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SaturdayFebruary 18, 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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Uruguay Urged to Provide Water to Its Poorest Communities

Uruguay Urged to Provide Water to Its Poorest Communities

Photo: Uruguay and Water Sanitation Issues

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An independent United Nations human rights expert today called on Uruguayan authorities to implement measures to provide access to health and sanitation to its poorest and most marginalized communities.

Uruguay has achieved significant progress in terms of access to water and sanitation, but it is now urgent to prioritize access for vulnerable and marginalized individuals,” said Special Rapporteur on the right to water and sanitation Catarina de Albuquerque, who recently finished a visit to Uruguay.

Ms. Albuquerque emphasized that the right to sanitation goes beyond sewerage and urged authorities to adopt a national plan that focuses on alternative sanitation options.

“The water and energy services regulatory unit must be given more capabilities and independence, as well as more financial and human resources so it can monitor these essential rights,” she said.

“It is important that Uruguay knows how to maintain the progress it has achieved, which is why it is essential that the Government reinforce its monitoring and controlling capacities of big agro-industrial and mining projects,” she noted.

During her visit this week, Ms. Albuquerque visited various neighborhoods in Montevideo, the capital, and in other parts of the country. She also met with local authorities as well as with representatives of civil society.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Pope Names Spanish and Brazilan Priests to College of Cardinals

Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday solemnly proclaimed 22 new cardinals, including a Spaniard and a Brazilian.

These were Spain’s Archbishop Santos y Castello, 76, vice-chamberlain of the Apostolic Chamber and archpriest of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, and Joao Braz de Aviz, 64, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

The proclamation was made at the beginning of the consistory being held at the St. Peter’s Basilica, the fourth of Benedict XVI’s pontificate.

After reading the ritual in Latin for creating cardinals and raising them to the purple individually, the pope placed on each the ridged red silk cap known as the biretta and gave them a cardinal’s hat - both symbols of the rank of cardinal - and assigned each a church in Rome as a sign of their participation in the pastoral care of the pontiff throughout the Eternal City.

Of the 22 new cardinals, 18 are less than 80 years old, making them eligible to take part in an eventual conclave to elect a new pope. The other four are octogenarians, and according to Vatican rules they may not enter the Sistine Chapel - where the conclaves are held - to elect a pontiff, though they can be elected themselves.

Of the 18 electors, 12 are European, one is Latin American, three are North Americans and two are Asians.

Of the 12 European electors, seven are Italians, which signifies a strengthening of the Italian church, which is first in the number of cardinals with 52, of whom 30 are electors.

After Italy comes the United States with 19 cardinals, of whom 12 are electors, followed by Spain with 10 cardinals including five electors, Brazil also with 10 and six electors, and France with nine including four electors.

With the new cardinals and now with a total of 119, the European church extends its influence in the College of Cardinals with slightly more than half the members of what has been called “the most exclusive club in the world.”

Latin America continues to place second, now with 32 raised to the purple, followed by North America with 22, Asia with 20, Africa with 17 and Oceania with four.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Hurrah for Carnival in Brazil

Hurrah for Carnival in Brazil

Photo: Carnival Brazil Launches

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Brazil gave itself up Saturday to the revelry of Carnival and its many madcap street parties, as cities like Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and Recife brimmed with millions having the time of their lives.

Rio de Janeiro on Saturday was the epicenter of Brazil’s Carnival with an intensive program of 82 street bands and costumed groups firing up the festivities 24 hours a day, even as the samba schools practiced for their spectacular parades on Sunday and Monday.

According to the Militarized Police, the biggest group of all, the Cordão da Bola Preta, drew close to 2.2 million people to Rio Branco Avenue and the nearby streets in the downtown Rio financial district, where it was practically impossible for a body to move.

Begun in 1918, the Cordão da Bola Preta is Rio’s oldest, most popular “comparsa,” or Carnival group, and always plays well-known pop songs like “Cidade Maravilhosa” (Wonderful City), now the official anthem of that Brazilian city.

The street groups, which each year attract more people than the year before, have a continuous programming that started this Friday and won’t stop for a moment until next Tuesday, when the curtain rings down on the Carnival of Rio.

In Salvador, capital of the northeastern state of Bahia, there are no samba schools as there are in Rio de Janeiro, but the streets were equally jammed Saturday with millions of people attracted by frenzied rhythms rooted in African culture, and also by the wildly uninhibited “axe” music.

This city competes every year with Rio for the most tourists, and its concerts Saturday featured renowned singers like Ivete Sangalo, Daniela Mercury and the Chiclete com Banana group, one of the most popular at the Bahia festival.

These groups join the parade on platforms installed on truck beds fitted with deafening loudspeakers, and are followed down the streets by thousands of people, who can then choose to enjoy the festivities for free, or in exclusive areas cordoned off from the masses that cost up to $500 a night.

Recife, the capital of the northeastern state of Pernambuco, on Saturday was the scene of another of Brazil’s major Carnival celebrations, with several million people crowding the historic districts of the city in a parade of the Galo da Madrugada group, which began at 6:00 a.m. (0900 GMT) and planned to carry on until nightfall.

The Galo da Madrugada, which touts itself as the biggest Carnival group in the world, this year hit the streets with 25 trucks equipped with powerful loudspeakers and the music volume turned all the way up to keep the party going.

The most traditional music of the Recife Carnival is the “frevo,” a rapid rhythm to which people generally dance while carrying small, multicolored umbrellas.

The parade, which as every year was headed by a colorful rooster 26 meters (85 feet) tall, also had some enormous dolls typical of the region that were a tribute to the late singer Luiz Gonzaga on the centenary of his birth.

In Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city, Carnival lacks the vast popular participation of the other cities, and the festivies are limited to samba school parades, though year by year these are getting spectacular enough to rival those of Rio de Janeiro where the tradition was born.

The first day of parades began Friday and ended Saturday morning with the sun already high in the heavens, while Saturday night will be the second and last session with seven samba schools taking part.

The biggest crowds in Sao Paulo occurred on the highway between the city and the coast, where an unprecedented traffic jam on Saturday occupied 47 kilometers (29 miles) of the road out of the 60 (37) from the metropolis to the beaches bordering the city of Santos.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Alarming:  In One Week H1N1 Deaths in Mexico Increase by 67 Percent

Alarming:  In One Week H1N1 Deaths in Mexico Increase by 67 Percent

Photo: H1N1 Deaths Mexico on Rise

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The AH1N1 flu virus has left a total of 135 people dead in Mexico so far this year, with the number of fatalities up 67 percent in just one week, according to figures released by the authorities.

The total number of deaths from AH1N1 flu reported by Mexico’s Health Secretariat up to Feb. 9 was 81, with another 54 the following week.

The secretariat said Friday that deaths from the AH1N1 strain of flu from Jan. 1 to Feb. 16 represents 91 percent of the 149 fatalities from the different types of flu now active in the country.

At the same time, 4,440 cases of people infected with the AH1N1 flu virus have been reported in the same period of time, which also represents 91 percent of the total 4,884 flu cases.

Three seasonal flu viruses are currently active in Mexico - AH1N1, AH3N2 and influenza B - but the AH1N1 is by far the most prevalent this year.

The AH1N1 virus broke out in Mexico between March and April 2009, and locally the alert for the disease was in force up to June 29, 2010, by which time some 1,300 deaths had occurred and more than 70,000 people had contracted the disease.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Unemployment for Latinos & African Americans to Remain Very High through 2012

Unemployment for Latinos & African Americans to Remain Very High through 2012

Photo: Latino Unemployment to Remain High

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Very high levels of unemployment are expected to remain high through the 4th quarter of 2012, a new EPI report finds.  In “No relief in 2012 from high unemployment for African Americans and Latinos”, EPI Director of the Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy program Algernon Austin reviews unemployment rates by state for African Americans, Latinos and whites. 

He finds that the 25 states where African Americans are experiencing unemployment rates of 10% or higher will continue to do so through 2012, as will the 14 states where the Latino unemployment rate is 10% or higher.

The African American unemployment rate is higher than the overall rate in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  The lowest African American unemployment rate—11.2% in Maryland—is roughly the same as the highest white unemployment rate—11.7 % in Nevada.  Four states and the District of Columbia have African American unemployment rates over 20%–Minnesota (27.4%), Michigan (21.8%), California (21.3%), DC (21.1%) and Ohio (20.3%).  California is the only one of these states where the unemployment rate is projected to drop below 20% in 2012.

The highest unemployment rates for Latinos are found in Rhode Island (19.6%), Connecticut (18.7%) and Pennsylvania (17.5%).  California and Florida are projected to see the largest declines in Latino unemployment in 2012, but these declines do not exceed 1.5 percentage points.

“EPI’s state-based analysis makes clear that it would be a mistake to conclude that the employment situation is improving,” said Catherine Singley, Senior Policy Analyst at the National Council of La Raza.  “In states like Rhode Island, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, near twenty-percent unemployment is a reality for Latinos.  Local and state officials who fail to respond to this crisis do a disservice to workers, families, and the economy.”

Finally, white unemployment is at relatively high levels in many states, but it is lower than the overall unemployment rate in all states. California is the only state projected to see the white unemployment rate drop more than one percentage point, to 8.9%.

“Americans need Congress to enact jobs proposals like those in President Obama’s American Jobs Act,” said Austin. “If we fail to accelerate the recovery, all Americans, but especially blacks and Latinos, will experience prolonged economic hardship.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Jennifer Lopez in First Posed Photo with Boyfriend Casper Smart

Jennifer Lopez in First Posed Photo with Boyfriend Casper Smart

Photo: Jennifer Lopez and Casper Smart.

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Singer/actress Jennifer Lopez appeared with her boyfriend Casper Smart in a posed photograph that appeared on social networks in celebration of Valentine’s Day.

The black and white photo shows Lopez leaning on Smart’s tattooed arms while he kisses her head. The photo is said to be part of the promotional ad launch for JLo’s new perfume called Glowing. The first photo released for the introduction of Glowing shows Lopez nude and covered in oil and covering her chest with her arms.

Underneath the photo, Lopez wrote, “Happy Valentine’s Day. I wish you all much love. I love.”

However, in a matter of minutes the image was removed from her twitter feed.

Read more by HS News Staff →

“Things Burquenos Say” (VIDEO) Goes viral

“Things Burquenos Say” YouTube video that exaggerates stereotypical New Mexico Hispanics has hit viral status on all social networks. The video was created by an Albuquerque production company named Blackout Theatre, whom created the video after seeing a similar YouTube hit.

The video jokes over exaggerated accents and phrases that are customary to the local Hispanic population. Blackout Theatre said it placed Facebook polls to get its comedic material making it largely locally influenced video.

Its popularity has also brought some criticism from those who couldn’t take the jokes lightly. However, Blackout Theatre’s Lauren Poole reassured that the video was not meant for a racist purpose. 

“We don’t mean it in a racist way. We are not making fun of people. It’s us, like an ode to where we are from, and I am sorry if people are offended, ” stated Poole.

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Plane Crash Kills 4 in Brazil

Plane Crash Kills 4 in Brazil

Photo: Plane crash results in four dead.

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All four people aboard were killed when a small aircraft crashed Thursday in the northern state of Para, authorities said.

The plane, a Beechcraft Baron operated by Norte Jet Taxi Aereo, went down shortly after taking off from the airport in Cameta, a Brazilian air force spokesman told Efe.

Killed along with the pilot and co-pilot were two employees of a security firm transporting cash to bank branches in Para. The flight began in Belem, the state capital, and was scheduled to make stops in several municipalities.

An air force accident investigation team was sent to the crash site to begin a probe.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Olympic Gold-Medalist, Jessica Mendoza, Encouraging Latinas to Succeed

Olympic Gold-Medalist, Jessica Mendoza, Encouraging  Latinas to Succeed

Photo: Jessica Mendoza says Latinas benefit from dedication to sports.

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Jessica Mendoza, an Olympic gold medal winner with the U.S. softball team, says that young Hispanic women can dare to be different by going to college and dedicating their energies to sports.

“In the Latino community there are many cultural barriers and preestablished roles so that girls remain inside the home and do not devote time to sports,” Mendoza told Efe.

“Playing sports, in particular, causes Latinas to have more confidence in themselves, they are a road to education,” she said.

Born on Nov. 11, 1980, in Camarillo, California, Mendoza is the granddaughter of Mexican immigrants.

Graduating in 2003 with an M.A. in education and social sciences from Stanford University, Mendoza was the school’s Athlete of the Year in 1999, 2000 and 2001.

Among the awards she has won are a gold medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, two world cups (2006-2007), two world championships (2002 and 2006), two gold medals in the Pan-American Games in 2003 and 2007 and a silver medal in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, among others.

“A problem in the Hispanic community is that many girls and boys are overweight,” said Mendoza, who is a reporter and analyst for ESPN.

“So we have to provide the incentive in Latino homes ... to get out of the house to play sports,” she said.

Mendoza said that her love of sports started in childhood because her father coached baseball, but as a Latina she always noticed that she never saw Hispanic girls as models to follow in sports.

“I started playing baseball at 4, but I only played with males and at 8 I began playing softball with other girls, the model to follow was my dad, who is a bilingual coach and on the field would direct one person in English and, at the same time, he’d give tips to another in Spanish,” she recounted.

“My father played a lot in school and because of his talents in sports he was able to study in good schools and do well in all academic areas to be successful in life,” Mendoza said.

Married to a civil engineer and the mother of a 3-year-old boy, Mendoza also devotes herself to giving motivational talks to young people in U.S. schools and abroad.

“I like to focus myself on seeing how I can help in the Latino community with my words,” she said.

Mendoza said that she knows very well that in the Latino community there is a cycle in which girls begin to have children at an early age and don’t continue their studies at college.

“We new generations of Latinas have to be different and to dare to be the first in the family to think differently about enrolling to study at community colleges or universities,” she said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Gloria Trevi Says She Still Struggles With Stage Fright

Gloria Trevi Says She Still Struggles With Stage Fright

Photo: Gloria Trevi Proves that No Matter How Famous One is, Stage Fright Can Still be a Struggle

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Singer Gloria Trevi, who has sold 22 million albums since she burst on the scene in 1985, told Efe that she still suffers from stage fright.

“They don’t pay me to sing. They pay me for what I feel before I go on stage,” the 44-year-old Mexican star said during a visit to Miami for Thursday night’s Premios Lo Nuestro awards gala, where she performed her new single, “Gloria.”

“I get very nervous. So the first notes are almost always kind of out of tune,” Trevi said.

The singer said she decided to do a cover of “Gloria,” which was a mega-hit oin the 1980s for the late Laura Branigan, to inspire listeners to “success, victory, grandeur, light, glory.”

Besides scoring a string of hits as a recording artist, Trevi has written songs for Edith Marquez, Anahi, Alejandro Fernandez, Espinoza Paz, Alejandra Guzman and Pandora.

Read more by HS News Staff →

6 Kidnappings a Day Occur in Mexico, Up 23% from Last Year

6 Kidnappings a Day Occur in Mexico, Up 23% from Last Year

Photo: Authorities catalog increased rate of kidnappings in Mexico.

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Mexico experienced an average of six kidnappings per day in the second half of last year, up 23.4 percent from the same period in 2010, according to the government, while an NGO said that only one abduction in 10 is even reported to police

Authorities catalogued 1,239 kidnappings in July-December 2011, compared with 1,004 in the second half of 2010.

The increase in abductions reflects the “growing diversification of the activities of criminal organizations,” the executive secretary of the National Public Safety System, Jose Oscar Vega, told reporters.

The figures offered by the government diverge from those compiled by the independent Council for Law and Human Rights, or CLDH, which cites a total of 17,889 kidnappings in 2011: an average of 49 a day.

The CLDH said its data exclude “express kidnappings,” in which people are held for a few hours and forced to withdraw cash from ATMs.

Mexico City sees hundreds of express kidnappings every day and taxi drivers are complicit in most of them, the CLDH said, noting that only 10 percent of all kidnap victims file complaints with police.

Vega’s report on kidnappings was the second since the Mexican government pledged to start disclosing crime statistics. He is due next week to release the figures on homicides in 2011.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Shakira and Prince Royce Big Winners in “Premio Lo Nuestro” awards

Shakira and Prince Royce Big Winners in “Premio Lo Nuestro” awards

Photo: Shakira and Prince Royce win big and "Premio Lo Nuestro", racking up four trophies each.

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Colombian pop star Shakira and Dominican-American bachata singer Prince Royce were the big winners here at Univision’s “Premio Lo Nuestro” Latin music awards show, taking home four trophies each.

Shakira walked away with Artist of the Year in the general category, as well as Female Artist of the Year, Album of the Year for “Sale el Sol” and Song of the Year for “Rabiosa” (with Dominican rapper El Cata) in the pop category.

Prince Royce, for his part, was honored in the general category for Collaboration of the Year (with Puerto Rican reggaeton star Daddy Yankee) for the track “Ven Conmigo” and also snagged Song of the Year for “El Amor que Perdimos,” Male Artist of the Year and Contemporary Artist of the Year in the tropical category.

Coming in just behind Shakira and Prince Royce was the Mexican Tejano/Norteño band Intocable, which won three awards, while Mexican rockers Mana and Cuban-American hip-hop star Pitbull each came away with two.

Pitbull dedicated his Urban Artist of the Year award to his fellow nominees in that category - Daddy Yankee, Don Omar and Wisin & Yandel, thanking them for continuing to open doors worldwide for urban music.

The 24th edition of the Premio Lo Nuestro extravaganza, broadcast live Thursday night from Miami’s American Airlines Arena, kicked off with a high-energy, hi-tech number by Daddy Yankee, who performed his hit song “Lovumba.”

The stage was lit by what appeared to be a network of cellular circuits that was transformed into a city attacked by a fire-breathing dragon, while Daddy Yankee, whose lighted costume changed colors and designs to the beat of the music, sent the crowd into a frenzy.

The evening also included performances by a score of other artists, including Mexican pop diva Gloria Trevi, who thrilled the audience with a disco version of the song “Gloria”; and Pitbull and American R&B artist Chris Brown, who presented their hit “International Love” as the world’s greatest cities seemed to come to life around them.

Read more by HS News Staff →

SaturdayFebruary 18, 2012