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WednesdayMay 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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Cuban Tourism to See Boost with Increased Capacity and New Destinations

Cuban Tourism to See Boost with Increased Capacity and New Destinations

Photo: Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba

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Cuba is intending to increase its hotel capacity on its offshore keys and islets to take advantage of the economic opportunities offered by tourism, according to leaders in the sector attending the 32nd International Fitur Fair.

The most recently developed tourist destination in Cuba is Cayo Santa Maria, an islet offering sun and beaches off the northern coast of central Villa Clara province, and it was selected to be the site of the fair that is attended by tour operators, travel agents, airline representatives and associations and organizations in the sector.

Tourism Minister Manuel Marrero emphasized the economic importance for the country of expanding development of the keys and islands of all sizes off the Cuban mainland, according to a report on state-run television.

The plan is to construct 45,000 hotel rooms by 2030 on the keys in the country’s north-central region east to the province of Camaguey.

Currently, Cayo Santa Maria, some 340 kilometers (211 miles) east of Havana, has some 6,000 hotel rooms operated by chains like Spain’s Melia and Barcelo, according to the commercial director of the Tourism Ministry, Jose Manuel Bisbe, as cited by local media.

The organizers of the country’s most important tourist event also announced the promotion of other nearby destinations such as Las Brujas and Ensenachos keys in their campaign to motivate people to take more family vacations.

In addition, they emphasized the growing flow of visitors from Argentina, with 58,612 of its citizens visiting Cuba in 2010, more than 70,000 in 2011 and predictions that 100,000 Argentines will visit the communist-ruled island this year.

Argentina is currently the main provider of Latin American tourists to Cuba and stands in third place overall, after Canada and France.

Cuba has welcomed more than 1.24 million foreign visitors so far this year, and official forecasts are that 2.9 million foreigners will travel to the island on vacation during the course of 2012.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Stray Bullet Shot From Prison Kills Innocent Venezuelan in His Home

Stray Bullet Shot From Prison Kills Innocent Venezuelan in His Home

Photo: Stray bullet kills an innocent man in his home

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The Venezuelan government confirmed Wednesday that a Caracas resident died inside his home when he was struck by a stray bullet fired from inside a nearby prison.

The minister responsible for the prison system, Iris Varela, expressed “dismay” over the death of an “innocent gentleman” and the wounds suffered by another person who was in the residence.

Media outlets identified the dead man as 48-year-old Henry Molina, a resident of the El Paraiso neighborhood that is home to La Planta prison.

The fatal shot was fired by one of the inmates during disturbances that followed authorities’ attempt to begin transferring people out of La Planta in preparation for closing the dilapidated prison.

“We regret and reject that violent stance on the part of a little group that is also keeping their own fellow inmates in a situation of repression,” Varela said of the mutinous prisoners.

Venezuela’s penitentiary system is in crisis, according to the independent Venezuelan Prison Observatory, or OVP.

Violence inside the country’s 35 penal institutions claimed 560 lives in 2011, the OVP says, noting that the system is currently housing almost four times the number of people it was built to hold.

The government says 60 percent of those behind bars are still awaiting trial and officials are trying to ease overcrowding by speeding up the judicial process.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Brazilian Helicopter Crash Leaves 8 Dead, Including Murder Suspect

Brazilian Helicopter Crash Leaves 8 Dead, Including Murder Suspect

Photo: Brazilian state of Goiás

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All eight people aboard were killed when a police helicopter crashed in the central Brazilian state of Goias, authorities said.

One of the fatalities was a man described as the prime suspect in the gruesome murders of seven people found decapitated on a farm near the town of Doverlandia.

The chopper went down late Tuesday while returning to Goiania, the state capital, from the Doverlandia area, where police took the suspect as part of their investigation of last month’s slaughter.

“The government of Goias deeply regrets the death of the inspectors and employees of the Public Safety Department,” Gov. Marconi Perillo said in a statement.

A police source told news Web site G1 that suspect Aparecido Souza Alves, 22, was among those killed in the crash.

Killed in the April 29 massacre near Doverlandia were the property’s 57-year-old owner, his 22-year-old son, a farm employee and four neighbors who had come to the house to present a wedding gift.

Police suspect the landowner, his son and the employee were the targets of the attack and that the visiting neighbors just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican News Source Obtains Video of Cartel Murders

Mexican News Source Obtains Video of Cartel Murders

Photo: Mexican News Source Obtains Video of Cartel Murders

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The perpetrators shot video and still photos of the torture, murder and dismemberment of four Mexican navy personnel and a female civilian who were found dead last month in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, capital daily Milenio said Wednesday.

The material appeared on a Blackberry confiscated from 16-year-old Romeo Dominguez Velez, who was arrested along with another teenager on April 23, the same day the five bodies were discovered on a country road, the newspaper said.

Sources in the Navy Department contacted by Efe refused to confirm or deny any part of the story, including the deaths of the navy personnel.

Milenio identified the military victims as a non-commissioned officer and three enlisted men based in Boca del Rio, adjacent to Veracruz city.

The four men went missing on April 17 while taking a course at the Veracruz State Police Academy in Xalapa, the state’s capital.

The navy men and a civilian woman with no apparent ties to the other victims were found dead inside an overturned car near Xalapa.

All five bore signs of torture and one was partially dismembered, the newspaper said.

The Blackberry seized from Romeo Dominguez Velez contained 40 photographs and a 1-minute video, Milenio said, without disclosing how it obtained access to the material.

In the video, a badly beaten man asks one of the criminals to untie him and give him “a chance” to save his life, while one of the photos shows a teenage boy with a power saw in his hand next to a body whose legs are severed at the knee.

Another photo depicts a teen laughing as he holds one of the female victim’s severed fingers in his mouth, Milenio said.

Veracruz has been plagued by a turf war between rival drug cartels that has sent the state’s murder rate skyrocketing.

Residents of Veracruz city were stunned last Sept. 20 by the discovery of 35 bodies dumped on a busy thoroughfare. A week later, 32 bodies were found at three drug-gang “safe houses” in the Veracruz-Boca del Rio metro area.

The Gulf, Los Zetas and relatively new Jalisco Nueva Generacion cartels, as well as breakaway members of the once-powerful La Familia Michoacana organization, are fueling the violence in Veracruz, which is Mexico’s third-most populous state and a key drug-trafficking corridor to the United States, officials say.

Read more by HS News Staff →

RUBIO WATCH:  Marco Rubio Still Paying Off Student Loans but Votes Against Low Interest Rates

RUBIO WATCH:  Marco Rubio Still Paying Off Student Loans but Votes Against Low Interest Rates

Photo: Rubio Watch

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As the Senate Republicans blocked a vote to extend low interest rates on government subsidized student loans one of their everyone ,  Florida Senator Marco Rubio, urged that “the interest rates on student loans do not go up.”

Both Democrats and Republican do not want interest rates to double to 6.8%  in July but disagree how to pay for it.  Democrats want to tax high-income earners and Republicans, including Rubio want to ax a public health and prevention fund.

In fact Rubio noted that he maybe the only U.S. Senator that is still paying of students loans.  The forty-year-old Cuban-American Senator has disclosed, according to ABC News, that he took out student loans between $100,000 to $250,00 to finance his undergraduate and law degree. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico’s Pemex Denies $30 billion Accounting Fraud

Mexico’s Pemex Denies $30 billion Accounting Fraud

Photo: Petroleos Mexicanos

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Mexico’s state-owned oil monopoly Petroleos Mexicanos has denied any accounting irregularity after a congressional oversight body said it had identified a possible $30 billion fraud.

Leftist lawmaker Esthela Damian, a member of the Party of the Democratic Revolution, or PRD, has proposed a vote on a resolution to summon Pemex CEO Juan Jose Suarez Coppel to appear before lawmakers and clear up the matter.

The alleged irregularity was detected by the federal auditor’s office, which reports to the lower house of Congress.

According to Damian’s resolution, in a Feb. 15 report on federal government accounts in 2010, auditors showed that a 2009 loss of 398.56 billion pesos (just under $30 billion) by Pemex’s exploration and production unit, or PEP, had been eliminated and recorded as an increase in the assets of Pemex’s corporate division, Pemex Corporativo.

It said Pemex gave no technical basis for recording the loss as assets and the company’s board of directors did not authorize the move.

Pemex, for its part, said in a statement that the essence of the observation made by congressional auditors referred to an accounting procedure the company has followed since 1993.

It said that in following that method, the sum in question was recorded in Pemex Corporativo’s books as accounts receivable - under the category of “increase in investments in subsidiaries.”

The company said that as part of that accounting method, the profits or losses of Pemex subsidiaries are transferred to Pemex Corporativo for consolidation purposes.

“As it has every year, Pemex responded punctually to the observations” made by the auditor’s office, the company said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Sofia Vergara Maybe Newly Single

Sofia Vergara Maybe Newly Single

Photo: Sofia Vergara Single Again

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Reports coming out of Hollywood are that Sofia Vergara and her boyfriend of nearly two years, Nick Loeb, are splitsville.  The 39-year-old Colombian beauty and mother of 19-year-old Manolito has been dating businessman Loeb since they met at the Golden Globes in 2010.

Vergara last big public appearance was at the Met Gala this past Monday where she was solo and was seated next to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.  Loeb, 36, is the son of well-known Republicans and President Reagan’s ambassador to Denmark.  He made a name for himself when he created the All-Natural crispy Onion Crunch food topping and has been exploring running for public office for some time.

Both Vergara and Loeb were married before.  Vergara married when she was in Colombia at age 18 divorcing in 1993, the couple had one son, Manolito.  Loeb was married to Anna for four-years when she filed for divorce in 2009. 

The New York Post was the first to report the break up but an official statement has not come from Vergara or Loeb.

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: Mother Says Son Who Masturbated at Texas Walmart is “Retarded”

LATINO BLOTTER: Mother Says Son Who Masturbated at Texas Walmart is “Retarded”

Photo: LATINO BLOTTER: Mother Says Son Who Masturbated at Texas Walmart is "Retarded"

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An awkward case of sexual-arousal-meets-a-Texas-Walmart occurred recently, when a woman walking out of a women’s bathroom was met by a masturbating man.

Marcos Cienfuegos was arrested at around 1 p.m. after police say he exposed himself to a woman at a Walmart bathroom.

The woman told police Cienfuegos exposed himself to her as she was leaving about the leave the restroom. Before she could grab the door however, Cienfuegos opened it as he held his genitals.

He continued to do so until she said his mother called out “Marcos,” grabbed his arm and quickly left the store with him.

The unnamed woman gave police a description and he was arrested shortly after in the parking lot of a nearby library.

His mother reportedly told police that her son is “retarded”.

The following day, Cienfuegos was formally charged with one count of indecent exposure, and his bond was set a $3,000 before he was sent to Hidalgo County Jail.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Colombia’s Shakira On Verge of $60 Million Deal with Sony and Live Nation

Colombia’s Shakira On Verge of $60 Million Deal with Sony and Live Nation

Photo: Colombia's Shakira On Verge of $60 Million Deal with Sony and Live Nation

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Colombian superstar Shakira is said to be on the verge of signing a $60 million deal with Sony and Live Nation for the singer’s next three albums.

If the deal is made official, concert giant Live Nation would release her next set of albums through them.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the concert promoters are close to sealing the deal, which will give them cuts of album and merchandise sales, and sponsorships. Live Nation would be splitting the sales with Sony.

In 2008, Shakira left Sony’s Epic label and signed a 10-year deal with Live Nation. A contract valued between $70 million and $100 million.

The singer would join the list of singers who have chosen to ditch traditional record backing from labels. Among those before her are Jay-Z and Madonna.

Read more by HS News Staff →

New Accusations of Discrimination Against Latinos in North Carolina School District

New Accusations of Discrimination Against Latinos in North Carolina School District

Photo: North Carolina school accused of discrimination

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A North Carolina school system is defending itself against the accusations of two civil rights defense groups that it discriminates against the families of Hispanic students by not providing information in Spanish.

In a letter sent on Tuesday to the Wake County Public Schools System, the Southern Poverty Law Center and Advocates for Children’s Service threaten to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education if changes are not made.

The groups are handling three cases in particular of limited English proficient, or LEP, parents who did not receive important information regarding the suspensions of their children, the appeals process and special education options in their native language.

“By providing these important documents in English to English-speaking parents, yet failing to provide them in Spanish to Spanish-speaking parents, WCPSS has discriminated against these students and violated federal and state law,” the organizations said.

Hispanics make up 15 percent of the WCPSS’ 146,000 students.

“This issue is not only about protecting the civil rights of students and parents, but also about the mission, vision, and core beliefs of Wake County schools,” Jason Langberg, an attorney for Advocates for Children’s Services, a project of Legal Aid of N.C., said in a statement.

“We have been proactively engaging all students and families in the Wake County Public School System, including those in the Latino community,” Superintendent Tony Tata said in a response to the letter.

“As a district, WCPSS has developed relationships with key community groups, leaders and media partners to support the needs of our Spanish-speaking families,” he said.

Meanwhile, Maria Rosa Rangel, WCPSS liaison for Hispanics, told Efe that school authorities will communicate with the families who have presented the complaints to seek solutions to their concerns.

“It took us by surprise because we have 27 translators, the majority of them Hispanics, who work in our schools. The commitment to these families has been a priority,” Rangel emphasized.

The SPLC and ACS are suggesting specific measures that the school system should adopt to be able to comply with the law including hiring personnel who speak Spanish to work exclusively in disciplinary situations.

However, Rangel emphasized to Efe that the WCPSS has translated into Spanish the documents related to the suspension process for students, the student manual, information about registering in schools and other materials.

“For more than 10 years we have coordinated those efforts,” the spokesperson told Efe.

The WCPSS has 10 days to respond to the complaints before the organizations contact the Civil Rights Office of the U.S. Department of Education.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Army Specialist Moises Gonzalez’s Wife Learns She’s Not Only One After He’s Killed in Afghanistan

Army Specialist Moises Gonzalez’s Wife Learns She’s Not Only One After He’s Killed in Afghanistan

Photo: Army Specialist Moises Gonzalez's Wife Learns She's Not Only One After He's Killed in Afghanistan

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When Army Specialist Moises Gonzalez was killed in a rollover incident in Afghanistan on April 25, his family was devastated, but his wife of more two years was about to add shock on top of devastation when she went to receive his body.

At Gonzalez’s funeral on May 7, his wife, Ruth Bayona, sat in the front row, but she was not alone. Bayona was joined by Gonzalez other wife, Darlene Garcia.

Gonzalez’s secret began to unfold when Bayona flew to Delaware from California to receive her husband’s body. However, when she arrived she was told by a casualty-assistance officer that she was not her husband’s only wife. Adding to the shock was the fact that not only would she not be able to take his body, she also would not receive survivor benefits or the service flag at his funeral.

Bayona said she only learned of Gonzalez’s first marriage last year and he had insisted he was divorced from Garcia, who is also the mother of one of his children.

That was clearly not the truth, as the military did not even notify Bayona of her husband’s death directly, because they saw Garcia as his first wife after they were married 9 years ago.

Bayona, who lived in Bakersfield with her and Gonzalez’s son, says, Garcia “hasn’t been in his life for years and the only reason she’s coming out right now is because of the benefits.” Telling KGET, “I was with him during thick and thin for three years and he’s not here to say anything to explain himself. I should get the flag, not her.”

Though she is the second wife, Bayona is only the mother of one of three of Gonzalez’s kids. He reportedly has a child with a third women, though there was not marriage.

Despite Bayona’s upset, Gonzalez’s father asked that no one make a scene at the funeral, and instead remember that his son “died giving his life for the country he loved.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Peruvian Fighting Out of New Zealand Dies 32 Seconds into First Fight

Peruvian Fighting Out of New Zealand Dies 32 Seconds into First Fight

Photo: Peruvian Fighting Out of New Zealand Dies 32 Seconds into First Fight

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A Peruvian kickboxer fighting out of New Zealand died after he dropped to the mat during his debut bout in Tahiti.

Kickboxer Willman Rodriguez Gomez’s family is devastated after the 29-year-old collapsed just 32 seconds into his debut fight on Monday.

The experienced muay thai and kickboxing fighter was more than holding his own at the start of his match against Tahitian fighter Karihi Tehei, getting his opponent on the defense quickly. However, shortly after the start of the bout, Rodriguez Gomez collapsed to the floor and began convulsing.

Emergency services attended to him quickly and he was taken to the major hospital in Taaone. His autopsy proved inconclusive and now his family has a lot of questions.

His brother Chino Rodriguez Gomez wants to know why his brother was even in the ring with Tehei, a fighter with more than 80 fights under his belt and a gold medal from the 2011 Pacific Games.

“On paper it’s a mismatch,” he says. “Anyone could see that, and we want answers. Who picked my brother out of the bunch to say he could fight this person?”

Tahitian media is reporting Rodriguez Gomez took a left hook to the head before falling to the ring floor, and Lance Revill of the New Zealand Professional Boxing Association told 3 News, “He’s gone over with a very small punch, so it sounds like he’s had some hard sparring in his gym prior to going over there. He’s had some head knocks and he hasn’t had a medical clearance leaving the country to fight in the first place.”

The fighter’s body is expected to be returned to New Zealand on Sunday, as Rodriguez Gomez held New Zealand citizenship.

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER:  Hanging ‘Large Fleshy Testicles’ Gets Jose Rodriguez Arrested

LATINO BLOTTER:  Hanging ‘Large Fleshy Testicles’ Gets Jose Rodriguez Arrested

Photo: Truck Balls Gets Jose Rodriguez Arrested

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If you are not driving with a valid drivers license and possibly are in the country illegally it is not recommended you drive with obscene objects from your rear bumper.

Unfortunately that is what Jose Cervantes-Rodriguez did when he was driving a Lincoln pick up truck in South Carolina.  Spartanburg County sheriffs spotted something unusual hanging from Cervantes-Rodriguez’ vehicle and stopped him.

Upon further inspection the unusual something were ‘flesh colored, anatomically correct’ ‘pair of large fleshy testicles.’  Cervantes-Rodriguez immediately removed the faux testicles according to The Smoking Gun and explained that he had just moved from Mexico six months ago and had been state hopping from Texas to Georgia to South Carolina.

We aren’t sure what having come from Mexico has to do with hanging testicles from your car.  Cervantes-Rodriguez was issued a citation and was released after posting $237.50 bond.

According to Raw Story, Cervantes-Rodriguez is the second motorist to be ticketed for ‘truck nuts’ in South Carolina within the last year.  The last perpretator was 65-year-old, Virgina Tice.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Texas Family Harassed With Racial Comments From School District Employees

Texas Family Harassed With Racial Comments From School District Employees

Photo: Texas Family Harassed With Racial Comments From School District Employees

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A Texas family and their supporters are fuming over racially-charged statements made by members of the a group calling themselves The Concerned Citizens against a family made up of a Hispanic mother, her African-American husband, and their two daughters.

The mother, Rosa Vasquez Madina, and her children were reportedly eating lunch with a group called Citizens United near Hidalgo City Hall when members of Concerned Citizens — a rival group – began taunting the family with, “Bananas, bananas. Where can we get bananas?” and also making comments about monkeys while looking at the children, ages 7 and 3.

After Vasquez Madina called her husband, he joined his family. Police say an altercation nearly broke out before they arrived on the scene.

Members of the Concerned Citizens group who were involved include a coach, a school district member, and other employees of Valley View Independent School District.

Continuing the harassment later that same day, members of Concerned Citizens posted photos of apes on the family’s Facebook pages.

Regarding the school district employees, Hidalgo Mayor John David Franz said, “Anyone who has participated in activity or laughed along with racial comments will not be tolerated and removed from (their) position or fired.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spanish Architect Rafael Moneo Wins Top Arts Prize

Spanish Architect Rafael Moneo Wins Top Arts Prize

Photo: Spanish Architect Rafael Moneo

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Spanish avant-garde architect Rafael Moneo, known for the use of light in his building designs to create diaphanous spaces, was named Wednesday as this year’s recipient of the Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts.

Moneo, who had been nominated for this prestigious prize on more than a dozen occasions, beat out 38 other hopefuls from 25 countries, including fellow finalists Japanese architect Toyo Ito and Estonian classical composer Arvo Part.

The jury headed by Jose Llado, a Spanish business leader and former Cabinet minister, hailed the universal quality of Moneo’s work, saying it enriches urban spaces “with an architecture that is serene and meticulous.”

It added that Moneo is an acclaimed master who combines aesthetics with functionality, “especially in the airy interiors that act as impeccable settings for great works of culture and the spirit.”

A graduate of Madrid’s Higher Technical School of Architecture, the 75-year-old Moneo has won the most prestigious awards in the field, including the Pritzker Architecture Prize - often referred to as the Nobel Prize in that discipline - in 1996 and the Mies van der Rohe Award, the EU prize for contemporary architecture, in 2001.

In Spain, he is known for expanding the Prado Museum and the Thyssen Museum in Madrid, remodeling the Atocha railway station in the Spanish capital and designing the Museum of Roman Art in Merida, the Kursaal concert hall and convention center in San Sebastian and the Barcelona Auditorium, among a long list of works.

He also converted Madrid’s Villahermosa Palace to house the Thyssen-Bornemisza art collection.

Moneo has had a distinguished academic career, having lectured at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale in Lausanne, Switzerland, and at the U.S. universities of Princeton and Harvard, where he was the dean of that prestigious Massachusetts-based institution’s Graduate School of Design between 1985 and 1990.

“I’ve received a gift I wasn’t expecting and it was a surprise,” Moneo told Efe.

“When they called me, I thought it was because the jury wanted to resolve some doubt about another candidate. That was my first reaction,” he said.

Moneo became the fifth architect to receive the Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts after Britain’s Norman Foster (2009), Spain’s Santiago Calatrava (1999) and Francisco Javier Saenz de Oiza (1993) and Brazil’s Oscar Niemeyer (1989).

Last year’s prize went to Italian orchestra conductor Riccardo Muti, while other past winners include American film director Woody Allen, Spanish flamenco guitarist and composer Paco de Lucia and African-American operatic soprano Barbara Hendricks.

According to the Prince of Asturias Foundation’s Web site, the arts award recognizes an individual or institution “whose work in cinematography, theater, dance, music, photography, painting, sculpture, architecture or any other form of artistic expression constitutes a significant contribution to mankind’s culture heritage.”

The arts honor is the first of eight Asturias prizes to be awarded this year, each accompanied by a 50,000-euro (roughly $64,673) cash prize.

The winners also receive a sculpture by Joan Miro that represents and symbolizes the awards, a diploma and an insignia bearing the foundation’s coat of arms.

The prizes, which Spain’s Crown Prince Felipe will hand out in October in the northwestern city of Oviedo’s Campoamor Theater, are regarded as the Ibero-American world’s equivalent of the Nobels.

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: Texas Man Nearly Runs Over Officer While Rolling Joint During Low-Speed Police Chase

LATINO BLOTTER: Texas Man Nearly Runs Over Officer While Rolling Joint During Low-Speed Police Chase

Photo: Andres Martinez nearly hit an offficer during low-speed chase becasue he was ruling a joint

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When attempting to get away from police and leading them on a car chase, the key is usually to drive at a high rate of speed. However, one Houston man did not get that memo, and led local police on a bizarre high-speed chase.

Police reportedly noticed the front of Andres Martinez’s car was smashed and appeared to have been in an accident, possibly a hit-and-run. When they attempted to pull him over and ask about the damage Sunday morning, Martinez refused to stop and began a 15-minute chase on the Gulf Freeway.

What made this chase different however, was that the 24-year-old never drove over 40 mile per hour.

Not helping his case, Martinez reportedly attempted to hit a squad car before finally ending the chase at the freeway’s Monroe exit.

Martinez later told police he was not trying to hit the police vehicle, but what rolling a joint and trying to call his “peeps” to let them know he would be going to jail.

As a result of the low-speed chase, Martinez faces several charges, though prosecutors’ attempts to charge him with attempted murder for nearly hitting the officer were not successful, the judge saying there was not enough probable cause for the charge.

His bond was set for $30,000.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Over 300 Pounds of Cocaine Seized Near Northern Coast of Puerto Rico

Over 300 Pounds of Cocaine Seized Near Northern Coast of Puerto Rico

Photo: Cocaine Filled Yola

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Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG) law enforcement authorities, working in support of the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force (CCSF), arrested 2 smugglers, seizing a boat and a drug shipment of approximately 154 kilos (339.5 pounds) of cocaine during a maritime interdiction early Friday evening off the northern coast of Dorado, Puerto Rico.

The estimated street value is over $3.7 million.

Near midnight Thursday evening, a US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) marine patrol aircraft detected a suspicious22’ single-engine “yola” type vessel traveling east without navigational lights about 10 nautical miles north off the coast of Dorado, Puerto Rico.

The CBP marine patrol aircraft contacted Puerto Rico Police Department Joint Forces of Rapid Action (FURA, for its Spanish Acronym) marine units, patrolling with a CBP Border Patrol agent onboard, to interdict the suspect vessel.

Upon noticing their detection the individuals on the suspect vessel started to throw bales to the water, landing in a beach near Dorado.

CBP Border Patrol Agents and FURA Police agents searched the Dorado beach and arrested 2 individuals, who claimed to be citizens of the Dominican Republic.

A FURA Police marine unit recovered 6 bales containing an undetermined number of bricks of suspected narcotics. A field test proved positive for cocaine.

This is the second incident near the coast of Dorado in a 30 day period where Federal and State authorities prevent a smuggling event. On the evening hours of Thursday April 12, CBIG law enforcement arrested six Dominican smugglers and seized 322 pounds of cocaine and 19 pounds of heroin off the northern coast of Dorado, Puerto Rico.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Hugo Chavez’s Doctors Confirm Decision to Halt Treatment Yet President Denies

Hugo Chavez’s Doctors Confirm Decision to Halt Treatment Yet President Denies

Photo: Chavez Treatments Stopped

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Venezuelan president, Hugo Chávez, reappeared on Monday after a week long absence, by telephone which was transmitted by the state owned Television Company in which he denied reports that his health continues to rapidly deteriorate.  During the short telephone conversation, the president assured the people that his treatment continues satisfactorily and that he will be ready to defeat the opposition in the upcoming presidential elections on October 7th.

“We will give him a devastating blow.  I as candidate still have not entered the campaign.  I am governing with my duties as Chief of State, Chief of the government from afar, but in this special situation, of which I will leave in the next few days, soon I will be there,” stated Chávez during the phone conversation.

Nonetheless, Chávez did not provide specific details about his treatment which he is receiving in Cuba.  In the last week, Chavez has not appeared in public and was only seen in a prefilmed video in which he appears with a labored voice Chavez said his faith that Jesus Christ would grant him a miracle. 

The Spanish-language press began to publish multiple stories stating that the president was losing his battle against cancer and was spending much of his time on sedatives to ease his pain.  On Monday, Rafael Poleo, editor and chief of the publication, El Nuevo País as well as the magazine, Zeta, stated, “The president of Venezuela is no longer in a condition to govern.  He has entered the final stages of his disease and is suffering extreme physical pain which requires the constant use of sedatives.”

Chávez has remained in Cuba to continue with his cancer treatments after doctors removed a malignant tumor during his recent surgery on February 26th.  Yet, according to journalist, Nelson Bocaranda, the president’s medical team recently stopped the radio therapy treatments he was receiving.  Bocaranda also reported that the Cuban doctors finally accepted what other doctors had already been saying: that they should stop administering radio therapy to the pelvis due to the fact that, “the previous radiation treatments had fractured the femur bone.” 

Chávez, however, denied these reports in his phone conversation on Monday.  He added that he is undergoing physical therapy and under doctors orders to rest.  Yet other doctors believe that problems such as a broken femur suggest that the cancer has metastasized into the bones and does not bring a positive prognosis for the President.

According to Venezuelan doctor, José Marquina, “The president faces a difficult situation with a very bleak prognosis.  It is very possible that Chávez will not be alive by the end of 2012.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

New Border Patrol Policy Emphasizes Intelligence Gathering

New Border Patrol Policy Emphasizes Intelligence Gathering

Photo: U.S. Border Patrol New Policy

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The U.S. Border Patrol on Tuesday presented its national strategy for the next four years at a time when illegal immigration is falling.

The new guidelines, the first to be issued in eight years, emphasizes the use of intelligence information to guard the country’s borders.

They also seek to optimize the use of human resources, with the number of personnel having been doubled to 21,000 agents in recent years.

Border Patrol director Michael Fisher outlined the new strategy at a hearing before the House Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security.

Since fiscal year 2008 illegal immigration has been reduced by 53 percent, he said.

“At the same time, according to 2010 FBI crime reports, violent crimes in southwest border states have dropped by an average of 40 percent in the last two decades. Currently, some of the safest cities in America are border communities,” Fisher said.

“Every key measure shows we are making significant progress, however, we must remain vigilant and focus on building upon an approach that puts the Border Patrol’s greatest capabilities in place to combat the greatest risks,” the director added.

This new strategy is based on the one designed in 2004, which was crafted taking account of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the reason why security measures were intensified in the first place.

A study released last month by the Pew Hispanic Center indicates that the historic wave of migration from Mexico to the United States has ended.

Between 2005 and 2010, some 1.4 million Mexicans migrated to the United States compared to 3 million in the previous five years.

At the same time, the number of Mexicans who left the United States for Mexico rose from about 770,000 between 2000 and 2004 to almost 1.4 million between 2005 and 2010.

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Peru’s No. 1 Export is Now Gold, Totaling $2.57 billion in Year’s First Quarter

Peru’s No. 1 Export is Now Gold, Totaling $2.57 billion in Year’s First Quarter

Photo: Peru's No. 1 Export is Now Gold, Totaling $2.57 billion in Year's First Quarter

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Peru’s gold sales totaled $2.57 billion in the first quarter of this year, making the commodity the country’s top export, the National Mining, Petroleum and Energy Society, or SNMPE, said.

Gold accounted for 23 percent of Peru’s total exports of $11.38 billion during the January-March 2012 period, SNMPE gold committee chairman Jose Morales Dasso said in a statement.

Peru’s mining industry posted exports of $6.64 billion in the first quarter, with gold accounting for 39 percent of the total.

“With these results, gold has become the principal Peruvian export product and this performance is explained by the marked rise in the price of the precious metal on international markets,” Morales said.

Gold exports soared 30 percent to $10.1 billion in 2011, generating $2.3 billion more than in the prior year.

Peruvian gold is exported to 14 markets, including Switzerland, Canada and the United States, Morales said.

Mining projects have sparked numerous conflicts in Peru.

The Conga gold and copper mining project, for example, has been rejected by the majority of residents of the northern region of Cajamarca.

The Yanacocha mining company, South America’s No. 1 gold producer, plans to invest $4.8 billion in Conga, but the government has set new conditions to reduce the project’s environmental impact and secure water reserves.

The company will have to accept the conditions if it wants to move forward with the project, officials say.

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Only 14 Percent of People Deported in First Quarter of Year Had Criminal Record

Only 14 Percent of People Deported in First Quarter of Year Had Criminal Record

Photo: Criminal Alien Deportations Down

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The percentage of undocumented deportees with criminal records diminished in the first quarter of the year, even though the U.S. government was specifically targeting that segment, according to data released Tuesday.

These preliminary figures show that of the 37,659 deportations between January and March, 5,450 were undocumented immigrants with criminal records, or 14 percent of the total.

In the same period of 2011, of the 58,955 people deported, 9,085 had a criminal record - 15 percent of the total - according to the database of the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a research outfit affiliated with Syracuse University.

“This suggests that the announced plan to increase the deportation of serious criminals through Immigration Court proceedings has not been successful,” TRAC said.

Last August, the Department of Homeland Security said that Immigration and Customs Enforcement would focus its efforts on deporting undocumented persons with criminal records or who were seen as a threat to national security.

In the three quarters since that announcement, the rate of deportations for criminal activities remained at 14 percent of the total, the lowest percentage since January 2008 when the first records were kept on the matter.

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WednesdayMay 9, 2012