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WednesdayFebruary 29, 2012

Latino Daily News: Bringing You the Latest Hispanic Current Events and News Stories 24/7

To reflect the dynamic interests of our audience, Latino Daily News is an online daily news source and virtual cultural center for and about Latinos. We offer the latest news headlines, as well as innovative and insightful Hispanic current events stories, photos, videos, and commentaries from a Latino perspective, 24/7.

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Drug Related Violence at Unprecedented Levels in Central America

Drug Related Violence at Unprecedented Levels in Central America

Photo: Escalating Drug Violence in Central America

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Escalating violence involving drug trafficking organizations in Central America has reached “alarming and unprecedented levels,” making it one of the most violent areas in the world, the United Nations anti-narcotics panel stressed in its annual report.

“Drug trafficking organizations have increased their operations in the region, posing a serious threat to the security of the region,” says the report produced by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), which identified Honduras, Costa Rica and Nicaragua as key transit countries for smuggling drugs primarily destined for the United States.

According to INCB, the increase in drug-related violence comes as many Mexican drug cartels – under pressure from Mexican authorities – have moved their operations south of the border.

El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Jamaica now have the world’s highest homicide rates as a result of drug-related activities, and the proliferation of street gangs and availability of firearms has led to an increase in crime rates.

North America remains the world’s largest drug market, followed by Europe, with more than 45,000 people in the region dying of drug-related causes every year, constituting the highest annual drug-related mortality rate in the world.

The report also emphasizes the abuse of prescription drugs and over-the-counter pharmaceutical preparations in South Asia, stressing that many of these are being sold through illegal Internet pharmacies which target a young audience. It also warns that in East and South-East Asia as well as South Asia, the use of amphetamines is increasing and is contributing to a higher rate of HIV and hepatitis C infections.

In its report, INCB provides recommendations to address drug-related violence which include the implementation of programmes on drug abuse prevention and treatment and rehabilitation services, as well as increasing the educational, employment and recreational opportunities available to marginalized communities.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Man Wanted for Murdering 8 Women Escapes Federal Prison in Mexico

A manhunt is underway in Mexico state and the Federal District for the suspected rapist and killer of eight women after he escaped from jail hours after being arrested, officials said.

Cesar Armando Librado Legorreta was detained on Monday and escaped from a police lock-up a few hours later, the Federal District Attorney’s Office said.

Officials in Mexico state, which surrounds the Federal District and forms part of the Mexico City metropolitan area, asked authorities in the capital for assistance in recapturing Librado Legorreta, the DA’s office said.

Librado Legorreta escaped from the police station in Tlalnepantla, a city just outside the Federal District, where he was being held.

The suspect, a bus driver, was arrested on Monday for the Oct. 27, 2011, murder of a 17-year-old girl on a downtown Mexico City street.

Librado Legorreta was also charged with seven murders committed in Mexico state, prosecutors said.

The suspect “acted very friendly (with his victims) and offered to take them to their destination even if it was outside his route, raping and later killing them on the microbus once he had them alone,” the DA’s office said.

Librado Legorreta strangled his victims using a wrestling hold, prosecutors said.

The public should provide any information it has about the suspected murderer to authorities, Mexico state Attorney General Alfredo Castillo said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Georgia Mulls Banning Undocumented from Public Universities

Georgia Mulls Banning Undocumented from Public Universities

Photo: Georgia Dreamers Protest

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Activists and students in Georgia rallied here to urge legislators to reject SB 458, which if approved would prohibit access by undocumented immigrants to all of the state’s public universities.

“Activists, educators and students from all over Georgia have come to the Capitol to show their opposition to a measure that is fundamentally unfair, that lacks economic vision and is unnecessary, that is attacking students who came here when they were small children with this country being the only one they know,” Azadeh Shahshahani, director of the National Security/Immigrants’ Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, told Efe.

Besides the ACLU, representatives of the Georgia Undocumented Youth Alliance, Freedom University and Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights organizations, as well as assorted educators and Democratic lawmakers who oppose SB 458 turned out to make their voices heard.

The measure, sponsored by Republican state Sen. Barry Loudermilk, would require all the state’s public universities to verify the immigration status of their applicants using a federal database and to deny admission to those who cannot prove that they are in the country legally.

Last month, a similar proposal was temporarily suspended in the legislature after a public audience at which opponents of the bill jammed the hall.

Democratic state Rep. Pedro Marin called it a “criminal” measure for destroying the dreams of young people who are only guilty of having been brought to this country when they were children by their parents.

The state’s five most-selective public institutions - the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgia College and State University, the Medical College of Georgia and Georgia State University - already reject undocumented applicants under a rule adopted by the Board of Regents in 2010.

Previously, all of Georgia’s public universities admitted undocumented immigrants but required them to pay tuition at out-of-state rates.

Durante Tuesday’s event, Shahshahani emphasized the economic impact a measure of this type would have on Georgia’s economic future.

“Many of the students who have great potential have left the state for other states where they have been offered scholarships and Georgia is losing the chance to take advantage of all that potential,” the activist added.

According to official figures, of the 318,000 students enrolled in the state university system, just 300 are undocumented.

Mexican-born Yiovani Diaz, who has spent 16 of his 19 years living in the United States, says the measure is unfair to young people like him who regard Georgia as their home.

“If they pass this law, they’re doing it just to discriminate because there aren’t many students like us in the universities. With this they are affecting us and Georgia’s future,” he told Efe.

Diaz is currently attending Freedom University, an initiative created by several professors from the University of Georgia to provide an educational alternative to undocumented students.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Central America Drug-Related Violence at Unprecedented Levels from Narco Wars

Central America Drug-Related Violence at Unprecedented Levels from Narco Wars

Photo: Drug related Violence Central America on Rise

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Escalating violence involving drug trafficking organizations in Central America has reached “alarming and unprecedented levels,” making it one of the most violent areas in the world, the United Nations anti-narcotics panel stressed in its annual report which was launched today.

Drug trafficking organizations have increased their operations in the region, posing a serious threat to the security of the region,” says the report produced by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), which identified Honduras, Costa Rica and Nicaragua as key transit countries for smuggling drugs primarily destined for the United States.

According to INCB, the increase in drug-related violence comes as many Mexican drug cartels – under pressure from Mexican authorities – have moved their operations south of the border.

El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Jamaica now have the world’s highest homicide rates as a result of drug-related activities, and the proliferation of street gangs and availability of firearms has led to an increase in crime rates.

North America remains the world’s largest drug market, followed by Europe, with more than 45,000 people in the region dying of drug-related causes every year, constituting the highest annual drug-related mortality rate in the world.

INCB also highlighted the increasing flow of heroin into Africa which is causing a surge in drug abuse throughout the region, particularly in East and Southern Africa. Last year, record seizures of heroin were carried out in Kenya and Tanzania, and the smuggling of other drugs such as cocaine and cannabis continue to pose a threat to the region, with INCB warning that most countries still lack appropriate systems to monitor and combat drug abuse.

The report also emphasizes the abuse of prescription drugs and over-the-counter pharmaceutical preparations in South Asia, stressing that many of these are being sold through illegal Internet pharmacies which target a young audience. It also warns that in East and South-East Asia as well as South Asia, the use of amphetamines is increasing and is contributing to a higher rate of HIV and hepatitis C infections.

In its report, INCB provides recommendations to address drug-related violence which include the implementation of programmes on drug abuse prevention and treatment and rehabilitation services, as well as increasing the educational, employment and recreational opportunities available to marginalized communities.

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: Man Killed After Singing “Somos mas Americanos” at Texas Bar

LATINO BLOTTER: Man Killed After Singing “Somos mas Americanos” at Texas Bar

Photo: Man Killed After Singing "Somos mas Americanos" at Texas Bar

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Karaoke night at a Texas bar turned deadly after a bar patron shot a man singing “Somos mas Americanos”.

The victim had just finished his rendition of the Los Tigres del Norte song, which translates to “We Are More American”, when four men unhappy with his song selection began an argument with him at Houston’s Ostioneria Mazatlan #2 bar.

Without warning, a Hispanic man in the group stood up, pulled a pistol from his waistband, and shot the victim in the head.

Both the shooter and his group then fled the scene in what witnesses identified as a red Chevrolet pickup truck. Two women who were sitting with them also left, fleeing in a green Nissan Pathfinder.

It is not believed the victim and the shooter knew each other, though an investigation is ongoing.

The translated lyrics to the song include :

We are more American. We are more American than the children of the Anglo-Saxons.

They have shouted at me a thousand times I should go back to my country. Because there’s no room for me here.  I want to remind the gringos: I didn’t cross the border, the border crossed me.

Police have yet to make an arrest in the Monday night shooting, as the shooter is still on the loose, but police have urged anyone with information to contact the Houston Crime Stoppers.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Decayed Remains Found in Juarez Just Days After 3 Other Sets of Remains Identified from Same Area

Decayed Remains Found in Juarez Just Days After 3 Other Sets of Remains Identified from Same Area

Photo: Decayed Remains Found in Juarez Just Days After 3 Other Sets of Remains Identified from Same Area

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A new unit in Mexico organized to focus on female killings discovered a number of victims in the Valley of Juarez Monday.

Due to extensive decay, police were unable to identify the bodies found in the Mexican state of Chihuahua.

This discovery comes just days after authorities identified the skeletal remains of girls found in the mountains southeast of Juarez. It was determined that the remains were those of 15-year-olds Yesica Leticia Pena Garcia (reported missing June 2010) and Adrea Guerrero Venzo (reported missing August 2010), and 17-year-old Lizbeth Aviles Garcia (reported missing April 2009).

Spokesman for the state prosecutor’s office, Carlos Gonzalez, told the El Paso Times that they will have identities for the Valley victims in “a matter of days,” saying, “It’s a high priority for the prosecutor’s office to obtain these IDs and give the families absolute certainty that these remains belong to their sons or daughters.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Drought May Have Caused Collapse of Mayan Civilization

Drought May Have Caused Collapse of Mayan Civilization

Photo: Mayans May Have Died from Drought

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According to a study from Science Journal, the abandonment of the Mayan civilizations may have occurred as a result of a lack of rain.  According to experts, Martín Medina-Elizalde and Eelco Rohling, the areas of Belize, Guatemala and the Yucatan region in México suffered a 40% drop in rainfall from 800 AD – 1,000 AD.  The rainfall in the area has been estimated by studying lake and cave sediments.

The Maya Kings are known to have built their empire from 300 AD – 900 AD in the Yucatan area of México as well as throughout Central America.  Yet, their numerous forgotten cities, such as Tikal, have led many archaeologists to ponder the cause for their abandonments.  Many such scientists have hypothesized that warfare, drought, or even depleted soil could have forced the Kings to disperse and abandon their cities. 

According to University of Illinois archaeologist, Lisa Lucero, “This paper is important because it further bolsters the hypothesis that climate change, in the form of several multi-year droughts, played a role in the demise of Maya kings.  The challenge always is in how one applies cold hard facts to explaining human stories of the past. While mono-causal explanations are passé, there is little doubt that changing climate set in motions a series of events that resulted in Kings disappearing, eventually followed by many farmers leaving the southern Maya lowlands and heading out in all four directions.”

Read more at Science Journal →

Faces of the DREAM Act: Crocheting Student Jose Luis Zelaya Runs for Student Office at Texas A&M

Faces of the DREAM Act: Crocheting Student Jose Luis Zelaya Runs for Student Office at Texas A&M

Photo: Crocheting Student Jose Luis Zelaya Runs for Student Office at Texas A&M

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We first heard about undocumented student Jose Luis Zelaya after he posted a video of himself attempting to crochet his way to a Guinness World Record to help pay for college for his sister and graduate school for himself. He also opened an online store for the crocheted items he’d made. Making his story even more impressive however was the fact that he was also running for student body president at Texas A&M.

Though his opponents have known since the start that he is an undocumented immigrant, his status had never been brought up during the campaign, so the 24-year-old said he felt blind-sided when he was asked how his residency status would affect his presidency at a debate last week.

“I’m not running because I’m undocumented. I’m running because I’m an Aggie,” he said. “It’s just like, what if I was gay? Would they have asked me if being gay was going to play a role?” he told the Houston Chronicle. “If I was atheist, would they ask me those things? What does it take to be seen as a regular Aggie, not as an undocumented Aggie?”

Tuesday, though he had the support of many students who felt underrepresented at Texas A&M, it was announced that the Honduran-born student finished fourth and did not earn enough votes to qualify for the runoff election.

He told the Chronicle, “I don’t need a title to make a difference. I don’t need a title to serve this university.”

Click here to learn more about Jose Luis Zelaya and his online crochet store.

Read more by HS News Staff →

BLOTTER: Spanish Man Throws Acid at Children and Mother at Bus Stop

BLOTTER: Spanish Man Throws Acid at Children and Mother at Bus Stop

Photo: BLOTTER: Spanish Man Throws Acid at Children and Mother at Bus Stop

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Monday, three children and their mother were taken to the hospital after a man at a bus stop in Spain threw acid at their faces.

The unprovoked attack left two of the children with burns to their face and necks, but they were released from the hospital. A third children however, was not so lucky and was hospitalized with burns with second-degree burns to his eyes and face. Their mother was also hospitalized after she received burns to her airway.

The man was taken to jail after being arrested in A Coruna just a few minutes after the attack. The family told police that the suspect did not say a word to them before throwing the acid.

Read more at UPI →

WATCH VIDEO: Steven Tyler Shows J Lo His Own Nip Slip

Watch video from American Idol when Steven Tyler makes fun of Jennifer Lopez’ alleged nip slip incident at the 2012 Academy Awards.


Related Videos

Read more by HS News Staff →

Judy Reyes, Roselyn Sanchez Among the Latinas Cast in ABC’s Upcoming Show ‘Devious Maids’

Judy Reyes, Roselyn Sanchez Among the Latinas Cast in ABC’s Upcoming Show ‘Devious Maids’

Photo: Judy Reyes, Roselyn Sanchez Cast in ABC's Upcoming Show 'Devious Maids'

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Transforming the Spanish-language telenovela Ellas son…la alegría del hogar into an English show for ABC’s primetime lineup, Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry has cast some of Hollywood’s leading Latinas to play the leads.

The pilot for Devious Maids is said to star Judy Reyes (Scrubs, Gun Hill Road), Roselyn Sanchez (Without a Trace, Act of Valor), Ana Ortiz (Ugly Betty, Hung), and Dania Ramirez (Heroes, Entourage) as “maids with ambition and dreams of their own while they work for the rich and famous in Beverly Hills,” according to Deadline.

On the heels of the somewhat surprising success of CBS’s ¡Rob! and the award-winning film The Help, Devious Maids may just have what it takes to make audiences laugh as well understand some of the lives of Latino/as in America.

But while it may be nice to see another Latino-heavy cast on television, the stereotyping in Devious may prove to be more offensive than funny, something Rob Schneider’s show is now experiencing.

Guess we’ll just have to wait and see on this one.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Bono’s First Visit to Peru

Bono’s First Visit to Peru

Photo: Bono's First Trip to Peru

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Alongside his family and personal security, U2 lead singer, Bono, is enjoying a trip to Peru.  This is the first time the singer has visited the South American country. 

According to local radio RPP,  Bono is enjoying his Peruvian adventure thus far stating, “Thank you, thank you very much friends.  I am here with my family to see your beautiful country for the first time.”

After arriving in Lima on Thursday night and heading to Cuzco the following day, Bono visited the ancient Inca city of Machu Picchu Saturday.  Arriving by an alternate route called, ‘Tercera Curva’ in order to avoid the crowd gathered hoping to get a photo of the rock star, Bono enjoyed the tour of the ancient civilization.

According to reports from Andina, the singer enjoyed a lunch of alpaca tenderloin and elderberry sauce at a local hotel in Machu Picchu. 

Stating that he would love to return for another visit after being very impressed, Bono headed towards his next destination of Tambopata National Reserve, where he arrived on Tuesday.  According to the country’s Foreign Trade and Tourism, Juan Arzola, Bono’s itinerary was similar to Mick Jagger’s October 2011 trip. 

“When Mick Jagger was here he said he would work on an environmental crusade in the Amazon, that is why Bono is here, and therefore why we also expect other international singers,” Arzola said to Andina.

Read more by HS News Staff →

WIKILEAKS: Pres. Chavez’s Health is Worse Than Reported, May Have as Little as 1 Year to Live

WIKILEAKS: Pres. Chavez’s Health is Worse Than Reported, May Have as Little as 1 Year to Live

Photo: Pres. Chavez May Have as Little as 1 Year to Live

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According to an intelligence report revealed by Wikileaks, the health of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is far worse than is being shared with the public.

The report, which includes testimony from Russian and Cuban doctors who were involved with his operations in Cuba, states that due to possible carcinogenic tumors in both his prostate and colon, as well as a potential metastasis to lymph nodes and bone marrow, President Chavez could have as little as one to two years left to live.

Chavez recently traveled to Cuba for another operation, as doctors found a lesion in his pelvic area. Though he had previously claimed that he was cured of cancer, the 57-year-old president’s government has reportedly begun preparing for a post-Chavez Venezuela.

Regarding the recent release of reports from an intelligence company called Stratfor, Wikileaks writes:

On Monday February 27th, 2012, WikiLeaks began publishing The Global Intelligence Files, over five million e-mails from the Texas headquartered “global intelligence” company Stratfor. The e-mails date between July 2004 and late December 2011. They reveal the inner workings of a company that fronts as an intelligence publisher, but provides confidential intelligence services to large corporations, such as Bhopal’s Dow Chemical Co., Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and government agencies, including the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Marines and the US Defence [sic] Intelligence Agency. The emails show Stratfor’s web of informers, pay-off structure, payment laundering techniques and psychological methods.

Statfor President George Friedman told Univision the leaks were just “another attempt to silence and intimidate the company. Friedman claimed that “some of the emails may be forged or altered to include inaccuracies,” though added that “some may be authentic.” He did not state which were accurate and which were not.

 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Pultizer Prize Winner Junot Diaz Pens Book of Short Stories

After receiving the Pulitzer prize for his 2007 novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, the author’s second book of short stories will arrive in stores this September according to his publisher, Riverhead. 

The book entitled, This is How You Lose Her, will focus on love stories, especially the heart breaking ones.  According to the author the stories, “Recall the echoes that intimacy leaves behind, even where we thought we did not care.”

Díaz’s first selection of short stories, Drown, was published in 1996.  This work was thought to have foreshadowed much of his 2007 award winning novel. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Brazilian Arrested for Posing as Jack Nicholson

Brazilian Arrested for Posing as Jack Nicholson

Photo: Man uses Jack Nicholson picture to open bank account

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A man carrying a fake ID with U.S. actor Jack Nicholson’s photograph on it was arrested when he tried to open a bank account in the Brazilian city of Recife, police said.

Ricardo Sergio Freire dos Santos was arrested Tuesday at a bank in Boa Viagem, a district popular with tourists in Recife, the capital of the northeastern state of Pernambuco.

The 41-year-old Freire dos Santos was carrying several documents, including an ID allegedly issued by the Security Secretariat in neighboring Alagoas state that bore a recent photograph of Nicholson.

Freire dos Santos was taken to the Abreu e Lima prison on the outskirts of Recife and will be charged with using fake documents and falsifying official documents, police said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Older Sister of Fidel and Raul Castro Dies in Cuba

Older Sister of Fidel and Raul Castro Dies in Cuba

Photo: Fidel and Raul Castro lost their past sister to cancer and Alzheimer's disease this Tuesday.

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Angela Castro Ruz, the older sister of Fidel and Raul Castro, died this Tuesday in Havana at the age of 88. “Angelita”, as she was known, was suffering from cancer and Alzheimer’s, according to information sources from Miami.

Her sister Juanita Castro, who currently resides in Miami, further collaborated the information saying “ She died Tuesday morning, and had been very sick in a clinic for a long time”.

Angela had lost most of her memory and ability to live independently due to her Alzheimer’s disease. She was born on April 2, 1923, and was the eldest of seven children of Angel Castro and Lina Ruz Gonzalez Argiz.

Other news sources indicate that there will be a private funeral in her hometown this Thursday.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Puerto Rico Receives Another Hurricane Irene Recovery Grant for $8.5 Million

Puerto Rico Receives Another Hurricane Irene Recovery Grant for $8.5 Million

Photo: Hurricane Irene Recovery Grant for Puerto Rico

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The U.S. Department of Labor has announced an $8,563,333 National Emergency Grant increment to continue cleanup and recovery efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, which struck Puerto Rico in August 2011.

“Puerto Rico is still recovering from the damage and devastation of this massive storm,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “The additional federal assistance announced today will enable the people of Puerto Rico to complete the hard work of cleanup and recovery.”

On Aug. 27, 2011, the Federal Emergency Management Agency declared the following 51 municipalities in the commonwealth of Puerto Rico eligible for FEMA’s Public Assistance Program: Adjuntas, Aguada, Aguas Buenas, Aibonito, Anasco, Arecibo, Arroyo, Barranquitas, Bayamon, Caguas, Canovanas, Carolina, Catano, Cayey, Ceiba, Ciales, Cidra, Coamo, Comerio, Corozal, Culebra, Fajardo, Guayama, Guaynabo, Gurabo, Humacao, Jayuya, Juana Diaz, Juncos, Las Marias, Las Piedras, Luquillo, Maricao, Maunabo, Morovis, Naguabo, Naranjito, Orocovis, Rincon, Rio Grande, Sabana Grande, Salinas, San Lorenzo, Santa Isabel, Trujillo Alto, Utuado, Vega Baja, Vieques, Villalba, Yabucoa and Yauco.

Following FEMA’s declaration, a National Emergency Grant was awarded on Sept. 28, 2011, for up to $12,845,000, with $4,281,667 released initially. Today’s increment represents the remainder of the grant.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Limited Preschool Access Dims Success for Latino Children

Limited Preschool Access Dims Success for Latino Children

Photo: Latino Kids and Early childhood Programs

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Gabriela Ramos had hardly knocked when four-year-old Fátima Martínez opened the front door of her family’s home and ushered in her preschool instructor.

With a dimpled smile on her face, Fátima sat down at a miniature Disney princess-themed table in the middle of her family’s living room. Ramos joined her, and launched into a bilingual lesson focusing on colors, shapes and animals.

Just a few feet away, Fátima’s mother, María Martínez, a farmworker, sat at the edge of the couch. She smiled and nodded as Fátima matched pairs of shapes.

“Muy bien,” Ramos said in an animated voice. “Good job, Fátima!”

Fátima spends just one hour a week with Ramos, a home-based preschool teacher with the Fresno County Office of Education’s Migrant Education school readiness program. That one lesson—which is packed with stories, English and Spanish vocabulary words, and arts and crafts—could put Fátima on the path toward long-term educational success.

But despite the proven success of preschool programs like this one, poor access to them is dimming future prospects for many Latino children—and for the state’s economy.

Toward a Global Workforce

Multiple studies have extolled the short- and long-term social and educational benefits of high-quality early childhood education. Experts say preschool attendance has the potential to close the achievement gap and help train a global, multilingual workforce.

Read more at New America Media →

UPDATE:  Secretary Napolitano Visit to El Salvador and Costa Rica

UPDATE:  Secretary Napolitano Visit to El Salvador and Costa Rica

Photo: Janet Napolitano in Latin America

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Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano,traveled to San Salvador, El Salvador and San Jose, Costa Rica to meet with international counterparts, hear about their priorities and discuss the U.S. work to facilitate legitimate trade and travel, enhance information sharing efforts and ensure a safe, secure and resilient global supply chain.

“International security and the security of our homeland are inextricably linked. Today, threats transcend national borders and affect the security and economic prosperity of the entire international community,” said Secretary Napolitano. “We are committed to working together with our Central American partners to strengthen security while facilitating legitimate travel and trade.”

In San Salvador, the U.S. delegation met with Salvadoran Foreign Minister Hugo Martinez and Public Safety Minister David Munguia Payes. During their meeting, Secretary Napolitano and Secretary Munguia Payes signed an agreement affirming their shared commitment to enhancing information sharing and aviation security.

Secretary Napolitano then met with Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes to discuss collaboration on international law enforcement efforts between the United States and El Salvador.

Secretary Napolitano, Acting Commissioner Aguilar and Assistant Secretary Bersin then traveled to San Jose, Costa Rica where they met with Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla, Minister of Public Safety Mario Zamora, and Acting Foreign Minister Carlos Roversi. Secretary Napolitano signed an aviation security agreement with Minister Zamora that will strengthen the capability of both nations to combat transnational crime and improve citizen security through enhanced information sharing while continuing to facilitate lawful travel and trade.

Yesterday, Secretary Napolitano traveled to Mexico City and Guatemala City to meet with her international counterparts and discuss opportunities for further collaboration. Secretary Napolitano will continue to Panama tomorrow, where she will participate in bilateral meetings and deliver remarks at the Integrated Border Management Seminar in Panama City.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Kris Kobach: If Elected, Romney Would Deport 5 Million Undocumented in 4 Years

The man seen as the “godfather” of the harsh immigration laws adopted by Arizona and Alabama is seeking the expulsion of at least five million undocumented immigrants over the next four years, a goal he feels is possible if he helps Mitt Romney win the presidency.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has become one of Romney’s main advisors on immigration matters.

For Kobach and like-minded conservative groups, illegal immigration is not a reflection of the problems that beset the U.S. immigration system but rather a plague that must be wiped out at all costs.

Press accounts say Kobach has been in close consultation with the Romney campaign about possible changes in the current immigration policy, such that if the former Massachusetts governor wins the presidency in November, the “war of attrition” would be expanded against undocumented immigrants.

Kobach calculates that, with Romney in the White House, at least five million undocumented immigrants could be deported over the next four years.

The idea is to create such a hostile and suffocating environment for undocumented immigrants that, lacking work and access to basic services, they would have no other choice but to opt for what Romney describes as “self-deportation.”

That is the plan that Kobach has presented in Arizona, Alabama, Missouri and Oklahoma, among other states that are seeking to tighten the regulations around undocumented immigrations, despite the fact that the federal government has filed lawsuits over the usurpation of its powers to ensure compliance with immigration laws.

Neither academic studies nor political analyses regarding the negative impact of these laws move Kobach and the groups that support him and are aiming to make life difficult for undocumented foreigners.

The really serious thing about all this, according to activists who support immigration reform, is that Romney is paying attention to the conservative anti-immigrant groups.

Romney has even pointed to Arizona’s SB 1070 law as the “model” to follow for other states facing the problem of illegal immigration.

For Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers union, it is clear that if Romney wins the Republic nomination and subsequently the presidency, undocumented immigrants can expect more persecution.

This is something that, in her judgment, cannot be allowed because the Kobach-inspired state laws are resulting in the separation and breakup of immigrant families.

Alabama’s HB 56, which followed Arizona’s example, has sparked the exodus of undocumented foreigners to neighboring states, although they are not leaving the country as its sponsors believe.

If, as it says, the Republican Party is the party that defends “family values” and is seeking to gain supporters among Latinos, there is no justification for the persecution of undocumented immigrants, pro-reform activists say.

If the consensus is that the current immigration system doesn’t work properly and doesn’t reflect the needs of the U.S. labor market, the task of fixing it is Congress’s responsibility, and it is there that the pressure must be exerted.

Statistics show that there has been an improvement in border monitoring and in the implementation of rules against hiring undocumented immigrants as well as a decline in illegal crossings of the frontier with Mexico. That is to say, there is no excuse why Congress should not be giving clear answers on illegal immigration in the United States.

Another thing, however, is that in this election year politicians are saying whatever they feel they have to in order to get votes.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Argentine Government Takes Over Train Operator After Deadly Crash

The Argentine government announced on Tuesday the “temporary and preventive” takeover of commuter rail operator Trenes de Buenos Aires amid harsh criticism by relatives of the victims of the rail accident that left 50 commuters dead here last week.

Officials will take “administrative, technical and operational” control of TBA to “guarantee the safety” of riders, according to the government decree.

The intervention will last for 15 days or as long as it takes for authorities to complete the judicial investigation to clarify responsibility for one of Argentina’s worst-even rail accidents.

An eight-car train entered the Once station, one of the busiest in the capital, at 8:30 a.m. last Wednesday at a speed of 26 kph (16 mph) and slammed into the barrier at the end of the platform.

The train, which was en route from the suburb of Moreno to Buenos Aires, was packed with some 1,500 morning commuters,

The incident highlighted the insecure nature of commuter rail, political negligence and the lack of state control over the management of concessionaire TBA, which employs more than 4,500 people.

TBA is the property of the Cirigliano brothers, who control one of the country’s most powerful transportation groups and who have been linked with officials currently being investigated for corruption such as Ricardo Jaime, the transportation secretary under late President Nestor Kirchner, the husband and predecessor of incumbent head of state Cristina Fernandez.

The decision to take over TBA came after severe criticism of the Fernandez administration by relatives of the crash victims and by leaders of the opposition.

“The tragedy, although the causes are not known, forces measures to be taken,” Planning Minister Julio De Vido said Tuesday.

According to official calculations, about 500,000 people rely on TBA trains to reach their jobs in Buenos Aires.

The investigation is focusing on mechanical conditions on board the train, built by Toshiba in 1960, and on the actions of 28-year-old motorman Marcos Antonio Cordoba, who was seriously injured in the crash and, according to union spokesmen, has been kept handcuffed during his stay in the hospital.

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President Hugo Chavez in “Good Physical Condition”

President Hugo Chavez in “Good Physical Condition”

Photo: Hugo Chavez Good Condition After Surgery

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President Hugo Chavez is in “good physical condition” after an operation in Cuba for a lesion in the same part of his body where Cuban surgeons removed a cancerous tumor last June, the Venezuelan government said Tuesday.

Vice President Elias Jaua provided the medical update at the beginning of a speech to the National Assembly.

This is the first official report on the leftist president’s health since he arrived in Havana last Friday.

“The complete extraction of the diagnosed pelvic lesion was performed, along with the removal of tissue surrounding the lesion. There were no complications related to local organs,” according to the note read by Jaua.

“President Chavez is in good physical condition,” the vice president said amid cheers from lawmakers.

Chavez gave orders that the medical report be made public, Jaua said, because he is “always eager to keep the Venezuelan people and the international community opportunely informed with exactitude and transparency.”

The 57-year-old Chavez, who has never provided details on the precise nature of the tumor removed last year, underwent several rounds of chemotherapy after the initial surgery before announcing in October that he was cancer-free.

News of a new medical problem has roiled the campaign for Venezuela’s October presidential election, in which Chavez - who took office in 1999 - will face Henrique Capriles, a former state governor backed by a broad coalition of opposition parties.

Jaua’s report on Chavez’s condition came hours after Spanish dailies Publico and El Pais published a document from a U.S. private intelligence firm asserting that the Venezuelan president is mortally ill.

The document is part of a trove of millions of e-mails from the Texas-based Stratfor company that was obtained by WikiLeaks.

In a Dec. 5, 2011, e-mail sent to Stratfor CEO George Friedman, the firm’s director of analysis, Reva Bhalla, cites a “well-connected VZ (Venezuelan) source working with Israel” who describes disagreements between the Cuban and Russian doctors treating Chavez.

“The Russian team blamed the Cubans for an improper surgery the first time in trying to remove the tumor” and said Cuba lacks the “right imagery treatment to properly treat Chavez,” the source told Bhalla.

“The second surgery over the summer was basically the Russian team trying to clean up the Cuban team’s mistakes,” according to the source.

While the Cuban doctors think Chavez has two years to live, the Russian diagnosis, “due to improper medical equipment, is less than one year,” the unnamed source said.

The informant said that Chavez’s tumor began as a growth near the prostate and spread to the colon, and that the “cancer has spread to the lymph nodes and into the bone marrow up to the spine, i.e. very serious.”

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WednesdayFebruary 29, 2012