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SundayMarch 4, 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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Anonymous Hackers Caught in Latin America

Anonymous Hackers Caught in Latin America

Photo: 25 suspects of Anonymous were captured by Interpol.

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Interpol (The International Criminal Police Organization) carried out an investigation against Anonymous that led to 25 arrests throughout Latin America and Europe.  The majority of arrests, 10, took place in Argentina in the towns of Rio Cuarto, Capital Federal, San Isidro, and Tucuman. 

In total 25 suspected Anonymous members, ranging in age from 17-to-40-years-old were arrested in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Spain.

The suspects are accused of attacking the websites of political parties, institutions, companies, and government agencies. Interpol seized around 250 items of IT equipment, which were being used to hack into sites in Chile, Colombia and Spain,

The group was found to be communicating and advising each other about the Internet attacks through a private chat site and is suspected of having a connection with Wikikleaks.

In Chile, where 6 of the 25 were arrested, two suspects were minors. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico Declares 50 Tourist Attractions “Magic Villages”, Places that Reflect Country’s Culture

Mexico Declares 50 Tourist Attractions “Magic Villages”, Places that Reflect Country’s Culture

Photo: Mexico's Magic Village

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Fifty tourist destinations in Mexico’s interior have been declared “Magic Villages” by the federal government in its drive to enrich what the country has to offer tourists besides its main attractions of sun, sea and sand.

Ten years after Real de Catorce in the north-central state of San Luis Potosi and Huasca de Ocampo in the central state of Hidalgo became the first towns in the program, these Magic Villages welcomed 2.3 million tourists in 2011, 6.2 percent more than the previous year, officials at the Tourism Secretariat told Efe.

The coordinator of Colonial Activities for the secretariat, Heriberto Hermosillo, said that Mexico’s Magic Villages program began in 2001 and year by year has added new destinations so that it now has 50.

By definition a Magic Village is a place that reflects “the culture of Mexico” through attributes like architecture, traditions, customs, music, gastronomy, festivities and handicrafts.

The program has a basically simple plan - find a singular attraction in a town in Mexico’s interior and identify in it “a nucleus area” for developing as “a magical icon.”

At that point federal, state and muncipal authorities start working to create a new tourist destination under certain rules - and always with the support and participation of the community.

The official said that investments in these Mexican villages are aimed at “giving the tourist a more enjoyable experience.”

“Between 2007 and 2011 we invested close to 784 millon pesos ($61 million) and with the explosion of participation by states and municipalities we have reached close to 1,792 millon pesos ($140 million),” Hermosillo said.

Today these villages include such destinations as Izamal on the Yucatan Peninsula with its magnificent Franciscan convent, the silver mines and silversmiths of Taxco in Guerrero state, Cuetzalan in Puebla with its artisanal coffee growers and the beauty of its glorious natural surroundings, Creel in the mountains of Chihuahua state where the Tarahumara Indians live, and Jalpan de la Sierra in San Luis Potosi where tourists can explore the route of old colonial missions.

And the list doesn’t stop growing. Last month two more destinations were added - Sombrerete in Zacatecas state, and the Mineral del Pozo commmunity in the central state of Guanajuato.

The mayor of the latter village, Javier Becerra, considers tourism to be one of the best alternatives available today for a community founded by Jesuits in the 15th century.

At its peak it had some 60,000 inhabitants, but dwindled to less than a thousand when its 300-plus mines were shut down and its ever more impoverished people sought a better life elsewhere.

Now the town is trying to polish up its attractions “and exploit cultural, adventure, religious and family tourism.”

Other sites soon to be added include the Indian village of Mision de Chichimecas and the Paso de Vaqueros Dam, and, a little farther down the road, integrate these attractions into the touristic corridor of Guanajuato, Dolores Hidalgo and San Miguel Allende.

Making local inhabitants part of the program is essential, so they’re not left “watching other people make money” but rather join in the different projects regardless of any political differences they might have.

The Magic Villages plan is to incorporate 52 destinations and then evaluate the results of a program unlikely to overshadow the top tourist draws like Cancun, Acapulco and Los Cabos, but will offer something “different and complementary.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

President Hugo Chavez Confirms Recurrence of His Cancer, Remains Optimistic

President Hugo Chavez Confirms Recurrence of His Cancer, Remains Optimistic

Photo: Chavez Confirms Cancer Recurrence

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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Sunday that he will undergo more radiation therapy after confirming that the tumor that was removed from his body on Feb. 26 in Havana was a “recurrence” of the cancer he was diagnosed with last June.

Chavez offered the details of the biopsy performed on the tumor, which he said was “two centimeters (about 3/4 inch) in diameter, that was removed from his body a week ago during a special 90-minute television program that was recorded in Cuba on Saturday and broadcast from there on Sunday in which he said that the cancer had not metastized and clarified that the date of the operation was the 26th.

“The (pathological) study was done with the required scientific rigor on the tumor that was completely removed and it confirmed what had already been supposed, that it is a recurrence of the cancer that was initially diagnosed,” Chavez announced at the close of the program.

Chavez said that “the most important thing” about the medical report is the part where it says that doctors confirmed that there were no lesions at this time suggesting the presence of cancer “either locally, or in the nearby organs, or at a distance ... (and) no metastasis or (cancerous) nodes.”

Chavez appeared energetic during the program and issued instructions to the members of the executive cabinet who accompanied him to Cuba, and he said that the operation was performed on Feb. 26 rather than on the 27th, as had been initially reported, adding that his recovery “is natural, is progressive, is sustained ... (and) rapid.”

He said that the diagnosis of the recurrence of cancer did not surprise him “at all,” since when he had been informed that a new tumor had been detected he knew that it could be a cancerous one “of the same kind as the previous one.”

To date, Venezuelan authorities have not reported the precise location of the original tumor, which was the size of a “baseball,” Chavez had said last year, stating only that it was located in the pelvic region.

Despite the confirmation of the tumor and the therapy he will now have to undergo, Chavez said that he feels “very optimistic” regarding the prognosis for recovery “thanks to ... good diagnosis and rapid intervention.”

The news of the recurrence of the disease came after Chavez had claimed at the end of last year that he had been cured of cancer while he was pushing ahead with long workdays that, his ministers said, proved his strength and also while he was moving forward with plans to run for reelection in the Oct. 7 presidential election.

Last year, Chavez had undergone four rounds of chemotherapy and was continuing to rest and recover, although more and more frequently he was making more prolonged appearances at public events and holding longer working sessions, all of which were broadcast by state-run television.

“I’m ready along with you to confront what we have to confront, but we will live and we will prevail,” he said on the television program broadcast on Sunday, repeating a phrase that he has used since the start of his battle with cancer nine months ago.

He thanked his supporters for their prayers and downplayed once again the rumors that have been circulating inside and outside Venezuela that his health situation is more serious than the government has been letting on.

Despite the fact that the special TV program had been announced to run “only” an hour, the president extended it for another half hour and discussed such matters as Sunday’s Russian presidential election, which Vladimir Putin won, despite controversy, and the conflict in Syria.

Chavez, who traveled to Havana on Feb. 24 for the medical procedure, did not specify where he will spend his time recovering or when he will return to Venezuela.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico Serial Killer and Rapist Captured After Escaping from Prison, 8 Victims Known Thus Far

Mexico Serial Killer and Rapist Captured After Escaping from Prison, 8 Victims Known Thus Far

Photo: 'El Coqueto' Serial Killer Captured Mexico

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A man arrested in late February for the murders of seven women and who later escaped from a jail in Mexico state, which surrounds the Federal District and forms part of the Mexico City metropolitan area, has been captured, officials said.

Cesar Armando Librado Legorreta was arrested by authorities on Saturday, Mexico state Gov. Eruviel Avila said in a Twitter posting.  “The Mexico state Attorney General’s Office has just arrested Cesar Armando Librado, alias ‘El Coqueto,’” the governor said.

Librado Legorreta, however, may have been arrested in one of the operations staged by police Saturday in Cuautitlan Izcalli and the Federal District, the Formato 21 radio station reported.

More than 200 police officers participated in the operations, which took place after authorities received tips about the possible hiding place of Librado Legorreta, who is wanted for the rapes and murders of seven women, as well as the rape of an eighth woman.

The 29-year-old Librado Legorreta used his job as a bus driver to target victims.

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 Federal District Attorney’s Office said in a statement released last week.

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

Librado Legorreta told investigators that his victims were all young women who were sexually assaulted before being killed.

One young woman survived her encounter with Librado Legorreta, officials said.

Librado Legorreta was arrested late last month and taken to a jail, from which he escaped on the night of Feb. 26-27.

He got away prior to his appearance before the judge in Tlanepantla, Mexico state, who is investigating the murders.

Librado Legorreta apparently removed his handcuffs and slipped out of the police station office where he was being guarded by three officers.

Last week, the mother of one of the victims called for the removal from office of Mexico state Attorney General Alfredo Castillo because of his officers’ negligence in letting the murderer get away.

One of the officers guarding the suspect, Luis Alberto Cañedo Chaparro, was arrested, but the other two officers are now fugitives.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Unprecedented Public Celebrations for Lent and Way of the Cross in Cuba

Unprecedented Public Celebrations for Lent and Way of the Cross in Cuba

Photo: Way of the Cross Celebrations in Cuba

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The Havana Archbishopric is celebrating unprecedented live and public “Way of the Cross” events on the streets of the Cuban capital during Lent and in preparation for the visit to the island by Pope Benedict XVI late this month.

One of the ceremonies took place on Saturday in the residential neighborhood of Central Havana, where some 200 religious faithful and curious onlookers gathered in a park to witness the recreation by a number of young people of scenes of Christ’s passion and death.

The event continued with a procession headed by an image of Jesus carrying a cross, which wended its way through several streets in the district and was presided over by Cardinal Jaime Ortega, the top Catholic Church figure on the communist island.

While the faithful intoned religious chants and prayers, the local residents of the area observed from the balconies and doorways of their homes as the procession moved past and many took images of it with their mobile telephones.

According to sources with the Havana Archbishopric, these representations of the “Way of the Cross” began several weeks ago and will be held in different neighborhoods around the capital up until March 16.

When the Saturday procession ended, Cardinal Ortega addressed the participants to remind them of the pontiff’s visit from March 26-28.

Over the past two years, the Cuban Catholic Church has taken on a new role as interlocutor with the state beginning with an unprecedented dialogue initiated by President Raul Castro and Ortega in May 2010 that resulted in the release of dozens of political prisoners from the regime’s jails.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Andy Garcia Announces Plans to Direct Film on Last 10 Years of Hemingway’s Life

Andy Garcia Announces Plans to Direct Film on Last 10 Years of Hemingway’s Life

Photo: Andy Garcia Directing Film in Hemingway

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Cuban-American actor Andy Garcia said during an appearance at Mexico’s Guadalajara International Film Festival that he planned to make a film about “the last 10 years of the life” of legendary American writer Ernest Hemingway.

“I’ve always been passionate about fishing and about the book “The Old Man and the Sea,” and I knew that I had to do this screenplay,” Garcia said Saturday during a discussion with young filmmakers a few hours before being honored at the official opening ceremony.

Hemingway, who committed suicide on July 2, 1961, in Ketchum, Idaho, wrote “The Old Man and the Sea,” one of his most famous novels, at Finca Vigia, the house 20 kilometers (12 miles) outside Havana where he lived from 1939 to 1961.

Garcia said during his appearance at the Talent Campus at the Expo Guadalajara, the venue for most of the events at the 27th Guadalajara International Film Festival, that Anthony Hopkins would play Hemingway.

The actor and director said he was working to get Annette Bening to play Mary Welsh, Hemingway’s wife.

Garcia said he would like to play Gregorio Fuentes, who captained Hemingway’s fishing boat and had lobbied for a film to be made about the legendary writer as far back as the 1970s.

The movie is still in the financing stage and filming locations are being discussed, Garcia said.

The actor and director said he would like to shoot the film in Cuba or the Dominican Republic.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Panama Improves Ability to Respond to Natural Disasters with $100 Million Standby Loan

Panama Improves Ability to Respond to Natural Disasters with $100 Million Standby Loan

Photo: Flooding Panama

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Panama will substantially improve its ability to respond to natural disasters with a $100 million Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) standby loan.

When disasters such as earthquakes and floods strike, the government can quickly draw from the facility to provide immediate assistance and to resume basic services to victims.

“Rapid access to liquidity will reduce the impact that any emergency may have on public finances, ensuring greater stability in long-term economic growth,” said Juan José Durante, the IDB’s project team leader.

The World Bank ranks Panama 14th among countries with the greatest exposure to multiple natural hazards.

Among recent examples of such hazards was the severe flooding in late 2010 that disrupted both navigation on the Panama Canal and the supply of potable water to much of the capital. Close to 16,000 people were affected, and the cost ofrepairing public infrastructure and promoting economic recovery totaled nearly $150 million.

Climate change may increase Panama’s vulnerability to extreme weather events. The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean warns that damages caused by severe storms to agriculture, tourism, and Canal traffic could exceed 14 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

The loan approved by the IDB may be used to finance a wide range of goods and services needed to respond to such emergencies, including procuring medical equipment, vaccines and medicines, facilities and equipment for temporary shelters and food for affected populations. The loan could also be used to cover the cost of emergency personnel to attend to victims, equipment rental and energy facilities, transportation, communications and storage, temporary infrastructure repair and the resumption of basic services immediately after a disaster.


 

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STUDY: Fitness Programs Lack Cultural Relevance for Minorities

STUDY: Fitness Programs Lack Cultural Relevance for Minorities

Photo: Latinos Getting Fit

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Many leading causes of death are linked to unhealthy lifestyle behaviors, including inadequate physical activity. Adults in minority populations have lower levels of physical activity and higher rates of preventable deaths, according to the Department of Health & Human Services.

In a new study, University of Missouri researchers found that minority adults who received exercise interventions increased their physical activity levels. However, these interventions are not culturally tailored to best assist minority populations in improving overall health.

Conn conducted an analysis of more than 100 studies that tested exercise interventions in 21,151 participants from minority populations. The majority of the supervised exercise studies included short-term programs with weekly exercise sessions, lasting an average of 12 weeks.

“In reviewing the studies, we were surprised at how infrequently the researchers culturally tailored the motivational interventions,” said Vicki Conn, associate dean for research and Potter-Brinton professor in the MU Sinclair School of Nursing. “For example, in the majority of interventions for African Americans, there is no evidence that African Americans helped design the study, recruit participants or deliver the programs. This reveals a challenge in this area of science – although many researchers are concerned about increasing exercise in minority populations, interventions are not being culturally tailored to these populations.”

Participants in supervised exercise interventions experienced modest improvements in fitness. The positive effects could be augmented with more frequent and varied exercise sessions and the use of culturally relevant approaches, Conn said.

Prevention of weight gain is incredibly important because minorities have higher rates of obesity compared to the majority population. Obesity is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and diabetes, which are significant public health problems for minority adults.

The study, “Physical Activity Interventions with Healthy Minority Adults: Meta-Analysis of Behavior and Health Outcomes,” is published in the current issue of the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved. Conn’s research is funded by a more than $1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

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Bolivia’s Evo Morales Released from Hospital, Resumes Presidential Duties

Bolivia’s Evo Morales Released from Hospital, Resumes Presidential Duties

Photo: Evo Morales Leaves Hospital after Emergency Stay

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Bolivian President Evo Morales on the weekend left the hospital in the central city of Cochabamba where he had been admitted suddenly 24 hours earlier, and specialists attending him said that he is in “very good health,” the government-run media reported Sunday.

Morales’ hospitalization - which ended on Saturday evening - had not been announced and he had to cancel at the last minute three speeches he was going to give on Saturday morning in the Andean city of El Alto to inaugurate various public works projects.

Morales’s duties were temporarily taken over by Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera, who said that the leader’s hospitalization on Friday was for routine reasons.

“His state of health is stable, without any changes. He’s in very good health,” Dr. Mauricio Garcia, the vice president’s brother, told the state-run ABI news agency.

The medical diagnosis says that the 52-year-old Morales may “return to his routine,” including his workdays lasting up to 15 hours and his frequent sports activities after spending 24 hours in the private Los Olivos hospital, where in 2011 he underwent an operation on his left knee.

Government sources said that Morales was examined by four specialists who performed blood pressure tests, electrocardiograms and lab analysis, after which they recommended only that he “watch his eating” and take his meals more regularly.

“This is a very normal question. He is enjoying very good health, joking like always. Yes, he’s in very good shape,” said the vice president’s brother, adding that Morales continues to play soccer without experiencing any problems with his knee.

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State Dept. Officials Travel to Brazil to Discuss Nuclear Safety Issues

State Dept. Officials Travel to Brazil to Discuss Nuclear Safety Issues

Photo: Nuclear Disarmament U.S.-Brazil Discussions

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Acting Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose E. Gottemoeller and Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation Thomas M. Countryman will travel to Brazil from March 4-5 to meet with senior Brazilian Government officials for bilateral discussions on nonproliferation and disarmament issues.

A key focus of this trip is the upcoming Nuclear Security Summit process and updates on arms control issues, such as the implementation of the New START Treaty.

According to the State Department: “Brazil is an important global partner that shares common arms control and nonproliferation goals. We appreciate Brazil’s leadership, both regionally and internationally, and we look forward to collaborating further in dealing with the important nonproliferation and disarmament challenges.”

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Latino Blotter:  31 Charged for Smuggling Undocumented Aliens into U.S. for Over a Decade

Latino Blotter:  31 Charged for Smuggling Undocumented Aliens into U.S. for Over a Decade

Photo: Major Bust in Texas of Undocumented Smugglers

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A federal grand jury returned indictments against 31 Texas residents for their involvement in a conspiracy to harbor and transport illegal aliens.

A sealed indictment was returned Jan. 25, and partially unsealed upon the arrests of the following 12 individuals: Petronilo Sanchez-Jimenez, 42, Norma Leticia Silva-Garcia, aka Norma Sanchez, aka Norma Rocha, 38, and Sandro Alvarez-Maldonado, 35, all of Edinburg, Texas; Armando Olmedo-Trevino, 47, Maria Herrera, 34, John Castillo, 31, Ricky Garibaldi, 46, Oscar Garza-Perales, 28, all of Wharton, Texas; Donna Simkins, 45, Tracy Howard, 47, Christian Russo, 39, all of Houston; and Cristobal Ochoa, 48, of Falfurrias, Texas.

On Feb. 22, the indictment was superceded and unsealed upon the arrest of the following additional 19 defendants: Rosalinda Carbajal, 49, of Wharton; Alberto Ramon Castellano, 37, Veronica Rodriguez-Salinas, 27, Andrew Joseph Rodriguez, 21, all of Falfurrias, Texas; Jeenifer Ledesma, 21, Veronica Gallegos, 32, Alejandro Martinez, 30, Darrell Chatmon, 21, Marixsa Sermeno, 29, Mayra Patino, 24, Priscilla Arispe, 22, Miriam Suarez, 20, all of Houston, Texas; Krystal Montana, 24, of Conroe, Texas; Mary Jane Hane, 59, Tina Beridon, 41, both of Huffman, Texas; Heather Redmond, 20, of Sugarland, Texas; Angie Enriquez aka Angie Luevano, 29, of Texas City, Texas; Chastinique Kemp, 21, of Missouri City, Texas; and Ashli Urbina, 23, of Galveston, Texas.

The indictment alleges the defendants engaged in a conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens in buildings and other places and to transport illegal aliens from Aug. 9, 2002 to Jan. 31, 2012.

The conspiracy charge carries up to 10 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine upon conviction. Garza-Perales, a citizen of Mexico, was separately indicted for illegally re-entering the United States after having been previously deported. If convicted of that offense, he faces an additional prison term of up to 20 years, a maximum $250,000 fine and removal from the United States after he completes his sentence.

The indictment and arrests are the result of an on-going investigation by Homeland Security in cooperation with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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Arizona Immigration Law Dealing with Day Laboers Partially Blocked by Court

Arizona Immigration Law Dealing with Day Laboers Partially Blocked by Court

Photo: Arizona immigration law, SB1070, day laborers provision was blocked this past Wednesday.

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Arizona’s immigration law, SB1070, which became effective on July 2010, was partially blocked this week. The specific provision that was blocked dealt with prohibiting people from blocking traffic while seeking or obtaining day laborer services on the streets.

District judge Susan Bolton, the judge that blocked this provision, provided that it would give just cause for opponents to claim an invasion of their First Amendment right. Judge Bolton even stated that opponents of the law were “likely to succeed on the merits of their claim”.

Republican Governor Jan Brewer who passed the strict immigration law, was seeking to target migrant workers through the day labor provision. The decision disappointed Brewer whom stated that it was an “erroneous decision by the U.S. District Court to strike down a significant public safety component”.

National Day Laborer Organizing Network, a non-profit, celebrated the ruling, which was also opposed by President Obama, many Democrats, and a number of civil rights groups. Opponents of the law believed it would lead to harassment and racism toward Hispanic Americans.

The portions of SB 1070 that provides a requirement for police to check the immigration status of anyone they suspected was in the country illegally, was also blocked by Bolton in a prior ruling.

The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear the case on SB1070 on April 25th, and Arizona is appealing that the previous rulings be placed on hold until then.

Read more by HS News Staff →



SundayMarch 4, 2012