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ThursdayApril 26, 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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S&P Cuts Spain’s Credit Rating to BBB+

S&P Cuts Spain’s Credit Rating to BBB+

Photo: Spain's Credit Cut

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Standard & Poor’s on Thursday reduced its long-term sovereign credit rating on Spain by two notches, from A to BBB+, expressing concern about the country’s large volume of debt and shrinking economy.

“(W)e think risks are rising to fiscal performance and flexibility, and to the sovereign debt burden, particularly in light of the increased contingent liabilities that could materialize on the government’s balance sheet,” the rating agency said in a statement.

S&P said it now appears Spain will take longer than originally expected to reduce its budget deficit and that the government in Madrid may have to provide more help to the country’s troubled banking sector.

The agency also offered a more pessimistic forecast for economic growth in Spain, calling for gross domestic product to shrink 1.5 percent this year and an additional 0.5 percent in 2013.

At the same time, the rating agency expressed confidence that “the Spanish economy is rebalancing, and the measures the government has taken should facilitate this process.”

S&P is less confident that Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will be able to bring down Spain’s budget deficit to 5.8 percent of GDP this year and 3 percent of GDP in 2013.

“In our opinion, these targets are currently unlikely to be met given the economic and financial environment. We forecast a budget deficit of 6.2 percent of GDP in 2012 and 4.8 percent in 2013,” the agency said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Colin Firth’s Campaign to Save the Awa Tribe of Brazil’s Amazon

Colin Firth’s Campaign to Save the Awa Tribe of Brazil’s Amazon

Photo: Colin Firth Helping Save the Awa of Brazil

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Oscar-winning film star Colin Firth today launched a major Survival International campaign to save ‘Earth’s most threatened tribe’ – the Awá of the Brazilian Amazon.

The centerpiece of the campaign is a short film, featuring an appeal by Colin Firth and music by Grammy-winning composer Heitor Pereira.

The Awá are a small tribe whose territory has been invaded by a vast army of illegal loggers, ranchers and settlers. Astonishing graphics on the campaign website show the devastating destruction of the Indians’ forest – which is happening faster than any other Amazon tribe.

he situation is now so critical that several Brazilian experts have spoken of a ‘genocide’ and ‘extinction’.

There are around 360 contacted Awá. Many are the survivors of brutal massacres. It is believed that 20-25% more are hiding in the rapidly-shrinking forest, desperately seeking a refuge from the constant destruction.

The campaign aims to persuade Brazil’s Justice Minister to send in federal police to clear out the loggers, ranchers and settlers, and keep them out.

In his appeal Colin Firth says, ‘The Awá’s forest is being illegally cut for timber. When the loggers see them, they kill them. Their bows and arrows are no match for guns. And at any other time in history, that’s where it would end. Another people wiped off the face of the earth, forever.

Survival’s film features unique footage of the Awá, who rarely allow outsiders in to their communities. Highlights include scenes showing the Indians’ extraordinarily close relationship to their pets; the moonlit ritual in which the Awá talk to their ancestors’ spirits; and the devastating destruction caused by loggers and ranchers, who set whole hillsides alight.

Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said today, ‘The Awá are threatened by the armed loggers, but also by our own apathy. Yet these campaigns have been repeatedly shown to be successful. If enough people, in Brazil and around the world, show they care, Awá children will be able to grow up in peace on their own land. That’s been proved over and over again.’

Read more by HS News Staff →

18 People Indicted Including Chilean Mayor, 6 City Council and Charged with Corruption

18 People Indicted Including Chilean Mayor, 6 City Council and Charged with Corruption

Photo: Political Corruption

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The mayor of the northern Chilean city of Arica, six councilors and local business leaders were among 18 people indicted Thursday for conspiracy to embezzle public money.

Judge Sara Pizarro ordered 16 of the 18 defendants, including Mayor Waldo Sankan, held pending trial.

The other two alleged conspirators, 84-year-old Councilwoman Elena Diaz and a councilman’s wife, were granted house arrest on health grounds.

A 19th defendant, businessman Ruperto Ojeda, turned himself in after the hearing and will be arraigned separately, courts sources said.

Prosecutors say the mayor, councilors and other municipal officials accepted more than 1 billion pesos ($2.1 million) in bribes from business owners in exchange for lucrative city contracts.

The investigation is ongoing and the sums involved could be as high as 4 billion pesos, the prosecution said at the hearing, asserting that Arica’s mayor and council were little more than puppets of area businessman Jorge Frias.

The officeholders charged in the case range across the political spectrum, from the right to the Communist Party.

The illicit scheme began in 2004, according to prosecutors.

Several years of investigation culminated Monday in a police search of Arica city hall, which led in turn to the arrests.

Prosecutors have presented transcripts of intercepted telephone conversations among the defendants. In an attempt to protect their identities, the alleged conspirators referred to each other by pseudonyms.

Mayor Sankan’s cover name was “Superman.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Sofia Vergara Rejoins Cast For Sequel to ‘The Smurfs’

Sofia Vergara Rejoins Cast For Sequel to ‘The Smurfs’

Photo: Sofia Vergara Rejoins Cast For Sequel to 'The Smurfs'

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Colombia’s Sofia Vergara, the star of “The Smurfs,” will also participate in the sequel to the 2011 blockbuster that earned $560 million worldwide, Sony Pictures announced Thursday.

The company said that filming has already begun on the sequel, on which director Raja Gosnell and actors Neil Patrick Harris, Jayma Mays and Hank Azaria, who will portray the evil Gargamel, will also work once again.

In addition, Katy Perry, Alan Cumming, George Lopez and Anton Yelchin will return to provide the voices of their respective characters, along with Christina Ricci.

Like the original film, the sequel will combine animation and real images using 3D technology. The movie is slated to begin showing in theaters in July 2013.

The original film, based on the books of Belgian artist Peyo, followed the beloved little blue man-like creatures from their village to the streets of New York as they tried and escape from the villainy of the evil wizard Gargamel.

In the second movie, part of the action will take place in Paris.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Texas Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco Says TSA Agents Assaulted Him

Texas Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco Says TSA Agents Assaulted Him

Photo: Texas Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco Says TSA Agents Assaulted Him

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Texas Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco is claiming that he was assaulted by TSA agents at San Antonio International Airport earlier this month.

The Republican congressman says the “overzealous” federal screeners assaulted him when they brusquely pushed his hand away during a pat down.

In a statement, Canseco commented:

I believe the TSA has become an agency without restraint, and its overzealous policies threaten people’s personal dignity and freedom. There are other ways of security airways from terrorists without forcing people to make such sacrifices, which I believe we in the Congress should look into.

Rep. Canseco has also said he was unfairly singled out for secondary inspection.

However, a spokesman for the TSA maintained the San Antonio rep was “randomly selected for the additional screening,” saying the inspection was routine and that the pushing away of the hand was an unfortunate accident.

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: Happy Birthday to Me - Man Hires ‘Hitman’ to Kill Wife as Present to Self

LATINO BLOTTER: Happy Birthday to Me - Man Hires ‘Hitman’ to Kill Wife as Present to Self

Photo: Happy Birthday to Me - Man Hires 'Hitman' to Kill Wife as Present to Self

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A Las Vegas man is behind bars after police say he attempted to hire someone to kill his wife as a present to himself for his birthday.

Jorge Victorino-Vazquez was arrested on Saturday after an undercover investigation revealed the 32-year-old tried to recruit a hitman to off his wife.

What Victorino-Vazquez had not realized was that a man he asked for assistance in helping to find a hitman had actually called police to alert them of his murderous plot.

According to police reports an undercover officer met with Victorino-Vazquez on April 19 after the unnamed acquaintance-turned-informant set up a meeting.

Before setting a price, the undercover officer reportedly gave the wannabe widow multiple chances to change his mind. With Victorino-Vazquez still wanting to go through with it, the “hitman” set a price of $2,000 for the job. Victorino-Vazquez agreed and gave him the first $1,000 on April 20.

The following day, he gave the undercover officer the second $1,000 and also gave the officer his wife’s name, a photo of her, a hand drawing of their home, and the address.

The plan was to have the hitman enter the home around midnight (between Sunday and Monday) and beat Victorino-Vazquez, steal his stuff, and kill his wife.

After Victorino-Vazquez was given one final opportunity to change his mind during a third meeting, an opportunity he did not take, he was arrested by detectives and taken in to custody.

He was charged to with solicitation to commit murder, conspiracy to commit murder and burglary.

As for a motive, the arrest report states he wanted his wife killed because “she was cheating on him, took his money, took his vehicles, wouldn’t sign papers for him, and always threatened to call INS to have him deported.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

“Immigrants Cause Global Warming” - ‘The Colbert Report’ Takes on the Claim

“Immigrants Cause Global Warming” - ‘The Colbert Report’ Takes on the Claim

Photo: "Immigrants Cause Global Warming" - 'The Colbert Report' Takes on the Claim

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During Wednesday’s The Colbert Report host Stephen Colbert commented on a new video from the organization Californians for Population Stabilization in a segment called “United We Can’t Stand Them.”

The video makes the accusation that immigrants are responsible for the increase in size of the U.S.‘s carbon footprint. “Reducing immigration won’t solve global warming, but it is part of the solution.”

Using information from the Center for Immigration Studies, which is clearly anti-immigrant, the video states, “Immigrants produce four times the carbon emissions in the U.S. than in their home countries.”

Watch the video to see Colbert’s hilarious take on immigrants allegedly causing global warming and how it can bring Republicans and Democrats together.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Word - United We Can’t Stand Them
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive

Read more by HS News Staff →

Prostitute Suing U.S. Embassy in Brasilia After Marines and Embassy Staff Push Her from Car

Prostitute Suing U.S. Embassy in Brasilia After Marines and Embassy Staff Push Her from Car

Photo: Prostitute Suing U.S. Embassy in Brasilia After Marines and Embassy Staff Push Her from Car

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The U.S. government in once again faced with accusations that those under their command have engaged in inappropriate conduct with prostitutes in Latin America.

According to U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, last year three Marines from a U.S. Embassy security team along with an embassy employee were punished for reportedly pushing a prostitute from a vehicle in Brazil during an argument over payment. She reportedly broke her collarbone as a result.

The prostitute, Romilda Aparecida, says the Marines involved were drunk and perhaps under the influence of drugs when the incident occurred in Brasilia, the country’s capital. She added that the following day, she was approached by “an attorney and a secretary” who told her not to file a complaint, stating that she would lose and that any case would take a very long time.

In response, Panetta says those involved have been punished, adding he had “no tolerance for that kind of conduct.”

Though the embassy is said to have paid Aparecida’s medical bills, she is now suing the embassy.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Secretly Married Miss Dominican Republic Booted Out and Dethroned

Secretly Married Miss Dominican Republic Booted Out and Dethroned

Photo: Miss Dominican Republic dethroned

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Latin America takes their beauty and beauty pageants very seriously, what with six Miss Universe’s coming from Latin America over the last ten years. 

That is why 25-year-old Carlina Duran was booted and dethroned as Miss Dominican Republic when it was discovered she was married.

Ms. Duran has been married since 2009 and never bothered to tell pageant authorities, something that would of automatically disqualified her.  She will now go in the record books as having the shortest reign as Miss Dominican Republic – eight days.

Ms. Duran excused her lapse of memory to Dominican pageant officials by saying she never consummated the married (TMI) and the couple never lived together.  She went on to say she was in the process of having the marriage annulled.

“In my daily life, I remained like a single woman, without thinking of myself neither materially nor spiritually married,” said a statement read by her lawyer, Radhames Cornielle to Fox News.

Amelia Vega was the last Miss Universe winner from the Dominican Republic back in 2003.

Read more by HS News Staff →

When Kidney Transplant Fails for Man he Donates Donated Kidney to Save Another

When Kidney Transplant Fails for Man he Donates Donated Kidney to Save Another

Photo: (L-R) Dr. Erwin Gomez, Dr. Lorenzo Gallon, Ray Fearing and Cera Fearing

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When 27-year-old Illinois resident Ray Fearing needed a kidney transplant his sister stepped up and donated one of hers. Sadly, due to the very disease that destroyed his original kidney – focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), a disease in which scar tissue develops on the part of the kidney that filters waste out of the blood – the potentially life-saving gift from his younger sister was being damaged.

In most cases, if organ transplants such as these fail, doctors simply dispose of the organ, but with 73,000 people on transplant waiting lists, the transplant specialist overseeing Fearing’s transplant, Dr. Lorenzo Gallon had an idea.

He wondered if the kidney could be removed and transplanted into another on the waiting list. After speaking with Fearing and his sister, the decision was made to try.

That is when 67-year-old surgeon Dr. Erwin Gomez of Valparaiso, Indiana was called. Dr. Gomez had been on dialysis and was on the kidney transplant list.

Because the father of five is a surgeon himself, Dr. Gomez was better equipped to understand the risks and possible benefits of this rare “re-transplant.”

On July 1, the kidney originally belonging to Cera Fearing was removed from her brother and transplanted into Dr. Gomez. However, it was not until April 25 that the three – Dr. Gomez and Ray and Cera Fearing – met for the first time at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

ImageToday, Dr. Gomez says he is doing well and is off dialysis. He has even gone back to work.

While Fearing is once again on the waiting list – his doctors say those with his disease often have to go through more than one organ – he told CBS News he is “extremely happy about being a part of this medical breakthrough,” adding that he hopes this case will help others.

“This is a ground-breaking medical moment because it suggests that it is possible to reverse the damage done to a kidney as a result of FSGS after it is re-transplanted into a body with a healthy circulatory system,” said Joseph Leventhal, MD, PhD, transplant surgeon at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and associate professor of surgery and director of kidney and pancreas transplantation at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “Not only did we save a viable organ from being discarded, we also made significant strides in better understanding the cause of FSGS, which has been relatively unknown, so we can better treat the disease in the future. This proves that when an organ fails in one body, it may thrive in another.”

This transplant case was recently published in a research letter in the April 26 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Javier Bardem to Appear in Film Based on Brother Carlos Novel “Alacran Enamorado”

Javier Bardem to Appear in Film Based on Brother Carlos  Novel  “Alacran Enamorado”

Photo: Javier and Carlos Bardem

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Javier Bardem will make his return to Spanish cinema when he plays a neo-Nazi ideologue in “Alacran enamorado” (Scorpion in Love), a film based on a novel by his brother Carlos.

In remarks to Efe, Spanish director Santiago Zannou said the winner of a best-supporting-actor Oscar for his turn in the Coen brothers’ “No Country for Old Men” will play a secondary character named Solis, a role distinct from the purely villainous one he has in the upcoming James Bond film.

“In my film (the character) is more realistic, not a wicked villain who wants to destroy the world, but an ordinary person. Those are the ones who truly frighten me, for having a type of ideology that separates people, that engenders violence,” Zannou said.

This will mark the first time Bardem has worked with a Spanish director since he won four Goya awards for his performance in Alejandro Amenabar’s “Mar adentro” (The Sea Inside).

“Alacran enamorado” tells the story of Alyssa, a seductive Latin American immigrant who had fallen victim to a prostitution ring and now makes a living cleaning houses, and Julian, alias “El alacran” (The Scorpion), a member of a neo-Nazi group.

Alex Gonzalez and Judith Diakhate have the starring roles, while Carlos Bardem plays a boxing trainer and former boxer Rudo Hovic is the owner of the gym.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Panetta Embarks on South American Tour

Panetta Embarks on South American Tour

Photo: Leon Panetta in Latin America

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The United States Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta left Monday for a tour of three South American countries, Colombia, Brazil, and Chile, in an effort to discuss drug trafficking, arms deals and aiding Latin American militaries.  Panetta is looking to collaborate with these three countries and as also provide more military training for the smaller countries in Central America as well as Africa that are currently fighting the drug trade.

According to George Little, a spokesman for the Pentagon, “These are three countries that are on the upswing in many areas.  It’s time for us to enhance our already strong cooperation with all three.”

The Defense Secretary has a busy agenda during his visit.  In Brazil, he will focus on weapons deals involving Brazil and the United States.  These deals involve both governments as well as unspecified companies from each country.  It is also believed that potential deals involving military aircraft will take place. 

In Colombia, Panetta will stop in the city of Bogota and discuss efforts in the fight against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia guerrilla group, also known as FARC.  Under an aid program, Plan Colombia, the United States currently has close to 150 military trainers as well as about 150 contractors working in Colombia.  This program has cost the U.S. more than $7 billion since 2000.

While in Chile, Panetta plans to discuss efforts by Chile to patrol the coast of Central America.  Currently Guatemala’s Pacific coast has become a hot spot for methamphetamine as well as other drugs coming from the eastern Pacific.  The Defense Secretary also plans to discuss increasing humanitarian aid among the region’s militaries. 

Read more at Bloomberg News →

Mexican Diplomat Receives Immunity After Driving 91mph While Drunk and Peeing in Pants

Mexican Diplomat Receives Immunity After Driving 91mph While Drunk and Peeing in Pants

Photo: Mexican Diplomat Receives Immunity After Driving 91mph While Drunk and Peeing in Pants

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On Friday morning, police in Roswell, Georgia near Atlanta clocked a vehicle traveling at 91 mph. After pulling the vehicle over, police discovered the driver was Mariano Saynez Ruiz Duran, the vice consular at the Mexican Consulate General’s Atlanta office.

Roswell police say Ruiz Duran was also found to have a blood-alcohol level of .126 and even urinated on in his pants. He admitted to having “two or three vodka drinks” at a nightclub 30 minutes prior to being pulled over.

Ruiz Duran, 39, was allowed to go when the Roswell Police Department learned of his consulate position and were advised by the Diplomatic Security Service to do so. The police report states officers confirmed Ruiz Duran’s partial immunity from law enforcement actions.

ImageThe case of Ruiz Duran, 39, who resides in Alpharetta, “should be treated like any other DUI case,” director of Georgia’s Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Barry Martin told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, because “public safety is at stake.”

Ruiz Duran is the son of a Mexican Navy admiral (see right).

Read more by HS News Staff →

Brazil and Spain Top Seeded Olympic Soccer Teams

Brazil and Spain Top Seeded Olympic Soccer Teams

Photo: Brazil and Spain Top Seeded Soccer Teams

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In a stage draw this week, Spain, Brazil, and Britain were chosen as the top seeded teams for the men’s Olympic soccer tournament.  These teams will be separated in an effort to spread out the higher ranked teams and also keep European and Latin American teams apart. 

This will be the first appearance for Britain’s men’s soccer team since 1960 at the Olympics.  They will lead group A while leading group C, is Brazil, whose team is thought to be the best men’s soccer team in Olympic history.  Spain, the world champion, will lead group D. 

During Monday’s qualifier in Coventry’s Ricoh Arena, an Olympic venue, Senegal defeated Oman 2-0 and became the final qualifier in the 16 team tournament for the summer games. 

In the women’s draw, the tournament selected the United States, Japan and Britain as the top seeded teams in their 12 team tournament. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Brazil and Spain Top Seeded Olympic Soccer Teams

In a stage draw this week, Spain, Brazil, and Britain were chosen as the top seeded teams for the men’s Olympic soccer tournament.  These teams will be separated in an effort to spread out the higher ranked teams and also keep European and Latin American teams apart. 

This will be the first appearance for Britain’s men’s soccer team since 1960 at the Olympics.  They will lead group A while leading group C, is Brazil, whose team is thought to be the best men’s soccer team in Olympic history.  Spain, the world champion, will lead group D. 

During Monday’s qualifier in Coventry’s Ricoh Arena, an Olympic venue, Senegal defeated Oman 2-0 and became the final qualifier in the 16 team tournament for the summer games. 

In the women’s draw, the tournament selected the United States, Japan and Britain as the top seeded teams in their 12 team tournament. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATNIO BLOTTER: Mother and Son Team Steal $350,000 Worth of Copper from Border Factory

LATNIO BLOTTER: Mother and Son Team Steal $350,000 Worth of Copper from Border Factory

Photo: Stealing Copper in Mexico

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According to Chihuahua state authorities, five men along with one mother allegedly stole $350,000 worth of copper from a Juárez assembly plant.  It is believed that the group was aided by the plant’s security guard, the alleged mastermind of the crime which took place at Bell Electronics.

The robbery was led by two gunmen, Edgar Armando Rodríguez, 24 and Carlos Israel López Rodríguez, also 24, entered the plant’s gatehouse and tied down two security guards.  According to the Chihuahua General Attorney’s office in Juárez, the two men then took two tons of copper from the plant and fled with three others along with a driver in a tractor-trailer.  Each man was allegedly paid $3,952 for their role in the robbery.

Martha Isabel Rodríguez, the mother of Edgar Armando Rodríguez, was also arrested after it became apparent that she aided the men by telling them where to enter and how to subdue the guards.  She herself worked as a security guard at the plant. 

According to El Paso Times, Francisco Machain Martínez, 51, Carlos Israel Rodríguez, 23, and Francisco Martínez Tarango, 50 were also arrested in connection with the robbery. 

The copper still has not been recovered. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

$362 Million Cocaine Bust on the High Seas Near Panama

$362 Million Cocaine Bust on the High Seas Near Panama

Photo: Large Cocaine Seizure at Sea

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A U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), operating out of Jacksonville, Florida, detected two go-fast vessels carrying more than 4,840 pounds of cocaine with a combined value of more than $362 million.

On April 20, authorities operating in the Western Caribbean spotted two go-fast vessels 120 miles off the coast of Panama. The two 40-foot twin-engine vessels were spotted speeding north and appeared to be loaded with numerous packages when they were tracked.

Local law enforcement were called in to pursue the two vessels, who attempted to evade authorities. One vessel abandoned the contraband before arriving on shore, while the second go-fast was seized nearby. A U.S. Navy vessel operating in the area retrieved 89 bales of cocaine from the scene.

This seizure is in addition to the $2.8 billion detected by the CBP P-3s operating out of Jacksonville, Fla. and Corpus Christi, Texas since October 2011.

During fiscal year 2011, the CBP P-3 fleet continued its anti-smuggling success by seizing or disrupting more than 148,000 pounds of cocaine valued at more than $11.1 billion, totaling 20.6 pounds seized for every flight hour, valued at $1.5 million for every hour flown.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Rapper Alejandro Serna Correa Fatally Shot in Colombia

Rapper Alejandro Serna Correa Fatally Shot in Colombia

Photo: Rapper Alejandro Serna Correa Fatally Shot in Colombia

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Rapper Alejandro Serna Correa was fatally shot in an attack that targeted two people accompanying him, authorities in the northwestern Colombian city of Medellin said Wednesday.

The two people with the singer were wounded in Tuesday night’s shooting outside a metro station in Colombia’s second-largest city.

“It seems the attack was not against him (the rapper), but rather against two youths who were spending time with him,” prosecutor Rodrigo Ardila told Efe by telephone from Medellin, where at least eight hip hop artists have been slain since 2009.

Serna, 28, performed under the name “Alejandro Muletaz.”

La Familia Clicka Underground, representing hip hop artists in the poor neighborhoods of Medellin, issued a statement deploring the death of Alejandro Muletaz.

One of the founders of La Familia Clicka Underground, 37-year-old Luis Albeiro Pacheco was gunned down last year at a public establishment in the northwestern city.

Read more by HS News Staff →



ThursdayApril 26, 2012