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SundayApril 22, 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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Major Water Supply Issues Affecting Cuban People Due to Prolonged Drought

Major Water Supply Issues Affecting Cuban People Due to Prolonged Drought

Photo: Severe Drought in Cuba

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Some 45,000 residents of Havana are currently receiving their drinking water in cistern trucks due to the ongoing drought affecting Cuba, local media reported Sunday.

To illustrate the critical water supply situation in the Cuban capital, where more than two million people live, the state-run weekly Tribuna de La Habana reported Sunday that the five main reservoirs in the province “are only 21 percent full, that is to say, they are practically empty.”

At this time, the water shortage is almost 200,000 cubic meters (52.8 million gallons) per day. Some 45,000 people must currently rely on cistern trucks for their daily water supply and deliveries are now made only every four days rather than more frequently, as in the past, a situation that has come to affect up to 800,000 capital residents.

“The situation with the water supply in the capital is going from bad to worse,” said the Havana publication, emphasizing that the recent rainy period was “not encouraging” and the drought was not alleviated because of a “stubborn and sustained absence” of rain.

Havana is the province suffering the “most worrisome” water deficit in Cuba right now, according to experts with the National Hydraulic Resources Institute, or INRH, cited by the National Information Agency.

In contrast, this past Saturday, heavy downpours were registered in the western part of the island that caused light flooding in the neighboring provinces of Artemisa and Mayabeque, to the south, according to a report by the Meteorology Institute.

Local experts agree that among the signs pointing to a severe drought this year on the island is the fact that between January and March this year rainfall was down 70 percent on an island with no large rivers where the major source of fresh water comes from rain.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Wal-Mart Facing Charges It Spent $24 Million in Bribes to Mexican Officials

Wal-Mart Facing Charges It Spent $24 Million in Bribes to Mexican Officials

Photo: Wal-mart De Mexico Scandal

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Wal-Mart said it is investigating its operations in Mexico for possible violations of U.S. laws prohibiting the paying of bribes to foreign officials.

The admission that the investigation involves Mexico, after in December the firm acknowledged that it was investigating possible bribery, comes after The New York Times published an article on the case on Saturday.

In that article, the paper says that the company has known since 2005 about the complaints of “widespread bribery” by its employees in Mexico and that top executives in the firm covered them up.

The Times said a lawyer who was in charge of securing construction permits for Wal-Mart de Mexico provided extensive details on the bribes and said that “the campaign of bribery (was orchestrated) to win market dominance. In its rush to build stores, ... the company had paid bribes to obtain permits in virtually every corner of the country.”

According to The Times, citing e-mails and company files, the bribes exceeded $24 million and were paid to get construction permits for new stores throughout Mexico.

Initially, Wal-Mart de Mexico was touted by the firm to investors as a model of growth, the daily said, adding that currently one in every five of the company’s stores worldwide is in Mexico.

But in the face of proof of corruption, top company officials “focused more on damage control than on rooting out wrongdoing,” the article said.

In one case, then-executive director H. Lee Scott Jr. accused internal investigators looking into the bribery allegations of being too aggressive. Days later, the general counsel for the firm in Mexico took over the investigation even though he was one of the people accused of authorizing the bribes.

The general counsel exonerated the Wal-Mart executives in Mexico, but although the firm’s director of corporate investigation, a former FBI agent, found the counsel’s report on the matter “truly lacking,” company authorities considered the report to be the final word on the case.

The Times reported that its own investigation found that the bribes played a “persistent and significant” role in the firm’s growth in Mexico, where it employs 209,000 people making it the largest private employer in the country.

In a communique, Wal-Mart spokesman David Tovar said that if these allegations are true “it is not a reflection of who we are or what we stand for.”

“We are deeply concerned by these allegations and are working aggressively to determine what happened,” he added.

Meanwhile, the company is taking steps in Mexico to ensure compliance with the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits paying bribes to foreign officials.

“We do not and will not tolerate noncompliance with F.C.P.A. anywhere or at any level of the company,” Tovar said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

U.S. and Dominican Republic Formally Agree to Share Forfeited Assets

Attorney General Eric Holder and Dominican Prosecutor General Radhamés Jiménez Peña met in Washington, D.C. this week, to sign a permanent agreement to share forfeited assets between the governments of the U.S. and the Dominican Republic. The permanent sharing agreement acknowledges the consistent forfeiture-related cooperation that United States authorities have received from the Dominican Republic and creates a more efficient process for sharing assets with the Dominican Republic.

The permanent agreement requires the U.S. and the Dominican Republic to return all fraud and theft proceeds for purposes of making victims whole.  It also streamlines the asset sharing process by eliminating the need for individual agreements each time assets are shared in recognition of forfeiture assistance provided by the Dominican authorities.  In addition, the agreement is reciprocal, allowing for Dominican sharing with the United States.

Assets shared under the agreement must be used by the recipient country in accordance with domestic laws governing the use of forfeited assets.  Dominican law provides that forfeited assets be disbursed to the Office of the Prosecutor General; the National Drug Council; the National Counter Drug Directorate; the National Police; and non-government organizations engaged in efforts to prevent drug abuse. 

To date, the Department of Justice has shared a total of $8.67 million in forfeited assets with Dominican authorities on four prior occasions since 2002.  This includes a case-specific sharing agreement that was signed on Nov. 14, 2011, to share approximately $7.5 million in forfeited assets with the Dominican Office of the Prosecutor General.

The November 2011 agreement represents approximately 20 percent of the estimated $37.5 million in forfeited assets located in the Dominican Republic that stem from a conspiracy led by brothers Carlos, Luis and Jose Benitez, who allegedly defrauded the U.S. Medicare program of approximately $80 million.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Reaction to Senator Marco Rubio’s DREAM Act Proposal

Reaction to Senator Marco Rubio’s DREAM Act Proposal

Photo: Marco Rubio's DREAM Act

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This is in response to Rubio’s and Romney’s DREAM Act proposal.  No call has to be raised and it is reasonable to ask Republicans to support Republican Orrin Hatch’s version of the DREAM Act.

From the National Tequila Party Movement.

Recently, there has been much discussion from Senator Marco Rubio and Mitt Romney regarding the DREAM Act.  Both were against it and now seem to want to support a version of a DREAM Act that creates a permanent underclass in light of a key election year and as they seek the Latino 2012 vote.  The Tequila Party will not stand and allow this issue to be used as a continued political football, therefore, if Sen. Marco Rubio and Romney really want to support the DREAM Act — they must support Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) sponsored version of S.1545 — the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act.  Anything short of Hatch’s bill will be recognized as a divisive tactic and as a means to limit political power and issues supporting taxation without representation.  According to Ron Hayduk, Professor of Political Science City University of New York (CUNY), immigrant taxation without representation not only challenges the legitimacy of America’s mantle of democratic governance but also provides a rationale and opportunity for organizing a progressive political majority.

Starting May 1, 2012, Lead Co-President and also a Civil Rights and immigration lawyer — Shirl Mora James, will begin a DREAM Act training video series that will keep DREAM Act activists and national Latino leaders UNITED and strong on this issue.  The Tequila Party is fully aware of this issue becoming more and more politicized and the Mexican-American matriarchy will not allow our children and our youth to be taken advantage of anymore.  We have already lost one of our own children — Joaquin Luna, when he took his own life because he felt he had no hope, and eligible Mexican-American voters in the Southwest will not allow his death to be in vain.

Lastly, if we do not see both Rubio and Romney obtaining solid commitments from GOP Senators from all high Hispanic populated states before the beginning of the 2012 autumn season (with Rubio taking the lead) we will consider their discussions of the DREAM Act mere lip service.  If junior Senator Rubio is unable to secure commitments from GOP Senators this year, perhaps he can support a Mexican Adjustment Act that would emulate the Cuban Adjustment Act.

Read more by HS News Staff →

300 Well Preserved Pre-Historic Animal Fossils Found in Argentina

300 Well Preserved Pre-Historic Animal Fossils Found in Argentina

Photo: Fossils of Glyptodon Found in Argentina

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Paleontologists found about 300 well-preserved fossils of pre-historic animals at two quarries outside Buenos Aires, Argentine officials said.

The fossils were found by specialists from the University of La Plata in a 1,000 sq. meter (1,197 sq. yard) lot in Marcos Paz, a city about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the capital.

Paleontologists found everything “from (fossils of) a baby glyptodon to a complete herd of huge mastodons, the ancient relatives of today’s elephants,” Marcos Paz Paleontology Division chief David Piazza told the official Telam news agency.

The fossilized remains of horses, guanacos, peccaries, stags, turtles, weasels, small birds, amphibians and fish were also found at the site.

The discovery “drew our attention because of the abundance of animal fossils in a small area and the quality of the specimens,” Piazza said.

One of the most important fossils found was the skull and jaw bone of a Macrauchenia, a long-necked giant mammal similar to a camel.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Bus Bombings in Colombia Leaves 8 Wounded

Bus Bombings in Colombia Leaves 8 Wounded

Photo: Bombings in Ibague Colombia

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At least eight people were injured by two bombs left, presumably by leftist rebels, on two public buses in Ibague, police in this southwestern Colombian city said Sunday.

The bombs were relatively small ones that went off around midnight Saturday and early Sunday morning, Ibague Metropolitan Police commander Col. Fernando Murillo told reporters.

The first blast injured seven people and occurred in the ground transport terminal in Ibague, the capital of Tolima province, Murillo said.

The second explosion occurred in a central sector of the city and not only injured the driver of the bus but severely damaged the vehicle, Murillo said.

The police commander did not rule out the possibility that those responsible for planting the bombs were members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

Evidently, the attacks came in reprisal for the non-payment of extortion money by the transport workers, Murillo said.

Murillo offered a reward of 20 million pesos (about $11,300) for information leading to the identification and capture of those who prepared and planted the bombs.

Read more by HS News Staff →

12-Year-Old Mexican Farmworker Gives Birth and Returns to Fields after Delivery

12-Year-Old Mexican Farmworker Gives Birth and Returns to Fields after Delivery

Photo: 12 Year old gives Birth Escuinapa, Sinaloa

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A 12-year-old indigenous farmworker has given birth at a hospital in the northwestern Mexican city of Escuinapa, medical officials said.

The girl, identified as Elodia, told doctors and nurses that she had continued to pick tomatoes and chili peppers in a valley outside that city in Sinaloa state until the final days of her pregnancy.

A native of Tlapa in the mountains of the southern state of Guerrero, Elodia was only able to answer a few questions from the staff at the Escuinapa General Hospital because she has limited command of Spanish.

She said she did not know she was pregnant and that she lives in the Sinaloa community of Isla del Bosque, where she shares a very small room with many different people.

Despite being underweight, the 2.8-kilo (6.2-pound) baby girl - born Wednesday - is healthy and the only postnatal problem is that the pre-teen mother has not been able to breastfeed. At the hospital, the doctors and nurses have sought different alternatives to nourish the newborn.

Due to financial necessity, the adolescent soon will have to return to the fields to provide for her baby.

Last November, an 11-year-old in the central Mexican state of Puebla gave birth to a 1.5-kilogram (3.3 pound) boy after a 31-week pregnancy.

Read more by HS News Staff →

In the Last Four Years 80,000 Migrants Kidnapped and Killed in Mexico

In the Last Four Years 80,000 Migrants Kidnapped and Killed in Mexico

Photo: Migrants Killed in Mexico

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“The country is currently experiencing the worst historical humanitarian crisis with regards to migration.”  With these words His Exc. Raúl Vera, Bishop of Saltillo, in the Forum entitled “Budget Law on Human Rights and Migration, Findings and Challenges ” organized by the Mexican Senate. This meeting was attended by legislators, representatives of organizations that defend human rights, religious and social groups.

According to Mauricio Farah’s intervention, a Mexican specialist on migration, in the last 4 years 80 000 migrants were kidnapped and killed by criminal groups. “Being a migrant is a synonym of ‘prey’, not only for criminals, but sometimes also for the authorities that abuse or are linked to criminality,” he said in his speech. “From the 134 Mexican migrants who died in 2004, we have now reached more than 400 migrants murdered a year,” underlined Farah.

The Bishop of Saltillo, a Diocese which is in the south-east, Mgr. Raul Vera, said in his speech that “every six months, organized crime earns at least $ 25 million as a product of extortion to Mexicans and foreigners who seek to cross the border into the United States. “

In statements to the local press, Mgr. Vera reiterated the seriousness of this humanitarian crisis on migration, and talking about the candidates in the upcoming elections in the country he said: “Presidential candidates for 1 July’s elections, do not take into consideration the situation, the horror and suffering of what Mexico has become for migrants. This situation is serious due to the total indifference and lack of political will to solve this serious problem. “Then he added: “no candidate speaks about the problem, does not appear in their programs, not seen in any political agenda. We all know what happens on immigrants’ trains: they are robbed, kidnapped, even killed, but nobody speaks. Even our Migrants Homes are threatened by organized crime, we must denounce this situation. ”

Read more at Agenzia Fides →

Mixtec Indians Give Concert Blending Ancient Melodies with Beatles Tunes

More than 50 young Mixtec Indians gave a concert in the western Mexican city of Guadalajara, in which they fused their ancestral musical tradition with melodies made famous by the legendary British rock group The Beatles.

With instruments typical of the Mixtec culture rooted in the southern state of Oaxaca, such as the tuba and accordion, the members of the Yaandavi Symphonic Orchestra on Friday performed songs like “Yesterday” and “All You Need Is Love” in the Pedro Arrupe Auditorium at Iteso Jesuit University.

The group is made up of Oaxacan Indians who emigrated to Guadalajara, capital of the western state of Jalisco, looking for work. They settled in one of the poorest districts of the city, as Orlando Perez, one of the promoters of the project, told Efe.

He said they chose The Beatles’ tunes because they share the philosophy expressed in the songs of Liverpool’s “Fab Four.”

“The music unites us and we share The Beatles’ philosophy of peace and brotherhood that gave rise to this project,” said Perez, who had the help of Iteso Jesuit University and the Tonica Jazz festival organizers in staging the concert.

Besides the 10 numbers by the British group, with other Jalisco musicians playing backup, the indigenous orchestra played Oaxacan musical compositions like the “Mixtec Neighborhood” overture, which expresses the journey and cultural shock implicit in leaving their native communities to go live in the city.

Perez helped found the Yaandavi School of Music, the Mixtec word meaning “music of the lowly,” with the intention of rescuing traditional indigenous music and offering uprooted Indians an alternative to addictions and crime.

“Almost all come from families of musicians, but the place where they live now is more suitable for going out to work on the street or getting involved with drugs, while the school offers music as a way to work decently,” he said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

EXTREME TRAFFICKING:  Faux Taxi Driver Dealing and Driving in Mexico

EXTREME TRAFFICKING:  Faux Taxi Driver Dealing and Driving in Mexico

Photo: Fake taxi driver found with 15 kilos of marijuana.

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A 37-year-old man posing as a taxi driver was arrested by police after he was discovered to have possession of 15 kilos of marijuana in Mariano Matamoros, a colony in Tijuana, Mexico.

According to officials , the man was detained between Javier Mina Street and Casa Blanca Boulevard during a routine sweep. As soon as they police inspected the vehicle, they found the 15 kilos.

After questioning the accused, he detailed that he used the taxi to trick officials that he was just a common public service chauffeur.  He would then pick up patrons who would pay him a fee of $100 dollars to move them to unspecified location to guarantee safety in the drug transaction.

Sergio Luis Villalvazo Reyes (38), identified as the drug dealer was detained after an anonymous report led to his location. When police arrived on the scene Reyes tried to evade arrest by hiding inside a store. Upon his arrest, they apprehended a plastic bag containing 15 cans of marijuana and 27 doses of crystal meth.

Reyes had previously had charges of drug possession in his criminal record.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Underwear Thief Arrested in Chile, Sexually Abused Women to Get their Panties

Underwear Thief Arrested in Chile, Sexually Abused Women to Get their Panties

Photo: Underwear thief accumulated over 500 pairs.

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Chilean police arrested a student who sexually assaulted women in order to steal their underwear, who according to officials had accumulated over 500 pairs of panties.

The 23-year-old, whose identity wasn’t released, was charged with multiple counts of assault and sexual attacks in Los Angeles, a city south of Santiago, during the last few months.

Officials say that his calling card and habit after the attacks was forcing his victims to handover their panties. The accused also would rob underwear from his neighbors and family members.

In an official statement witnesses stated that the thief threatened them with a knife and stole their money and expensive parcels. He then forced them to handover their underwear, in some occasions he also sexually abused his victims.

The thief was charged with 16 aggravated robberies and 6 sexual abuse charges; however, the total number of his charges is subject to increase as more victims are identified.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Princess Cruise Accused of Ignoring Pleas from Distressed Panamanian Fishermen, 2 Perished

Princess Cruise Accused of Ignoring Pleas from Distressed Panamanian Fishermen, 2 Perished

Photo: Princess Cruise ship rescue stranded Panamanian fisherman.

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In a surprising twist of events, the company Princess Cruises says the captain of their cruise ship was never told about the stranded Panamanian fishing boat they passed by.

The company has been investigating allegations placed by passengers who accused crew workers of ignoring the pleas of three fisherman stranded on their vessel when the cruise line was on route towards its destination. The fishermen were set adrift in the Pacific Ocean after setting off from Rio Hato, Panama in February.  They had been in the Pacific Ocean for 16 days when they were spotted by the cruise ship.

The reports cast an unpleasant light on a hopeful story, as survivor Adrian Vazquez recounts his initial happiness when spotting the cruise line and his dismay when it didn’t stop. Vazquez confirmed that he and his friends signaled the ship frantically with red colored t-shirts and their life vests. The other two men, unfortunately, died after they were finally rescued.

Vazquez, the lone survivor, was finally found two weeks after being spotted by Princess Cruises near the Galapagos Islands, his two fishing partners did not survive.  Royal Caribbean owns the Princess Cruise line and the doomed Costa Concordia.

Judy Meredith of Oregon, a passenger on the boat, stated that she told one of the attendants about the stranded fishermen boat as soon as she spotted it drifting alongside the ship. According to her account, the attendant promptly assured her that he would notify the bridge, but the ship never stopped.

Crew passengers now say that all of the men could have been saved, and the deaths were caused by the the lack of concern.

Read more by HS News Staff →

What is Jose Ramos Role in 33-Year Old Case of Missing 6-year Old Etan Patz?

What is Jose Ramos Role in 33-Year Old Case of Missing 6-year Old Etan Patz?

Photo: Etan Patz went missing at the age of 6 in 1979.

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A picture of Etan Patz was the first to be put on the side of milk cartons. Now, a recent discovery in the basement of a handyman who had befriended Etan Patz, who went missing at the age of 6 in 1979, have the police and FBI back on this missing person’s case.

The handyman, Othniel Miller (75), was said to have been friends with the missing boy.  However, the chief suspect in the missing persons case was Jose Ramos, (68), a convicted pedophile, and Miller’s hired hand at the time of the disappearance.  Currently, Ramos is serving time in jail for a separate case.

Through the result of a recent discussion with Miller, who now lives in Brooklyn, the police again placed their focus and attention to the Prince Street building. The basement of the building had been renovated shortly after Etan vanished.

Police sources stated that if Etan was familiar with Miller, then he would have also been in contact with Ramos. Therefore, Ramos would have also had access to Miller’s basement workshop at the area were the FBI are now searching.

Miller was never named a suspect in the investigation, and prior police and agents on the case didn’t dig up the newly made concrete floor because it would be too costly. After questioning, the feds placed special scent absorbing pads in the basement and a cadaver dog picked up the scent of human remains.

Miller told police after the dog’s discovery, “What if the body was moved” according to press reports. The search is still underway in the search for the body of the young boy.

Ramos, who maybe released in November on unrelated molestation charges, was dating Etan’s baby-sitter and admitted to trying to molest the boy around the time of his disappearance.

Read more by HS News Staff →



SundayApril 22, 2012