs of most detained undocumented migrants and, unless they had been nabbed repeatedly trying to cross the frontier or found to have criminal records, later sending them back across the border in the same zone where they had been caught.

That previous policy has been gradually overhauled since 2009 with the introduction of the so-called “Consequence Delivery System,” which will be the focal point of changes that the U.S. Border Patrol is expected to announce soon and which the agency’s regional chief in San Diego, Mike Fisher, has already remarked upon in statements to the U.S. media.

The Customs and Border Protection spokeswoman in San Diego, Kerry Rogers, told Efe that these changes have already been implemented in some areas.

Among the changes, the new approach will permit the transfer of those captured in one geographical area to another border crossing hundreds of miles away.

The idea is to break illegal migrants’ links with the people smugglers who guided them across the border, though exceptions will be made for the most vulnerable individuals such as children and the medically ill, who will be repatriated at the nearest crossing.

This new strategy will depend, however, on the cooperation of other federal agencies because federal prosecutors must agree to take up illegal immigrant felony cases and Immigration and Customs Enforcement must have sufficient capacity at its detention centers.

“It worries us that the Obama administration, surely to combat perceptions of weakness on immigration with a view to the elections, is once again stiffening its policies without taking into account the impact on migrant communities,” Pedro Rios, an activist with the American Friends Service Committee in San Diego, told Efe.

He added that in a hasty bid to crack down on undocumented migrants legal due process may not be recognized or respected.

Thanks to aerial surveillance, an increased number of border agents and technological advances, nearly 90 percent of illegal border crossers in the El Paso, Yuma and San Diego sectors are captured.

Apprehensions of people crossing the U.S.-Mexico border have fallen to 40-year lows, with just 447,731 illegal migrants detained during the 2010 fiscal year compared with close to 1 million annually in the 1980s and ‘90s.

The Obama administration has deported more than 1 million undocumented immigrants since 2009.

ICE spokesperson Lauren Mack told Efe that nearly 43 percent of people deported in San Diego during the 2011 fiscal year had criminal records, but Rios said the figures are deceiving because people whose only offense is to cross the border illegally are counted as criminals.

“A large majority have their lives in the United States, a family, a job, real estate. When they’re deported it splits their family, which is a human rights abuse,” Rios said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Aussie Open: Spain’s Nadal, Colombia’s Falla Advance, American Mardy Fish Eliminated

Aussie Open: Spain’s Nadal, Colombia’s Falla Advance, American Mardy Fish Eliminated

Photo: Spain's Nadal Advances and Colombia's Falla Beats Mardy Fish

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Spain’s Rafael Nadal continued his steady progression through the Australian Open draw with a 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 victory Wednesday over Germany’s Tommy Haas in second-round play, while Colombian Alejandro Falla scored the first big upset of the tournament by knocking off American Mardy Fish.

Nadal did not sail through the match quite as smoothly as he did in the first round against American Alex Kuznetsov, mainly because he was up against a better-quality opponent in the veteran Haas, who served well and looked at times like the player who reached the semifinals of this Grand Slam event in 1999, 2002 and 2007.

The match had the makings of a rout when the Spaniard raced off to a quick 5-1 lead out of the gates, but the 33-year-old Haas, the oldest player in the men’s draw, settled down and won the next three games and had a break point in the tenth game before dropping the first set 6-4.

After Nadal took a two-set lead by applying steady pressure to Haas’s one-handed backhand, the German finally jumped ahead on the scoreboard by taking an early lead in the third set.

In the end, however, the Spaniard’s baseline prowess and younger legs proved too much as he got the break back and then another one later in the set to put the match away.

“I had a very bad game in the beginning of the third,” Nadal said in the post-match press conference. “After that, the set is in trouble. If you don’t have the break back next game, you will be fighting all the set to try to come back. Finally I did.”

“I think (Haas) played well. He played aggressive. He played with very good second serves. For moments, his first serve was really difficult to read. I think he played well.”

In other action Wednesday, Colombia’s Alejandro Falla scored the biggest upset thus far in the men’s draw when he ousted American Mardy Fish, the world No. 8, by a score of 7-6 (7-4), 6-3, 7-6 (7-3).

The Colombian lefty played aggressively from the outset, remaining rock-solid throughout with his backhand and pressuring the forehand of the American, who committed numerous unforced errors on key points, particularly in the third-set tiebreaker.

“He’s a good player,” Fish, who committed 58 unforced errors, said after the match. “He was up two sets to love against Roger (Federer) at (the 2010) Wimbledon (before losing in five sets). The guy can play. I wasn’t shocked that I was in that position (of down two sets), but ... you’ve got to battle. You’ve got to fight. I tried but it didn’t work out.”

In other results involving Spanish and Latin American players, Spain’s Nicolas Almagro, the 10th seed, outlasted up-and-coming Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov 4-6, 6-3, 6-7 (4-7), 6-4, 6-0, Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro, the No. 11 seed, defeated Slovenian Blaz Kavcic 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 and 18th-seed Spaniard Feliciano Lopez ousted Italy’s Flavio Cipolla 7-5, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2.

Argentina’s David Nalbandian came up short in a marathon match against big-serving American John Isner, falling 4-6, 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (7-5), 10-8, Spain’s Pere Riba retired while being trounced 6-0, 4-0 by Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber and Argentina’s Carlos Berlocq lost to towering Croatian Ivo Karlovic 7-6 (7-4), 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

In women’s second-round action Wednesday, Spain’s Anabel Medina Garrigues, the No. 26 seed clobbered Belarus’ Olga Kovortsova 6-1, 6-0 and Argentina’s Paula Ormaechea fell to Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska, the No. 8 seed, 6-3, 6-1.

The Australian Open is regarded as tennis’ fourth-most prestigious tournament after Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and the French Open.

Read more by HS News Staff →

A Look Behind the U.S. Drop in Illegal Immigration

A Look Behind the U.S. Drop in Illegal Immigration

Photo: US Drop in Illegal Immigration

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Editor’s Note: A recent New York Times op-ed by Dowell Myers argues that we need to shift from an “immigration policy,” focused on border enforcement, to an “immigrant policy” focused on the integration of those who are already here. The argument is based on reports that illegal immigration to the United States has dropped dramatically. Michelle Mittelstadt, director of communications for the Migration Policy Institute, takes a closer look behind the numbers in the context of global migration trends.

Illegal immigration to the United States has plummeted, with inflows significantly dampened by continuing weaknesses in the labor market and beefed-up enforcement at the U.S. borders and within the interior.

Other factors are at play as well: Changing demographics in Mexico and El Salvador that are reducing migration pressures; the likelihood of more vibrant Mexican and Central American export markets (and hence job opportunities) as the Chinese yuan takes on more strength and makes goods from China more expensive; and increasingly attractive destinations for migrants elsewhere in the hemisphere, including Canada, Brazil, and Chile.

Illegal immigration is the migration flow most responsive to labor market changes, so it makes sense this has been the one most disrupted (in the United States and other major immigrant-receiving countries) as a result of the Great Recession. Who wants to undertake an expensive, risky, potentially dangerous trip if there is not the certainty of a job waiting at the other end? Particularly if the word is out that enforcement has heightened, not only at the borders but within the U.S. interior as a result of more robust federal enforcement as well as actions by a number of states.

Legal immigration flows to the United States have been far less affected by the global economic uncertainty. The most recent reports from the State Department and Department of Homeland Security Office of Immigration Statistics show a continuing strong demand for immigrant visas. (Keep in mind that a significant share of green cards are actually given to people already living and working in the United States on non-immigrant visas, such as the H-1B visa.) A look at the latest grants of green cards, though, will show a slight uptick in green cards for new arrivals.

What has gone down slightly is adjustment of status for people already in the United States, and that most likely has more to do with adjudications and processing than it does with a reduced desire to come to the United States.

A look at the most recent non-immigrant admissions (H-1B, student visas, intracompany transfers, etc.) shows that most categories are up, which suggests there is not a lessening of interest in the United States as a work/life destination.

Internationally, estimates by the United Nations dating to 1990 have shown that about 3 percent of the world’s population, or 214 million people, is comprised of international migrants. While that figure has held largely steady as a share of the world’s population, what has changed in recent decades is the increasing concentration of that migrant population in wealthy countries. While the recession may have dampened some movement for a time, there are some interesting realignments that may be taking place. For example:

In Latin America, Brazil and Chile, for example, have been proving more attractive draws for regional migration as their economies have outperformed those of their neighbors.

In Asia, there will be more intra-Asian international migration, lessening the pool of highly skilled migrants currently inclined towards North America or Europe. Part of that is because of very different demographics in the region, with some populations, such as China’s, aging more rapidly than others.

In Europe, countries that were historically countries of emigration but that became countries of immigration in recent years (Ireland and Greece in particular) may be reverting to their pasts. There are many anecdotal stories of skilled Greeks striking out for Australia, the Irish fanning out across Europe and the United States, the Portuguese heading back to the Lusophone world that was once a part of their empire (particularly Angola). Data collection is lagging this reality, but the 2011 and 2012 data, when out, should tell this story more clearly.

Still, amid the discussion about a global race for international migrants, it is worth remembering that any full-fledged competition likely will be reserved for a very small number of the most highly skilled possessors of prized knowledge—in IT, engineering, and science, for example—and not for the vast majority of would-be migrants. That said, some governments (Canada, Singapore, United Kingdom, Australia, and Europe) have been more mindful in their policymaking in recent years, enabling them to go after the talent, at all skill levels, that complements their labor market needs. And there are demographic, educational, and economic realignments taking place that eventually may make the United States and other key migrant-receiving nations no longer the most prized destinations for countless would-be migrants around the globe.

Read more at New America Media →

Watch “¡Rob!” Tonight Urges National Hispanic Media Coalition

Watch  “¡Rob!” Tonight Urges National Hispanic Media Coalition

Photo: ¡Rob! on CBS

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The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) is urging Latinos to watch the new CBS Latino-themed show ¡Rob! tonight.  NHMC is a non-partisan, non-profit, media advocacy and civil rights organization created to advance American Latino employment and programming equity throughout the entertainment industry and to advocate for telecommunications policies that benefit Latinos and other people of color. 

The efforts of NHMC are critical to the American Latino community due in large part to NHMC’s reputation as one of the most sought-after and credible national, Latino media organizations.

NHMC commented on the show: 

Last week we watched the new CBS sitcom “¡Rob!”, and we liked it.  The Latino-themed show airs Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. on CBS.  Actor/comedian Rob Schneider has brought together Latino comedy icons Lupe Ontiveros and Cheech Marin.  The Latino cast also includes Diana Maria Riva, Mexican Eugenio Derbez, and Spanish actress Claudia Bassols.  It’s not often that we get to see so many talented Latino regulars on a television show - this is why NHMC is encouraging you to watch “¡Rob!”

We are hopeful that the sitcom, based on Schneider’s life experience when he married into a Mexican-American family, will shy away from negative stereotypes.  Adding a Latino writer to the show would surely add to its success.

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ThursdayJanuary 19, 2012