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SaturdayMarch 3, 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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Los Angeles Sheriff Says ‘Yes’ to Drivers Licenses for Illegal Immigrants

Los Angeles Sheriff Says ‘Yes’ to Drivers Licenses for Illegal Immigrants

Photo: L.A. Sheriff Lee Baca Supports Drivers LIcenses for Undocumented

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In an interview this week, Los Angeles County Sheriff, Lee Baca, supported the idea of allowing illegal immigrants the opportunity to obtain drivers’ licenses.  His support of this plan does not come as a surprise after supporting a similar plan in 2002 which did not pass. 

Baca states that his support of this plan, recently introduced by Los Angeles Police Chief, Charlie Beck, would apply to people who have lived in the United States for numerous years and have no criminal record.  According to Baca, many people are driving on the roads today without having passed a state exam as well as without the necessary automobile insurance.  This proposal would help eliminate these potential safety hazards. 

Under Beck’s proposed plan, illegal immigrants requesting a license would have to go through a comprehensive application process.  Licenses distributed to immigrants would not be identical to standard drivers’ licenses.  The new license would be a provisional or nonresident type of license which would be up for renewal annually. 

Beck believes that support of this plan would decrease the amount of hit and run accidents that occur annually in the state.  He also states that this proposal would increase the ability to identify people on the roads and most importantly increase public safety.  “Why wouldn’t you want to put people through a rigorous testing process? Why wouldn’t you want to better identify people who are going to be here?” he said.

Read more at Los Angeles Times →

Man Sentenced for Mortgage Rescue Fraud Scheme Targeting Latino Arizona Homeowners

Man Sentenced for Mortgage Rescue Fraud Scheme Targeting Latino Arizona Homeowners

Photo: Latinos Targets in Foreclosure Scam

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On February 27, 2012, Luis Belevan of Phoenix was sentenced to 60 months’ imprisonment for his role in a 2009-2010 mortgage rescue scheme that affected at least 1,800 local distressed homeowners.

Belevan pleaded guilty in October to conspiring with Brian Prehoda to defraud homeowners into paying an up-front fee of $1,595 to their company, The Guardian Group, LLC, based on false promises of mortgage assistance. The Guardian Group targeted its false claims at local Hispanic homeowners. Brian Prehoda is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Teilborg on March 12, 2012.

“The mortgage crisis in the greater Phoenix Metropolitan area has been devastating to homeowners and the economy,” stated FBI Special Agent in Charge James L. Turgal, Jr., Phoenix Division. “Belevan preyed on distressed Hispanic homeowners who were trying to avoid foreclosure on their homes. Belevan conspired with an associate by making false representations of mortgage rescue assistance which resulted in financial losses to homeowners with no resolution of their mortgage concerns. The FBI’s Mortgage Fraud Task Force continues to bring those individuals who intentionally defraud homeowners to justice.”

In his guilty plea, Belevan admitted to falsely representing to homeowners and mortgage lenders that The Guardian Group had the financial backing of a $40 billion hedge fund to purchase mortgage notes from the original lenders. Belevan admitted that representations that his company could then refinance the notes at 90 percent of the decreased market value of the property, using a 30-year mortgage and a favorable interest rate, were also false. According to the scheme, homeowners would benefit by avoiding foreclosure and obtaining a decreased mortgage balance, a lower interest rate, and lower monthly mortgage payments. The Guardian Group had no financial backing at all, however, and in just 10 months of operation, the company obtained fees from at least 1,800 victim homeowners based on their misrepresentations.

The company was shut down by the Arizona Department of Financial Institutions in May 2010 and was then the subject of state and federal investigations.

In addition to 60 months in prison, Belevan was also sentenced to three years of supervised release following imprisonment and was ordered to pay almost $3 million in restitution to the victims.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Five People Gunned Down in Sinaloa Hospital

Five people were gunned down at a private hospital in Culiacan, capital of the western Mexican state of Sinaloa, authorities said Friday.

Several armed men entered the Rehabilitation and Specialties Clinic late Thursday and killed patient Jesus Ramon Angulo Vega, according to the preliminary police report.

The intruders killed three more people outside the clinic, including security guard Manuel Roberto Vargas, and wounded municipal police officer Israel Herrera Parra, who happened to be at the facility with his wife.

Herrera was rushed to another hospital, where he died of his wounds.

The assault on the clinic bore the hallmarks of organized crime.

The state’s most powerful criminal outfit is the Sinaloa drug cartel, led by billionaire fugitive Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, but his group faces challenges from rival gangsters.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Romeo Santos Continues Successful U.S. Tour

Romeo Santos Continues Successful U.S. Tour

Photo: Romeo Santos

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Singer Romeo Santos marches on with his successful U.S. concert tour while celebrating his 10 nominations for Billboard Latin Music Awards with his first solo album, “Formula Vol. 1.”

Backstage before his date with fans in Miami, the singer-songwriter shared with Efe the rituals he goes through before each concert on his first tour without the bachata group Aventura.

“I don’t get nervous, but I do feel very eager - it’s like I want to be onstage now, I want to hear the audience now, the shouting, the applause…” the singer said in his dressing room at the American Airlines Arena before Thursday night’s concert.

Before taking the stage, he said, he begins with a session of “God help me” plus “something I can’t do without,” making the sign of the cross.

“It’s a ritual for me. I always cross myself because I feel that this is a gift from God and I have to give thanks for the moment,” he said.

He ends by praying that “everything will turn out well,” without mistakes and with no situation arising to mar the concert.

In the Miami arena, Santos offered an evening worthy of a great celebrity and induced a feeling of euphoria in the audience, not only for his powerful stage presence and his songs but for the choreography of lights and a stage set designed like “the dais of a king.”

Golden lions and an impressive armchair like a throne added to the regal air that the artist exuded onstage.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Warner Bros Choose Daniel Espinosa to Direct ‘The Outsider’

Warner Bros Choose Daniel Espinosa to Direct ‘The Outsider’

Photo: Daniel Espinosa directing "Safe House"

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Warner Bros is in the middle of negotiating with Safe House director Daniel Espinosa to direct their new movie “The Outsider”.  The movie, written by Andrew Baldwin, is a gritty action film about a POW in Osaka during WWII who comes to work for the Yakuza. Art and John Linson from “Sons of Anarchy” are producing.  Espinosa has become rather popular after his debut success with “Safe House” starring Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Selena’s Widower Publishes Memoir of Their Time Together

The guitarist who was married to the singer Selena when she was murdered in 1995 has published a book telling the story of his love for the Queen of Tex-Mex.

Published simultaneously in Spanish and English, “‘Para Selena con Amor’ (‘To Selena, With Love’) is a love story told from my point of view, written in a way that expresses the dignity of the person I loved so much and who was my wife,” Chris Perez told Efe.

“What I tell is the truth about what we felt as two young people in love, the way young people today feel about things as they walk around holding hands,” he said.

Selena Quintanilla, born on April 16, 1971, in Lake Jackson, was gunned down by Yolanda Saldivar, the president of her fan club, on March 31, 1995, in Corpus Christi.

“My book isn’t focused on the horror of her death - many years have passed and today I feel it is at last time to write about all we felt, things I simply couldn’t talk about or write about before,” said Perez, who met Selena as a teenager when he was hired as a guitarist for her band, Los Dinos.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Chespirito’s Health Returns After Scare

Chespirito’s Health Returns After Scare

Photo: Chespirito's health is back to normal after health scare in Mexican media.

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“Many thanks to everyone asking about my health, I feel tired, but VERY well, moved, happy and receiving a lot of care,” the 83-year-old artist wrote on Twitter, by which he communicates daily with his more than 2.5 million fans.

Chespirito was setting the record straight following reports in Mexican media about his supposed failing health, sparked by his having to leave the National Auditorium Wednesday in an ambulance.

Despite that, Gomez Bolaños endured with good humor the almost three hours it took to film the program that paid tribute to his 40-year career and which will air March 11 on a Televisa channel.

In a wheelchair and breathing from an oxygen cylinder, Chespirito may have found it hard to speak but showed a strong will to live, enjoying the performances of top artists and the gifts from his fans.

He is aware that he’s been around for “many years,” but on Thursday threatened to live “a few more,” or at least try to.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Jose Feliciano To Sing Anthem in Opening of Marlins Stadium

Jose Feliciano To Sing Anthem in Opening of Marlins Stadium

Photo: Jose Feliciano will sing national anthem for opening of new Marlins stadium

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After 33 months of construction and more than 650 million dollars in investments, the new Marlins stadium is ready to have its grand opening along with its pre-game festivities which will be produced by Emilio Estefan.

Estefan will not only organize the show to inaugurate the monumental new headquarters designed by Jeffrey Loria, but he also plans to make the show have a connection with the Miami culture.

Estefan stated with excitement ” Our production, we are going to have a lot of surprises, a lot of elements. Miami music will be focused through out.”

The show opening for the Florida Marlins will last around 40 minutes and is to host Puerto Rican singer Jose Feliciano, who earned the honor of singing the national anthem.

Feliciano, who was the first Hispanic to publicly sing the national anthem of the United States, accepted the offer. The anthem is set to include many tributes to songs that have a local connection such Miami Sound Machine and the Bee Gees.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Don Francisco Now Has His Own Hollywood Star

Don Francisco Now Has His Own Hollywood Star

Photo: Don Francisco obtains his own star on Hollywood Boulevard.

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This year has been one full of many successes for talk show host Don Francisco and for his show ‘Sabado Gigante’  (Giant Saturday) which is celebrating its 50th year on the air. 

Another success to add to the year is Don Francisco’s entrance to the Hall of fame of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences of the United States.

Today, Don Francisco obtains his own star on Hollywood Boulevard, making him the first Hispanic television figure to obtain such an honor.

Sofia Vergara will present the award to Don Francisco (Mario Kreutzbreger) at a ceremony prepared for him tonight at the Beverly Hills hotel stated sources.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Search for Missing Plane in Chile Continues

Search for Missing Plane in Chile Continues

Photo: Plane missing in Chile pushes search for another seven days.

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Andres Allamand, the minister of defense in Chile, announced that the search for plane that went missing this past Thursday would continue for seven days.

The plane went missing during its flight from Melinka to Quellon, and had eight passengers.

In a statement to the press the Secretary of the State also supported this decision saying “ We are still not absolutely certain that the plane crashed into the sea, we know it was in flight, but we are not certain that there are no survivors.”

The search is to be preformed by a naval helicopter from the Fifth Naval District, as well as by all air force units according to Captain Ricardo Concha who is in charge of the search team. 

Fisherman and other locals are also planning to unite to help in the search.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Kate del Castillo May Star in New Telenovela with “El Gallego”

Kate del Castillo May Star in New Telenovela with “El Gallego”

Photo: Kate del Castillo and Ivan Sanchez might star in new telenovela together.

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The popular Mexican soap opera star Kate del Castillo might be the main star in a new telenovela alongside the Spanish actor Ivan Sanchez, nicknamed “El Gallego”.

In the new telenovela the two will form a sexy and elegant couple.

Kate is interested in participating in a telenovela that is as controversial or more controversial than her acting in “La Reina del Sur.”

The producers said they are anxious to hear her decision because of her acting skills and because she already shares chemistry with “El Gallego”.

In the same way, the audience is anxious to see Kate del Castillo once more on the screen with all her popularity and all her scandals.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Tomb of Incan Emperor Found in Ecuador

The location of the tomb of the last Incan emperor, Athahualpa, could possibly be in Ecuador.  Ruins discovered are believed to be the lost tomb found by Ecuadoran historian Tamara Estupinan. 

Athahualpa was the last of his dynasty but was kidnapped in what is now Cajamarca, Peru.

The Spanish attempted to coerce Athahualpa into converting to Christianity but when he was refused they strangled him to death. His death in 1533 signaled the end of the Incan Empire.

The site was first discovered in June of 2012, when Estupinan found an “Inca archeological site” high in the Andes.

The area, called Sigchos, is where the historian found the complex of walls, aqueducts, and stonework.  “This is a late imperial design Inca monument that leads to several rectangular rooms that were built with cut polished stone set around a trapezoidal plaza,” Estupinan said. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

First Photos Released of Convalescing Chavez in Cuba

First Photos Released of Convalescing Chavez in Cuba

Photo: Chavez and Castro Post Cancer Surgery

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Venezuela’s government has released five photographs of President Hugo Chavez that show him walking and conversing with Fidel Castro while convalescing after undergoing tumor surgery in Cuba.

Venezuelan Communications Minister Andres Izarra said Chavez also met with the island’s head of state, Raul Castro, and received a phone call from Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who told him she was very pleased to learn he was making a swift recovery.

She also conveyed well wishes from former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Izarra, who posted the photos on Twitter, said in another message that Rousseff urged Chavez to strictly follow his treatment regimen and that the Venezuelan president was energized and pleased with the phone call.

The minister released a photograph showing Fidel Castro and Chavez sitting in a room and chatting along with a caption that read: “Fidel visited Chavez in Havana (Friday) afternoon and they talked for nearly 2 hours. Later Raul (Castro) joined them.”

In another photo, Chavez can be seen walking down the hall at the Havana hospital where he is undergoing treatment, accompanied by a nurse and his science and technology minister, Jorge Arreaza.

Chavez arrived in Havana on Feb. 24 and three days later underwent surgery to extract a lesion and the “surrounding tissue” from his pelvic region, although no further details have been released about the operation or whether the tumor is cancerous.

“I’m going to walk. I’m walking well already,” Chavez told his industry minister, Ricardo Menendez, in a phone conversation Friday, adding that he was recovering quickly but must follow the advice of his doctors at all times.

Chavez, who has continued to carry out his duties as president from Havana, gave instructions to his ministers on Friday and thanked his supporters for their well wishes.

The 57-year-old president had a larger, cancerous tumor removed from his pelvic region last year on the Communist-ruled island, the precise nature of which has never been revealed. He underwent several rounds of chemotherapy after the initial surgery before announcing in October that he was cancer-free.

News of the 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.

Spanish dailies Publico and El Pais published on Tuesday 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.Image

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER UPDATE: Man Who Put Semen in Yogurt Samples Gets 2 Years in Prison

LATINO BLOTTER UPDATE: Man Who Put Semen in Yogurt Samples Gets 2 Years in Prison

Photo: Anthony Garcia gets 2 years in prison for tainting yogurt with semen

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The New Mexico man convicted of putting his semen in yogurt samples he was giving out to female customers at the grocery store he worked at has been sentenced to two years in prison.

Anthony Garcia, 32, was named in a two-count indictment in a U.S. District Court for allegedly giving a woman a yogurt containing his semen. The second count is for making false statements to the police.

According to the police report from the Albuquerque Police Department, the victim told officers that she was shopping at the grocery store with her daughter when a “pushy” store clerk, Garcia, offered her a yogurt sample.

She tasted the yogurt and said she immediately thought it tasted “gross and disgusting” and cops noted that she “said it tasted like ‘semen.’”

DNA was taken from Garcia and the yogurt sample, and tests confirmed that his semen was in yogurt the shopper consumed.

A federal judge denied Garcia bail, stating that his behavior was getting worse, and that he’s a danger to society.

He has at least three prior offenses on his record including being detained for indecent exposure and masturbating in public. Garcia is also not allowed to live with children, though he violated that order by living with his sister and her 14-year-old son at the time of arrest.

He pled not guilty to the changes in July, but in October took a deal and entered a guilty plea to a two-count indictment charging him with adulterating food with semen, and making false statements to federal investigators during a criminal investigation. Garcia faced the maximum sentence of three years for contaminating the yogurt, and a maximum of five years for providing a false statement.

Despite his record, he was only given 2 years in prison and will be on supervised release for three years after completing his prison sentence. Garcia was also ordered to pay restitution to the victim of his criminal conduct.

Read more by HS News Staff →

President Chavez Twitter Message “I send You All My Supreme Love! We Will Live and We Will Win!”

President Chavez  Twitter Message  “I send You All My Supreme Love! We Will Live and We Will Win!”

Photo: Chavez on Twitter

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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has vowed an October election victory, in his first public comment after surgery in Cuba this week to remove a pelvic lesion.

On Wednesday evening, President Chavez sent a twitter message to Venezuelans saying, “I send you all my supreme love! We will live and we will win!”

Vice President Elias Jaua says he spoke with President Chavez Wednesday, and described him as “recovering,” and “energetic.”

Jaua said Cuban doctors removed a pelvic lesion and the surrounding tissue from President Chavez on Monday.  Test results on the removed tissue are expected in a few days. 

President Chavez latest health saga has raised concerns about his ability to seek reelection and preside over the government.

The vice president says Chavez is staying in close contact with government officials.  The president has not delegated authority during his absence.

He traveled to Cuba last week to undergo surgery for what he said was likely a cancerous tumor.  Last year, the president had surgery and chemotherapy in Cuba to remove a cancerous growth from his pelvic region.

President Chavez has ruled Venezuela for 13 years and is hoping to be re-elected to another six-year term in October.  His opponent will be 39-year-old Henrique Capriles, the winner of the opposition primary earlier this month.

Read more at Voice of America →

SaturdayMarch 3, 2012