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SundayApril 1, 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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Obama Proposes New Rules Favorable to Undocumented Immigrant Families

Obama Proposes New Rules Favorable to Undocumented Immigrant Families

Photo: Deportations Obama

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The Obama administration is proposing a new rule which would make it easier for illegal immigrants with immediate family members that are U.S. citizens to apply for their own legal residency.  The proposal would allow the illegal immigrants to remain in the country while going through the application process.  Typically an applicant must return to their native country while awaiting their residency visa.  This change could affect up to 1 million people out of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States today.

Although this new proposal has already stirred up some criticism among Republicans, the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Alejandro Mayorkas, states, “I don’t think that criticism is warranted at all.  What we are doing is reducing the time of separation, not changing the standard of obtaining a waiver.”  Yet, Javier Ortiz, a Republican strategist, doesn’t buy it.  He states, “It looks like the president is pandering to Hispanic voters.  I would argue that Hispanics are smarter than that and they know he has failed to bring forward comprehensive immigration reform.” 

Yet for many illegal immigrants the dangers of returning to their home countries outweigh the dangers of living in the U.S. illegally.  Mexican immigrants are required to return to the U.S. consulate in Juarez, Mexico to obtain their legal documents.  However this city alone saw 2,000 homicides in 2011 as a result of drug cartel violence.  According to Lisa Battan, a Boulder, Colorado immigration attorney, her clients, Abel Aguirre de la Cruz and his wife, Jessica Martinez, a U.S. citizen, were carjacked at gunpoint with their infant child in November of 2010 in Fresnillo, Mexico while going through the application process.  On March 15th, 20 months after their first application was processed, the consulate in Juarez requested more information.

Many avoid applying for legal status out of fear of being rejected and subsequently deported.  According to Battan, the current system is “encouraging people to remain illegal.”  As a result this proposal could provide great benefits for split families.

Read more at Los Angeles Times →

Petroleum Exploration in Peru Tied to 3,000 Dolphin Deaths Thus Far

Petroleum Exploration in Peru Tied to 3,000 Dolphin Deaths Thus Far

Photo: Dying Dolphins in Peru

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So far in 2011, some 3,000 dead dolphins have washed up on the beaches in the northern Peruvian region of Lambayaque, supposedly having died from the effects of petroleum exploitation in the area, the daily Peru21 reported Sunday.

According to the science director for the Scientific Organization for Conservation of Aquatic Animals, or ORCA, Carlos Yaipen, the deaths of the oceanic mammals was due to a “marine bubble,” an acoustic pocket that forms as a result of using equipment to explore for petroleum below the seabed.

“The oil companies use different frequencies of acoustic waves and the effects produced by these bubbles are not plainly visible, but they generate effects later in the animals. That can cause death by acoustic impact, not only in dolphins, but also in marine seals and whales,” Yaipen told the daily.

The expert also added that the acoustic shock causes loss of equilibrium, disorientation and internal hemorrhaging in the animals.

The Association of Marine Cultivators of Lambayeque, meanwhile, denied that local fishermen have been killing the dolphins.

The animals’ cause of death is being investigated by Peru’s oceanic institute, known as Imarpe, which has taken samples from the dolphins for testing.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican Government Divies Up $200 Million Seized from “El Chapo”

Mexican Government Divies Up $200 Million Seized from “El Chapo”

Photo: Chapo Guzman Assets Seized

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More than 15 million dollars, as well as a load of jewels and other valuables that supposedly belonged to the ‘Cártel de Sinaloa’ led by famous drug lord, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán will be distributed amongst government offices. 

This will occur after the military took possession of the valuables during a raid on Novemer 18th 2011 in Tijuana, Baja California.  According to the federal law, these goods, which have not been claimed by any group or individual within the required 90 days, will then belong to the federal government. 

During ‘Operation Zorro,’ this past November, military officials obtained a Jeep Grand Cherokee transporting a safe allegedly belonging to the well known drug cartel, Cártel de Sinaloa.  Officials found $15,350,000 in three suitcases along with watches, rings and other jewels from luxury designers such as Cartier, Rolex, Nautica, and Burberry.  A limited edition piece from Federique Constant Geneve, with the serial number 1764 was also obtained, which alone could value at close to 2 million euros.

The money and jewels will be divided among the PGR, or the Federal Judicial Power, as well as the Secretary of Health.  Both departments will use the funds to aid in the fight against organized crime as well as drug prevention and treatment programs within the country. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Madrid Prostitutes Withholding Sex Favors from Spanish Bankers, Until They Approve More Loans

Madrid Prostitutes Withholding Sex Favors from Spanish Bankers, Until They Approve More Loans

Photo: Spanish Hookers Strike Against Bankers

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While the banks of Spain withhold credit availability to Spanish families and small businesses, the capital’s high class escorts will be withholding their own sought after services.  The protest began after one of the ladies halted her own sexual services until her client provided a line of credit and a loan.  This ‘sex strike’ involves all bank employees, many of which have desperately created false occupations and identities in an attempt to enjoy some time with women from one of the largest trade associations for luxury escorts. 

After attempts by the Spanish government as well as the Bank of Spain have failed at adjusting the country’s credit flow, the sex strike has shown impressive success.  According to the trade association’s spokeswoman, “We are the only ones with a real ability to pressure the sector.  We have been on strike for three days now (as of March 22nd ) and we don’t think they can withstand much more.”

Although many desperate Spanish bankers have attempted to involve the government in this dispute, their efforts have proved futile as the government never regulated this ‘high class hooker’ sector and as a result cannot mediate the conflict. 

Read more at RT News →

Mexico’s Ivonne Suffers Relapse - Hospitalized for Depression and Paranoia

Mexico’s Ivonne Suffers Relapse - Hospitalized for Depression and Paranoia

Photo: Twin Ivonne Relapses

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Ivonne, the famous Mexican singer and twin sister of Ivette, has been admitted into a treatment facility in Monterrey, Nuevo León, for depression and paranoia.

Her twin, Ivette, said to TV Notas, “She has depression and paranoia.  My biggest wish and the objective of all of this is that she will be able to return to a normal life and live as we always do without the need for any medication.  I am here giving her my moral support and want to see her happy and healthy.  She knows that I will always love her and that we are one soul in two bodies. If we are not together, my heart is with her.”  Her sister also stated that Ivonne’s son, Santiago, who is living in Mexico City with his grandmother, is giving her strength to continue in her treatment and continue fighting. 

Ivette is under the care of a prestigious doctor while being treated with nuclear medicine.  The singer, now 39 years old, was last treated for similar symptoms at a psychiatric clinic in 2010.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Former President of Mexico, Miguel De La Madrid Dead at 77

Former President of Mexico, Miguel De La Madrid Dead at 77

Photo: Miguel de la Madrid Dies of Emphysema

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Former President Miguel de la Madrid died early Sunday at a Mexico City hospital after a long battle with emphysema, Mexican President Felipe Calderon said. He was 77.

De la Madrid “dealt with much adversity during his administration” and his death is being “deeply” felt, Calderon said in a Twitter posting.

“I wish to express my deepest condolences to the De La Madrid family, especially to Enrique, an outstanding former member of this administration,” Calderon said.

Media outlets reported earlier in the day that the family had confirmed De la Madrid’s death at Mexico City’s Hospital Español, where he spent several months undergoing treatment for emphysema.

Several media outlets and Calderon reported in December that De la Madrid had died, but the family said stories about the former president’s death were just rumors.

The former president died around 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, the family said.

De la Madrid, who governed Mexico from 1982 to 1988, had to deal with several crises during his administration and was succeeded by Carlos Salinas de Gortari, who took office amid the political crisis sparked by the 1988 elections.

The former leader had to deal with popular discontent over the severe economic recession that hit Mexico in the early 1980s and outrage over his slow response to the 1985 Mexico City earthquake.

Condolence messages are flooding social networking sites in Mexico.

Governing National Action Party, or PAN, presidential candidate Josefina Vazquez Mota praised De la Madrid for having been a “promoter of culture.”

A viewing for the former president will be held in the library of his residence in Coyoacan, a residential area in southern Mexico City.

Read more by HS News Staff →

PERSONAL STORY: Fear and Uncertainty for the Undocumented Like Oscar Molina in Alabama

PERSONAL STORY: Fear and Uncertainty for the Undocumented Like Oscar Molina in Alabama

Photo: Face of the Undocumented, Oscar Molina & Family in Alabama

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This beautiful profile was written by one of our contributors Anne Little.  Ann is a freelance writer/photographer for over twenty years.  Check out her profile on Alabama immigrant Cessylia here


Oscar Molina looks proudly at his son, Angel, 11, who often makes the honor roll at school.  “If I take him to Mexico, his education will go,” says Oscar. 

Oscar and his wife are undocumented workers in Montgomery, Alabama, where fear and uncertainty about local laws are causing some immigrants to consider moving to other states or returning to Mexico.

If Oscar or his wife lose their current job, they don’t know if they could find another one without being able to provide worker authorization.  Meanwhile, the couple runs the risk of deportation if they are caught driving without an Alabama driver’s license.

It wasn’t the life Oscar’s family expected when they took the huge risk to come to the U.S.  Back in their home in Mexico City in 2003, they considered their options carefully.  Oscar had worked as a machinist at a factory since he was 15.  At 17, one of his fingers was severed by a machine blade, he said. The job offered no chance for a raise or for promotions within the company and paid roughly $70 a week.

Having no work visa, the family decided to cross the U.S border illegally in hopes of finding a new home in Alabama, where they had friends.  “You need money for a work visa.  No visa; no passport,” said Oscar.  In 2003, they paid a coyote a downpayment on the $5500 required for the trip.

Oscar worried about taking his 2-year-old son. He thought, “Ok, if it’s gonna be for a better life, we need to do it.”  Six other relatives, including the parents of Oscar’s wife, joined them on the dangerous trip.

In February 2003, they boarded a private bus in Veracruz along with approximately 20 other people, said Oscar.  They drove two days to a border town where they hid in a motel room for 3 days, waiting for their guide to take them across the border.  Finally, the coyote returned and told them that they would have to walk approximately 20 hours to cross the border.  If they preferred a way by car, that would cost more. 

Oscar’s in-laws decided to pay more and go in a car, so they left the group.  Then, Oscar lifted his son, Angel, onto his shoulders, and, with his wife and relatives, began the arduous walk from Naco, Sonora through desert land often roamed by wild animals.  “We heard snakes and patrol dogs barking,” said Oscar.

With their guide setting the pace, they walked from 3 o’clock in the afternoon until around 9 a.m. when they reached a pickup point at a low area beside an interstate, said Oscar.  Soon, a car pulled up to take them on the next stretch.  “When they come, I don’t feel my legs,” said Oscar.  With his family running beside him, Oscar crawled on his hands and knees toward the car.

They drove across the border to Phoenix, Arizona, where the family stayed in a house for two weeks.  They waited to be rejoined by Oscar’s in-laws, who had been discovered by authorities and deported back to Mexico.

But the hardest part was yet to come, according to Oscar.  After being reunited with his in-laws in Phoenix, the family would take the long trip to Alabama in a cramped van.  Just before they left, Angel fell on a pencil that pierced the skin above his eye.  The family prepared to abandon the trip in order to get help from a doctor.  But the wound stopped bleeding, and the van excursion began. 

“That was the worst time,” said Oscar.  “I felt scared.”  He said they were not given food, and their drivers would only stop twice for a bathroom break.  But eventually they arrived safely in Alabama.

Oscar and his wife quickly found work, and Angel entered school. A second child, Karol, was born in 2009.  “I feel at home (in Montgomery), ” said Oscar.

The family must now decide whether to return to Mexico or move to another state with more lenient laws toward immigrants. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Immigration Debate Part of Popular Lucha Libre Storyline

Immigration Debate Part of Popular Lucha Libre Storyline

Photo: Lucha Libre and Immigration Debate

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In an attempt to bring more fans to the struggling sport, Lucha Libre USA brings the heated political debate of immigration into the ring.  The ‘free wrestling’ sport originating in Mexico in the 1930s is targeting the Mexican immigrant and Mexican American markets with their fictional storyline revolving around immigration.  Using recent events in Arizona, the wrestlers use their new ‘personas’ to create controversy in and out of the ring. 

The “Masked Warriors” wrestling tour, will begin this week by Lucha Libre USA.  The tour will stop in Reno, Nevada, San Jose and Los Angeles, California, Phoenix, Arizona, as well as Houston, Texas. 

Two popular yet controversial ‘characters’ on tour are American ‘villian’ RJ Brewer and immigrant ‘hero’ Blue Demon Jr.  The masked Blue Demon’s real name is not publicly known, however he has said from his home in Mexico City that he, “Represents the Latino people.  We are human beings.”  “I support the immigrant people no matter what country they come from.”  The wrestler enjoys playing the role of hero and getting the crowd to rally against characters such as Brewer. 

RJ Brewer traditionally enters the ring waving an Arizona flag and denouncing everything from drinking Mexican beer to speaking Spanish.  He supports the controversial immigration law, “SB1070,” while calling Arizona’s Governor Jan Brewer, his ‘mother,’ and claims she is helping to ‘save’ America from unwanted immigrants. 

Although his character of RJ is fictional, the Massachusetts real estate agent, John Stagikas also advocates strongly for deportations and traditionally supports laws that target illegal immigrants.  His character has been largely built upon videos in which he is showing disgust for anything ‘foreign,’ while helping his ‘mother’ patrol the border. 

Read more at Daily Reporter →

U.s. to Help Guatemala Create Anti-Narco Force in Country

U.s. to Help Guatemala Create Anti-Narco Force in Country

Photo: U.S. Aids Guatemala on Narco Wars

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Guatemala plans to create a military unit to fight drug trafficking in the Pacific region and in San Marcos, a province on the border with Mexico, with U.S. support, Defense Minister Ulises Anzueto said.

The Tecun Uman Military Task Force’s mission will be to prevent drugs from being smuggled into the Central American country via maritime routes, Anzueto said.

The United States will provide vehicles for patrols and communications equipment to aid the unit in protecting blind spots and maritime zones in the Pacific, the defense minister said.

The unit’s commander has not yet been selected, Anzueto said, adding that the task force’s members would be drawn from the army and it would begin operations in the middle of this year.

Guatemala’s coasts have become the main entry point for drugs bound from South America to Mexico and then the United States, officials said.

Nearly 70 percent of the drugs entering Guatemala are smuggled in via maritime routes, mainly in the Pacific region, Anzueto said.

Drugs used to be smuggled into Guatemala mainly by air, but stepped up helicopter patrols by drug enforcement agents forced smugglers to change their tactics.

Drugs smuggled into the country via the Pacific are moved by land to El Carmen and Ocos, located in the northwestern province of San Marcos, officials said.

The announcement about the unit’s creation comes days after President Otto Perez said the United States boycotted a Central American summit last month at which he proposed decriminalizing drugs.

The summit, which was hosted by Guatemala, drew only Panama and Costa Rica.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Good Friday Now a Catholic Holiday in Cuba after Pope Makes Plea to Castro Government

Good Friday Now a Catholic Holiday in Cuba after Pope Makes Plea to Castro Government

Photo: Good Friday Official in Cuba

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Cuba’s government has declared Good Friday a holiday to comply with a request by Pope Benedict XVI during his recent visit to the island, a decision taken as an “exception” this year while awaiting the “definitive ruling.”

The official daily Granma, mouthpiece of the Communist Party, said Saturday that the Cabinet agreed to a day off for workers on April 6 during Holy Week.

The newspaper recalled that the pontiff asked Cuban President Raul Castro to declare Good Friday a holiday on the island to allow time for the day’s religious services, during the meeting they had at the Palace of the Revolution in Havana on Tuesday.

“Moments before his departure, the Cuban president said he agreed to the holiday as an exception this year in honor of His Holiness and the glad result of his extraordinary visit to our country, and that he would leave it to the highest bodies of the nation to make the definitive ruling,” Granma said.

Meanwhile the Vatican said the Cuban government was sending a “very positive message” in declaring next Good Friday a holiday, the spokesman for the Holy See, Federico Lombardi, said Saturday.

“The fact that Cuban authorities accepted the request made by the Holy Father to President Raul Castro, declaring next Good Friday a holiday, is certainly a very positive message,” Lombardi said in a communique.

The Holy See, the spokesman said, hopes that the measure will encourage Cubans’ participation “in the religious celebrations of the Easter season and also that the pontiff’s visit continues to bear the desired fruit for the good of the church and of all Cubans.”

The pope’s request was in line with the one made by his predecessor John Paul II on his visit to Cuba in 1998, when he expressed his wish to then-head of state Fidel Castro that Dec. 25 be declared the Christmas holiday, to which the Cuban leader assented.

From March 25-28 Benedict XVI made a visit to Cuba, the only communist country in the Americas, where he officiated two large outdoor Masses and spoke about the importance of fundamental liberties and reconciliation among Cubans, and met with Raul Castro and his brother Fidel.

Benedict XVI ended on the island his second visit to Latin America, which also included Mexico, and which has been his 23rd international trip in the seven years of his pontificate.

Read more by HS News Staff →

California Composting Site Where Latino Brothers Died Fined $166,890

California Composting Site Where Latino Brothers Died Fined $166,890

Photo: Community Recycling Deaths in California

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State workplace regulators levied $166,890 in fines and issued multiple citations against the largest composting facility in California, near Bakersfield, where two brothers died last fall while cleaning a stormwater drain.

Officials with the Division of Occupational Safety and Health, better known as Cal/OSHA, said the agency issued 16 citations against the Community Recycling & Resource Recovery composting facility. Sixteen-year-old Armando Ramirez and his brother, 22-year-old Heladio Ramirez, died of hydrogen sulfide poisoning after Armando had been cleaning out a storm water drain.

The civil citations aren’t the end of Community Recycling’s difficulties. Cal/OSHA’s Bureau of Investigation also is looking into possible criminal activity by the company.

These findings could be turned over to the Kern County district attorney’s office, according to Cal/OSHA spokeswoman Erika Monterroza. Also, the state’s Division of Labor Standards Enforcement is investigating Community Recycling for possible violation of child labor laws.

Heladio Ramirez had gone down a hole and into the drain to rescue Armando Ramirez, who had lost consciousness while cleaning debris from the drain. Armando was pronounced dead at the scene Oct. 12, and Heladio died at Kern Medical Center on Oct. 14 after being taken off life support.

According to county documents, the Community Recycling facility used discharged sewage water from an adjacent utility district to moisten its composting piles. While cleaning the drain, the brothers inhaled hydrogen sulfide, a poisonous gas that sewage can generate.

Robert Perez, an attorney for the brothers’ mother, Faustina Ramirez, said Cal/OSHA’s action will allow her to move forward with her lawsuit against Community Recycling. The lawsuit is seeking at least $25,000 in damages, including funeral and burial expenses.

Read more at William Harless for California Watch →

Bipartisan Support from Senator Menendez and Senator Rubio for American Latino Musuem

Bipartisan Support from Senator Menendez and Senator Rubio for American Latino Musuem

Photo: Museum of American Latino

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US Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), and Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) sent a bipartisan letter today to the Senate Appropriations Committee Subcommittee requesting that the Committee include language in their Fiscal Year 2013 appropriations bill supporting the creation of a Smithsonian American Latino Museum, Latino programming and outreach through the Smithsonian’s Latino Center, as well as the recommendations of the National Museum of the American Latino Commission. 

The letter signed by 8 members overall, including Senators Harry Reid (D-NV), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Tom Udall (D-NM), and Dean Heller (R-NV), was spearheaded by Senator Menendez (D-NJ), Chair of the Senate Democratic Hispanic Task Force.

“For centuries, Hispanic-Americans have helped shape the history of Nevada and the country. Latinos have contributed to every facet of our lives and culture, they have spurred progress in our laboratories, playing fields, halls of justice, art, literature and the economy,” Reid said. “It is time for the country to build a place where we can honor a culture and people that are such an integral part of our national identity. Senator Menendez and I are working hard to make the Latino museum a reality.”

“This will be an enduring monument to people who have found opportunity and refuge in America and strengthened her in return, while also serving as a tribute to this exceptional country which welcomes people and helps them realize their dreams like no other place has ever done in all of human history. With our nation facing major economic and fiscal challenges, it’s important that we also continue encouraging private fundraising efforts to make it a reality.” Said Senator Rubio.

In November 2011, US Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Majority Leader Reid (D-NV), US Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), US Representative Xavier Becerra (D-CA) and US Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) introduced bipartisan legislation in the Senate and House of Representatives to authorize the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries building on the National Mall as the designated location of the Smithsonian American Latino Museum. The authorization of the museum follows the recommendations of the May 2011 report of the bipartisan Commission to Study the Potential Creation of the National Museum of American Latino, a Commission that was established by law in 2008.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Brutal Torture Killing of Gay Chilean Man Result in Calls for Anti-Discriminiation Laws

Brutal Torture Killing of Gay Chilean Man Result in Calls for Anti-Discriminiation Laws

Photo: Daniel Zamudio's Gay Killing Sparks Outrage

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The United Nations human rights office urged the Government of Chile to pass a law against discrimination, including on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, following the recent killing of a young gay man in the capital, Santiago.

“We also urge Chile to enact hate crime legislation that establishes hatred based on various grounds, including sexual orientation and gender identity, as an aggravating factor for the purposes of criminal prosecution,” said a spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Rupert Colville.

Speaking at a news conference in Geneva, Mr. Colville said that the killing of 24-year-old Daniel Zamudio is just the latest reminder of the gravity and prevalence of homophobic violence that exists in all regions.

“The case should be seen in the wide context of hate-motivated violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender person around the world,” he said. “This time it happened in Santiago, Chile, but it happens every day on the streets of towns and cities all over the world.”

Mr. Zamudio died on Tuesday, 25 days after being viciously assaulted by a group of alleged neo-Nazis in a Santiago park, according to OHCHR.

“He was reportedly tortured for an hour by his attackers, who stubbed cigarettes out on him, carved swastikas into his body, and mutilated him in other ways,” said Mr. Colville. “We deplore the violent criminal act that took the life of this young man and urge the Chilean Congress to pass a law against discrimination, including on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, in full compliance with relevant international human rights standards.”

In addition to sparking a public outcry in Chile, the attack has also provoked a debate about homophobia and hate crimes, as well as calls for the country’s Parliament to pass an anti-discrimination law which was initially presented in 2005 and is currently before lawmakers, awaiting approval by the lower house.

Read more by HS News Staff →



SundayApril 1, 2012