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MondayApril 9, 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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21 Percent Increase in Number of Spanish Businesses Filing for Bankruptcy

21 Percent Increase in Number of Spanish Businesses Filing for Bankruptcy

Photo: Spanish Bankruptcies on Rise

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More than 1,600 Spanish firms declared insolvency in the first quarter, a rise of 21 percent over the same period in 2011, PricewaterhouseCoopers said Monday in a report based on official data.

Adding in personal bankruptcies brings the figure to 1,958, the highest quarterly total in eight years.

The regions of Madrid, Valencia and Catalonia, which includes Barcelona, led Spain in bankruptcies in the first quarter, while the largest annual increase - 93 percent - was in the northwestern region of Galicia.

The construction, real estate and service sectors accounted for nearly 60 percent of business insolvencies in the January-March period, PwC said.

Most of the failing firms had assets of less than 2 million euros ($2.6 million).

The number of workers affected by commercial bankruptcies rose 8 percent compared with the first quarter of 2011, to 2,566.

The report points to the likelihood that bankruptcies will remain on the rise for the rest of 2012, “pushing away any sign of recovery,” PwC’s Enrique Bujidos said.

The 2008 global financial meltdown came as Spain was struggling with the bursting of a decade-long real estate bubble. The ensuing slump has led to numerous business failures and pushed the country’s jobless rate to nearly 23 percent, representing 5.2 million people out of work.

Unemployment among Spaniards under 25 is 48 percent, while tens of thousands of families have been evicted from their homes after falling behind on their mortgages.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Fidel Castro Pokes Fun at President Obama’s Plan to Wear Cuba’s “Official Garment” to Summit

Fidel Castro Pokes Fun at President Obama’s Plan to Wear Cuba’s “Official Garment” to Summit

Photo: Fidel Castro Pokes Fun at President Obama's Plan to Wear Cuba's "Official Shirt" to Summit

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Fidel Castro is poking fun at U.S. President Barack Obama’s plans to sport a guayabera - a tropical shirt that is Cuba’s official garment - during this week’s Summit of the Americas in Colombia, where the Communist-ruled island will not be represented.

“The curious thing, dear readers, is that Cuba is prohibited in that meeting; but the guayaberas, no. Who can stop laughing?,” the 85-year-old former president said in the latest of his Reflections on public events, published Monday in the official media.

Castro cited press reports that Colombian designer Edgar Gomez is creating guayaberas for Obama to wear during the April 14-15 summit in Cartagena.

The shirts are worn in Mexico, the Caribbean, northern South America and the Philippines, and Cuba is one of several countries that claim to be the birthplace of the guayabera.

ImageLaunched in 1994, the Americas Summits are meant to include representatives of all 34 countries in the Organization of American States, but none has involved Cuba, which was suspended from the OAS at U.S. urging in 1962.

Washington says Cuba does not meet the criteria to take part in the summit, demanding that Havana make “significant” political reforms and re-establish some kind of ties with the OAS.

Cuba’s suspension from the hemispheric body was revoked at a June 2009 OAS General Assembly in Honduras, but Havana rejects any relationship with the group.

Cuba’s partners in the ALBA group - Venezuela, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Bolivia, Dominica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Antigua and Barbuda - pushed for the island to be part of this year’s summit, but Washington adamantly opposed the idea.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos traveled to Havana in early March to discuss the matter with Cuban President Raul Castro, Fidel’s younger brother, and emerged from those talks with an announcement that Cuba would not be invited to Cartagena.

“As we have said from the beginning, this is an issue that requires a consensus, which, unfortunately, we have not been able to find,” Santos said, while thanking Raul Castro for his desire to “not want to create a problem for Colombia or for the summit.”

Though Havana accepted Santos’ decision without rancor, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa is planning to stay away from the summit as a gesture of solidarity with Cuba.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Illinois Gov. Quinn Grants Clemency to 52 People

Illinois Gov. Quinn Grants Clemency to 52 People

Photo: Illinois Gov. Quinn Grants Clemency to 52 People

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April 6, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today granted 52 and denied 136 clemency petitions. This action marks another step in a series of clemency decisions aimed at eliminating a backlog of more than 2,500 cases that built up during the previous administration.

The 188 clemency petitions acted upon by Governor Quinn are part of dockets ranging from 2005 through 2012. Each person granted clemency has recently undergone a criminal background check through the Illinois State Police’s Law Enforcement Agencies Data System (LEADS).

Since taking office, Governor Quinn has acted on 1,923 clemency petitions. Governor Quinn has granted 718 and denied 1205 petitions. Those actions include granting 701 pardons and authorizing 16 people who had already received pardons to seek expungement of their convictions.

Among those pardoned was Guadalupe Lopez, 59. Lopez had been sentenced to 42 years in prison for drug trafficking after being caught with 12 pounds of marijuana and 23 pounds in a van with another man in 1992. He was was set to be released in next March after time off for good behavior, but Gov. Quinn reportedly commuted Lopez’s sentence to time served due to an emergency medical condition. Medical clemencies tend to be granted when a person is expected to live less than a year.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, “Twenty-five involved theft. Sixteen involved drugs. Eight offenses included some kind of violence, such as misdemeanor battery.” Though it has been reported that Gov. Quinn has expunged the criminal records of many he pardoned, he actually just granted them the authorization to expunge. Those having been pardoned still have to go through the normal expungement process and file a petition with the court.

Read more by HS News Staff →

According to Study, Illegal Immigration Hits “Net Zero” In U.S.

Photo: According to Study, Illegal Immigration Hits "Net Zero" In U.S.

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Despite the violence, it seems the Mexican economy is improving and as a result, Mexican migration seems to have dropped.

During the 2008 recession, the number of undocumented Mexicans in the U.S. dropped from 12 million to 11 million. Since then, the undocumented have not migrated at a rate to bring that number back to where it was, causing many to say the Mexican migration rate is working at a net zero balance for the first time in 50 years, according to the founder of the Mexican Migration Project at Princeton University, Douglas Massey.

Though harsh immigration laws in states like Alabama and Arizona and tougher border enforcement have sent many undocumented Mexicans back to their country of origin, it is worth pointing out that Mexico’s education and infrastructure are improving, the availability of work is rising, and the fertility rate is down, allowing many to either remain in or return to Mexico.

With the drop in Mexican migrants in the U.S. one has to wonder what it will mean for both countries. Mexico receives billions in remittances from undocumented workers in the U.S. and the U.S. has long relied on the labor force of the undocumented immigrant.

Though fewer undocumentedworkers are coming into the U.S. that number may not include the number of people obtaining legal permanent resident (LPR) status (see Figure 1).

In 2011, a total of 1,062,040 persons became LPRs of the United States (see Table 1 and Figure 1). The majority of new LPRs (55 percent) already lived in the United States when they were granted lawful permanent residence. Nearly 65 percent of new LPRs were granted permanent resident status based on a family relationship with a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident of the United States. The leading countries of birth of new LPRs were Mexico (14 percent), China (8.2 percent), and India (6.5 percent).

Read more at Christian Science Monitor →

Latino Liar: Stair Climber Believed to Have Cheated and Taken Elevator During Charity Event

Latino Liar: Stair Climber Believed to Have Cheated and Taken Elevator During Charity Event

Photo: Latino Liar: Stair Climber Believed to Have Cheated and Taken Elevator During Charity Event

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On March 31, the Aon Center in Los Angeles, California was the site of the 2012 Fight for Air Climb, in which participants climb/race up 62 stories and raise money for charity.

While most take both the sport and cause very seriously it seems the race’s “winner” Miguel Larios was just looking for glory.

When Larios, 31, arrived at the top he was given the record-setting time of 7 minutes and 45 seconds. Astonished climbers like 53-year-old Mark Trahanovsky were shocked to learn that Larios was the fastest climber.

“We looked at this person’s body and his physique, and we knew (he did) not have the physique of an elite stair-climber,” Trahanovsky told NBC Los Angeles. “He wasn’t sweating a lot; he wasn’t tired. He was wearing basketball shoes.”

Larios was later stripped of the title of fastest climber after CCTV footage reportedly found he had taken the elevator.

However, Larios still attributes his record time to having worked as a maintenance man in the Aon Center for 10 years, something he is no longer doing, as he was fired shortly after it was decided that he was indeed and cheater.

Stair climbing is said to be one of the most difficult sports in the world and burns twice as many calories as many other activities. This year, about 750 people took part in the charity event.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Search Continues for Missing Florida Mother, Vilet Torrez, 38

Search Continues for Missing Florida Mother, Vilet Torrez, 38

Photo: Search Continues for Missing Florida Mother, Vilet Torrez, 38

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A friend of missing Miramar, Florida woman Vilet Torrez says she fears the worst because the mother of three would never have left her children.

The 38-year-old mother went missing on March 30 after having dinner with a friend. She was last seen at around 11 p.m. that night. Family and friends realized something was wrong after discovering she had not shown up to work all weekend or Monday.

Her friend Clarissa Garcia recently told NBCMiami, ‘ Each minute and each hour and each day goes by you, you hold on to some hope, but we see these stories all the time and your hope becomes less and less that she might be with us, and I’m thinking this is probably a tragic outcome.’

Police have reportedly spoken with Torrez’s estranged husband Cid. Though he admits they had a less than perfect relationship, Cid told police that “when it comes to the kids – she’s great mother.” Adding, “My kids need their mother.”

Despite his claims that he is fine and fit to take care of his children while the search for his estranged wife continues, the children were taken from his custody.

On Thursday night, a member of Vilet’s family called the Florida Abuse Hotline after Cid allegedly threatened to get a gun to “end it all.”

The children, Vilet, 12, Cid Jr., 7, and Marcus, 4, are now with Vilet’s mother and the search for her continues.

Vilet Patricia Torrez is 5’3, weighs between 125 and 130 pounds, has black hair and brown eyes.

Read more by HS News Staff →

STUDY:  Latinos and Blacks Less Likely to be Prescribed Antidepressants than Whites

STUDY:  Latinos and Blacks Less Likely to be Prescribed Antidepressants than Whites

Photo: Latinos Less Likely to be Prescribed Antidepressants

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Hispanics and blacks are less likely to be prescribed antidepressants than whites, and Medicare and Medicaid patients are less likely to receive the drugs than those with private insurance, a new study says.

University of Michigan School of Public Health researchers examined data from 1993 to 2007 and found that whites were 1.5 times more likely to receive antidepressants than blacks or Hispanics with major depression.

The study also found that Medicare and Medicaid patients were 31 percent and 38 percent less likely to be prescribed antidepressants than privately insured patients.

Race didn’t play a role in the type of antidepressants prescribed to patients, but insurance did. Medicare and Medicaid patients were 58 percent and 61 percent less likely to receive newer antidepressants than privately insured patients.

Newer types of antidepressants such as serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are considered the first-line drug treatments for major depression. Older types of antidepressants tend to cause more side effects.

“This study confirmed previous findings that sociological factors, such as race and ethnicity, and patient health insurance status, influence physician prescribing behaviors,” principal investigator Rajesh Balkrishnan, an associate professor in the school of public health, said in a university news release.

The study was published online recently in the International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine.

The findings show the need for “policy makers to design interventions to improve physician practice guidelines adherence,” Balkrishnan said. “This will help eliminate unnecessary variations among physician practices and ... obtain optimal health care for patients.”

Read more at Health Finder - Government →

Julio Iglesias Pays $15.2 Million for His own Miami Hacienda

Julio Iglesias Pays $15.2 Million for His own Miami Hacienda

Photo: Julio Iglesias Miami Mansion

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Spanish singer Julio Iglesias has just bought a $15.2 million mansion on an exclusive island in north Miami’s Intracoastal Waterway, The Miami Herald reported.

The 68-year-old singer is revving up the Indian Creek Village real estate market with his purchase of the 510-sq.-meter (5,580-sq.-foot) home, which he will then dwarf by building a far bigger mansion on an adjoining plot of land he owns valued at $7.2 million.

Iglesias plans to renovate the mansion-plus-yachting wharf that he just made his own and settle there late this year with wife Miranda Rijnsburger and their five kids - Miguel Alejandro, 14, Rodrigo, 13, Victoria and Cristina, 10-year-old twins, and Guillermo, 4.

The singer, meanwhile, plans to supervise from his new home the construction on the adjoining vacant lot a 2,000-sq.-meter (22,000-sq.-foot) hacienda on the island off Miami Beach, an exclusive residential area with its own golf course.

“After a lifetime of traveling the world, I can say that Indian Creek is my favorite place on the planet,” Iglesias told The Miami Herald.

Read more by HS News Staff →

McDonald’s Brazil Looks to Expand Along with Country’s Growth

McDonald’s Brazil Looks to Expand Along with Country’s Growth

Photo: McDonald's Brazil Looks to Expand Along with Country's Growth

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The world’s largest fast-food hamburger chain, McDonald’s, is planning to expand along with Brazil’s ever-growing economy, increasing its presence in the country’s the mid-sized cities.

Since McDonald’s is sponsoring the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games, both being held in Brazil, it provides the company with an opportunity to target the new middle class and cities whose population is around 80,000.

McDonald’s Brazil is responsible for 50 percent of Arcos Dorados’, McDonald’s developmental licensee in Latin America and 19 other Latin American and Caribbean countries, income.

President of McDonald’s Brazil Jose Valledor has said that with the expansion of McDonald’s in the country the company plans to hire four thousand more employees, adding to the 50,000 currently working in the restaurants.

McDonald’s Brazil has also looked to the future and has begun attempts at making the restaurants for “green”.

In December 2008, McDonald’s first green restaurant in Latin America was opened in Brazil. It combined the environmentally friendly practices from existing restaurants into a single project – the most efficient applications for efficient use of water and electricity, innovative sustainable building solutions and use of renewable and regionalized production materials.

In its first year of operation, the restaurant reported savings of 50% in the use of water and 14% in electricity.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Coming Soon to the U.S. – Mexico’s Guns as Art Exhibition

Coming Soon to the U.S. – Mexico’s Guns as Art Exhibition

Photo: Guns as Art Exhibit

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An exhibition of guns as art named “A Farewell to Arms. Contraband on the Border,” will end its run at the Memory and Tolerance Museum in Mexico City on April 15th and plans to travel to the United States capital later this year.  The exhibition demonstrates how the arms trade has affected Mexico, killing as many as 50,000 people since 2006. 

One piece in the exhibit portrays children using a rifle to break a piñata, thus showing how widespread these weapons have become in the country.  A mosaic of pistols can also be seen at the exhibit spelling out U.S.A.  In Mexico’s deadliest city of Juarez, just across the border from El Paso, Texas, many deaths have involved drug traffickers, yet as a result many civilians, journalists and human rights activists have also been killed. 

According to the Mexican government, 130,000 weapons were seized during a five year time.  Ninety percent of these weapons originated in the United States, many of which are being used in the art exhibit.

Read more at Los Angeles Times, Culture Monster →

Nicaragua Launches U.S. Facebook Page with Travel Sweepstakes

Nicaragua Launches U.S. Facebook Page with Travel Sweepstakes

Photo: Traveling to Nicaragua

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Today, Nicaragua, the hot new travel destination in Central America, is launching its new U.S. Facebook page with a sweepstakes contest. Three lucky winners will each win a trip for two to this exciting “land of lakes and volcanoes.” The launch of the Facebook page is part of Nicaragua’s new $3 million tourism marketing campaign, which also includes a new Nicaragua Tourism U.S. website.  Nicaragua has experienced a steady increase in U.S. travelers over the past couple of years and now is priming for future growth.

Visitors to www.facebook.com/visitnicaragua can enter the Nicaragua Ultimate Adventure Sweepstakes to win one of three amazing trips to experience all the unspoiled nature, beauty, culture, adventure and fun that Nicaragua offers tourists.

The first prize is the “Cities and Nature” trip, which includes touring the historic colonial city of Granada, zip-lining through the forest canopy, kayaking and hiking a volcano. The second prize, the “Pacific and Volcanoes” trip, offers a tour of the colonial city of Leon, exploring Masaya volcano, ash-boarding down Cerro Negro volcano, touring a cigar factory, horseback riding and surfing. The third prize, the “River Adventures” trip, is an exciting journey down the San Juan River, (the “Amazon of Central America”), visiting castle ruins, spotting jungle wildlife and fishing.

The Nicaragua Ultimate Adventure Sweepstakes contest runs from April 9 through May 23, 2012. Visitors can enter to win at www.facebook.com/visitnicaragua. The drawing for the first prize will be held on April 11, 2012; the drawing for the second prize on May 2, 2012; and the drawing for the third prize on May 23, 2012.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Peru Mine Cave-In, 9 Miners Trapped Alive Since Saturday

Peru Mine Cave-In, 9 Miners Trapped Alive Since Saturday

Photo: Miners Trapped Peru

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Firefighters and rescue workers were working Saturday to rescue nine miners trapped inside a gold and copper mine in the southwestern Peruvian region of Ica, local media reported.

The miners are reportedly stranded in a shaft of the Cabeza de Negro mine, whose entrance caved in due to a landslide.

An official with Ica’s regional health department, Alberto Borja, told RPP radio that the miners are receiving oxygen and water through a tube and are in contact with rescue workers.

Firefighters, members of a National Police rescue unit and emergency management and regional government experts were involved Saturday in efforts to clear the entrance to the mine.

“Quite a lot of progress was made in the morning in the rescue effort but a new landslide complicated the mission,” Borja said.

Ica authorities have decided to hold a meeting to coordinate efforts to rescue the miners, who have been trapped since Thursday.

“During the meeting, we’ll evaluate what actions different sectors should take,” the Ica emergency management office’s provincial technical secretary, Erin Gomez, told the Andina official news agency, adding that the “situation is a bit complicated because the terrain where the mine is located is rough and rocky.”

He said a larger number of rescue workers are needed because “the few people providing assistance in the area are exhausted.”

Read more by HS News Staff →



MondayApril 9, 2012