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TuesdayApril 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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Univision Deportes Launches with Emphasis on Soccer

Univision Deportes Launches with Emphasis on Soccer

Photo: Univision Deportes Launches

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Univision on Saturday will launch a sports channel seeking to attend to the “insatiable appetite” of the Latino audience for soccer, the senior vice president for production at Univision Deportes, David Neal, told Efe.

He said that the Univision audience has “been waiting to be taken care of,” regarding their preference for the main soccer competitions around the world.

“The audiences that the broadcasts of the Copa de Oro and the Copa America had in the summer of 2011, as well as the friendly match between Colombia and Mexico, in February, with 8 million viewers in prime time, tell us that there was a lot of interest in what we’re going to offer,” Neal said.

Univision Deportes will broadcast matches of the Mexican first division, Major League Soccer, the CONCACAF Champions League and matchups between the U.S. and Mexican national teams.

The coverage will also include the 2014 World Cup and the qualifying matches that begin in June.

Univision Deportes decided to focus its programming on soccer, but Neal does not rule out offering other sports with the predicted expansion of the channel.

“We know that soccer is a real passion for our audience, but that doesn’t mean that down the road we won’t have the rights to broadcast other sports,” he said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

May 6th - First Mexican Presidential Debate

May 6th - First Mexican Presidential Debate

Photo: Mexican Presidential Debate Set

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The first debate among the four candidates seeking the presidency in Mexico’s July 1 general elections will be held on May 6, organizers said Tuesday.

Taking part in the event will be Enrique Peña Nieto of the centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party, Josefina Vazquez Mota of the governing rightist National Action Party, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the leftist PRD and Gabriel Quadri, candidate of the small New Alliance Party.

The date was selected by the Debate Commission, comprising election officials and representatives of the parties and candidates.

The May 6 exchange will take place in Mexico City, possibly at the headquarters of the Federal Electoral Institute.

The National Action representative on the commission, Rogelio Carvajal, pointed out that discussions continue on the format for the first debate and the choice of a moderator.

“We want to break the pattern of the debates of the past, a stilted pattern, a pattern of little dynamism, and turn that page and make the debate a much more attractive event,” said Andres Massieu on behalf of Peña Nieto, the current front-runner in the race.

Though the exact date and place remains undecided, the second debate will be sometime in early June in a major city outside the capital, Massieu said.

The campaign, which officially began last Friday, will wrap up June 27, four days before Mexicans go to the polls to choose a successor to President Felipe Calderon and elect 628 federal lawmakers.

The latest polls show Peña Nieto leading Vazquez Mota by 45 percent to 32 percent, while Lopez Obrador - who narrowly lost to Calderon in 2006 - has support from 22 percent of potential voters.

Backing for Quadri stands at less than 1 percent.

Mexican presidents are limited to a single six-year term.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Pablo Milanes arrives in Mexico to give concert at Zacatecas Cultural Festival

Pablo Milanes arrives in Mexico to give concert at  Zacatecas Cultural Festival

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Cuban singer-songwriter Pablo Milanes arrived Tuesday in Mexico to give a concert that same evening at the Zacatecas Cultural Festival, diplomatic officials said.

Milanes, 69, had to cancel a tour of Spain last month after being operated in Madrid.

Cuban diplomatic sources and the Zacatecas festival confirmed to Efe that Milanes will go on with the show in Mexico and that his concert will be performed as planned Tuesday night at the Plaza de Armas in Zacatecas city.

The Zacatecas Cultural Festival opened last Saturday and will continue until April 14. Others scheduled to perform include Argentine singer-songwriter Alberto Cortez and Peru’s Tania Libertad.

Ringing down the curtain on the festival will be the Spanish group Mocedades.

Milanes had surgery in Madrid early last month for an umbilical hernia, and doctors there recommended that he rest for several weeks afterwards.

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Child Abuse Charge Filed Against Boxer Hector “Macho” Camacho

Child Abuse Charge Filed Against Boxer Hector “Macho” Camacho

Photo: Chld Abuse Charge Filed Against Boxer Hector "Macho" Camacho

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Puerto Rico-born boxer Hector “Macho” Camacho has been charged with child abuse stemming from a 2011 altercation involving his son.

The 49-year-old boxer, who grew up in Spanish Harlem, turned himself into Florida authorities after he was wanted for allegedly slamming his teenage son to the ground and stomping on him. His son allegedly said Camacho was high on drugs during the March 22, 2011 incident. However, a representative for the boxing champ told TMZ Camacho is not a drug user.

On the day of the incident, Camacho and his sons reportedly got into an argument over money that was missing from his wallet. He maintains that while he did get angry, he never injured his son.

On January 6, 2005, Camacho was arrested by police in Mississippi on charges of trying to burgle an electronic goods store and carrying ecstasy on him.

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Mother of Immigrant Asking AZ Authorities to Let her Son Die in Peace

An immigrant mother is asking Arizona authorities to let her son, who although he is in the terminal phase of brain cancer is being kept cuffed to his hospital bed with two guards beside him, die in peace.

“My son is dying, he cannot move and yet they’re still keeping him handcuffed,” Martha Elena Palomares, originally from the Mexican state of Sonora, told Efe on Tuesday.

Her son, Juan M. Corrales Palomares, 20, is hospitalized at Tucson’s University Medical Center.

Corrales, a U.S. citizen, was serving a five-year sentence for possession of drugs and a firearm in Safford state prison when he began to experience severe headaches.

Palomares said she received letters in which her son complained of bad headaches, but she was still surprised when he called her last week from UMC to say he had undergone surgery on Feb. 29.

“He called me to tell me with his own mouth that he didn’t know what was happening, that his head hurt him a lot. It was a nurse who told me that they had found some tumors and that it could be cancer,” the mother said.

The doctors told her that her son, who is now unconscious, had terminal brain cancer, and they recommended that she disconnect him from life support when the time came, something that she refuses to do.

“What mortifies me is to see that they still have one of his legs cuffed to the bed and two guards are always with him. They don’t allow more than one (visitor) in the room and they ask for identification to enter,” she said.

“In the situation my son is in, I don’t think he can escape, or that I can take him anywhere,” she added.

Upon being contacted by Efe, spokesmen with the Arizona Department of Corrections explained that agency policy is to use handcuffs as a way to guarantee the safety of their personnel and of the prisoners.

Palomares also questioned the medical care her son received while he was in prison.

“I don’t know what happened with him, someone told me that he had fallen inside there,” she said.

Last month the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona filed a lawsuit against the state corrections department arguing that prisoners are not receiving the medical and mental care they need.

The documents presented to the court by the ACLU indicate that sick prisoners who asked for medical attention were told things such as “be patient” and “it’s all in your head,” or urged to pray for a cure.

“We’re asking for several things, among them an order prohibiting the Department of Corrections, for example, from putting people with mental problems in isolated cells,” Alessandra Soler, the executive director of the ACLU in Arizona, told Efe on Tuesday.

Read more by HS News Staff →

1.5 Million Visa & Mastercard Cards Affected by Dominican Street Gang’s Hack

1.5 Million Visa & Mastercard Cards Affected by Dominican Street Gang’s Hack

Photo: 1.5 Million Visa & Mastercard Cards Affected by Dominican Street Gang's Hack

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According to police, the Dominican street gangs of New York are said to be responsible for the security breach of more than one million Visa and MasterCard credit, debit, and gift cards.

In response to the breach, Visa has dropped the company responsible for processing the transactions between the cars and merchants and banks.

The processing company, Global Payments said it contacted police about the security breach and said the incident will make the company “even stronger”.

It is believed that 1.5 million cards were affected, though Global says key customer information such as addresses and social security numbers were not stolen, and that they “identified and self-reported unauthorized access into a portion of its processing system.”

However, since the announcement of the breach was made on Friday, security experts have stated that fraudulent transactions can still be made with the data what was stolen.

The breach is said to have only affected card holders and accounts in North America but all customers are urged to check their accounts a few times a week to ensure fraudulent transactions are not being made.

Read more by HS News Staff →

‘American Idol’ Winner Scotty McCreery Announces He’ll Attend N.C. State University

‘American Idol’ Winner Scotty McCreery Announces He’ll Attend N.C. State University

Photo: 'American Idol' Winner Scotty McCreery Announces He'll Attend N.C. State University

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With a successful country music career in full swing after winning last year’s American Idol, the country boy with Puerto Rican blood, Scotty McCreery, is doing something smart, yet surprising. He’s going to college.

With exceptions like Natalie Portman, who attended and graduated from Harvard in the middle of her career, many young celebrities choose to forgo college, instead of moving on to higher education. So it was a bit surprising when high school senior McCreery announced that he would be joining the Wolfpack at his father’s alma mater, North Carolina State.

The 18-year-old crooner made the announcement that he would be attending college just hours before he accepted the Academy of Country Music Awards’ New “New Artist of the Year” honor.

As for his career, McCreery says he plans to schedule his touring around his schooling.

What do you think? Will he follow in the footsteps of actors/college grads like Portman and Julie Stiles? Or will he be overwhelmed by a professional career and college life.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Police Looking for Missing Bronx Boy Arron Ferrera, 12

Police Looking for Missing Bronx Boy Arron Ferrera, 12

Photo: Missing boy Arron Ferrera, 12, seen here with his mother Ana Carvajal

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Police have asked that anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of 12-year-old Arron Ferrera to come forward.

The Bronx boy went missing after leaving his school, PS 89, on Friday at around 2:30 p.m.

He was last seen wearing a green polo shirt under a brown sweater, with black sweat pants and white sneakers.

Arron is approximately 4’8”, 127 pounds and has brown eyes and dark hair. He also has a small scar on his left cheek.

His mother, Ana Carvajal, is desperately seeking any information the police can use to locate her son.

She says he is a smart, obedient, and responsible boy. He reportedly knows his mother’s phone number as well as his grandmother’s.

“I just want him home,” Carvajal told a local CBS reporter.

Anyone with information is urged to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS or contact them at nypdcrimestoppers.com.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Jose Luis Orozco Ramos Using Songs to Educate and Enhance Latino Pride (VIDEO)

Jose Luis Orozco Ramos Using Songs to Educate and Enhance Latino Pride (VIDEO)

Photo: Jose Luis Orozco Ramos

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Jose Luis Orozco Ramos is a musician who is promoting bilingual education in the United States through popular songs and more than 1,000 school districts are using his method to help immigrant students.

“More than ever it involves using the traditions that come from centuries of songs, games, lullabies, tongue-twisters, rhymes,” Orozco told Efe.

“All these are indispensable instruments for educating children. Besides teaching them the language, we’re teaching them the culture,” he said.

Born May 6, 1948, in Mexico City, Orozco joined the Mexican Children’s Choir at 8 and two years later left on an international tour with a group to sing in 34 countries.

Later, he emigrated to the United States to study education at the University of California, Berkeley, and eventually got a master’s degree in Multicultural Education from the University of San Francisco.

The Berkeley Unified School District was the first to adopt Orozco’s program.

“It teaches them the Spanish language, the language that they recognize, that also helps them to feel comfortable in school. That’s good for the self-esteem,” Orozco said.

“If they come to school and don’t speak any English and the kids talk to them in English they’re going to have more difficulty. If they already speak Spanish and have bilingual teachers, the bilingual teachers help them in Spanish and they help them make the transition to English,” he explained.

In 1971 he released his first record of traditional children’s songs and original compositions, and since then he had recorded a total of 15 albums.

His most recent album is entitled “Karamba Kids” and is available on the Internet at iTunes, Amazon and joseluisorozco.com.

“So that the children (can be) successful in this country they have to speak English very well. But with Spanish they’re going to have more work opportunities. So, we have to teach the two languages well to them,” he said.

Patricia Vasquez, a teacher at Garza Elementary School in Los Angeles, told Efe that when she began working in schools she saw how a colleague used Orozco’s music to educate.

“And I liked the idea that with music and the game routine they were happy and since then I use the music of Jose Luis Orozco in my classes,” Vasquez said last weekend when the artist was at Theodore Roosevelt School in East Los Angeles.

Veronica Montes is a mother who told Efe that her 15-year-old daughter Meztli grew up singing Orozco’s bilingual songs.

“I saw how the songs educate, and they also entertain them,” Montes said.

“I taught them the ABCs with his songs and I saw how the children memorize the songs with the rhythm and thus they learn song after song,” she added.

“Something that I observed is that the children who learn with his music grow up having respect and love for their Hispanic culture and they feel better about being Latinos,” Montes said.

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145 Million Year Old Dinosaur Skull Found in Spain

145 Million Year Old Dinosaur Skull Found in Spain

Photo: Dinosaur Head Found, Spain

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A Spanish paleontology foundation presented Tuesday the fossilized skull of the biggest dinosaur yet found in Europe, Turiasaurus riodevensis, a sauropod that lived 145 million years ago, measured more than 30 meters (100 feet) long and weighed some 40 tons.

The more than 35 bones of the skull and seven teeth, presented last Wednesday at the Paleontological Laboratory of Teruel’s Dinopolis Foundation, were found during the 2005 excavation campaign in the Barrihonda-El Humero deposits in the Riodeva municipality.

According to researchers, skulls of this species of dinosaur are rarely found intact because of their extreme fragility - four out of every five sauropods whose remains have been found are missing the skull - but this time 70 percent of the fossil record was recovered.

“Turiasaurus riodevensis - some 30 to 35 meters (100 to 115 feet) long - thus becomes the most complete sauropod found on the Iberian Peninsula,” the team wrote for an article in the Journal of Systematic Paleontology.

Researcher Rafael Royo said that the team of paleontologists took two years to prepare “meticulously,” bone by bone, the material presented Tuesday and that it has been compared with other known fossils.

Royo said that, besides the fossil remains of the cranium, they have fragments from the neck, shoulder-level vertebrae, front and back feet, hips and shoulder blades.

The giant sauropods found up to now include Argentinosaurus in South America, Seismosaurus in North America, Giraffatitan and Paralititan in Africa, Mamenchisaurus in Asia, and Turiasaurus in Europe.

Of those, the only ones for which information about the skull has been found are Giraffatitan, Mamenchisaurus and now Turiasaurus.

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Kardashian Clan Getting Some Sun in the Dominican Republic

Kardashian Clan Getting Some Sun in the Dominican Republic

Photo: Kardashian Clan Getting Some Sun in the Dominican Republic

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This family must really love the sun. Earlier this year, the Kardashian family was in Mexico, but now some of the Kardashian sisters are having a little bonding time it seems, as Kim and Kourtney Kardashian and their half-sisters Kylie and Kendall Jenner are taking in the sun in the Dominican Republic.

Pregnant sister Kourtney wasn’t shy about showing off her growing baby belly while the family enjoys their vacation in La Romania, Dominican Republic. She was joined by boyfriend Scott Disick and their first son, Mason.

As expected, sister Kim was showing off her bikini body as well while taking a break from her bitter divorce from Kris Humphries, but these girls are no strangers to showing some skin. Kim, Kourtney, and their sister Khloe recently posed for the denim line in their Kardashian Kollection wearing nothing on the top half of their bodies.

See the Kardashian’s bikini photos here at CeleBuzz.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Who’s Outing Bruno Mars or Is It a Bad April Fool’s Joke

Who’s Outing Bruno Mars or Is It a Bad April Fool’s Joke

Photo: Bruno Mars Not Out of Closet

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Did the Grammy winning crooner, Bruno Mars, come out as gay or didn’t he?

On Sunday reports started surfacing on the web that Mars had admitted to being gay on a Chicago radio station.  The gay admission then made it to CNN iReport (not to be confused with the fact-driven CNN) and spread from there.

Clearly Mars doesn’t know the power of the web or forgot that Sunday was also April 1st, also known as April Fools Day.  When his people realized this story was gaining traction they issued an official statement saying that his coming out of the closet are “completely fabricated”. 

What his publicist didn’t say is whether the petite singer is indeed gay – his people just denied Mars admitting to it – interesting.

The singer, whose real name is Peter Hernandez , was last tied to Latino model Jessica Caban in the press.

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Snooki Heading Back to South America for Baby Blessing in Peru

Snooki Heading Back to South America for Baby Blessing in Peru

Photo: Snooki Heading Back to South America for Baby Blessing in Peru

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According to Peru this Week, Nicole ‘Snooki’ Polizzi, of MTV’s Jersey Shore is taking a trip a trip back to South America to have her womb blessed.

The source says Snooki, who was born in Chile and adopted by U.S. parents, is heading to the Amazon of Peru to have her unborn baby blessed by a local shaman.

The 24-year-old recently told MTV she wants to change her life and “do this pregnancy right”. Snooki added that she believes a shaman can give both her and the baby “spiritual guidance”.

The reality television star has made a name for herself as being the pint-sized big-mouthed part animal, but she says she understands that being pregnancy means she needs to make some serious changes.

As for the sixth season of the show, viewers may see less partying from at least two of the cast members. Snooki is with child and Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino is said to be going through treatment for a prescription pain pill addiction.

Snooki is currently engaged to the father of her child, Jionni LaValle.

She was reportedly in Iquitos, Peru on Monday, but while she may be cleaning up her act in preparation of motherhood, the often brash reality starlet is still sharing personal things with the world. Last week, she posted a photo of herself on Twitter showing off her ever-growing chest.

“I got swagger with myself,” she wrote. Followed by a tweet saying, “They won’t stop growing. I’m scared,” in response to someone tweeting, “@snooki boobs got HUGEEE . yayyy baby snooki !”

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Justice Dept Alleges GFI Mortgage Charged Latinos Higher Rates and Fees for Loans

Justice Dept Alleges GFI Mortgage Charged Latinos Higher Rates and Fees for Loans

Photo: GFI Mortgage Sued for Overcharging Latinos

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The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit alleging that GFI Mortgage Bankers Inc., violated federal fair lending laws by charging African-American and Hispanic borrowers higher interest rates and fees.

The complaint alleges that GFI engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination on the basis of race and national origin by charging African-American and Hispanic borrowers higher interest rates and fees on home mortgage loans compared to similarly-situated white borrowers. 

For example, an African-American borrower who took out a home mortgage loan in 2007 paid on average approximately $7,500 more over the first four years of the loan than a similarly-situated white borrower.  For a Hispanic borrower, the difference was approximately $5,600 more over the first four years of the loan than a similarly-situated white borrower. 

The disparities, based on race or national origin, are statistically significant, and are unrelated to credit risk or loan characteristic.

During the period 2005 through 2009, when the discrimination occurred, the number of home mortgage loans issued by GFI increased from 974 in 2005 to 2,270 in 2009.  At the same time, GFI’s revenue from its home mortgage loan services increased from $305 million in 2005 to $768 million in 2009.

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WATCH Violent Protests in Front of UK Embassy in Argentina

WATCH Violent Protests in Front of UK Embassy in Argentina

Photo: 30th Anniversary Falkland Island

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WATCH Violent Protests in Front of UK Embassy in Argentina.  As Argentina and Britain commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War there were violent protests in fron the the UK Embassy in Argentina. 

The conflict arose in 1982 between the Latin America country and the U.K. over the sovereignty of the Falklands Islands located east of Argentina in the South Atlantic.  The war started on April 2nd when Argentine forces invaded and occupied the Falklands.  The conflict lasted 74 days and ended with Argentine’s surrender to British troops.

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Latin American Countries Reaffirm Commitment to Eliminate Hunger

Latin American Countries Reaffirm Commitment to Eliminate Hunger

Photo: Latin America Committed to Eliminating Hunger

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Latin American and Caribbean countries reaffirmed their commitment to eradicate hunger during a United Nations conference on food and agriculture in Buenos Aires, Argentina, over the weekend.

At the conference, States renewed their commitment to the Latin America and the Caribbean without Hunger 2025 Initiative, an effort that aims to ensure that no child, man or woman in the region endures hunger. Since its launch in 2005, four countries in the region have recognized the right to food in their constitutions, while seven have passed food security or food sovereignty laws.

Attendees also discussed the challenges they would face in terms of food security, climate change adaptation and smallholder agriculture, among other issues, and defined the priorities for FAO’s work in the region in the next two years.

The conference agreed to strengthen FAO’s presence in developing countries such as Haiti and emphasized the importance of advancing South-South cooperation. The Brazilian Government agreed to invest $20 million in strategies for poverty reduction and sustainable rural development as well as school feeding initiatives and management of disasters and family farming.

Countries also agreed to increase their cooperation on disaster preparedness and humanitarian response, another pressing issue in the region, which is regularly affected by floods, hurricanes and earthquakes.

Meanwhile, during the Fifth Meeting on Enhancing International Humanitarian Partnerships, held in Panama City which was hosted by the Government of Panama and supported by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and also ended last week, representatives from 29 countries and regional organizations agreed to further enhance collaboration to effectively prepare and respond to natural disasters.

“The Latin American and Caribbean region has many ‘silent’ emergencies: recurrent minor disasters that are not covered by the international media, but which erode resilience, exacerbate social and economic inequalities, and set back hard-won development efforts,” said the head of OCHA, the UN’s Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos.

“I strongly support the regional agreement and the grouping as a model for the world. The UN is committed to supporting this process and working in close partnership on preparedness and response,” she added.

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Colombian Rebel Group FARC Releases 10 Captives

The last 10 security force members held by Colombia’s FARC rebels arrived here Monday after a handover in the jungle to a team from the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The Brazilian government provided the helicopter used in the humanitarian mission.

Jordi Raich, the ICRC’s delegate in Colombia, had announced earlier that contrary to the original plan, the FARC decided to free all 10 hostages on Monday.

The hostage release was supposed to take place in two phases, culminating on Wednesday.

Freed were soldiers Luis Alfonso Beltran Franco, Luis Arturo Arcia, Robinson Salcedo Guarin and Luis Alfredo Moreno Chagüeza, and police Carlos Jose Duarte, Cesar Augusto Lasso Monsalve, Jorge Trujillo Solarte, Jorge Humberto Romero, Jose Libardo Forero and Wilson Rojas Medina.

All 10 were captured by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, in 1998 and 1999.

Monday’s handover took place in a rural area along the border of Meta and Guaviare provinces, ICRC spokesperson Maria Cristina Rivera said.

The operation was coordinated by the ICRC, the Colombian and Brazilian governments and the group Colombians for Peace, led by former Sen. Piedad Cordoba.

The FARC, Colombia’s largest insurgency, once held around 60 security force members and politicians, dubbed the “exchangeables,” who the guerrillas hoped to trade for hundreds of jailed rebels.

But the most valuable exchangeables, including former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt and three U.S. military contractors, were rescued by the Colombian military in July 2008.

While never abandoning the demand for a prisoner swap, the FARC soon embarked on a series of unilateral releases of the remaining political captives.

Cordoba, who was ousted from her Senate seat for alleged “collusion” with the FARC, has been involved in each of the hostage releases.

The rebel group says it has abandoned kidnapping as a tactic.

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Mexico’s President Calderon Urges U.S. to Ban Assault Weapons

Mexico’s President Calderon Urges U.S. to Ban Assault Weapons

Photo: Summit of the Americas with Calderon and Obama

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U.S. President Barack Obama, Mexico’s Felipe Calderon and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Monday concluded a summit that highlighted their commitment to greater cooperation on security and economic advancement in North America.

The meeting, postponed from November 2011, took place at the White House and ran for a little more than three hours focusing on matters such as fighting organized crime, job creation and the competitiveness of and within the region.

“We agreed to continue making our borders more efficient and more secure so it’s faster and cheaper to travel and trade,” Obama said at a Rose Garden press conference with Calderon and Harper.

Calderon received the backing of the United States and Canada for his anti-drug fight, which since December 2006 has resulted in some 50,000 deaths.

The Mexican leader warned that “if the traffic (of illegal weapons from the United States) is not halted” and Washington doesn’t reinstate a ban on assault weapons, it will be “impossible” to quell the violence in his country.

Robert Pastor, an expert on North American affairs at American University in Washington, said that the summit is a sign of the commitment Washington has to trade integration in North America.

“While many focus on China’s rise and Europe’s fall, few seem to realize that our first and second largest markets in the world and largest sources of energy imports are Canada and Mexico,” Pastor said.

The three NAFTA partners must take concrete steps toward greater competitiveness, reducing impediments along their borders, fostering educational opportunities and creating a common vision that strengthens tripartite cooperation, he added.

But the meeting produced little that was new beyond allowing the participants to express well-known stances and to emphasize, in a joint declaration, that the “main priorities” of the three countries are “broad and sustainable economic growth and the creation of jobs.”

The conclave in Washington was a precursor to the 6th Summit of the Americas that will be held on April 14-15 in Cartagena, Colombia, where the heads of state and government of 34 nations in the hemisphere will gather.

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TuesdayApril 3, 2012