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SundayJanuary 29, 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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Two FARC Rebels Killed by Colombian Army

Two FARC Rebels Killed by Colombian Army

Photo: FARC Rebels Killed by Colombian Army

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Two guerrillas were killed and one was wounded in counterinsurgency operations launched over the weekend by the army after the FARC rebel group staged ambushes in northwestern Colombia, killing two civilians and a police officer, military spokesmen said.

Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, guerrillas staged the ambushes Friday night outside Ituango, a town in Antioquia province.

The dead and wounded rebels were found Saturday by army troops deployed to fight the guerrillas, the army’s 7th Division said.

The wounded guerrilla was airlifted to a hospital in Antioquia, the army said.

The unidentified rebel is “the material author of the murders of the two civilians and the National Police patrolman,” the army said.

The civilians and the officer died in two ambushes staged by the FARC’s 18th Front on the outskirts of Ituango.

The officer was a member of a patrol sent to the area in the wake of the civilians’ killings, Antioquia police commander Col. Gustavo Chavarro said Saturday.

The FARC, Colombia’s oldest and largest leftist guerrilla group, was founded in 1964, has an estimated 8,000 fighters and operates across a large swath of this Andean nation.

The Colombian government has made fighting the FARC a top priority and has obtained billions in U.S. aid for counterinsurgency operations.

The FARC has suffered a series of setbacks in recent years at the hands of the Colombian security forces.

Alfonso Cano, the FARC’s top leader, was killed on Nov. 4 in a military and police operation that the government hailed as the biggest blow to the FARC in its nearly 50-year history.

Cano, a 63-year-old intellectual who had entered the ranks of the FARC 30 years ago, was killed in in a remote area of the southwestern province of Cauca a few hours after fleeing a bombardment.

The FARC also suffered a series of blows in 2008, with the biggest coming in July of that year, when the Colombian army rescued a group of high-profile rebel-held captives: former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, U.S. military contractors Thomas Howes, Keith Stansell and Marc Gonsalves, and 11 other Colombian police officers and soldiers.

The FARC is on both the U.S. and EU lists of terrorist groups. Drug trafficking, extortion and kidnapping-for-ransom are the FARC’s main means of financing its operations.

Read more by HS News Staff →

President Obama Busy Wooing Latino Voters

While the Republican hopefuls continued to air their dirty linen in public, getting in their last shots at each other to win the vote in Tuesday’s Florida primaries, Obama appeared to be making a move below the radar to win the support of this sought-after Hispanic electorate.

In the last few days, high-ranking Hispanic officials from Barack Obama’s government have left their desks in Washington to come to the central Florida city of Orlando to meet with Hispanic leaders, retailers and businessmen, most of them Puerto Ricans, and with them converse and exchange ideas.

Obama is obviously campaigning in Florida, mainly among Hispanics, a vote that will be crucial in the upcoming November elections, Terri Fine, political scientist and professor at the University of Central Florida, told Efe.

With the Republican campaign getting dirtier all the time and the party’s candidates seizing every chance to insult each other, Obama is using the situation to nail the Hispanic vote in Florida, Fine said.

The most recent of these visits from Washington took place Friday with the arrival of Mercedes Marquez, assistant to Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, who manages an $8-billion budget for programs of community growth and development and low-cost housing.

In her meeting with Latino leaders and presided by Orlando’s Democratic Mayor Buddy Dyer and his director of multicultural affairs, the Puerto Rican Luis Martinez, Marquez said that the president had given her full authority to do everything necessary to aid the communities in need.

That statement in Orlando was aimed directly at Hispanics, who have been the among the main victims of the mortgage crisis, which in this city has left some sky-high rents and long waiting lists for public assistance to make house payments.

Those attending the meeting bombarded the official with questions related to housing assistance programs.

But though Martinez said the meeting was held so the Hispanic community could get to know Marquez and exchange impressions, in the end it had all the air of a rally for Obama’s reelection.

“We have to feel proud of our president and we’re going to keep him in power by voting once more for Obama,” the Dominican pastor Gilberto Nuñez said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Coca-Cola Set to Invest $1 Billion in Mexico This Year, Creating 10,000 New Jobs

Coca-Cola Set to Invest $1 Billion in Mexico This Year, Creating 10,000 New Jobs

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The Coca-Cola Co. plans to invest $1 billion in its operations in Mexico this year as part of a $5 billion long-term investment plan, CEO Muhtar Kent said.

Kent made the announcement Saturday in a joint appearance with Mexican President Felipe Calderon during the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Calderon has been meeting with potential investors at the gathering of the world’s most powerful business leaders.

Coca-Cola expects to create 10,000 new jobs in Mexico over the next five years, Kent said.

The Atlanta-based company currently employs 93,000 people directly and another 800,000 indirectly in Mexico, making it one of the largest employers in that country, Kent said.

Coca-Cola has doubled the size of its product portfolio in Mexico in the past six years and now offers 60 brands and 400 products.

The U.S. beverage giant’s decision to expand its investments in Mexico “will give a strong boost to the economy” and provide “more and better jobs for Mexicans,” Calderon said.

Mexico has a young population and rising incomes, offering “positive growth despite the circumstances today,” Calderon said, referring to the economic problems in Europe and the United States.

Nearly 600,000 new jobs were created in the formal sector of Mexico’s economy last year, while 800,000 jobs were created in 2010, the president said.

“So, it amounted to nearly 1.5 million jobs after the worst period in the crisis we experienced,” Calderon said.

Job growth boosts the number of consumers in the country for companies like Coca-Cola, the president said.

“In fact, in an atmosphere of global crisis, we have received direct foreign investment of $106 billion in five years,” Calderon said.

Companies that operate soundly and create jobs “will always have an ally in us to move forward,” the Mexican president said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Arizona Democrats Want Gov. Brewer to Apologize to President for ‘Disrespect’

Arizona Democrats Want Gov. Brewer to Apologize to President for ‘Disrespect’

Photo: AZ Dems Want Brewer to Apology to Pres

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The Arizona Democratic Party has launched a petition drive to urge Governor Jan Brewer to apologize to President Obama after their now infamous tarmac showdown.

Last week when President Obama was greeted by Gov. Brewer they had a heated exchange that resulted in the Governor pointing a finger at the President and him walking of as she continued to talk. 

Border security is at the root of their exchange and the President apparently did not like the Governors mention of him in her book ‘Scorpions for Breakfast’.

Brewer’s actions are being labeled an ‘embarrassment’ by Arizona Democrats.  “She has shown disrespect to our president and brought disgrace to the office of the governor.  And if she thinks that what she and the state legislature have done over the past few years is a success story, I’d hate to see a failure.”

If you are interested in signing the petition to urge Brewer to apologize click here, thus far the Arizona Democratic party is reporting they have 7,000 signatures. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Chilean Film Makers Win Big at Sundance Film Festival

Chilean Film Makers Win Big at Sundance Film Festival

Photo: Sundance Film Festival 2012 Winners

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The film “Violeta se fue a los cielos” (Violeta went to Heaven) directed by Chilean Andres Wood, and “Young & Wild,” the first work by director Marialys Rivas, took the prizes for best international film and best international screenwriting at the Sundance Film Festival.

The judging panel at the main showcase for independent film in the United States selected “Violeta went to Heaven,” a coproduction by Chile, Brazil, Argentina and Spain, which tells about the tumultuous and exciting life of Chilean singer and popular icon Violeta Parra.

Cinematography in the South American country was also honored when the prize for best international screenwriting went to Chile’s “Young & Wild,” the first work by director Marialys Rivas, and written by Rivas, Camila Gutierrez and Pedro Peirano.

“Young & Wild” is the story of a Chilean teenager raised in a strict evangelical family who struggles to discover her sexuality in the South American country.

During the nine days of the festival in Salt Lake City, more than 110 films from 31 countries were screened, among them six Ibero-American works.

The other Latin American films in the running - “A cadeira do pai” (Brazil: Luciano Moura), “El ultimo Elvis” (Argentina: Armando Bo), “Gypsy Davy” (Israel, United States, Spain: Rachel Leah Jones) and “Madrid, 1987” (Spain: David Trueba) - did not win any awards.

Although not in the competition, the film “Red Lights” about paranormal activities directed by Spain’s Rodrigo Cortes and starring Robert De Niro, Sigourney Weaver and Elizabeth Olsen was also screened at Sundance.

The festival, the main aim of which is to make films known and gain distribution for them in the U.S. market, for its 2012 edition received 6 percent more participation requests than it did in 2011.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuño Endorses Mitt Romney

Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuño Endorses Mitt Romney

Photo: PR Gov Luis Fortuno Endorses Romney

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Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuño announced his support for Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney as a result of his “leadership and experience,” just days before the Florida primary, where the Latino vote will be a key factor.

“Mitt Romney is the one candidate who has the record, leadership, experience and pro-growth plan to continue the course of private-sector job creation we’ve begun in Puerto Rico and provide economic stability for generations,” said Fortuño in a statement Friday night in Orlando while participating in an event alongside the candidate, who thanked him for his support.

“Mitt Romney has shown throughout his life that the principles learned in the private sector can be applied to all challenges, whether it was saving the 2002 Olympics or balancing the budget as governor,” the Puerto Rican governor went on to say.

Hours earlier, Romney had said in a speech at the Hispanic Leadership Network in Miami that Fortuño is “passionate about statehood” for Puerto Rico, which is a U.S. commonwealth. The former Massachusetts governor said: “I’m looking forward to the time when the people of Puerto Rico make their decision about becoming a state.”

“I expect the people of Puerto Rico will decide, like (Fortuño) feels, that they want to become a state, and I can tell you that I will work with him to make sure that if that vote comes out in favor of statehood, that we will go through the process in Washington to provide statehood to Puerto Rico and, again, to create a model in the Caribbean - one more model in Latin American of the benefits of having freedom,” Romney said.

Puerto Ricans will go to the polls in November to decide in a non-binding referendum whether they want the island to become the 51st U.S. state.

Puerto Rico, which has been a U.S. commonwealth since 1952, on March 18 will hold its Republican caucus to select the 23 delegates who will represent the island’s people at the Republican convention in August.

The endorsement of Fortuño, 51, for Romney is seen as a big boost for the candidate among Hispanics, given that the Puerto Rico governor is one of the most prominent Latino Republicans.

According to the latest voter survey, Romney holds a slight advantage over former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in Florida, where almost a fourth of the population is Hispanic.

Romney, who is considered to be the Republican front-runner for the party’s presidential nomination, has suffered several reverses in recent weeks after winning the New Hampshire primary in early January.

Last week, he lost the South Carolina primary to Gingrich by a wide margin and after being dubbed the narrow winner in the Iowa caucus, a vote recount showed that former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum had actually triumphed there, albeit by only a few dozen votes.

Read more by HS News Staff →

PEW:  Latinos Believe Economic Downturn Harder on Them than Other Groups

PEW:  Latinos Believe Economic Downturn Harder on Them than Other Groups

Photo: Pew Study on Latinos and Economy

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Pew Research Center has just concluded a national telephone survey of Latinos on the impact of the economic downturn.

A majority of Latinos (54%) believe that this downturn, starting in 2007, has been harder on them than any other groups in America.  The survey reflects that 59% of Latinos surveyed says they have been out of work in the past year and that 75% say their personal finances are only in ‘fair’ to ‘poor’ shape.

Pew noted most measures of economic well-being show Latinos indeed are trailing other groups in America.  For example, the Latino unemployment rate was at 11% in December, 2011 while the national unemployment rate was at 8.5%. 

In addition, the poverty rate amongst Hispanics increased the most than any other group.  From 2006 to 2010 poverty amongst Latinos increased from 20.6% to 26.6%.

To see the complete Pew study click here

Read more by HS News Staff →

WATCH VIDEO as Victor Cruz Does a ‘Salsa Battle’ on BET

WATCH VIDEO as Victor Cruz Does a ‘Salsa Battle’ on BET

Photo: Victor Cruz Salsa Battle

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Check out BET’s host of 106 & Park pay homage to New York Giant Victor Cruz and his salsa dance.  The Giant’s wide receiver has made a name for himself with his football skills but also for salsa dancing when he scores.

Cruz took some time off and had fun at BET, before heading to Indianapolis for Super Bowl 2012, where the Giants will battle the New England Patriots on February 5, 2012. 

Cruz likes to honor his Puerto-Rican heritage with his salsa-ing, so Rocsi Diaz challenged Cruz to a ‘salsa battle’.  106 & Park is BET’s music countdown show and Rocsi is the host. 

Check it out.  Who do you think won the salsa battle??


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Shakira Honored in France, Named Knight of the Orders of Arts and Letters

Shakira Honored in France, Named Knight of the Orders of Arts and Letters

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Colombian singer Shakira was decorated here Saturday as a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters during one of the inaugural ceremonies of the 46th edition of the International Disc Market and Musical Publishing event, or Midem, in Cannes.

Accompanied by her parents who would not miss the occasion, the artist said she was “happy” to receive “one of the highest honors in arts and letters, since it comes from a country like France, which has such an important cultural heritage.”

“This moment that has made me feel the most honored in my career,” the singer of “La Tortura” (Torture) and “Suerte” (Luck) said in a statement to Efe.

French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand was on hand to give her the award. Amid cries of “Shakira, beloved!” he pinned the medal on her as a “symbol of culture at a planetary level,” and said that thanks to her “generosity and charm” she lets people share her “joy.”

Mitterrand compared Shakira to other Latin stars like Gloria Estefan and Jennifer Lopez, and, going even further, pointed up “her combination of voice, Latin style, determination and a passionate femininity.”

Shakira, “so honored by the award,” answered France’s gesture with a mention in French of the “special connection” she feels with this country, to the extent that her heart “is also French.”

Just one year ago in this same place, Shakira became, together with the Black Eyed Peas, the big winner of the NRJ musical awards, as voted by listeners of that popular French radio station, taking home the prizes for best international artist and best international song of 2010 for the World Cup theme “Waka Waka.”

Mitterrand, who inaugurated Midem 2012 Saturday morning, honored at the same ceremony his compatriot Patricia Kaas with the title of Official of the Order of Arts and Letters, as well as British musician Brian Ferry, who was not present to receive the honor.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Republican Rep. David Rivera Introduces New DREAM Act,  Benefits Only Those in Military

Republican Rep. David Rivera Introduces New DREAM Act,  Benefits Only Those in Military

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Florida Republican Rep. David Rivera, taking his cue from Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney has introduced a new DREAM Act that would benefit soldiers and not students.

The proposed bill is called ‘Adjusted Residency for Military Service Act’ or ARMS.  It would provide undocumented immigrant youth, that came to this country at a young age and serve in the military, a path to citizenship.  Unlike other versions of the DREAM Act this bill would not benefit undocumented youth that are college students.

Rivera is probably taking his cue from Republican Presidential contender Newt Gingrich who said he would support a DREAM Act that would benefit soldiers but not students.  Shortly after Gingrich floated the idea Mitt Romney during one of the Florida debates also endorsed the idea.

“If somebody is willing to die for America, then certainly they deserve a chance at life in America,” Rivera said.

Different versions of the DREAM Act have been floating around in Congress since 2001.  Last year the DREAM Act failed in the Senate in great part from lack of Republican support.

Meanwhile President Obama has said he endorses and would sign DREAM Act legislation that benefits students and soldiers. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Fire at Peru Rehab Center Leaves at Least 26 Dead

Fire at Peru Rehab Center Leaves at Least 26 Dead

Photo: Peru Fire at Rehab Center

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A fire that erupted Saturday at a center for recovering alcoholics and drug addicts in the Peruvian capital killed at least 26 people, volunteer firefighters said.

Twenty-two people died of smoke inhalation at the rehabilitation center and four others perished later at area hospitals, firefighters’ chief Antonio Zavala said.

Ten other people were injured in the blaze, three of whom were hospitalized, while several firefighters and a police officer suffered varying degrees of bumps and bruises while responding to the emergency, he said.

“No one suffered burn injuries. Most died of asphyxiation. We fulfilled our duty as firefighters to rescue the victims, but the doors were completely locked,” Zavala said.

One survivor of the blaze, identified as Gianfranco Huertas, told RPP radio that some of the residents on the first floor set some rags on fire to demand they be allowed to leave the facility.

“They wanted to escape and they began hurling burning rags because the door was locked,” Huertas, who escaped unharmed along with another group of people who leaped from the second floor, said.

Local residents in the densely populated San Juan de Lurigancho district of eastern Lima said the facility, which reportedly lacked the required permits, housed roughly 60 people.

Read more by HS News Staff →

32 Die from Swine Flu Outbreak, Another 40 Die from Cold Weather in Mexico

32 Die from Swine Flu Outbreak, Another 40 Die from Cold Weather in Mexico

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The current winter season in Mexico has left 40 people dead from problems derived from cold and another 32 from flu, the Health Secretariat said.

The agency said in a communique that of the fatalities from cold, 30 were due to carbon monoxide poisoning, seven from hypothermia and three from burns, all of which could be directly attributed to the cold itself or attempts to keep warm.

Most of the deaths occurred in the northern states of the country, with 20 in Chihuahua, six in Durango, four in Sonora, two in Baja California, two in Nuevo Leon and one in Coahuila. Of the central states, Hidalgo had two deaths, Guanajuato had one and Puebla one, while the western state of Jalisco had one more.

As for respiratory illnesses, the secretariat said that up to Friday, 1,623 cases and 32 deaths had been caused by the contagion of different flu viruses.

Of that total, in 1,456 cases and 29 deaths the seasonal flu virus AH1N1 was confirmed and has been the principal virus since the beginning of the year. The same virus in 2009 led authorities to declare a state of emergency.

The secretariat said that currently in Mexico there are three seasonal flu viruses that are active: AH1N1, AH3N2, and the B flu, which were identified in Central and South America in 2011, and this winter are affecting North America.

The agency said that to date this year there have been 1.3 million doctor’s visits nationwide for severe respiratory infections, while some 7,801 cases of pneumonia and bronchopneumonia have been treated.

He said that in the second week of this year, eight out of every 1,000 doctor’s visits were for flu-like respiratory ailments.

The Health Secretariat recommended that the population follow preventive procedures such as building up the body’s defenses with food rich in vitamins C and D, as well as drinking abundant liquids, wearing warm clothing and avoiding exposure to environmental contaminants.

People should also see a doctor if they have a fever that lasts more than three days or if they experience breathing difficulties, among other symptoms.

Read more by HS News Staff →

WATCH VIDEO - Christian Aguilera Pays Tribute to Etta James, Sings ‘At Last’ at Memorial

WATCH VIDEO - Christian Aguilera Pays Tribute to Etta James, Sings ‘At Last’ at Memorial

Photo: Christina Aguilera at Etta James Memorial

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Christina Aguilera belted out Etta James’ signature song ‘At Last’ at the legendary singer’s memorial yesterday.  The 31-year-old singer always considered James her musical inspiration and wanted to honor her as family and friends of James gathered in Gardena, California.

Aguilera, showing a lot of cleavage, belted out a moving rendition to the R&B singer.  It is reported that Aguilera sings ‘At Last’ at each of her performances in honor of her ‘role model.

James passed away on January 20 at age 73 from chronic leukemia.  The acclaimed singer was also honored by Stevie Wonder and eulogized by the Rev. Al Sharpton.


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Uruguay’s El Maestro, Oscar Tabarez, Named UN Champion for Sport

Uruguay’s El Maestro, Oscar Tabarez, Named UN Champion for Sport

Photo: Oscar Tabarez, UN Champion for Sport

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Uruguayan national football team manager Óscar Tabárez, known as El Maestro (The Teacher), will help promote education and sports programs for vulnerable children in his native country, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announced today, as part of his new role as Champion for Sport for the agency.

He will officially take up his new position during a ceremony at the agency’s headquarters in Paris on Monday. Diego Lugano, captain of the Uruguayan national team and defender of the Paris Saint Germain football team, will also attend the event.

Born in Montevideo in 1947, Mr. Tabárez began his career in football with the Montevideo Football Club (Institución Atlética Sud América) in 1967 and, after qualifying as a teacher, combined careers in teaching and football. He later worked in primary schools in poor neighbourhoods and contributed to literacy training for adults and education for the visually handicapped.

In Uruguay, Mr. Tabárez works with programs such as Sport for Peace and Development and Sport for All, which use sports to promote inclusion of the under-privileged.

After playing for one Mexican and five Uruguayan teams, Mr. Tabárez became a professional coach. His trophies as national football manager include the 2011 Copa América, won by Uruguay, and the country’s fourth place in the 2010 World Cup (South Africa). He has also coached teams in Colombia (Dportivo Cali), Argentina (Vélez Sarsfield and Boca Juniors), Spain (Oviedo) and Italy (Cagliari and AC Milan).

Mr. Tabárez will join other international sports stars who are also Champions for Sport such as World Formula 1 champion Michael Schumacher, Olympic judo champion David Douillet, football player Pelé, and pole vault Olympic champion Sergey Bubka.

Read more by HS News Staff →

U.S. Diplomat Traveling to Colombia, Mexico and Brazil this Week

U.S. Diplomat Traveling to Colombia, Mexico and Brazil this Week

Photo: U.S. State Dept to Latin America

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The U.S. State Department is announcing that U.S. diplomat Wendy Sherman, who is a Under Secretary for Political Affairs Ambassador, will visit Colombia January 29-30, Mexico January 31-February 1, and Brazil February 2-4.

During Under Secretary Sherman’s visit to Colombia, she will continue discussions with President Santos and senior government officials in Bogota about preparations for the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena in April 2012.

The Under Secretary’s meetings with government officials and civil society leaders will advance important issues of mutual interest including regional security, combating drug trafficking, protection of human rights, and strengthening our economic relationship, including preparations for the implementation of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement.

Under Secretary Sherman will travel to Mexico City to advance the strong U.S.-Mexico partnership. In Mexico City, she will meet with senior government officials, civil society leaders, and journalists. Under Secretary Sherman will also join First Lady Margarita Zavala to inaugurate the National Network Against Addictions (RENADIC) - a Merida Initiative-supported information technology platform to monitor and reduce drug demand.

Under Secretary Sherman’s visit to Brazil will reinforce a constructive partnership with South America’s largest country, and underscore joint efforts to foster economic prosperity through education and increased trade and investment. She will travel to Brasilia and then to Recife in northeast Brazil.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Check Out: Florida’s Latino Electoral Profile

Check Out: Florida’s Latino Electoral Profile

Photo: Florida Hispanic Voters

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The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) has just released its 2012 ‘Florida Primary Electoral Profile’ that includes extensive analysis of the state’s Hispanic voting population.

The Hispanic population in Florida stands at 4.2 Million people with Latino registered voters representing 13.1% of all registered voters.  Many Florida Latino voters are Republican with Hispanic Republicans accounting for 11% of the state’s registered Republican voters. 

All the Republican Presidential candidates are paying special attention to this voting segment, especially Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney with their Spanish-language media outreach.

NALEO is reporting that in 2008 Hispanic voter turnout surged by 81% from 678,000 in 2000 to 1.2 million in 2008. 

Check out the NALEO’s report here.

“Hispanic voters have historically played a significant role in the outcome of primary elections in the state of Florida, and this year will be no different” stated NALEO Educational Fund Executive Director Arturo Vargas. “Their vote is up for grabs, and they will be looking to the Republican Primary candidates to directly address their issues and concerns in the coming days.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

UN Expert Urging Brazil to Stop Evictions of Sao Paulo Settlements

UN Expert Urging Brazil to Stop Evictions of Sao Paulo Settlements

Photo: UN Independent Expert Raquel Rolnik

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An independent United Nations human rights expert today urged Brazilian authorities to suspend evictions from the Pinheirinho settlement in São Paulo and find other solutions with residents.

Raquel Rolnik, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, called on the authorities to find a “peaceful and appropriate solution,” including housing alternatives, for those evicted this week from the settlement, located in the capital’s São Jose dos Campos city.

About 6,000 residents have been affected by the eviction order dictated by a judge in late December last year, according to a news release issued by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

She cited information she has received suggesting that the military police of São Paulo used tear gas and rubber bullets against the residents, including children and the elderly. Twenty residents were reportedly injured, one severely, and 30 arrested.

“I’m told Pinheirinho is still under siege and that nobody is allowed to enter the area,” Ms. Rolnik said. “The current situation of the evictees is extremely worrying; with no housing alternatives they are vulnerable to other human rights violations.”

The expert, who reports in an independent and unpaid capacity to the UN Human Rights Council, appealed to the authorities of the State of São Paulo to suspend the eviction order and the police action in Pinheirinho.

Read more by HS News Staff →



SundayJanuary 29, 2012