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MondayFebruary 20, 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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Thorough Investigation Urged in Killing of Journalists in Brazil

Thorough Investigation Urged in Killing of Journalists in Brazil

Photo: Brazil's Paulo Roberto Cardoso Rodrigues Killed

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The head of the United Nations agency tasked with defending press freedom today condemned the murders of two Brazilian journalists earlier this month and called for thorough investigations of the killings.

Irina Bokova, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), issued a statement deploring the murders of Paulo Roberto Cardoso Rodrigues on February 12 and Mario Randolfo Marques Lopes on February 8.

“These killings are an intolerable attack on the profession of journalism and on an individual’s basic human right to free speech,” Ms. Bokova said, adding that thorough investigations of the deaths were needed “to enable journalists to continue reporting without having to fear for their lives and for the safety of their relatives.”

At least 11 journalists or media professionals have been killed in Brazil since 2002, and a UNESCO-backed research project is currently examining the issues facing community media operating in violent or difficult areas in Rio de Janeiro.

Mr. Cardoso, also known as Paulo Rocaro, served as the editor of Jornal Da Praça, a daily newspaper, and the website Mercosul News. He was driving home in Ponta Porá, close to Brazil’s border with Paraguay, when two men on a motorcycle shot him dead.

Mr. Marques was the editor-in-chief of the Vassouras na Net website when he was abducted and shot dead with his girlfriend in Barra do Piraí in Rio de Janeiro state.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Carnivorous Fish Injure at Least 20 in Brazil

Carnivorous Fish Injure at Least 20 in Brazil

Photo: Carnivorous Fish Injure at Least 20 in Brazil

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At least 20 people suffered slight injuries on their toes and fingers when they were attacked by a school of “palometas,” a species of carnivorous fish native to South America’s Southern Cone, as they were bathing in a river in southern Brazil, authorities reported Monday.

The attack occurred on Sunday afternoon at two different spots on the Toropi River, which runs through the central part of the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul.

After recommending to the approximately 1,000 bathers gathered at the Passo do Juliao and Passo do Angico swimming spots that they get out of the water, authorities allowed people to swim again on Monday but they strengthened the presence of lifeguards to be alert for any new attack.

The victims, most of whom suffered small bites on their fingers and toes, although some were bitten on the ears, were attended to by paramedics.

Authorities attributed the attack to the low level of the river water due to a drought and the scarcity of food for the fish.

Despite the fact that the palometa is a carnivorous fish of the piranha family, it does not normally attack humans.

Read more by HS News Staff →

U.S. and Mexico Sign Energy Agreement for Gulf of Mexico

U.S. and Mexico Sign Energy Agreement for Gulf of Mexico

Photo: Gulf of Mexico Energy Policy

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The Mexican and U.S. governments signed an agreement Monday for the exploration and development of oil and gas reservoirs that straddle the countries’ maritime boundary in the Gulf of Mexico.

The agreement “ensures that each country can develop its corresponding oil and natural gas deposits in the trans-border area of the Gulf of Mexico,” Mexican President Felipe Calderon said during the signing ceremony.

The agreement will allow the joint, safe, equitable development, of any cross-border deposit “with full respect for the environment,” Calderon said at the ceremony in the Pacific resort of Los Cabos, which is hosting a G-20 meeting of 18 foreign ministers.

Both nations also will be able to “more efficiently (develop) energy resources” that have been “underutilized until now precisely due to restrictions on developing (cross-border reservoirs),” Calderon said.

Mexico’s Senate still must give the green light for the agreement, which was signed by Mexican Foreign Secretary Patricia Espinosa and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a ceremony presided over by Calderon.

“These reservoirs could hold considerable reserves ... but they don’t necessarily stop neatly at our maritime boundary. This could lead to disputes,” Clinton said.

“The agreement we are signing today will help prevent such disputes.”

Calderon said the pact will “maximize the recovery of hydrocarbons, strengthen both countries’ energy security” and increase the amount of revenues contributed to Mexican coffers by state oil monopoly Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, which will acquire experience and cutting-edge technology by operating projects with “the world’s most advanced companies.”

He said the accord was negotiated “under the principle of protecting each country’s sovereign rights to its natural resources” and he stressed that “Mexico’s petroleum wealth is and will continue to belong to Mexicans.”

Mexico’s foreign and energy ministries, meanwhile, said in a statement that this “historic” instrument “will generate the necessary legal certainty for the long-term development of resources that may be found in that area” for the benefit of both countries.

They said the negotiations unfolded in both capitals and that Mexican authorities were in contact with a multiparty group of senators during the process.

Also participating in the signing ceremony as honorary witnesses were Mexican Energy Secretary Jordy Herrera and U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

Pemex, the world’s third-largest oil producer, is the largest contributor to Mexico’s federal budget and one of the only oil companies worldwide that handles all aspects of the productive chain, from exploration to distribution and the marketing of end products.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Rep. Lamar Smith Now Holding Up Attempted Suicide Bomber as Example of Need for Immigration Reform

Rep. Lamar Smith Now Holding Up Attempted Suicide Bomber as Example of Need for Immigration Reform

Photo: Rep. Lamar Smith Now Holding Up Attempted Suicide Bomber as Example of Need for Immigration Reform

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Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) is now using the would-be bomber Amine El Khalifi as an example of why the U.S. immigration to be reformed and more rigid.

Last week, El Khalifi, 29, was arrested by federal agents after an investigation revealed that he was planning a suicide mission with the target being Washington D.C.

El Khalifi was in the U.S. on an expired visitor’s visa from Morocco.

Following El Khalifi’s arrest, Rep. Smith said, “Today’s thwarted terror plot is a reminder that foreign terrorists will continue to exploit our nation’s immigration laws as long as they remain loosely enforced by the Administration.

We have not learned the lessons of 9-11. Until we crack down on our immigration laws that allow terrorists to enter and stay in the U.S., history will continue to repeat itself.”

The Republican Congressman has made recent headlines for attacking the Obama administration, claiming it is ignoring immigration laws and allowing so-called dangerous immigrants to remain in the country, when in fact this administration has deported more undocumented immigrants than any other in history.

Read more at The Hill →

Mariachi Themed Casino by Vicente Fernandez to Open in Las Vegas

Mariachi Themed Casino by Vicente Fernandez to Open in Las Vegas

Photo: Vicente Fernandez New Casino

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With plans to open by the end of 2012, Mexican recording legend Vicente Fernandez hopes to bring a little taste of México to Las Vegas with his new mariachi themed casino, “Guadalajara, Guadalajara.”  As part of his upcoming retirement plan, Fernandez, or “Chente” announced his plans for the upcoming casino, which is loosely based on the popular themed casino, “New York, New York.”

Shaped like a giant cactus, Fernandez hopes “Guadalajara, Guadalajara” will introduce Anglo-Americans to México without having to leave the country, while at the same time providing a little taste of home for Mexican Americans. 

Plans for the casino demonstrate determination to bring authentic Mexico to the Las Vegas strip.  Guests will enjoy live ‘charreadas’ or rodeos, rooster fights, as well as a mini Rancho Grande.  When hungry, visitors can enjoy a meal of Mexican delicacies in Plaza Garibaldi while being serenaded by some of México’s finest singers.  Hotel rooms will be based on rooms in Fernandez’s home in Jalisco.  Even the casino bathrooms will have an authentic feel, modeled after dimly lit Tijuana side streets. 

Fernandez’s planned requirement for guests to exchange their dollars for pesos has the Nevada Gaming Commission a little nervous.  With Fernandez’s planned requirement for guests to exchange their dollars for pesos has the Nevada Gaming Commission a little nervous.  With unstable exchange rates, the commission is worried some guests could get confused or turned off.  Vicente, however, disagrees with this concern. 

This lofty plan will keep the singer busy who maybe retiring from the world stage but not from entertaining his fans. 

Read more at Pocho →

Selena Gomez and Victoria Justice Among Those Nominated for 2012 Kids’ Choice Awards

Selena Gomez and Victoria Justice Among Those Nominated for 2012 Kids’ Choice Awards

Photo: Selena Gomez and Victoria Justice Among Those Nominated for 2012 Kids' Choice Awards

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The nominees for the 2012 Kids’ Choice Awards have been announced, and a number of Latinos were among them, including Selena Gomez and Victoria Justice.

The award show, which will air March 31 on Nickelodeon, is set to be hosted by Will Smith, who is currently filming in Costa Rica for the M. Night Shyamalan film “After Earth”.

ImageOther Latinos that made the list are Jessica Alba, Bruno Mars, Taboo - born Jaime Luis Gomez (Black Eyed Peas), Carlos Pena, Jr. (Big Time Rush), Antonio Banderas (Puss in Boots), Sofia Vergara (The Smurfs), and a number of Latinos appeared in The Muppets.

See the full list of categories and nominees here.

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: Dog Foils Prisoners’ Attempt to Break Out

LATINO BLOTTER: Dog Foils Prisoners’ Attempt to Break Out

Photo: Dog Foils Prisoners' Attempt to Break Out

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A stray dog in Paraguay is being hailed as a hero after he thwarted the escape plan of three men attempting to escape their prison confines.

The men, who are said to be very dangerous criminals, had dug a tunnel from inside the prison about 8 meters outside the walls. They likely would have at least gotten out of the hole had it not been for the stray that began barking at the men.

ImageThe barking alerted authorities who quickly nabbed the escapees.

One of the men captured, Hilario Villalba, who serving a 30-year sentence for murdering two people, says he will never stop trying to escape.

The prison the men attempted to escape from is in Tacumbu, one of the barrios of capital city Asuncion.

Read more at Associated Press (Washington Post) →

Mexico’s PRI Presidential Candidate, Enrique Pena Nieto, Leading the Race

Mexico’s PRI Presidential Candidate, Enrique Pena Nieto, Leading the Race

Photo: Gov. Enrique Pena Nieto in Lead

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The presidential candidate of Mexico’s centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, enjoys a comfortable lead over his two main rivals in the July 1 contest, according to the results of a new poll by capital daily El Universal.

Former Mexico state Gov. Enrique Peña Nieto stands at 48 percent, followed by Josefina Vazquez Mota, candidate of the governing conservative National Action Party, at 32 percent, and leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, at 20 percent.

The newspaper surveyed 1,000 eligible voters during the period Feb. 8-13 and the poll has a margin of error of plus/minus 3.5 percentage points.

As the governor of the country’s most populous state, the charismatic Peña Nieto has been in the media limelight for years. He is also married to a popular actress, Angelica Rivera.

Vazquez Mota, meanwhile, is trying to become Mexico’s first woman president even as Lopez Obrador hopes to avenge his narrow loss in the disputed 2006 election.

The El Universal survey found that 39 percent of potential voters think a PRI administration would be better at creating jobs, while 34 percent trust the once-dominant party to reduce poverty and curb violence associated with the drug trade.

Twenty-nine percent of respondents said they feared Vazquez Mota would raise taxes if elected and 24 percent suspect the conservatives would try to privatize state oil company Pemex. Another 23 percent said a Lopez Obrador presidency would lead to a devaluation of the peso.

Nearly 60 percent of those surveyed said they were firmly committed to a candidate, and only 26 percent expressed a willingness to entertain a different choice.

The official registration for presidential candidates is set for a month from now and the campaign officially runs from March 30 to June 27, three days before Mexicans go to the polls.

Besides choosing a successor to President Felipe Calderon, voters will elect a new federal Congress.

Mexico’s constitution limits the head of state to a single six-year term. The PRI, which governed Mexico from 1929 to 2000, is trying to regain the presidency after two straight losses to National Action.

Read more by HS News Staff →

AZ Sheriff Babeu’s Gay Ex-Lover Says he was Threatened w/ Deportation, Babeu Leaves Romney Campaign

AZ Sheriff Babeu’s Gay Ex-Lover Says he was Threatened w/ Deportation, Babeu Leaves Romney Campaign

Photo: AZ Sheriff Babeu Leaves Romney Campaign After Gay Ex-Lover Claims he Was Threatened w/ Deportation

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“Yesterday, a tabloid article made a number of false allegations about me,” Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu wrote on his Congressional Campaign website. “Only one was true: I’m gay.”

Babeu is referring to allegations that, along with outing him as a gay man in a predominately conservative state, claim his gay ex-lover known only as Jose was threatened with deportation if the Mexican man ever spoke of the love affair.

Jose contacted an attorney after Babeu allegedly told him his visa had expired and he was up for deportation as a result. His attorney, Melissa Weiss-Riner, told the Arizona Republic, Jose “did come in and retain me late last year based on threats and intimidation, and he wanted an attorney to help protect him.”

Saturday, Babeu held a press conference to discuss the claims against him, saying, “I want to be judged on my service: 20 years in the military, two deployments – including one in Iraq, a police officer who has responded to thousands of calls for help, and a Sheriff who has cut response times while reducing my own budget. I hope you will stand with me as we talk about the issues that matter: securing our border and ending the record debt and deficit spending that is stalling our economy and bankrupting the country we all love.”

And while the Pinal County Sheriff said he will continue his Congressional campaign, maintaining he has done nothing wrong, he did step down as presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s state campaign co-chair.

In recent years, Babeu’s stance on illegal immigration made him a rising star in Arizona’s conservative party. He even appeared in the 2010 re-election campaign ad with Sen. John McCain in which McCain notably called for federal officials to “finish the damn fence” along the Arizona-Mexico border.

The search is now on to find Jose and get a public statement from the alleged former lover.

Watch Babeu’s press conference here.

Read more by HS News Staff →

In Spite of Economic Crisis in Spain, Luxury Brands Thriving

In Spite of Economic Crisis in Spain, Luxury Brands Thriving

Photo: Calle Serrano, Spain

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Although Spain faces an enormous economic catastrophe with a 24% unemployment rate, local luxury brands continue to prosper.  This surprising statistic may be due in part to a rise in tourism within the Mediterranean country. 

Tourists, the majority arriving from China, Japan, and Russia, who come to visit popular destinations such as Madrid, Barcelona, and Marbella are improving the Spanish economy.  Many participate in ‘shopping tours’ such as the ‘Made in Spain Luxury Tour.’  These tours take customers on a relaxed tour of some of the finest stores with personal assistants and private showings of the high end designer merchandise.  Last year alone, 4.5 billion euros were spent on luxury items in these popular tourist locations.

In the summer of 2011, many of Spain’s luxury brands, such as Loewe, Lladró, Sotogrande, and many more, combined forces to create the ‘Circulo Español del Lujo Fortuny’ or the ‘Spanish Circle of Luxury and Fortune.’  This coalition, brought together to help strengthen the Spanish luxury market as well as self promote abroad, soon joined the European Cultural and Creative Industries Alliance.

Although Spain faces an increasing unemployment rate and many small shops and businesses are closing, last year, the luxury sector employed more than 800,000 people.  On Madrid’s Calle Serrano, the equivalent to New York’s 5th Avenue, there is not a single clearance sale or for sale sign to be found. 

Apparently, tourists still need their designer bags.

Read more at Smart Planet →

Armed with Knowledge Instead of Guns, New Mexico Hispanic Ranchers Show Political Power

Armed with Knowledge Instead of Guns, New Mexico Hispanic Ranchers Show Political Power

Photo: La Tierra Amarilla

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Although in the past they were seen as ‘free loaders’ and ignored, New Mexico’s Hispanic ranchers are beginning to demonstrate their political prowess. 

Recently, activists have held forums throughout the state, raised money for a major lawsuit against the U.S. Forest Service, persuaded state lawmakers to create a new town based on 200 year old land grants, and challenged federal officials with petitions, protests, and letters on all land issues.

This type of political activism is a change from 45 years ago, when a group of angry, armed Mexican Americans, led by Reies Lopez Tijerina, charged a courthouse in Tierra Amarilla, New Mexico in an attempt to make a citizen’s arrest of then District Attorney, Alfonso Sanchez.  Sanchez had arrested other activists days earlier for meeting over land grant issues.  Alfonso Sanchez was not in the courthouse at the time and in the raid, several people were wounded, causing the arrest of the raid’s leader, Tijerina.  He later served three years in prison. 

Moises Morales, now 65 years old, was a teenager when he participated in the Tierra Amarilla raid.  He states that the movement has shifted.  “We are armed with knowledge and education.  We did not have that before.”

In January of 2010, Morales and other New Mexico ranchers filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Forest Service as a result of its decision to limit grazing on land grant areas.  The forest service has not commented on the pending legal issue; however Felipe Martínez, who joined the lawsuit, said the issue goes beyond land access and grazing.  According to him, “It’s about culture and tradition.”

Read more at Real Clear Politics →

Police Shoot Out During Rio Carnival Leaves 1 Dead, 4 Wounded

One teenager was killed and four people were wounded early Monday in a shootout between cops and drug traffickers in a Rio de Janeiro shantytown near the Sambadrome, where thousands of people were watching the samba school parades of Carnival, police said.

The battle broke out in the poor Sao Carlos “favela,” or shantytown, located some 2 kilometers (1 1/4 miles) from the Rio de Janeiro Sambadrome, during a police operation targeting kingpins of a drug ring, according to police officials.

The gunfire scattered some 500 Sao Carlos residents who were parading in a “bloco,” the name for a neighborhood Carnival group that invites everyone along the way to join the party and have fun.

The police operation in a street near the bloco’s parade enraged shantytown inhabitants, who launched a violent protest during which they set a police car on fire and threw at the cops whatever they could lay their hands on.

Among the wounded are Marcilio de Oliveira, 24, alias “Cheru,” and Paulo Roberto Barros dos Santos, also 24 and known as “Dorei.” The two are accused by police of running a drug-trafficking ring out of the Sao Carlos favela.

The operation took place after police received a complaint that Cheru, a man they had been hunting for several months, was taking advantage of Carnival to meet with a friend at a neighborhood bar.

Some 10 cops went to the bar to check the report and found the suspected drug lord.

The agents were met with a hail of bullets from the gunmen, and in the shooting a 14-year-old boy was shot in the chest and died. Police accuse the teen of having ties to the drug ring, something the victim’s family denies.

The protest by Sao Carlos inhabitants, who accused police of shooting at people parading in the bloco, was dispersed with tear gas.

The shootout came a week after 11 people were arrested in the same shantytown on charges of belonging to and supporting Cheru’s drug-trafficking ring.

Among those arrested in the operation was the captain of the Police Pacification Unit, or UPP, that the regional government established in Sao Carlos a year ago to recover a neighborhood that was completely controlled by gunmen.

At the same time the shooting occurred, 72,500 spectators at the Sambadrome were enjoying the first day of parades by samba schools in the Special Group, considered the best in the Rio de Janeiro Carnival.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican Authorities Investigating a Possible Prison Breakout After 44 Die in Riot

Mexican Authorities Investigating a Possible Prison Breakout After 44 Die in Riot

Photo: Mexican Authorities Investigating a Possible Prison Breakout After 44 Die in Riot

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Authorities in the northeastern Mexican state of Nuevo Leon said they are investigating a possible breakout at a prison where 44 inmates died in a fight involving members of the rival Gulf and Los Zetas drug cartels.

The spokesman for the state’s Security Council, Jorge Domene, said 17 guards in the Apodaca correctional facility’s cell block D have been detained over the alleged prison break, as have the facility’s director, deputy director and security chief.

“In comparing the inmate list, we haven’t ruled out a prisoner escape,” Domene said in a press conference, adding that the riot may have been staged to distract attention away from the prison break.

Domene read out the names of 10 of the victims and said work was continuing to identify the others. He said they would be announced 10 at a time and asked for understanding from the inmates’ family members.

The official said the prison was 80 percent overcrowded and that the number of inmates in cell block D was double its capacity.

Most of those killed in the fight in Sunday’s wee hours were members of the Los Zetas cartel.

The Zetas, a band of special forces deserters turned outlaws, spent years as the armed wing of the Gulf drug cartel before going into business for themselves.

A territorial battle between those two drug cartels and clashes pitting criminals against the security forces claimed some 2,000 lives in Nuevo Leon last year.

The fight started around 2:00 a.m. Sunday in the prison in Apodaca, a suburb of Monterrey, the capital of Nuevo Leon, Domene said earlier.

Gunfire was heard during the fight, but officials have not determined whether it came from guards or inmates.

Federal and state security forces regained control of the prison Sunday morning and the Nuevo Leon state government set up an area to assist inmates’ relatives, who gathered around the prison seeking information about loved ones

Sunday’s fight produced the largest death toll from an incident of this type in the past few years in Mexico.

A fight last month at a prison in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas left 31 inmates dead.

A fire apparently caused by a short-circuit at the prison in Apodaca left 14 inmates dead and 35 others injured on May 20.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Thousands Fill the Streets of Spain Protesting Labor Reform

Thousands Fill the Streets of Spain Protesting Labor Reform

Photo: Spain Protest Labor Reform

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Thousands of citizens called upon by the main Spanish unions, CCOO and UGT, on Sunday took to the streets all over the country to protest against the labor reform approved by the government and called by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy “just, good and necessary.”

Under the slogan “No to the labor reform for being unfair to workers, ineffective for the economy and useless for jobs,” 57 Spanish cities staged demonstrations that, in general, transpired without incident.

Madrid was the city where the greatest number of protesters turned out - more than half a million, according to organizers, but only 50,000, according to police - followed by Barcelona with 400,000, as reported by the unions, but just 30,000, according to figures provided by the regional government of Catalonia.

During the march in Madrid, protesters shouted “general strike” and displayed posters with slogans such as “Your plunder is my crisis,” “If there’s no bread for the worker there will be no peace for the businessman” and “Education is not an expense, it’s an investment.”

At the end of the demonstration, representatives of the young union members read a manifesto in which they insisted that the reform approved by the government will not create jobs and said that its objective is to place the labor market at the service of businessmen.

During the day, the CCOO and the UGT issued a call to Spaniards to give a broad “response” to the reform and warned that this is the beginning of an “intense and sustained” series of demonstrations and an information campaign.

They urged the citizenry to join the demonstration scheduled for Feb. 29 and called by the European Confederation of Unions, or CES.

The representatives of the two big Spanish unions, Ignacio Fernandez Toxo and Candido Mendez, emphasized that the protest was not staged to seek confrontation, but to correct the labor reform and offer a channel to the public for them to demonstrate against the policy of cutbacks and layoffs that, in the unions’ judgment, the recently elected conservative Popular Party government is imposing.

Spain’s Socialist Party, or PSOE, which is the country’s main opposition party since losing the election that brought the PP to power, and the United Left, or IU, also supported the demonstrations on Sunday.

In Madrid, Socialist parliamentary spokesperson Soraya Rodriguez said that her party will be out on the street, in Parliament and everywhere else to “stop” the labor reform because the rights of workers and the unemployed “are at stake.”

IU general coordinator Cayo Lara agreed that “the madness of the PP” must be halted because it could result in six million people unemployed if nothing is done. Currently, the number of people without work in Spain is about five million, or almost 24 percent of the working population.

In Seville, where on Saturday Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was overwhelmingly reelected as the PP chief, the premier expressed his respect for the protests but said that the reform is “just, good and necessary” for Spain.

Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said that the reform will create jobs and economic growth.

The labor reform approved by the government reduces the amount of the indemnity for workers who are laid off improperly from the current 45 days per year worked to just 33 days, with a maximum of 24 monthly payments instead of the current 42.

Read more by HS News Staff →

MondayFebruary 20, 2012