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MondayJanuary 30, 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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Mexico Loses $872 Billion in Illegal Capital Flight

Mexico Loses $872 Billion in Illegal Capital Flight

Photo: $872 Billion Illegal Flight Capital Mexico

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Mexico lost $872 billion to illicit financial outflows between 1970 and 2010, according to a report released Monday by a U.S.-based research and advocacy group.

The study, which said the annual illicit outflows averaged 5.2 percent of Mexican gross domestic product during the period, was presented by Global Financial Integrity at dual press conferences in Washington and Mexico City.

“This is a devastatingly large amount of money for any developing country to lose,” GFI’s director, Raymond W. Baker, said, adding that the calculations were based on data the Mexican government supplied to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

Trade mispricing, described by GFI as “trade-based money laundering,” accounted for nearly 74 percent of illicit financial outflows during the 41 years studied.

The practice typically involves the parties to a transaction agreeing to misrepresent the prices to create a tax-free windfall that can be stashed in foreign bank accounts.

Mispricing “skyrocketed” in Mexico after the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, according to the study drafted by former IMF senior economist Dev Kar.

Noting the lack of concrete data on the financial operations of the country’s powerful drug cartels, Baker said Mexico’s illegal capital flight over the last four decades probably exceeded $1 trillion.

Only China ranked ahead of Mexico in terms of illicit outflows among the 160 countries GFI reviewed.

Mexico’s illicit financial outflows ballooned from $1 billion in 1970 to $91 billion in 2007, before slipping back to $68.5 billion in 2010.

One of GFI’s recommendations to Mexican officials is to establish a system for sharing tax information with the United States, an arrangement that already exists between Washington and the third NAFTA member, Canada.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Narco Blog: Police Find Dismembered Body in Trunk on Routine Acapulco Traffic Stop

Narco Blog: Police Find Dismembered Body in Trunk on Routine Acapulco Traffic Stop

Photo: Narco Blog- Dead Body

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After a chase and shooting that took place in Acapulco, three members of a cartel were captured last night in the vicinity of Colonia Emiliano Zapata. The three were driving a compact vehicle marked as a taxi with the dismembered remains of a man, an AK-47 and nine cards with Narco messages on them.

Authorities of the municipal Public Security Department, state and federal agencies, said the arrests were part of Operation “Security Warrior”. The police ordered the taxi to stop and the occupants tried to flee. Police arrested the three individuals in the car and further investigated the trunk.

Police found the body of a male person maimed, killed and placed in two plastic bags. Police also found an AK-47 rifle, three kilos of marijuana, a bloody knife, four mobile phones, and nine cards with Narco-messages.

Among those arrested were Ramiro Ortega Olea, Marco Antonio Rosas Romero and Manuel Rodriguez Palma, which were made available to the authorities of the Federal Public Ministry.

Read More at Narco Blog in Spanish Here
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Argentina Ex-Spy Accused by Daughter of Running Sex Ring

Argentina Ex-Spy Accused by Daughter of Running Sex Ring

Photo: Prostitution in Mexico

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The daughter of former Argentine intelligence officer Raul Martins will arrive in Mexico this week with evidence that her father is running a sex trafficking ring in the Mexican resort city of Cancun, an activist told Efe Monday.

Lorena Martins will deliver the evidence to Mexican lawmaker Rosi Orozco, who chairs a special committee investigating human trafficking, Gustavo Vera, head of the NGO La Alameda, said.

Lorena has already filed a criminal complaint in Argentina accusing her father of luring Argentine women and girls to Cancun and then forcing them into prostitution.

The material she plans to present in Mexico includes e-mails, appointment books and a cell phone that document the workings of the sex trafficking ring and Raul Martins’ links to Mexican businesspeople, politicians and officials, according to Vera.

Her father also has accomplices in the Argentine police and intelligence services, Lorena Martins said.

“He has many locations (brothels),” she said of Raul Martins. “There are girls who enter of their own volition and others who are tricked.”

The Argentine women recruited to go to Cancun “are promised work as receptionists or models, their airfare is paid, they are lodged and promised documentation to reside in Mexico,” but once they arrive, the promised assistance evaporates and the women are pressured to “provide services,” Lorena Martins said.

Raul Martins’ nightclub in Cancun, The One, was closed down by authorities in 2007 and the Mexican press depicted the Argentine as the kingpin of prostitution in the resort city.

Read more by HS News Staff →

459-Foot Tamale Gives Mexico Guinness World Record

459-Foot Tamale Gives Mexico Guinness World Record

Photo: Mexico's Worlds Longest Tamale

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More than 100 residents of Monterrey, the capital of the northern Mexican state of Nuevo Leon, worked on the preparation over the weekend of a Guinness record 139.9-meter (nearly 459-foot) “world’s longest tamale,” Mayor Fernando Larrazabal said.

“What we are trying to do with these events is create a sense of belonging in the city of Monterrey,” the mayor said.

A total of 150 volunteers from 30 neighborhoods prepared, laid out and distributed each of the 10,000 pieces of the traditional Mexican dish, Larrazabal said.

The giant tamale was a whopping 90 centimeters (35 inches) wide.

Tamales, which get their name from the Nahuatl word for “wrapped,” are a pre-Columbian dish made from corn flour, wrapped in corn husks, steamed and usually filled with beef.

Notary public Sergio Elias Gutierrez certified the tamale’s measurements and confirmed that all Guinness requirements for a world record had been met.

The tamale’s preparation was one of the events held during the 3rd Monterrey Culinary Show on the downtown Plaza Zaragoza.

Mayor Larrazabal thanked sponsors Gruma and Tamales Regios, as well as all the volunteers, for helping the city get the world record.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Zeta Narco Members Arrested for Kidnapping, Rapes & Murders in Monterrey

Zeta Narco Members Arrested for Kidnapping, Rapes & Murders in Monterrey

Photo: Los Zetas Arrested

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Seven Los Zetas drug cartel members were arrested by the Federal Police on kidnapping and other charges in Monterrey, the capital of the northern state of Nuevo Leon, the Mexican Public Safety Secretariat said.

The suspects have been linked to at least six kidnapping, murder, sexual assault and auto theft cases in Monterrey, Mexico’s leading industrial city, the secretariat said.

Two people being held captive by the suspects were rescued by the Federal Police, the secretariat said.

The gang selected its victims at random, intercepted them while they were driving, threatened them with firearms and took them to safe houses, the secretariat said.

Kevin Alejandro Sifuentes, 18, Leonardo Daniel Gonzalez, 18, Jesus Aleman Gonzalez, 21, Jose Ismael, Alfredo Salvador, Jovany Alejandro and a man identified only as Javier “N” were arrested at a safe house in Monterrey’s poor Solidaridad neighborhood that officers had been watching, the secretariat said.

The Federal Police seized a Seat Ibiza with tags from Tamaulipas state, an AK-47 assault rifle, an ammunition clip, ammunition, 11 cell phones and two radios in the operation.

The suspects and the property seized in the operation were turned over to federal prosecutors.

Mexico has been plagued for years by a wave of violence unleashed by organized crime groups involved in kidnappings and drug, arms and people trafficking.

An average of 49 kidnappings per day occurred in Mexico in 2011, marking a significant increase from the prior year, the Council for Law and Human Rights, or CLDH, said in a report released late last month.

A total of 17,889 kidnappings occurred in Mexico last year, up 32 percent from the 13,505 abductions registered in 2010, the non-governmental organization said.

The figures do not include “express kidnappings,” in which a victim is held for only a few hours, the CLDH said.

Hundreds of express kidnappings occur in Mexico City daily, with taxi drivers usually assisting the criminals, the NGO said.

About one-third of the kidnappers arrested by the Federal Police, according to official figures, have links to drug cartels.

Read more by HS News Staff →

UN Headquarters in New York Receives 35lbs of Cocaine from Mexico

UN Headquarters in New York Receives 35lbs of Cocaine from Mexico

Photo: UN Headquarters in New York Receives 35lbs of Cocaine from Mexico

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More than 35 pounds of cocaine were found at United Nations headquarters in New York last week.

The cocaine was delivered to the UN building in two large bags imprinted with bad copies of the UN symbol. The packages, which had no names or address on them, were sent from Mexico City, by way of Cincinnati.

After arriving in the mail room, the poor imitation logos made the scanner suspicious.

Upon opening the packages, the drugs were discovered in hollowed-out notebooks.

Investigators believe the packages came from drug traffickers, but are uncertain as to why they were sent to the UN.

According to Prensa Latina, the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs launched a criminal investigation on Saturday after learning of the delivery.

In total, there were 14 notebooks, each containing about 2 pounds of cocaine. The drugs have an estimated street value of $440,000.

No arrests have been made in the case thus far.

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: Miami Man Arrested After Refusing to Stop Smoking on Plane, Pushing Flight Attendant

LATINO BLOTTER: Miami Man Arrested After Refusing to Stop Smoking on Plane, Pushing Flight Attendant

Photo: Manolin Villaverde refused to put out his cigarette during flight, wound up in jail

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Sometimes those flying the friendly skies aren’t so friendly themselves, case and point being Manolin Villaverde.

Tuesday, Villaverde was on a flight from Houston to Ontario, Calif., when about an hour in, he went to the lavatory and came out smoking a cigarette.

The 37-year-old was asked by flight attendants to stop smoking and put out his cigarette because smoking was not allowed on the plane. He reportedly said that he did not care and continued to smoking. In response, a flight attendant took the cigarette and put it out in the lavatory. Undeterred, Villaverde lit up another cigarette.

A second flight attendant took that cigarette away, put it out, and told him to sit down.

After pushing the flight attendants and claiming that the captain wanted to speak with him, Villaverde finally had to be subdued with plastic handcuffs, the second flight attendant who said he “felt intimidated to the point that he felt it necessary to subdue Villaverde.”

On January 25, Villaverde was charged with interfering with flight crew members. According to The Smoking Gun, this was not his first run-in with the law, as he’s been arrested for weapons possession, larceny, assault, and aggravated battery.

Villaverde, who is from Miami, caused the plane to be diverted to San Antonio International Airport.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Former Univision TV Personality, Neida Sandoval, Helping Children of Honduras

Former Univision TV Personality, Neida Sandoval, Helping Children of Honduras

Photo: Neida Sandoval Helping Honduran Kids

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After leaving her job as newscaster on Univision television’s “Despierta America” (Wake Up America) morning show, Neida Sandoval has invested her time in campaigns to help needy children.

The journalist will be named this week as ambassador of SOS Children’s Villages International in her native Honduras, where she will travel to unveil the work of the organization that helps orphan children and those whose parents cannot support them.

“It’s always best to start at home, because my country has many needs. For me, children are precious jewels we have to care for with a lot of love so that the vicious circle of abandonment, domestic violence and the lack of family values begins to break down and the country’s younger generation can start to thrive,” Sandoval said in a telephone interview with Efe.

“When I left Univision after working there for 23 years, one of the things the company granted me, and for which I thank it, was my request to be able to use my image for charity work,” Sandoval said.

This being the first interview she has given after resigning from Univision in June 2011, Sandoval agreed to address what happened at the network, but without going into detail.

“Leaving ‘Despierta America’ was not my decision, but leaving the company was. They gave me options that I didn’t consider the best for my family’s well-being, which is the most important thing for me. It was a pretty hard decision, but I was firm and I’m happy to have taken it,” she said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

East Haven, CT Police Chief Retires Amid Allegations of Latino Abuse

East Haven, CT Police Chief Retires Amid Allegations of Latino Abuse

Photo: East Haven, CT police chief retires

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The chief of a Connecticut police department accused of mistreating Latinos and immigrants will retire, East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo Jr. said Monday.

At a press conference the mayor described as “generous” the decision of Leonard Gallo, 64, to step down as top cop in East Haven, a city of a little over 30,000 residents.

Before the press conference, at Maturo’s invitation, Isiais Diaz, chairman of the Connecticut Latino & Puerto Rican Affairs Commission; state Rep. Andres Ayala Jr. (D-Bridgeport) and state Sen. Leonard Fasano, (R-North Haven) all arrived at city hall.

The politicians held a private meeting in Maturo’s office.

According to The New Haven Register, an Internet petition supporting Gallo’s firing had been signed by almost 15,000 people by Sunday night.

On Jan. 24, the FBI arrested four East Haven police officers accused of carrying out a campaign against Latino residents that included harassment, false arrests, beatings and threats against people who wanted to report the abuses.

The four accused cops have said they are not guilty of the charges.

Maturo has been the target of criticism for his lack of sensitivity toward Latinos: when he was asked last week what he would do to improve relations with the Hispanic community he said he “might have tacos.”

The chairman of East Haven’s police commission, Frederick Brow, said that that entity will vote on Tuesday on a motion for the mayor to fire Gallo instead of accepting his resignation.

If he retires normally, Gallo will receive compensation of up to $150,000 and an annual pension of almost $28,000.

The petition requesting Gallo’s firing was launched by Reform Immigration for America, the same national group that had promoted a campaign to send Maturo hundreds of tacos in protest over his comment.

In December, a separate investigation by the U.S. Justice Department’s civil rights division found that Gallo had helped create a hostile environment for people who cooperated with federal investigators.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Nephew of Cicero Town President Arrested for Stealing Beer While in Town-Owned Vehicle

Nephew of Cicero Town President Arrested for Stealing Beer While in Town-Owned Vehicle

Photo: Nephew of Cicero Town President Arrested for Stealing Beer While in Town-Owned Vehicle

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The nephew of a Chicago-area town president has been arrested for allegedly stealing beer.

Joseph Terrana, 41, is the nephew of Cicero town president Larry Dominick. After watching surveillance footage of the store, police say Terrana, wearing an official Town of Cicero municipal jacket, can be seen wheeling Corona, Tecate, and Negro Modelo in a shopping cart to the car he was driving. The car itself is a Town of Cicero vehicle.

Terrana works part-time as a driver for senior citizens in need.

When asked where he lives, Terrano gave police the address for the town president.

Terrana denies the charges against him, but has been previously convicted of theft. He also has another charge on his record.

As of Friday, Terrana still had his job and was not facing any disciplinary measures, though the inspector general is said to be investigating criminal charges against him.

The allegedly stolen beer was from a Jewel in neighboring Stickney, and was worth about $285.

Terrana has been on probation for the last two years after he pled guilty to misdemeanor theft in 2005. Among the items he stole in 2005 was a case of Corona beer.

In 2009, he was forced to resign as a Cicero garbage man, only to be fired from a janitorial position in 2010 after a drug test found he had five illegal substances in his system.

Still, he was hired back by the city in 2011 at $12/hour to drive for the elderly.

Read more by HS News Staff →

119 Injured in Peru from 6.2 Magnitude Earthquake

119 Injured in Peru from 6.2 Magnitude Earthquake

Photo: 6.2 Quake Hits Peru

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The magnitude-6.2 earthquake that struck southern Peru’s Ica region early Monday left 119 people injured and damaged 16 homes, authorities said.

The regional emergency services director, Cesar Chonate, said that the majority of injuries were from blows, cuts and bruises and arose from the desperation of people to get out of their homes when the quake struck.

“There is only one case - ... a pelvis fracture - that is considered to be more serious,” he told RPP radio.

Also, Health Ministry official Javier Correa confirmed that the majority of those who were injured were hurt only slightly.

Peruvian television broadcast images after the Ica quake in which families can be seen gathered together outside their houses, and many of those people preferred to spend the night out of doors because of the power outage and the danger of aftershocks.

The Ica city cathedral lost a few bricks from its facade, a bank suffered a cracked roof that is on the verge of collapsing and a house in the city’s downtown area lost one of its walls, according to RPP reporters on the scene.

Ica is the Peruvian region that is most affected by earthquakes given that it is located on the so-called Pacific “ring of fire” caused by the ongoing collision of subterranean tectonic plates.

The most recent devastating earthquake in Ica occurred in 2007 and killed about 500 people.

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: Woman Arrested for Encouraging Daughter to Fight Another Girl

LATINO BLOTTER: Woman Arrested for Encouraging Daughter to Fight Another Girl

Photo: Sandra Padilla Miranda was arrested after encouraging daughter to fight

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While pretty much everyone will agree that young people need parental support, the encouragement given by one Florida mother is not exactly what we had in mind.

Sandra Padilla Miranda of Orlando was arrested after a video showed her daughter and another girl viciously fighting. On the video, Miranda can be heard shouting, “Hit harder” and “bite her.”

The 38-year-old mother was arrested last week after one of the girls posted the video on Facebook.

Miranda told police that the two girls, ages 14 and 17, had gotten into fights before and she was just trying to put an end to it all by encouraging them to fight and get it over with.

She later apologized, telling police she realized it was wrong.

She was released after posting $1100 bond. She has been charged with child abuse and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

The girl fight took place January 18, outside an Orlando apartment complex.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Some of Mexico’s Most Renown Writers Condemn Killing of Journalists

Some of Mexico’s Most Renown Writers Condemn Killing of Journalists

Photo: Elena Poniatowska & Others Protest Murder of MX Journalists

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Some 50 writers, poets, journalists and defenders of freedom of expression, both Mexicans and foreigners, invited by PEN International, condemned the murders of 67 journalists in this country over the last decade.

At the meeting were members of the delegation headed by the president of PEN International, John Ralston, as well as Mexican writers Elena Poniatowska, Laura Esquivel, Homero Aridjis, Ramon Xirau, Marta Lamas, Eduardo Lizalde and others.

Dozens of writers spoke out to demand an end to the impunity of organized crime and the ineptitude of the authorities to crack down on its murderous gunmen.

“We’re joined together here today to say the violence must end. And we are together here to tell the United States that its drug consumption and its drug and arms trafficking are an important part of the problem,” Ralston said in his speech.

Ralston demanded an end to the violence, that the necessary legal changes be made, that corruption in public life associated with crime be dealt with, and that the army continue to operate under a legal statute that protects it.

Homero Aridjis recalled that the number of deaths in the fight against the cartels has risen to more than 50,000, so many that the murders of journalists go unnoticed and the crimes unpunished.

“Mexico is a country where there are murders but no murderers,” he said.

“Telling the truth in Mexico puts your life in danger,” Elena Poniatowska said. “Until when will practicing journalism be a death sentence in this country? How long do we have to wait for the authorities to offer real guarantees that effectively protect life and the profession?”

Mexico’s independent National Human Rights Commission, or CNDH, says that 75 reporters have been killed since 2000 and several more have been reported missing.

Nine journalists were killed in 2011 alone, according to the CNDH.

In October, the U.N. rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue, said Mexico is the deadliest country in the Americas and fifth most dangerous country worldwide for members of the media.

The killings have been attributed to organized crime and rogue public officials.

Founded in 1921, PEN International is a global writers’ association that promotes intellectual cooperation and friendship among its members.

An acronym for poets, essayists and novelists, PEN now also includes other writers such as journalists and historians.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Couple Suing Celebrity Wedding Planner David Tutera for Ruining Their Dominican Wedding

Couple Suing Celebrity Wedding Planner David Tutera for Ruining Their Dominican Wedding

Photo: Hector Santana (left) and Wendylee Perez (2nd from right) are suing David Tutera (right) for ruining their wedding

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Celebrity wedding planner and reality show star David Tutera is being sued by a New York couple who say they were extremely disappointed by the lack of care given to them and their Dominican wedding.

Hector Santana and Wendylee Perez say the star of “My Fair Wedding” failed to provide them with the agreed upon service after tripling the cost of parts of their wedding.

In their lawsuit, the couple stated, “Due to the defendant’s arrogant and heartless actions, plaintiffs have been harmed personally and financially.”

Perez and Santana say that they had no idea Tutera would not be joining them in the Dominican Republic for their 2010 wedding, and only learned of his absence after arriving in the country. They also say that after Tutera brought the cost of their wedding reception from $10,000 to $30,000, he failed to provide wedding basics, including invitations, a cake, a DJ, and flowers.

This is not the first time Tutera has been sued by an angry couple. In March 2011, he reached a settlement with a couple he was supposed to be planning a wedding for in Sinagapore. That case was settled out of court, but he has once again angered a pair looking to him to give them their dream wedding.

Instead of planning their wedding, Perez and Santana say Tutera was busy filming his reality show.

As for being a no-show in the Dominican, Tutera claims that he informed the couple that he would not be joining them, as he had a sick relative in the hospital.

However, the couple say they were only told he was not going to be there when they arrived in the Dominican the day before their wedding.

The Manhattan-based event planner is known for his reality show and for being a party planner to the stars, including Jennifer Lopez and Elton John.

Read more by HS News Staff →

WATCH Video: J Lo on The Today Show Talking Love and Marriage

WATCH Video: J Lo on Today Talking Love and Marriage


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Latino Soldiers Indicted in Scheme to Illegally Obtain Military Recruiting Bonuses

Latino Soldiers Indicted in Scheme to Illegally Obtain Military Recruiting Bonuses

Photo: Latino Blotter Scheme to Defraud Army

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Former Staff Sergeant Grant E. Bibb, 40, of Eagle Pass, Texas, was indicted on Sept. 13, 2011, along with former Specialist Xavier Aves, 40, of San Antonio; former Corporal Christopher Castro, 30, of San Antonio; Sergeant First Class Jesus Torres-Alvarez, 31, of El Paso, Texas; Specialist Paul Escobar, 31, of San Antonio; and Specialist Richard Garcia Jr., 28, of San Antonio. 

All the men were allegedly involved in a conspiracy to obtain more than $200,000 in fraudulent recruiting bonuses from various U.S. military departments.

Through recruiting programs, a soldier could receive up to $2,000 in bonus payment for every person they refer to join the military.  The group paid for the names and Social Security numbers of potential soldiers claiming they obtained the referral when in fact others did. 

The case against the group arises from an investigation involving allegations that former and current military recruiters and soldiers in the San Antonio area were engaged in a wide-range scheme. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spanish Airline Spanair Files for Bankruptcy, Thousands Stranded

Spanish Airline Spanair Files for Bankruptcy, Thousands Stranded

Photo: Spanair Bankrupt, Thousands Stranded

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Spanish airline Spanair, which suspended operations last weekend, filed for bankruptcy on Monday amid a debt exceeding 300 million euros ($393 million), judicial sources told Efe.

The carrier’s lawyers are anxious to ward off any attempt by creditors to force Spanair into an involuntary bankruptcy that would drastically reduce the firm’s room for maneuver, the sources said.

Spanair’s chief creditor is Sweden-based SAS, which was the Spanish airline’s majority owner until 2009 and retains a 10 percent stake in the carrier.

More than 20,000 travelers were left in the lurch by Spanair’s decision to cease flight operations early Saturday with only a few hours’ notice.

Headquartered in Barcelona, Spanair employs around 4,000 people, with half working directly for the airline and the rest for contractors that provide ground services, cleaning and maintenance.

Budget airline Ryanair has already asked European Union authorities to ensure that Spanair does not receive any additional public money in the course of the bankruptcy and reorganization.

Barcelona and the Catalonia regional government have funneled 150 million euros ($186.76 million) in public funds to Spanair since 2009.

Spanair, Spain’s No. 4 airline, has been in financial straits for several years.

Management decided late Friday to halt operations after Catalonia said it would not provide any more public money to Spanair and Qatar Airlines declined to invest in the carrier.

Spanair’s financial problems were aggravated by its involvement in Spain’s worst air disaster in 25 years: a Aug. 20, 2008, crash near Madrid-Barajas International Airport that left 154 people dead.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Selena Gomez and the Scene Wow the Crowd in Mexico City, Singer Presented with Gold Record

Selena Gomez and the Scene Wow the Crowd in Mexico City, Singer Presented with Gold Record

Photo: Selena getting a piggy back ride from step-dad Brian after her Mexico City concert

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Selena Gomez was on her game in Mexico on Friday, wowing the crowd at her Mexico City concert with her band The Scene.

Selena Gomez and The Scene performed in front of thousands just one say after the singer/actress was presented with a Gold Record for her latest album When the Sun Goes Down.

She opened Friday’s concert with the single “A Year Without Rain” and caused the cheers to get even louder as she sang parts of the song in Spanish. She has recorded the song in both English and Spanish.

The high-energy performance even included Selena taking her shot at the drums during “Middle of Nowhere”, in which she played a large drum center stage.

Another memorable moment occurred when the singer performed her hit single “Love You Like a Love Song” and the parents in the audience sang along with their children from start to finish, showing that Selena and the Scene have fans all around the world and in every age group.

At the end of her performance in Mexico City, Gomez said, “Mexico, thank you very much for having me … I love you with all my heart.”

She finished the night with the song “Who Says,” which she is known for performing barefoot.

As she was leaving the venue, Gomez posted an Instagram of her on her step-father’s back saying, “So every time I perform Who Says I always go barefoot (which everyone hates, but it’s fun) so that means Brian has to give me piggy back rides all the way out of the venues smile

She also took to Twitter saying, “BTW Mexico City, that was the most intense, crazy, chaotic most beautiful show EVER.. Thank you! Te amo.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Cesar Millan Bringing his “Dog Whisperer” Skills to Latin America

Cesar Millan Bringing his “Dog Whisperer” Skills to Latin America

Photo: Cesar Millan in Latin America

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When he was little, Cesar Millan dreamed of being the “best dog trainer in the world” and says his mother told him he could achieve whatever he wanted - and that, plus his method of dog psychology, won him the worldwide fame he enjoys today as the “Dog Whisperer.”

The 42-year-old Millan, who was in Costa Rica over the weekend to put on his first show in Latin America, said in an interview with Efe that more than being a dog whisperer, he is the one who has always been whispered to by them.

Despite the fame he has won with his television series, his books and the fame of his clients, many of them Hollywood stars, Millan never forgets his humble beginnings in the northwestern Mexican state of Sinaloa, and says he still dreams the same way he did 21 years ago when he crossed the border illegally into the United States.

“When you’re poor you have nothing to lose and dreaming is all you can do, so you dream and you dream and when you have a mom like mine that keeps pushing you ahead, there’s no limit to what you can do,” Millan said.

“I learned all I know from my father, but the inspiration came from my mother. When I was 13 I asked her, ‘Do you think I can be the best dog trainer in the world?’ and she very proudly told me, ‘You can be whatever you want,’ though she really had no idea what being a dog trainer was all about,” Millan said.

Forever accompanied by his pitbull Junior, Millan defends the role of the family in training people and their dogs.

Dogs are pack animals, he says, so to rehabiliate wayward pets, the owner must be trained to be the leader of the pack.

He says that 90 percent of owners have problems with their dogs because they don’t know how they think and, above all, don’t know how to organize their priorities.

“The priorities of humans are to study, earn money and buy a home, and to do that they leave the family behind, and a dog is part of the family,” Millan said.

“Humans have to prioritize a dog’s needs; the dog doesn’t know that you have to go to work every day to make money so you can put food on his plate,” the dog trainer said.

Millan said that every day before going to work, he gets up at 5:00 a.m. to take his pack for a walk and in that way “I lower their energy so they can stay calm the rest of the day.”

“You have to challenge dogs phyically and psychologically, and afterwards show them affection. But people often give them affection, affection, nothing but affection, which is energy they’re giving them that must be absorbed with mental and physical exercise,” Millan said, referring to his method of “calm-assertive leadership.”

Owners’ mistakes are the same everywhere and have the same effects - anxious, aggressive, hyperactive or frightened animals, the dog trainer said.

“A dog simply has it limits. It gets food, water and a lot of loving, then people come and pile on more and more affection and excite it so much it’s beside itself. That’s the truth,” Millan said.

Which is why Millan says he has a lot more work ahead of him.

“I feel like I’m just beginning. (Mark) Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, and I think the same way, I don’t feel I’ve yet landed where I want to be, I feel I’m still on my way up, still on the road to where I’m going. I haven’t done all I have to do and I have the same energy and will power, the same way of dreaming as when I crossed the border. I’ve been in the United States 21 years and I haven’t changed,” Millan said.

Among his goals is to present shows throughout Latin America, as well as producing and hosting a new program called “Leader of the Pack” in Holland, Italy and Britain, though he also has plans for Japan.

Millan also plans to open centers for dog psychology around the world and to continue working with a program led by his foundation together with Yale University to teach kids “what I learned while very young.”

Millan describes himself as a calm-assertive person who knows how to keep quiet and doesn’t place too much importance on money. He loves what he does and for that reason plans to continue rehabilitating dogs and training their masters for a long time.

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Calle 13 in Cuba Filming Documentary

Calle 13 in Cuba Filming Documentary

Photo: Calle 13 in Cuba

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Puerto Rican reggaeton duo Calle 13 is currently filming a documentary in Cuba, official media said Monday, citing band member Rene Perez, a.k.a. “Residente.”

“We’re filming a big documentary about C-13 in Cuba,” said Perez on his Twitter account, according to a report published on the government Web page Cubadebate.

Perez said that he traveled to Cuba on a motorboat and that it was “a great experience, a little dangerous but nice at the same time.”

Residente and his stepbrother Eduardo Cabra, known as “Visitante,” make up the alternative music band that has won 20 Latin Grammys and two Grammys.

The duo’s new documentary is being directed by Puerto Rican filmmaker Lidy Paoli Lopez.

Residente and Visitante attended a concert offered by Cuban singer-songwriter Silvio Rodriguez last Thursday at the National Museum of Fine Arts in Havana.

The Puerto Rican band filmed another 27-minute documentary entitled “Calle 13 en La Habana” (Calle 13 in Havana), by Lester Sibila and Frank Fernandez, as a testimony of their visit to the Caribbean country.

Calle 13 performed for the first time in Cuba in 2010 at a huge concert in Havana.

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Starbucks Coming to Coffee Bean Capital, Costa Rica

Starbucks Coming to Coffee Bean Capital, Costa Rica

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Starbucks continues to expand in Central America, in keeping with its plans announced in August of 2010, with an announcement that it will open its first Costa Rican location.

This will be the seventh location in the region with establishments already ensconced in El Salvador and Guatemala.  The expansion to Costa Rica is a natural fit since many of the coffee beans Starbucks uses for its brew are purchased from this country.

The new Starbuck’s will be located in the capital city of San Jose.  The company has over 6,000 international locations and close to 11,000 locations in the U.S.

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Papal Events Should be Free Urges Mexican Archbishop

Papal Events Should be Free Urges Mexican Archbishop

Photo: Pope's Visit to Mexico

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Pope Benedict XVI’s March 23-26 visit to Mexico should serve to inspire unity and people should not be charged to attend papal events, Leon Archbishop Jose Guadalupe Martin Rabago said.

Pope Benedict is scheduled to spend the night at Leon’s Colegio Miraflores during his visit to Mexico.

Leon Mayor Ricardo Sheffield Padilla plans to set up bleachers along the Popemobile’s route and charge people for preferred seating in an effort to recoup some of the costs associated with the papal visit.

“It would be preferable to not set up bleachers so people can go to the places where the pope is going to pass without the need to pay anything, that was the idea, that’s what we are all trying to do, and I believe that’s worth it and should be respected,” Martin Rabago said in a press conference Sunday.

The archbishop, however, endorsed local officials’ plans to charge $7 in the areas where foreign visitors are going to be camping out since services will be provided to the pilgrims.

No details have been released on the route to be taken by the pope during his visit and officials have not said how many volunteers have been recruited to form the human walls along the route.

The Catholic Church has called for at least 75,000 young people to serve as volunteers in support tasks.

Benedict XVI will celebrate an open-air Mass in the morning on March 25 at Silao’s Guanajuato Bicentenario Park, but officials have not said how many tickets will be distributed for the religious service.

“Although the number of tickets has been almost fully determined, adjustments are still being made. The platforms at the site of the celebration are being adjusted and the engineers and architects have to take the exact measurements to decide the exact number of tickets,” the archbishop said.

The outdoor venue will accommodate about 750,000 people, who will need a ticket to enter, officials said.

Pope Benedict XVI is scheduled to visit three cities in Guanajuato state during his time in Mexico and will continue on to Santiago, Cuba.

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Polled Registered Voters in Favor of Undocumented Children Gaining Path to Citizenship

Polled Registered Voters in Favor of Undocumented Children Gaining Path to Citizenship

Photo: Polled Registered Voters in Favor

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The Hill has just published a poll of likely voters and their view on offering citizenship to undocumented immigrant children, specifically children brought to the U.S. at a very young age.

The poll shows that nearly half, 48 percent, of those polled want to see these children offered a path to citizenship, while 34 percent do not agree.  When asked if undocumented children in the military should be offered a path to citizenship those in agreement skyrocketed to an overwhelming 73 percent.

A path to citizenship for undocumented youth by enrolling in the military has garnered a lot of attention, ever since it was proposed by Republican presidential candidates last week. 

As expected, the poll shows Democrats are more in favor of the path to citizenship idea but so are independent voters.  In turn 46 percent of polled Republicans oppose the idea and only 32 percent favor it.

Click here to see The Hill poll.

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Gunmen Open Fire in Northern Mexico, Leave 8 Dead, 4 Wounded

Gunmen Open Fire in Northern Mexico, Leave 8 Dead, 4 Wounded

Photo: Drug Cartel Violence

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Eight people were killed and four others wounded in attacks staged by gunmen over the weekend in the northern Mexican states of Coahuila and Nuevo Leon, officials said.

Gunmen opened fire with assault rifles on a group of people in Torreon, a city in Coahuila, killing five people and wounding four others, prosecutors said.

“Two people died at the scene and first aid was provided to seven others who were wounded. Two of the wounded died later at University Hospital and another later at the Red Cross (Hospital),” the Coahuila Attorney General’s Office said.

The shooting happened around midnight Saturday in Nueva Rosita, a district in the western section of Torreon.

“Subjects aboard a white automobile opened fire with large-caliber weapons on several people,” the AG’s office said.

A 15-year-old boy and a 20-year-old man were pronounced dead from gunshot wounds to the head at the scene, while Red Cross paramedics assisted six men and a woman.

Investigators found 16 .223-caliber bullet casings from AR-15 assault rifles at the crime scene, the AG’s office said.

The Sinaloa and Los Zetas drug cartels have been fighting for control of Torreon, resulting in a series of massacres over the past three years.

Police in Nuevo Leon, meanwhile, found three bodies in a city outside Monterrey, the state capital and Mexico’s most important industrial city.

The bodies of three men and a message to a drug cartel were found early Sunday in Cadereyta, located 37 kilometers (23 miles) east of Monterrey, the Nuevo Leon State Investigations Agency, or AEI, said.

The government said earlier this month that 12,903 people were killed in drug-related violence between January and September 2011 in Mexico, an increase of 11 percent from the same period in the prior year.

Mexico’s drug war death toll stood at 47,515 from December 2006 to Sept. 30.

The murder total has grown every year of President Felipe Calderon’s military offensive against the well-funded, heavily armed drug cartels.

Unofficial tallies published in December by independent daily La Jornada put the death toll from Mexico’s drug war at more than 50,000.

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Venezuelan Kidnappers Release Mexican Ambassador and His Wife from Captivity

Venezuelan Kidnappers Release Mexican Ambassador and His Wife from Captivity

Photo: MX Ambassador Carlos Pujalte, Wife Rescued

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Mexican Ambassador to Venezuela Carlos Pujalte and his wife, Paloma Ojeda, were released after being kidnapped over the weekend and are in good condition, a Mexican diplomatic source told Efe Monday.

Pujalte and his wife were abducted Sunday night in Caracas and released a few hours later.

“They were released in the morning” and “are both in good health,” the source said.

The couple was intercepted by the kidnappers and police found their vehicle a few hours later near Caracas.

The ambassador and his wife “are giving statements to authorities,” the diplomatic source said.

Venezuelan officials have not yet commented on the Pujalte case.

Carlos Pujalte Piñeiro, a graduate of the National Autonomous University of Mexico’s law school, joined the diplomatic service in 1980.

He served as Mexico’s consul general in Toronto from 2004 to 2009 and presented his credentials to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in March 2010.

Pujalte was Mexico’s alternate representative to the United Nations and served as ambassador to Costa Rica.

Pujalte’s kidnapping comes two months after the Chilean consul in Caracas, Juan Carlos Fernandez, was shot, beaten, threatened and held hostage for two hours.

The high crime rate in Venezuela is one of the biggest problems facing the Chavez administration.

Venezuela has a homicide rate of 48 per 100,000 residents and Caracas is considered one of the most dangerous cities in Latin America.

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MondayJanuary 30, 2012