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WednesdayMarch 21, 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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Mexico Will Not Ask for Pope’s Support in Fight Against Narco Violence

Mexico Will Not Ask for Pope’s Support in Fight Against Narco Violence

Photo: Pope's Trip to Mexico

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Pope Benedict XVI is traveling to Mexico to preach the gospel and no government official will ask him to help fight against the drug-related violence besetting the country, Mexico’s ambassador to The Holy See told Efe.

In an interview to discuss the pontiff’s visit to Mexico, Federico Ling Altamirano added that a call by the pope to the public to overcome challenges “can be more effective than any condemnation.”

When asked about what he believes will be the message the pope will bring and if he thinks that Benedict XVI will condemn violence, drug trafficking and corruption, the envoy said that “it’s possible.”

But, he added, it would be very strange to travel so many thousands of kilometers “just” to condemn violence “when he regularly does it in the Wednesday audiences in the Vatican” and on other occasions, since violence is “something that occurs all over the world.”

“The pope is not coming to condemn violence nor to ask (the drug traffickers) for a truce. He’s coming to speak about the gospel,” the envoy said.

Conflict between rival drug cartels and between criminals and the security forces has left roughly 50,000 dead in Mexico over the last five years.

Ling said he was convinced that a call to the Mexican people “to raise their spirits and their hearts to overcome the challenges” can be more effective than any type of condemnation.

With regard to what the papal visit means for Mexico, the diplomat confirmed that this is the occasion on which to reiterate the commitment to the values of Christianity, renew the promise of “ever faithful Mexico” and the relationship with the pope.

Mexicans - he said - will be able to get to know Benedict XVI, “the depth of his message and his goodness.”

About what type of Mexico the pope will encounter, the ambassador emphasized the reduction in the number of Catholics in recent years, although he said that 83 percent of the population continues to be nominally Catholic.

That reduction, he said, is not due “as in Europe” to secularism, but to the lack of priests, a situation that prevents them from being able to provide their services to all the faithful, which in turn opens the doors to “sects occupying that place, ready to capture the most uneasy spirits.”

Ling said that there is one priest for every 10,000 Mexicans, and “that is not enough.”

Asked if he believed that the scandal caused by the founder of the Legion of Christ - Mexican priest Marcial Maciel (1920-2008), who was punished by Benedict for sexually abusing seminarians - had harmed the image of the Mexican Catholic Church, he said that it had caused “some tatters” in areas near the legionnaires, but otherwise no.

Ling said that Mexicans “who always dreamed of a visit by Benedict XVI,” will receive him as they did Pope John Paul II, “very warmly” and they will not hesitate to come whatever distance might be necessary to be able to see him in person.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Gay Couple Married in 2011 Fights to Stay Together as One Faces Deportation

Gay Couple Married in 2011 Fights to Stay Together as One Faces Deportation

Photo: Gay Couple Married in 2011 Fights to Stay Together as One Faces Deportation

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Undocumented Mexican immigrant Alfonso Garcia, who married a U.S. man - Brian Willingham - in New York in 2011, this week will attend a hearing to try and halt his deportation while he pursues a petition for legal residence based on his matrimonial union.

Willingham, a 37-year-old Missouri native, and Garcia, 35, have been together for more than a decade.

At the hearing on Thursday in the U.S. Immigration Court in San Francisco, the couple’s attorney, Lavi Soloway, will ask that the deportation proceedings be deferred in accord with the request for legal residence that Willingham presented for Garcia due to their marriage and which is still pending.

According to a communique from Students Working for Equal Rights, Garcia was placed in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on July 1, 2011, after a routine traffic arrest during which his undocumented status was discovered.

The Mexican was in jail and in different detention units, including one in the Arizona desert, for more than three weeks. Willingham finally secured his release, but the government began deportation procedures against Garcia.

Soloway told Efe that although this case would fall under the new ICE discretionary policy because the Mexican does not represent a danger to society, his clients want to be treated like any other married couple.

“Sure, the new immigration directives apply in this care, but we want to put an end to discrimination,” said Soloway, who has represented couples in similar situations all over the country.

According to Soloway, a heterosexual couple in this situation would receive a postponement or even the complete suspension of deportation procedures to allow them to pursue getting a Green Card based on their marriage, but the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act does not recognize same-sex unions as valid in immigration matters.

Garcia came to the United States from Mexico when he was a boy and has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for almost 21 years. His parents, who are legal residents, have applied for U.S. citizenship.

“This country is my home and Brian is my husband. I don’t want to lose everything we’ve built together and have them tell me that I can’t return to the U.S. for 10 years,” said Garcia in the communique.

The couple has joined the Stop the Deportations campaign in their fight for a Green Card for the Mexican based on their marriage.

Same-sex marriage is legal in the states of New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maryland, as well as in the District of Columbia.

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: Former Mr. Panama Arrested on Cocaine Trafficking Charges

LATINO BLOTTER: Former Mr. Panama Arrested on Cocaine Trafficking Charges

Photo: Harry Agustin Duncan Maslivar Arrested on Cocaine Trafficking Charges

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The man named Mr. Panama 2004 has been arrested for trafficking cocaine.

On March 12, Harry Agustin Duncan Maslivar, who was working as a flight attendant for Copa Airlies, was arrested at Miami International Airport. Investigators say they found 4.3 kilograms of cocaine hidden in the lining of his suitcase.

He did not deny that the bag was his as one might expect and instead admitted to working as a drug trafficker after being recruited by a fellow flight attendant.

The 29-year-old said he was to receive $5,000 for smuggling the cocaine from Panama City to Miami.

Duncan Maslivar has a bond hearing on March 27 in Miami.

The male beauty pagent seems to attract controversial men, as Mr. Panama 2009 was stripped of his title after it was discovered he had stripped for a gay porn site.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Peru Hotel Unveils Barbie-Themed Suite

Peru Hotel Unveils Barbie-Themed Suite

Photo: Peru Hotel Unveils Barbie-Themed Suite

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In 2004, Argentina’s Buenos Aires Hilton inaugurated the world’s first Barbie Room, and Peru has now followed suit (or should we say “suite”).

In the desert peninsula of Paracas, Peru, the DoubleTree by Hilton has teamed up with Mattel to create the ultimate girly experience with its version of the Barbie Suite.

Olga Pinzon, a senior licensing manager at CASA, recently told Peru This Week, “Through the Barbie Suite we seek to develop a unique environment where girls can live an authentic Barbie experience, where every element is designed so that our girls can enjoy the world of Barbie and all the products we develop that are inspired by the brand.”

ImageThe suite is equipped with Barbie dolls and Barbie-related games and accessories. Guests can also order food from a Barbie-inspired menu and even a Barbie manicure.

Peru is only the latest to develop a Barbie suite, as hotels in Canada, Colombia, South Korea, Spain, Venezuela, and other countries’ hotels have created them since Argentina in 2004.

The first Barbie doll was sold at the New York Toy Fair in 1959. In her “lifetime,” Barbie has been 50 different nationalities and has had more than 125 careers.

This April, Mattel’s Barbie Collector series will release its William and Catherine Royal Wedding™ giftset to commemorate the first anniversary of the royal couple and their momentous wedding day.

Read more by HS News Staff →

‘Dancing With the Stars’ Cuban Cutie William Levy Sees Sexual Assault Case Dropped

‘Dancing With the Stars’ Cuban Cutie William Levy Sees Sexual Assault Case Dropped

Photo: Cuban 'Dancing With the Stars' Competitor William Levy has Sexual Assault Case Against him Dropped

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In 2010, actor-model William Levy was sued for sexual battery of a minor, but this week, the telenovela star has reason to flash that impressive smile, as the case against him was dropped.

The alleged victim, Karla Alvarez, then 17, accused the Cuban-American actor of sexual battery and false imprisonment, saying she was lured to his Hilton Hotel room in Glendale, California where he forced her to perform a sex act on him. She also claimed he gave her an STD.

Levy vehemently denied the allegations and counter sued for extortion and defamation, saying any sex acts between them were consensual and that she “wilfully, fraudulently, and maliciously deceived [Levy] into believing that she was a 19-year-old consenting adult.”

The young woman ultimately dropped her case against him asking “that the Court dismiss this action with prejudice.”

The father of two is currently competing on the 14th season of ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” with professional dancer Cheryl Burke as his partner.

Having performed for the judges twice now, Levy is already becoming a favorite, not just for his dance moves, but his unbelievably good looks.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Baby Number Two on the Way for Victoria’s Secret Model Adriana Lima

Baby Number Two on the Way for Victoria’s Secret Model Adriana Lima

Photo: Baby Number Two on the Way for Victoria's Secret Model Adriana Lima

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Brazilian model Adriana Lima and her husband are expecting their second child later this year.

The 30-year-old Victoria’s Secret model and her former NBA player husband, Marko Jaric, are said to be pregnant with a younger sibling for two-year-old Valentina.

The model recently told People, ‘The entire family is very excited, especially Valentina. She keeps blowing kisses to my belly and saying, “Kisses for the baby.’ ‘

Lima impressed many with her after-baby figure when she walked the runway at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show last November, however the 9-day liquid diet she reportedly put herself through prior to the show drew a bit of controversy.

For two years in a row (2007, 2008) Lima was the fourth highest paid model in world, bringing in around $6 million.

Fellow Brazilian Victoria’s Secret model Alessandra Ambrosio, is also expecting her second child. She and husband Jamie Mazur also have a three-year-old daughter Anja.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Quarterback Question: Tebow Traded to the Jets, What Will This Mean for Mark Sanchez?

Quarterback Question: Tebow Traded to the Jets, What Will This Mean for Mark Sanchez?

Photo: Tebow Traded to the Jets, What Will This Mean for Mark Sanchez?

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Just one day after the Denver Broncos signed free agent Payton Manning to a five-year contract, former Bronco Tim Tebow has been traded to the New York Jets.

With Mark Sanchez having just signed an extension with the Jets, one has to wonder, with Tebow in, is Sanchez out?

Wednesday, it was announced that Tebow was traded to the Jets for a fourth-round draft pick, with the team also getting sixth- and seventh-round picks.

Earlier this month, Sanchez signed a three-year, $40.5 million contract extension, meaning the Jets know have four quarterbacks: Sanchez, Drew Staton, Greg McElroy, and now Tebow.

Tuesday, Sanchez told “The Petros and Money Show”, ‘I think Tim will do great no matter what happens.’

Sure Mark, but did you expect “what happens” to include Tebow heading over to your team? We suspect not.

With Tebow now his “back-up,” there is little doubt the Jets’ fan base will be quick to call for Sanchez’s removal following his first less-than-perfect pass, something NFL writer Gregg Rosenthal, suspects will be “roughly the first quarter of the first preseason game.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Malia in Mexico: White House Causes Stir Asking Media to Remove First Daughter Spring Break Stories

Malia in Mexico: White House Causes Stir Asking Media to Remove First Daughter Spring Break Stories

Photo: Malia in Mexico: White House Causes Stir Asking Media to Remove First Daughter Spring Break Stories

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Media reports on President Obama’s daughter Malia Ann vacationing in Mexico for Spring Break on a school trip were quickly removed Monday and Tuesday, leaving readers wondering, “What happened?”

Not long after reports of Malia, 13, vacationing in Oaxaca, Mexico were published, they were taken down and few knew, though many questioned, why.

The 13-year-old daughter of the President and 12 of her classmates were reportedly being escorted by 25 Secret Service agents while they toured the various tourist sites like the architectural zone of Mitla and the tree of El Tule, which is believed to be more than a thousand years old.

The First Daughter was also still in Mexico when the massive 7.9 earthquake shook the area Tuesday, but while the story of her in Mexico may not have piqued the interest of many, the quick removal of all stories regarding it did.

As readers scrambled to figure out why all links and reports on the story of Malia in Mexico were gone or directing, Kristina Schake, Communications Director to the First Lad sent an email informing Politico that the removal of the stories was indeed the work of the White House:

From the beginning of the administration, the White House has asked news outlets not to report on or photograph the Obama children when they are not with their parents and there is no vital news interest. We have reminded outlets of this request in order to protect the privacy and security of these girls.

So what do you think? Should the White House should be allowed to ask for the removal of stories regarding the President’s children when it does not also involve the President and First Lady?

Read more by HS News Staff →

Soon-to-be Deported Argentinian Fake Plays Special OP’s Solider to Reenter U.S. at Later Date

Soon-to-be Deported Argentinian Fake Plays Special OP’s Solider to Reenter U.S. at Later Date

Photo: Mario Oscar Achaval Plays Fake Soldier after Deportation Order

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United States Attorney Robert Pitman announced that 42-year-old Mario Oscar Achaval of Argentina faces up to 15 years in federal prison after a jury in San Antonio convicted him of producing false U.S. military identification documents.

Following a one-day trial, the jury found Achaval guilty on four counts of producing false U.S. military identification documents.

Testimony revealed that in June and July 2011, Achaval produced four individual U.S. Department of Defense Common Access Cards, also known as CAC cards. One of the identification cards falsely stated Achaval was a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army. The other three falsely claimed he was a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Special Operations Command, Task Force ODIN, and U.S. Army Southern Command, respectively, and had the markings “TS/SCI” standing for Top Secret security clearances.

In 2009, Achaval was convicted and sentenced in state court in Miami/Dade County, Florida for fraud and ordered to be deported. Evidence presented during court revealed that while awaiting deportation, Achaval was released to the custody of his immigration attorney in the Western District of Texas. In late Spring 2011, Achaval purchased U.S. military uniforms along with rank and unit insignias to match the U.S. Special Operations Command ID that he produced and told his immigration attorney that he was going to use the identifications and uniforms to illegally return to the U.S. following his deportation to Argentina.

Achaval has remained in federal custody since his arrest last August for cutting off his ankle monitor and violating his conditions of release. Sentencing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on July 11, 2012.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latino Blotter:  Step Dad Drives Around Auto Show Parking Lot with 7-year-old on Rooftop

Latino Blotter:  Step Dad Drives Around Auto Show Parking Lot with 7-year-old on Rooftop

Photo: Abelardo Araujo Arrested - Click2Houston screen shot

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It is up to you to determine if Abelardo Araujo is a fun-loving step dad or one of the worse.

Araujo took his 7-year-old stepson to a Houston make-shift carshow and decided to put the youngster on the roof top so the boy could see the cars better. 

WTF you say?  Well so did the police.

Houston police arrested Araujo when they observed him driving in the parking lot of the outdoor show with the boy on top of his closed sun roof.

He is charged with child endangerment and paid bailed of $2,000 to be released from jail.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Guatemala Awaits Threatened Attacked by Zeta Narcos

Guatemala Awaits Threatened Attacked by Zeta Narcos

Photo: Zetas Make Threats in Guatemala

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A banner that appeared Tuesday in front of a school in the northern Guatemalan province of Peten threatens attack on civilians if authorities in the Central American nation continue to pursue members of the Mexico-based Los Zetas drug cartel.

“To all civil and military authorities and the population in general stop persecution of the race or we will start killing. We will toss grenades into discos and shopping centers in Peten ... because this is ‘Z’ territory we don’t want a war against the government this is a warning. Z200,” the message said.

The appearance of the banner was the work of “groups that want to destabilize,” Peten Gov. Henry Amezquita said, suggesting the threat was “a reprisal” for Monday’s arrest in Peten of a reputed Zetas boss, Guatemalan citizen Gustavo Colindres.

Eight days ago, Zetas hung bedsheets over heavily traveled boulevards in Guatemala City bearing messages of support for President Otto Perez Molina’s proposal to legalize drugs.

The messages - signed by Zeta 200, the supposed boss of the Mexican cartel’s cell in Guatemala - also called for a crackdown on youth gangs, which are known as “maras” and blamed by officials for much of the crime in this Central American country.

“Perez and (Vice President Roxana) Baldetti, go through with legalizing drugs, and we support fighting the maras ... Zeta 200” and “A thousand thanks general Otto Perez and Roxana Baldetti for legalizing drugs ... Zeta 200,” the messages left on pedestrian bridges in southwestern and central Guatemala City said.

Perez Molina, who has been promoting international debate on drug legalization as a strategy for fighting drug traffickers, dismissed the messages as unimportant and attributed them to unnamed political opponents.

Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano deserted from the Mexican army in 1999 and formed Los Zetas with three other soldiers, all members of an elite special operations unit, becoming the armed wing of the Gulf drug cartel.

After several years on the payroll of the Gulf cartel, Los Zetas went into the drug business on their own account and now control several lucrative territories.

Guatemalan authorities acknowledge that the Zetas have a large presence in the country and the group is blamed for the massacre of 27 peasants last May at a ranch in Peten province, which borders Mexico and Belize.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Council Opposes Oil Search off Coast of Spain’s Canary Islands

Council Opposes Oil Search off Coast of Spain’s Canary Islands

Photo: Council Opposes Oil Search off Coast of Spain's Canary Islands

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Elected officials in the Canary Islands plan to ask Spain’s Supreme Court to block plans for oil exploration in the Spanish archipelago off the coast of Africa.

A majority of the local council on the island of Lanzarote voted to file a motion with the high court seeking enforcement of its 2004 ruling suspending the oil prospecting project led by Spain’s Repsol-YPF on a technicality.

Councilors from Spain’s ruling conservative Popular Party opposed the move to block the project.

An earlier PP administration had initially approved the project in 2001, although it was shelved while a Socialist government was in power from 2004 until late last year.

Lanzarote’s local council rejected what it termed a “lack of respect” by the Industry, Energy and Tourism Ministry, led by Canarian Jose Manuel Soria, “in authorizing oil prospecting without responding to concerns” raised by local officials.

Soria said after the go-ahead was given for the project last Friday that it will take place 61 kilometers (38 miles) off the coasts of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, the easternmost of the Canary Islands, one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations.

He insisted that Spain, which imports nearly all of the 1.4 million barrels of oil it consumes daily, cannot afford not to tap production capacity equivalent to 10 percent of that total, according to the most pessimistic forecasts.

Lanzarote’s council also denounced the “urgency” with which the project was authorized, saying Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s government should have waited until new European Union guidelines on oil prospecting enter into force.

The legislative measure will be sent to the Canary Islands’ representatives in the Spanish Parliament in Madrid.

The council’s president, Pedro San Gines, underscored the threat that Repsol’s project represents for Lanzarote’s maritime biodiversity and its tourism-based economic development model.

The livelihoods of 90 percent of the population depend on tourism, which in turn is based on the region’s “environmental quality,” he said, adding that oil prospecting will endanger catchment of desalinated sea water, the only source of water for human consumption and Lanzarote’s agricultural and tourism industries.

Repsol, for its part, says that if the potential of the offshore area is confirmed it would mark “the biggest hydrocarbon discovery in Spain’s history.”

A thorough environmental-impact study is to be completed by the end of 2014, after which time the first exploratory drilling could be conducted to determine the zone’s potential.

The company projects that a decision on investment in that region may occur by around 2016 and initial oil production could begin by around 2019 or 2020.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Puerto Rican Bomba Dance Making A Big Comeback in the U.S.

Puerto Rican Bomba Dance Making A Big Comeback in the U.S.

Photo: Puerto Rican dance Bomba Makes Comeback

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Bomba, Puerto Rico’s oldest musical rhythm, is growing in the United States thanks to workshops given by maestro Angel Luis Reyes.

Born in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, but raised in New York, Reyes was still a youngster when he learned to play percussion and joined a group of musicians including Jose Feliciano that in 1977 launched the Bomba Symphonic Orchestra.

On a recent trip to give a workshop in Columbia, capital of South Carolina, Reyes told Efe that bomba continues “to grow both in Puerto Rico and in the United States.”

“I give a lot of credit to the folks in New York and Chicago, but there is also bomba in Seattle, where even people of Chinese descent sing and dance it in their own language. The idea is for everyone to keep this feeling alive,” he said.

“In Puerto Rico a lot of young people do it,” the maestro said. “Even when they’re rapping and break dancing, they do it to bomba rhythms with a modern twist. No less than 10 generations have kept it going.”

The musician came to Columbia at the invitation of the Belcose organization, which promotes Hispanic culture in South Carolina. The group’s co-founder, Enid Acosta, pointed up the connection of bomba’s origins with this state.

“Along the coast in Charleston, one of the country’s most important ports in the time of slavery, people came from Puerto Rico to find slaves to work on the island, which is why we have a similarity to the African-American culture,” Acosta said.


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WednesdayMarch 21, 2012