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TuesdayFebruary 7, 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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One of Hollywood’s Puerto Rican Veterans, Luis Guzman Says he’s a “Good Person”

One of Hollywood’s Puerto Rican Veterans, Luis Guzman Says he’s a “Good Person”

Photo: One of Hollywood's Puerto Rican Veterans, Luis Guzman Says he's a "Good Person"

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Puerto Rico-born Luis Guzman, one of Hollywood’s favorite character actors, stars in “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island,” which makes its debut on Friday, a family adventure that is his first 3D film.

It’s been almost two decades since viewers first saw his shady-looking face in “Carlito’s Way” (1993), the film in which he became famous as Al Pacino’s bodyguard, and since then the actor has become an ongoing presence in Hollywood thanks to his various roles.

“I think that part of my secret is that I do good work, I have a good heart and I’m a good person,” Guzman told Efe. “I get along well with people and I have great respect for directors, producers and actors. Hollywood has given me so much love,” he added.

Guzman has appeared in films such as “Boogie Nights” (1996), “Magnolia” (1999) and “Punch-Drunk Love” (2002), directed by Paul Thomas Anderson; “Out of Sight” (1997) and “Traffic” (2000) by Steven Soderbergh, and “Snake Eyes” (1998) by Brian de Palma.

These are very different films for an actor who immerses himself in a family like “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island,” the sequel to “Journey to the Center of the Earth” (2008).

The film also stars Josh Hutcherson, Dwayne Johnson, Vanessa Hudgens, Michael Caine and Kristin Davis.

“It’s my first 3D film and, truthfully, it looks stupendously good. Just like my role!” remarked Guzman, laughing. “I think that 3D is important today and it will be part of the future of movies, but I also think that they’re never going to replace us actors,” he said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Univision, Disney in Talks on 24-hour News Channel

Univision, Disney in Talks on 24-hour News Channel

Photo: Disney and Univision

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Univision Communications Inc. is negotiating with the Walt Disney Co. the launch of a 24-hour cable news channel in English in response to demographic changes in the Latino community and as an attempt to land its share of the English-speaking audience.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Univision President Cesar Conde and the head of Disney’s ABC News division, Ben Sherwood, are leading talks about the new channel, which would mean the biggest change in 50 years for the country’s top Spanish-language television broadcaster.

Univision had announced plans to launch three TV channels this year, including a news channel.

Should an agreement be reached, the new Miami-based channel would be on the air before the November elections, The Journal said.

The project reflects the reality that new generations of Latinos born in the United States speak more English than Spanish, the newspaper said.

Univision and Disney executives have not commented on the new channel, but their efforts come at a very competitive time for capturing the attention of Hispanics, who according to the 2010 Census represent the fastest growing population segment in the United States.

Univision rival Telemundo has invested heavily in improving its content, The Journal said.

It also noted the recent announcement that News Corp and Colombian broadcaster RCN are launching MundoFox, a new Spanish-language channel targeting the U.S. Hispanic market.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Univ. of Pennsylvania Report: Chilean Think Tank Among Best in the World

Univ. of Pennsylvania Report: Chilean Think Tank Among Best in the World

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According to a report out of the University of Pennsylvania, Chile is home to one of the world’s top think tanks.

Taking into account the think tanks’ influence in policy, academic teams, originality, and influence in both the political and academic world, the Univ. of Pennsylvania’s 2011 Global Go To Think Tanks Rankings named Chile’s Center for Public Studies (CEP) No. 23 out of the world’s top think tanks.

In total, about 25,000 think tanks were nominated, so being in the top 25 is quite the honor.

Among the Central and South American region, the CEP was number two, behind Brazil’s Getulio Vargas Foundation.

In the end, the Brookings Institute in the United States took the top overall spot for 2011.

And while the U.S. and European think tanks took many of the top spots, the rise of those in Latin America were the most impressive.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Director Gerardo Naranjo in Talks for Film Adaptation of ‘The Mountain Between Us’

Director Gerardo Naranjo in Talks for Film Adaptation of ‘The Mountain Between Us’

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Gerardo Naranjo is said to be in negotiations to direct the film adaptation of Charles Martin’s The Mountain Between Us, according to Deadline.

Naranjo’s Miss Bala was recently submitted for contention for Mexico’s Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. The movie is about a teen girl who heads to Tijuana to compete in the Miss Baja California beauty pageant, but ends up an innocent victim caught up in Mexico’s drug war.

The Mountain Between Us however, is about a man and woman whose flight is canceled and as strangers agree to charter a plane. During the flight, the pilot suffers a heart attack, and the plane crashes onto a snowy mountain. The man, Ben the doctor, and the woman, Ashley the writer, who is about to get married, then begin a journey of both survival and love.

Deadline has reported that 20th Century Fox and Chernin Entertainment are negotiating with the director.

The novel was adapted to a film script by J. Mills Goodloe.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Bidding War for Chilean Disaster Flick ‘Aftershock’, Starring Eli Roth

Bidding War for Chilean Disaster Flick ‘Aftershock’, Starring Eli Roth

Photo: Bidding War for Chilean Disaster Flick 'Aftershock', Starring Eli Roth, Directed by Nicolas Lopez

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Deadline New York is reporting that studios have begun a bidding war for the distribution rights to a movie titled “Aftershock,” centered on the Chilean earthquake of 2010.

The story is said to revolve a group of insane asylum inmates who escape during the earthquake, and marks a young Chilean filmmaker’s introduction to the worldwide market.

Actor, producer, director, and writer Eli Roth (Inglourious Basterds) teamed up with Chilean director Nicolas Lopez to write the script for Aftershock.

This will be the 28-year-old Lopez’s first English-language film, but he recently told DIY:

I have been writing, producing and directing feature films since I was 17, and now that I’m 28 it’s time to cross over to the worldwide market, especially when you have someone like Eli Roth as your Godfather. I was a fan of Cabin Fever and Hostel, and I love that we’re mixing our sensibility. People will be shocked when they see this movie. It’s nothing that you could expect. I want this to be my Robocop.

With the buzz around this film, there is said to be multiple offers on the table from top distributors like The Weinstein Company and Relativity Media.

Singer and actress Selena Gomez is said to have already filmed a cameo in the film, which it currently shooting in Chile.

While Roth plays the lead in Aftershock, the cast includes Nicolas Martinez, Ariel Levy, Miguel Asensio, Andrea Osvart, Lorenza Izzo, and Natasha Yarovenko.

Lopez is one of the most promising directors coming out of what many have begun calling “Chilewood”.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Panama Being Urged to Find Peaceful Solution to Escalating Tensions with Indigenous People

Panama Being Urged to Find Peaceful Solution to Escalating Tensions with Indigenous People

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An independent United Nations expert on indigenous rights called today on the Government of Panama and the country’s indigenous groups to establish a dialogue process to stop the recent tensions and violence from escalating after recent protests.

“I urge the Government of Panama and the Ngäbe-Buglé, Emberá and Wounaan peoples to initiate a dialogue process as soon as possible with the purpose of finding a peaceful solution to this conflict situation,” said Special Rapporteur on indigenous rights James Anaya, referring to the recent clashes between indigenous representatives and the Panamanian police.

Last week, members of the indigenous group Ngäbe-Buglé occupied various points of the Pan-American Highway to protest against mining and hydroelectric activities in their lands. During the protests they quarrelled with police, resulting in the death of one indigenous person and many others being detained and injured.

Mr. Anaya called on the Government to “adopt the necessary measures to guarantee the safety of those participating in the protests and avoid circumstances that put their lives and integrity at risk.” He also urged for an investigation into the death of the indigenous protester so that those responsible can be brought to justice.

Meanwhile, representatives of the Emberá and Wounaan groups publicly denounced the lack of legalization for their lands, and said they would start their own protest movements in solidarity with the Ngäbe-Buglé people.

In a report delivered to the UN Human Rights Council in July last year, Mr. Anaya had warned that big development projects and the exploitation of natural resources were becoming one of the most significant sources of abuse of indigenous’ rights worldwide.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Arizona State Rep. Cecil Ash Says There Should be a “Caucasian Day”

Arizona State Rep. Cecil Ash Says There Should be a “Caucasian Day”

Photo: Arizona State Rep. Cecil Ash Says There Should be a "Caucasian Day"

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At a time when Arizona laws and law enforcement officials are under immense scrutiny for how they treat the state’s minority (primarily Latino) population, Republican State Rep. Cecil Ash did nothing to help change the negative image of his state.

Last week on the legislative floor, Democratic State Rep. Richard Miranda proposed a Latin American day for state of Arizona, to which Rep. Ash responded, “I’m supportive of this proposition ... I just want them to assure me that when we (Caucasians) become the minority you’ll have a day for us.

Ash’s comment made a lot of people angry, and he spoke with a local CBS affiliate to “clarify” what he meant. However, he did not manage to make his comments sound any less offensive.

When asked by CBS5 if he meant that there should be a holiday for white people, he “clarified” that, yes, he thinks there should be.

I think that if and when the Caucasian population becomes a minority, they may want to celebrate the accomplishments and the contributions of the Caucasian population the same way.

Ash’s comments come shortly after Tucson-area schools were told that ethnic studies programs like Mexican-American studies were no longer to be taught, as officials believed the programs promoted resentment towards “a certain ethnic group.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

STUDY: Latinos Hardest Hit by Energy Price Increases

STUDY: Latinos Hardest Hit by Energy Price Increases

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Hispanics have been hit the hardest by energy price increases, according to a new study today released by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity

The study found that more than half of American families have seen their energy costs nearly double in the past ten years.  Due to income inequalities, Hispanic households are disproportionately impacted by these rising energy costs, which reduce the amount of income that can be spent on food, housing, health care and other necessities.

In 2010, 62 percent of Hispanic households had average annual incomes below $50,000, compared with 46 percent of Anglo households.  Lower-income families are more vulnerable to energy costs than higher-income families because energy represents a larger portion of their household budgets.  Energy is consuming one-fifth or more of the household incomes of lower- and middle-income families

Hispanics are spending more of their family budget on energy costs, while at the same time the community is facing high unemployment and greater poverty levels,” said Evan Tracey, senior vice president of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity. “For millions of Americans living on low and fixed incomes, surging energy prices mean less money for other necessities such as food, housing and health care.  EPA continues to drive up energy prices, which are hurting Hispanics and all American families.”

The annual assessment “Energy Cost Impacts of American Families” uses data from the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Census Bureau to analyze energy cost increases since 2001 for U.S. households.

The full study, “Energy Cost Impacts of American Families,” written by environmental attorney and energy economist Eugene M. Trisko for ACCCE, is available by clicking here

Read more by HS News Staff →

Sen. Rubio Takes on Pres. Obama in Contraception Fight

Sen. Rubio Takes on Pres. Obama in Contraception Fight

Photo: Sen. Rubio Takes on Pres. Obama in Contraception Fight

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Florida Senator Marco Rubio has become the latest to challenge the part of President Obama’s health care law which laid out new rules for insurance providers.

The new rules state that insurers must provide birth control coverage without co-pays. However, the Cuban-American senator, who called the Obama administration “overbearing” and “obsessed with forcing mandates on the American people,” filed legislation that would repeal the birth control mandate.

Rubio has said this mandate is just another attack by the Obama administration in the so-called “war on religion.”

Though the birth control mandate does not apply to churches, it does apply to church-run schools and universities, as well as hospitals and charities.

In response last week, the Republican senator told CBS4, ‘I don’t think the government should be forcing any institution to pay for something that institution finds to violate their conscience.’

In Friday’s New York Post, Sen. Rubio defended his legislation, saying, ‘From a practical standpoint, this will force Catholic organizations to make an unacceptable choice: Ignore a major tenet of their faith, or not provide any insurance to their employees and be punished with a federal fine for violating ObamaCare’s mandate on employers. As Americans, we should all be appalled by an activist government so overbearing and so obsessed with forcing mandates on the American people that it forces such a choice on religious institutions.”

He also states, “Religious freedom is a core American principle, one that our Founding Fathers enshrined in the Constitution and called on future generations of leaders to preserve and protect.”

The repeal legislation Sen. Rubio has introduced is called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 2012. He describes it as
“a bill to establish a firm religious exemption to this insurance requirement under Obamacare.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Hispanic Standout Edgar Orozco Heading to Harvard on a $56,000 Annual Scholarship

Hispanic Standout Edgar Orozco Heading to Harvard on a $56,000 Annual Scholarship

Photo: Edgard Orozco Hispanic Standout

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Edgar Orozco is an example that, with perseverance and effort, a person can win a scholarship to top-level universities like Harvard, despite having received an education below that generally demanded by colleges of that type.

“When I was in third grade a teacher told us to write what our biggest wish was. Some wrote that they wanted to be an astronaut or police officer. I drew the Miramonte (elementary) school building, but where the name appeared I wrote Harvard,” Orozco, who earned a full scholarship to Harvard to study mechanical engineering, told Efe.

“I put Harvard because I thought that it’s the best to which I could aspire. So, when the letter arrived last year in which they told me they had accepted me in the engineering school I couldn’t believe it,” he added.

His scholarship amounts to $56,000 per year to cover the cost of tuition, housing, food and medical insurance.

Born on May 5, 1993, in Los Angeles, Orozco is the son of Mexicans who immigrated to the United States in the early 1980s.

“I learned that I could seek a scholarship at Harvard from Juan Hernandez-Campos, who is about to finish his engineering studies on a scholarship at Harvard and is a member of the extracurricular activities organization After School All-Stars,” Orozco said.

Hernandez-Campos “told me that, besides good grades, at universities like Harvard they take into account activities outside school or community service tasks,” and so the young man participated in After School All-Stars, Los Angeles.

“LA All-Stars provides a secure environment to which students come after school to participate in an hour of personal enrichment tutoring at which we motivate them not to drop out of school, to study at colleges and the result is that they raise their academic performance,” Shannon Mayock, a spokesperson for the program, told Efe.

“In the low-income areas, parents don’t have the time or the money to enroll their children in leadership, visual arts and acting, dance (or) sports programs, which is what we offer,” Mayock said.

Orozco began his studies last fall at Harvard and when he finishes he’s intending to go on for a Master’s degree at Stanford or MIT.

“At Harvard, I feel that the public school systems where I come from do not prepare us for the demands of these big league universities,” Orozco said.

“I come with a disadvantage, and so I have to study very hard to get good grades, and the difference from my classmates who come from private schools is that they have been prepared to do well in everything that is demanded here,” he said.

In the face of this situation, the student decided that when he finishes his studies he will devote himself to fighting to promote a reform of the U.S. education system so that public schools prepare students well to perform in the best universities in the United States and the world.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Student Loans in Six Latin American Countries Set to Increase

Student Loans in Six Latin American Countries Set to Increase

Photo: Inter-American Bank

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The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) will help expand the access to higher education in Latin America and the Caribbean by providing a $10 million loan to the Higher Education Finance Fund, L.P. (HEFF), a regional debt fund that seeks to offer student loans through local microfinance organizations.

With total assets of up to $50 million from the IDB and other international institutions, HEFF will provide financing to microfinance institutions under appropriate conditions so they can in turn extend long-term loans to students, allowing them to pay for their studies once they enter the labor market.

During its initial rollout, the program will serve about 3,000 students from Guatemala, Honduras, Dominican Republic, Peru, Bolivia, and Paraguay, where there is a high demand for student credit. There are also excellent prospects for growth in other Latin-American locations as the fund grows and develops.

Funding will only be provided for students that seek to enroll in reputable academic institutions and in careers that are in high demand or where jobs are expected to grow. Additionally, HEFF will implement a student monitoring and mentoring system, whereby local education experts will oversee the student’s ongoing progress and provide education and social system support as needed. This unique structure seeks to ensure the sustainability of the business while responding to the needs of low income students.

HEFF will also set up a $1 million technical assistance grant to support training for microfinance institutions participating in the program to understand the student loan markets and implement adequate lending practices.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Israeli Designer Yigal Azrouel Donating Proceeds from Stores to Help Mexican Children

Israeli Designer Yigal Azrouel Donating Proceeds from Stores to Help Mexican Children

Photo: Israeli Designer Yigal Azrouel Donating Proceeds from Stores to Help Mexican Children

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Israeli fashion designer Yigal Azrouel will be collaborating once again with New York-based non-profit organization Project Paz to help children in the violence-wracked Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez.

Azrouel has designed a series of iPhone cases inspired by his latest Spring collection, which he will present during New York’s Feb. 9-16 Fashion Week, and proceeds from their sale will be donated to Project Paz, the organization said.

The New York-based Israeli, best known as a designer of women’s clothing, inaugurated his first Cut25 fashion store on Thursday in New York and unveiled a limited edition of four iPhone cases named “Yours Truly,” “The Zelda,” “Hayley’s Closet” and “Cut Up.”

Each costs $35 and 100 percent of the proceeds will be donated to Project Paz, founded by a group of New Yorkers originally from the Ciudad Juarez-El Paso area who are dedicated to raising “awareness about the social and economic challenges faced in Ciudad Juarez and to funding projects that strengthen community bonds in the region.” the organization said in a press release.

“Additionally, Yigal is donating to the organization 10 percent of all Cut25 store proceeds from February 2-5,” Project Paz said.

All of the funds will help the organization provide underprivileged children in Ciudad Juarez with a complementary visit to that city’s innovative La Rodadora science and culture museum, which will open its doors in April.

“We are very happy to collaborate for the second time with designer Yigal Azrouel. Thanks to supporters like him, we have been able to help underprivileged children in Ciudad Juarez to expand their knowledge and skills with after-school activities,” Carlos Armando Garcia, board member of Project Paz, said.

Ciudad Juarez, regarded as Mexico’s murder capital, was the scene of more than 3,100 homicides in 2010 and nearly 2,000 more last year, or 148 murders for every 100,000 residents.

Authorities attribute most of the violence in the hardscrabble metropolis to a territorial conflict between the Juarez and Sinaloa drug cartels.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Labor Secretary Solis Announces $2 Million Grant to Strengthen Labor Rights in Colombia

Labor Secretary Solis Announces $2 Million Grant to Strengthen Labor Rights in Colombia

Photo: Colombian Labor Rights Grant

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Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis today met with Colombia Minister of Labor Rafael Pardo to discuss Colombia’s recent achievements in protecting workers’ rights and to address the challenges that remain.

She highlighted the ongoing technical cooperation between the U.S. Department of Labor and Colombia’s Labor Ministry, and announced the award of a $2 million grant to the International Labor Organization to develop a robust presence in Colombia.

“Minister Pardo and his leadership team share our commitment to worker rights and strong and effective labor law enforcement,” said Secretary Solis. “The grant from the U.S. Department of Labor announced today is but one effort to help ensure that Colombia has all the tools it needs to carry out this commitment.”

The ILO presence will support the implementation of the Colombia Action Plan Related to Labor Rights through a variety of direct assistance activities. In April 2011, the plan was concluded between Colombia and the United States. Under it, Colombia committed to a series of measures to improve protection of labor rights, prevent labor violence and increase prosecution of the perpetrators of such violence.

These commitments lay the groundwork for significant labor rights improvements in Colombia. To date, Colombia has met each milestone in the action plan. Solis acknowledged that much work remains to achieve the full potential of the plan for Colombia’s workers and reaffirmed her full commitment to work with Minister Pardo to overcome challenges.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Report: Number of Upscale Latino Households More Than Doubled from 2000-2010

Report: Number of Upscale Latino Households More Than Doubled from 2000-2010

Photo: Upscale Latino Consumers

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Highlighting the opportunities generated by the 8.2 million Latino adults living in households with an income of $75,000 or more, Packaged Facts’ Upscale Latino Consumers in the U.S. calls for a shift in strategic thinking about the Hispanic market.

Between 2000 and 2010 the number of Upscale Latino households more than doubled from 1.3 million to 2.9 million, and grew three times faster than the number of non-Latino Upscale Consumer households. Upscale Latino households account for only 21% of all Latino households but now generate 51% of their aggregate income.

With buying power that is expected to reach $680 billion in 2016, Upscale Latinos have an outsize impact on marketing and sales success in the Latino market. Internet marketers and retailers, among others, should place a high priority on reaching out to these shoppers, who account for two-thirds of all Latinos who annually spend $1,000 or more online.

The report shows shows in measurable terms how rising income inequality has dramatically changed the landscape of the Latino market, just as it has transformed the American consumer economy as a whole.

Read more by HS News Staff →



TuesdayFebruary 7, 2012