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MondayJanuary 23, 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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Aircraft Smuggling Operation Disrupted by Border Patrol

Aircraft Smuggling Operation Disrupted by Border Patrol

Photo: Cessna Used for Human Smuggling

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On January 20, Border Patrol agents from the El Centro Sector disrupted a criminal operation that intended to utilize a Cessna airplane as a means to smuggle illegal aliens out of the Imperial Valley.

The incident occurred around 2:30 p.m., when Border Patrol agents conducting surveillance near Imperial, Calif., arrested three illegal aliens after they were dropped off in a vehicle at the Imperial County Airport and attempted to board a Cessna airplane waiting on the runway.

The pilot, a U.S. citizen, was placed under arrest for suspected alien smuggling. In addition, Border Patrol agents seized the Cessna airplane.

Since fiscal year 2010, the El Centro Sector Border Patrol has seized four airplanes in connection with alien smuggling.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Nobel Laureate Denounces Impunity for Crimes Against Women in Mexico

Nobel Laureate Denounces Impunity for Crimes Against Women in Mexico

Photo: Jody Williams

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Nobel Peace Prize winner Jody Williams denounced in Mexico the impunity that prevails for crimes against women in this country and the lack of political will to seek solutions.

After meeting with a group of 50 women’s rights activists, Williams criticized the “pretty words” of the Mexican government and demanded real solutions to a problem that affects the entire population.

“There’s no more time for excuses. The families who are suffering in this country want to see action and the women who have been raped by police officers and soldiers want to see justice,” she said.

To reverse the situation, she said that joint action by civil society is necessary, and she demanded answers from the government, saying that “nobody can change society alone; it has to be a whole community that takes action.”

Therefore, she said that the unity that the victims’ associations had demonstrated in denouncing the cases of disappearances, rapes and murders has been a positive thing.

In addition, she said that one of the main obstacles in achieving justice and ending impunity in Mexico is the high number of people implicated in these crimes.

“This problem requires a continuous struggle if we want to see a society in which we can live without fear,” she said.

Williams’ visit comes within the framework of the investigation she is undertaking along with fellow Nobel Peace laureate Rigoberta Menchu of the murders of women in Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala.

Williams is scheduled on Monday to visit the southern state of Guerrero to hold a meeting with women and on Tuesday she will meet with diplomatic representatives and women who hold high positions in political life and the Mexican judicial system.

The aims of the visit include making visible the role, contribution and actions that women have taken to eradicate violence and insecurity in the country, as well as urging the Mexican government to guarantee protection for human rights defenders.

During 2010, some 3,100 women were murdered in Mexico, while in Honduras some 1,500 were killed between 2008 and 2011 and in Guatemala more than 5,000 women died violently over the past 10 years.

U.S. activist Williams received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for her intense struggle to prohibit and remove landmines.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Brazil Nominates Maria das Graças Foster to Head Oil Giant Petrobras

Brazil Nominates Maria das Graças Foster to Head Oil Giant Petrobras

Photo: Brazil Nominates Maria das Graças Foster to Head Oil Giant Petrobras

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The Brazilian government has nominated Maria das Graças Foster to succeed Jose Sergio Gabrielli as CEO of state-controlled oil giant Petrobras, the company said Monday.

Finance Minister Guido Mantega, who chairs the Petrobras board of directors, “has already stated that he will go ahead with the proposal” to make Foster, the current director of the gas and energy division, the first woman to head the company, the communique said.

The proposal will be analyzed at the next board meeting on Feb. 9.

If approved by the board, Foster will replace Gabrielli, who has held the post since 2005 and who apparently hopes to be a gubernatorial candidate for the northeastern state of Bahia.

Foster is a personal friend of Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff and is considered an executive with high technical qualifications.

According to media accounts, Gabrielli’s departure is basically a political move enabling him to prepare the launch of his political career in the governing Workers Party.

The change of Petrobras leadership was decided two weeks ago by Rousseff so that Gabrielli could begin making contacts and appearances in the state of Bahia with the aim of running for governor in 2014, business daily Valor said.

Petrobras shares trade on the Sao Paulo, New York, Madrid and Buenos Aires stock markets, but the Brazilian government retains control of the company.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Farm Where Listeria Outbreak Originated Fined for Inhumane Housing Conditions for Migrant Workers

Farm Where Listeria Outbreak Originated Fined for Inhumane Housing Conditions for Migrant Workers

Photo: Jensen Farm Fined for Inhumane Housing Conditions for Migrant Workers

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The Colorado farm discovered to be the source of last year’s listeria outbreak was discovered to have kept their workers’ housing in poor condition, and is once again facing monetary penalties.

Lat year, 30 people died as a result of the contaminated produce from Jensen Farms in Grenada, Colorado.

Eric Jensen has been fined by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division for failing to meet safety and health requirements outlined in the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection (MSAP) Act .

Jensen rents rooms to migrant workers at a building he owns in Holly called the Gateway Motel, where investigators from the division’s Denver District Office found overcrowded rooms without beds, windows that did not open, a lack of laundry facilities, a lack of smoke detectors and unsanitary conditions, all in violation of the MSPA. Workers pay Jensen about $25 per week to stay there.

“Profiting at the expense of vulnerable workers is not just inhumane, it’s illegal,” said Chad Frasier, the Wage and Hour Division’s district director in Denver. “Our agency is committed to upholding wage and hour laws that protect the nation’s workers, particularly those who earn the least and are vulnerable. Enforcing regulations prohibiting employers from housing migrant workers in dangerous and unsanitary conditions is a priority for the Wage and Hour Division, and the penalties assessed in this case demonstrate our commitment to holding housing providers accountable.”

According to the division, Jensen claimed an exemption from the requirements of the MSPA as an innkeeper, as he said other people used the motel during the hunting season. However, the investigation revealed that the facility is not open to the public. In fact, investigators found that it is closed most of the year and has no telephone number for prospective guests to call to reserve a room. As a result, Jensen does not qualify for the exemption.

Jensen has been fined $4,250 in civil penalties for failing to provide the workers with housing that meets the requirements of the MSAP Act.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Immigrants in South Carolina Confused About New Immigration Laws

Immigrants in South Carolina Confused About New Immigration Laws

Photo: South Carolina Immigration Laws Confusing

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Mexicans in South Carolina are confused about articles in the state immigration law that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2012, so activists have hurriedly prepared information campaigns so they’ll understand the situation and know what to do.

“Here there’s nothing but confusion and disinformation,” 44-year-old Mexican immigrant Jose Luis Cortez told Efe.

He was one of the more than 1,000 people to turn out Sunday in Columbia, South Carolina’s capital, for a visit by diplomats from the Mexican Consulate-General in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Immigrants are still afraid of running into the cops, Cortez said, though they know they can’t be asked for their papers since some of the articles in the law have been blocked.

Late last month, U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel in Charleston blocked three of the most controversial parts of SB 20, including the mandate that police verify the immigration status of people they suspect are undocumented.

He also barred the state from enforcing a requirement that people carry immigration documents at all times and a provision making it a felony to transport or harbor undocumented immigrants.

But what was enacted was the provision that punishes with a jail sentence those who forge or sell fake identity documents, and the requirement that companies use E-Verify to investigate whether their employees can work here legally.

Gergel said on Jan. 9 that he would wait for the ruling of the Supreme Court on Arizona’s harsh immigration law to take a final decision on the future of the South Carolina measure.

An estimated 45,000 of South Carolina’s 235,000 Hispanics are thought to be undocumented immigrants. Mexicans make up more than half the state’s Latino population.

For David Villaseca, 37, the toughest thing about living in South Carolina with the new law is finding a job “since they’re checking our papers.”

“I’m unemployed right now and I’m afraid to look for a job. Life here is very hard,” the Mexican said.

“Many got out of South Carolina before the law took effect because employers began to use the E-Verify program. We who live here know about that measure. And there’s not much work because the economy’s bad,” 40-year-old Nina Clemente, a Mexican immigrant who came to Columbia in 2009, told Efe.

Jorge Hernandez, who has been working in the fields for eight years harvesting corn, tomatoes and other crops in central South Carolina’s Sumter County, commented that jobs in the agricultural sector are “uncertain.”

“We know the farmers need us and so we haven’t been that worried about the law, but we don’t know what might happen in the next few months if they start checking our documents because of SB 20,” he said.

Mexico’s consul-general for the Carolinas, Carlos Flores Vizcarra, notes the continued lack of clarity about how SB 20 will be implemented.

“We’ve been dedicated to keeping our compatriots informed before and after the enactment of SB 20 every time we have a consular day like today in the state (South Carolina),” Flores Vizcarra told Efe.

“Nonetheless, we must instruct our countrymen that they must put together a plan of action and get their documents in order along with those of their children…in case there’s a deportation in the family,” he said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Taco Bell Launches New Menu, Includes Fresher Ingredients and Breakfast

Taco Bell Launches New Menu, Includes Fresher Ingredients and Breakfast

Photo: Taco Bell Launches New Menu, Includes Fresher Ingredients and Breakfast

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Fast food chain Taco Bell is taking their shot at the morning crowd, with the addition of breakfast menu.

The new menu will include breakfast burritos as well as popular branded items from Cinnabon, Johnsonville, Tropicana, and Seattle’s Best.

ImageThe 11-item breakfast menu is part of the chain’s attempt at recovery from last year’s poor sales.

Breakfast items are only part of the new menu, as more healthy choices are being added as well. Fresher ingredients will also be a part of the new line-up, this coming after last year’s claims that Taco Bell’s seasoned ground beef was in fact not entirely made of beef.

The fresher ingredients will be part of Taco Bell’s ‘Cantina Bell’ menu.

The new menu was scheduled to launch this week at 750 to 800 restaurants in 10 states, and is expected to go nationwide by the end of the year.

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: Texas Teacher Pleads Guilty to Having Sex With 16-Year-Old Student

LATINO BLOTTER: Texas Teacher Pleads Guilty to Having Sex With 16-Year-Old Student

Photo: Texas Teacher Pleads Guilty to Having Sex With 16-Year-Old Student

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A Texas science teacher has pled guilty to teaching one of her students a little too much about human anatomy.

In the fall of 2010, a 16-year-old student went to Fort Worth police saying he had a sexual relationship with 27-year-old Jennifer Riojas. He claimed he went to police because Riojas was pregnant and he thought the child could be his.

The unnamed student said he and Riojas met and had sex at hotels on two separate occasions, as well as once in the hospital while he was recovering from a sports injury he’d sustained playing high school sports.

Before she was arrested, the science teacher resigned from her teaching position at Carter Riverside High School in Fort Worth. At the time of her resignation, the Fort Worth Independent School District had already begun an investigation after rumors began that Riojas was pregnant and that the young sophomore was the father.

While the boy believed he could have been the baby’s father, Riojas’ attorney stated that according to the timeline, the baby was conceived after the last time the student and teacher had intercourse. Riojas gave birth 12 months after their last reported encounter.

Riojas was facing three charges of sexual assault of a child under 17 and having to register as a sex offender, but after accepting a deal, she pled guilty to the lesser charge of having an improper relationship between an educator and a student.

As punishment, Riojas did not have to register as a sex offender, but had to forfeit her teaching certificates, promise not to teach again, and serve probation.

Riojas will transfer her probation to a county closer to her child.

In the end, the teenager’s family allowed prosecutors to offer Riojas the plea she ultimately took, and she has them to thank for having to plead guilty to only one lesser charge.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Domincan Pitcher, Fausto Carmona, Allegedly Used False Identity to Play with Cleveland Indians

Domincan Pitcher, Fausto Carmona, Allegedly Used False Identity to Play with Cleveland Indians

Photo: Fausto Carmona Allegedly Used False Identity to Play with Cleveland Indians

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A pitcher with the Cleveland Indians has been arrested in the Dominican Republic for reportedly using a false identity.

According to a spokesman for police in the Dominican, 31-year-old Fausto Carmona is really 28-year-old Roberto Hernandez Heredia.

Thursday, Carmona/Heredia was arrested outside U.S. Embassy in the Dominican while he was on his way to apply for a visa to enter the U.S. for spring training. He has since been released from jail on bail.

During a conference call on Friday, Indians’ general manager Chris Antonetti told reporters, “At this point, we’re going to continue to refrain from commenting until we have a little more clarity. We’re still in the process of trying to get some additional information to work through that situation.”

Carmona/Heredia was allegedly paying to use the identity, but his plan fell apart when the mother of the real Fausto Carmona to a Dominican radio station a few weeks ago.

The investigation had been going on since then, but authorities decided to wait to arrest the ball player until he went to apply for a new visa.

The right-handed pitcher has been ordered to stay in the Dominican Republic, but offered a statement to his fans and team while he exited court Friday.

“I ask for the forgiveness of my fans, the government of the United States and the Cleveland Indians for this situation,” Carmona/Heredia said.

Carmona/Heredia has been with the Indians since 2006, when he made his major league debut.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Fox to Launch Spanish-Language TV Network this Fall

Fox to Launch Spanish-Language TV Network this Fall

Photo: Fox Network Launches Spanish-TV

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News Corp. unit Fox and Colombia’s RCN Television Group announced Monday the launch of MundoFox, a new Spanish-language television network with general content targeting the U.S. Hispanic market.

MundoFox, scheduled to begin broadcasting this fall, will offer Fox content to the lucrative and growing Hispanic market while aiming to reach 75 percent of households in the United States, the two companies said in a communique.

The programming will be made up of Fox sports content, RCN series and telenovelas - which has already had a hit here with “Betty la Fea” (Ugly Betty) - and newscasts from RCN’s NTN24 canal.

Which means that News Corp., property of tycoon Rupert Murdoch, will be competing with Univision and Telemundo, currently the nation’s two biggest Spanish-language networks.

The president and CEO of Fox International Channels, Hernan Lopez, said that “there is an increasing demand for quality Spanish-language content in the U.S. from both viewers and advertisers.”

“(I)t would be a missed opportunity not to provide an alternative for the 50 plus million Latino viewers who currently have limited options in Spanish-language broadcast television,” he said.

News Corp. launched in 2011 Fox Hispanic Media, its first media unit to exclusively target the U.S. Hispanic market, where the group already has three channels: Fox Deportes, Utilisima - designed for the women’s market - and Nat Geo Mundo.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Do Shakira and Pique Have a Sex Tape?

Do Shakira and Pique Have a Sex Tape?

Photo: A former staffer for Shakira reportedly has a sex tape of the couple

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Rumors are flying that Colombian singer Shakira and her boyfriend Gerard Pique are not only engaged, but also have a sex tape and that it could be released at any time.

Spanish-language sources have stated that a former staffer for Shakira videotaped the singer performing oral sex on her FC Barcelona footballer Pique.

The couple have reportedly been made aware of the alleged video and are being blackmailed to avoid it being put online.

If the video indeed exists, which Shakira’s people have questioned, it could be the greatest invasion of their privacy they’ve had to encounter thus far.

The famous couple are often pursued by pushy paparazzi, with some having taken photos of them inside a Barcelona hotel, in which a photographer managed to snap a shot of a naked Pique.

The video is said to be just a minute and a half long, but if the staff member really does have it, 90 seconds is more than enough time to disrupt their lives.

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Demi Lovato Says ‘Adios’ to her 5.6 Million Twitter Followers

Demi Lovato Says ‘Adios’ to her 5.6 Million Twitter Followers

Photo: Demi Lovato Says Good-Bye Twitter

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Demi Lovato is saying ‘Adios’ to her 5.6 million followers on Twitter – at least for now.

The ‘Skyscraper’ singer and TV star announced she is leaving Twitter via this message:  “Twitter break. It’s for the best actually. Who allows me to have this thing anyways?!!! I just get myself in trouble! Haha. Anyway… BYE!”

Fans are surprised since Lovato has been an avid Twitter –er, tweeting on everything from religion to what she ate.  And who could forget when she shared a photo of her in a bikini when she was a wee-bit smaller than now.

She spoke often of her life battles and earlier this month tweeted:

“Sometimes it seems like God just keeps throwing crap my way and I get SO angry with him… But there’s never a doubt in my mind He’s gonna pull me through it all. I know you’re there God. But umm… Really dude?”

 

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Sen. Mark Kirk Undergoing Surgery After Weekend Stroke

Sen. Mark Kirk Undergoing Surgery After Weekend Stroke

Photo: Sen. Mark Kirk Undergoing Surgery After Weekend Stroke

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Illinois Senator Mark Kirk is reportedly undergoing surgery after suffering a stroke over the weekend.

A spokesperson for Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) today released the following statement regarding the Senator’s medical condition:

“On Saturday, Senator Kirk checked himself into Lake Forest Hospital, where doctors discovered a carotid artery dissection in the right side of his neck. He was transferred to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, where further tests revealed that he had suffered an ischemic stroke. Early this morning the Senator underwent surgery to relieve swelling around his brain stemming from the stroke. The surgery was successful. Due to his young age, good health and the nature of the stroke, doctors are very confident in the Senator’s recovery over the weeks ahead.”

In 2010, Sen. Kirk was elected to the Senate seat left vacant after Obama was elected President.

The 52-year-old Senator resides in Highland Park, and recently endorsed Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Comedy Central Comes to Latin America on February 1st

Comedy Central Comes to Latin America on February 1st

Photo: Comedy Central Coming to Latin America

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Today, Viacom announced the broadcast launch of Comedy Central Latin America across the region starting February 1, 2012.

The initial phase of the on-air launch, with a distribution of 10 million subscribers across the region, includes key markets in Latin America, like Mexico through Cablevision Mexico and affiliated PCTV Systems, Sky, Via Embratel, OiTV and Neo TV in Brazil; as well as coverage in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Venezuela

Comedy Central is the only brand that is 100 percent dedicated to comedy 24 hours a day. The TV channel is seen in more than 172 million households in 22 countries around the world.

In the U.S. Comedy Central is home to the popular ‘The Daily Show with Jon Stewart’, ‘The Colbert Report’,  and ‘South Park’.

Read more by HS News Staff →

ABC’s ‘Brothers and Sisters’ Being Remade for Latin American Audiences

ABC’s ‘Brothers and Sisters’ Being Remade for Latin American Audiences

Photo: Brothers and Sisters coming to Colombia

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The Disney company is hoping to strike gold twice with its ABC ‘Brothers and Sisters’ television show.  The now cancelled show is getting a Latin American remake with a Colombian version being produced.

The local Colombian version will be compromised of 80 to 120 episodes running Monday through Friday like a telenovela.  ABC has a history of remaking some of their more successful television shows for Latin American audiences.

The revised original will air on Colombia’s RCN TV and Vista Productions some time later this year.

Since 2006 Disney, ABC Studios has created Latin American versions of ‘Desperate Housewives’, ‘Grey Anatomy’ and ‘The Golden Girls’.

“Brothers and Sisters” starring Calista Flockhart, Sally Field and Rob Lowe focused on the ups and downs of the Walker Family.  The show was cancelled last May after enduring for five seasons. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Margarita Nation’s Most Ordered Cocktail, Corona Best Selling Import Beer

Margarita Nation’s Most Ordered Cocktail, Corona Best Selling Import Beer

Photo: Margarita and Corona Most Popular Drinks Ordered

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What are the favorites drinks of choice when America goes cocktailing?  It’s the margarita for mixed drink lovers and the Corona for beer lovers.

According to the annual survey of bar managers the most ordered alcoholic drink is the margarita, with the martini coming in second and rum and cokes coming in third.  The Cosmo meanwhile entered into the top 5 list.

For beer lovers Corona was the best selling imported beer and Sam Adams the most popular craft beer.

The survey was prepared by The Beverage Information Group that publishes the ‘Cheers On-Premise BARometer’ handbook.  The handbook is used by the beverage and hospitality industry to gauge what customers want to drink and how to market to them.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Brazil Returns 47 Tons of Hospital Waste to the U.S.

Brazil Returns 47 Tons of Hospital Waste to the U.S.

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Brazil has returned to the United States 46.6 tons of hospital waste that had been intercepted last October in the northeastern state of Pernambuco by customs agents, the Freight Terminal at the port of Suape said Sunday.

The waste was shipped to the U.S. port of Charleston, South Carolina, on board a cargo vessel that set sail Saturday evening from Suape, a municipality near Recife, the capital of Pernambuco, the official in charge of the port’s freight operations, Fernando Lucato, told reporters.

The hospital waste cargo consists of sheets, pillowcases, towels, used syringes, various hospital masks and tubes bearing the logos of U.S. hospitals.

However, authorities are investigating why some sheets with the logos of those hospitals wound up being resold in Recife, where some of those items were confiscated.

In October, customs authorities intercepted the 46.6 tons of hospital waste coming from the United States and confiscated another 14 containers containing 15 tons of “suspicious” materials, in operations conducted at the port of Suape.

The shipments came from a single exporter in South Carolina and were being sent to a textile company suspected of violating the national waste policy, which prohibits the importation of trash from other countries, according to Anvisa, Brazil’s national health monitoring agency.

In the import documentation for the containers, the shipment is described as being defective cotton fabric.

In recent years, Brazilian authorities have intercepted many containers coming from Europe and filled with domestic waste at their ports, and their habitual practice has been to return those shipments to their ports of origin.

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Jennifer Lopez and Wilmer Valderrama Developing New TV Shows for MTV

Jennifer Lopez and Wilmer Valderrama Developing New TV Shows for MTV

Photo: Wilmer Valderrama New Project MTV

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MTV, Música y Más, the bilingual/bicultural cable network boost its original programming slate in 201 that include collaborations with Jennifer Lopez and Wilmer Valderrama.

New content in development includes the aspirational series Amigas, Inc. under executive producer Jennifer Lopez through her Nuyorican Productions.

Amigas Inc. chronicles the lives of four entrepreneurial Miami teens who pool their creative talents as singers, graphic artists, deejays and choreographers to launch a party-planning business to throw teenage girls their dream Quinceañera—the Latin cultural equivalent to a “Sweet Sixteen” celebration.  The business becomes such a success that soon the four teens find themselves with the hottest party-planning business in Miami.

Another original program is a docu-series starring Mexican-American BMX champ Ricardo Laguna, a thriving Hispanic millennial discovered by executive producer Wilmer Valderrama.

“When I met Ricardo, I immediately discovered a disarming, charming and inspiring young man with a vision larger than even his whole family expected. I related to him on so many levels. Ricardo and his family remind me and all of us the reason why we move away from our countries and come to America to embark in the search of the American dream,” said Wilmer Valderrama.

Read more by HS News Staff →



MondayJanuary 23, 2012