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ThursdayMay 10, 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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Experts Say Gay Marriage Will Not Alienate Hispanic Voters

Experts Say Gay Marriage Will Not Alienate Hispanic Voters

Photo: What role with gay marriage play in the 2012 election?

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The historic and politically risky announcement by President Barack Obama supporting same-sex marriage comes at a time when the largely Catholic Hispanic community is also evolving its opinion on the matter, experts consulted on the subject on Thursday told Efe.

After two days of intense internal debate, stirred up by the remarks in favor of such unions by Vice President Joe Biden, Obama finally expressed his opinion on Wednesday in an interview ABC, saying that he believes that it should be legal for same-sex couples to marry.

However, he acknowledged that his announcement, in a year when the election campaign appears to be a very tight race, could hurt him with some sectors of the electorate.

“The politics, it’s not clear how they cut in some places that are going to be pretty important in this electoral map. It may hurt me,” Obama told ABC’s Robin Roberts.

The religious right has found another weapon against Obama, and the president is also facing an electoral risk among progressively-minded groups if his words are interpreted as being mere lip service designed to attract votes.

In 2008, candidate Obama promised Hispanics immigration reform only later to blame Congress for his inability to implement it. At that time he received 67 percent of the Hispanic vote and, according to authorities, the roughly 10 million Evangelical Hispanic voters have increased their political weight since then.

Experts consulted by Efe on Thursday agree that although it’s a very volatile issue, Obama did not have the votes of conservatives prior to his remarks anyway.

And, they say, the main motivation for Latinos on election day will be issues that affect their pocketbook, just as for other voters.

The collective attitude of the U.S. public toward gay marriage - a dilemma with huge political, moral and cultural repercussions - has “evolved,” just like Obama says his has done.

Evan Wolfson, the founder and president of the Freedom to Marry group, said that Obama “will come out winning because voters who already support him wanted him to openly back homosexual marriages.”

“The issue has growing support among Democrats, youth, Latinos and blacks ... They are evolving on the subject. This is going to mobilize them in favor of Obama because the (Republican) alternative would throw us back,” Wolfson said.

Vanessa Cardenas, director of the Center for American Progress’ Project 2050, also believes that Obama’s newly clarified stance will not scare away Latino voters “because it’s not something that’s really a priority for them and because the Latino community is evolving.”

“Recent NBC/Wall Street Journal, Latino Decisions and NCLR surveys ... show that Latinos have been adjusting their ideas. Latinos show a great deal of empathy toward others and they are sensitive about those, like them, who are suffering discrimination,” Cardenas emphasized.

Among Hispanics, who are normally conservative on social issues, support for gay marriage stands at 54 percent, above the national average, according to a study released last month by the National Council of La Raza and the firm Social Science Research Solutions.

A 1996 Gallup poll found that Americans opposed gay marriage by 68 to 27 percent. Now, according to a Gallup survey released Tuesday, 50 percent favor it versus 48 percent who continue to oppose it.

Read more by HS News Staff →

3 Mexican Brothers Sentenced for Running Prostitution Ring in U.S.

3 Mexican Brothers Sentenced for Running Prostitution Ring in U.S.

Photo: Prostitution ring was reliant on human smuggling

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Three Mexican brothers were sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to conspiring to operate an interstate prostitution ring that relied on women who were smuggled in from Mexico and Central America and coerced into working for the trio.

Gregorio, Jose Luis and Norberto Hernandez-Castilla operated a score of bordellos in Indiana, Michigan, Illinois and Ohio and provided women to prostitution rings in New York, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Missouri and Florida, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Indianapolis said.

The brothers, who were living in the United States illegally, managed the criminal enterprise from Indianapolis and Chicago.

Gregorio was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison, while his siblings each received prison terms of 51 months.

Forced into prostitution to repay the brothers for smuggling them into the United States, the women were moved on a weekly basis between the various locations.

Most of the clients were immigrants, paying $40-$50 for encounters with the women.

Twelve other undocumented immigrants are facing charges in the case.

“For years, this criminal organization moved women like human merchandise all over this city and across the Midwest,” the U.S. attorney in Indianapolis, Joseph Hogsett, said in a statement.

“I am proud to announce today that we have finalized our effort to completely dismantle this dangerous group, bringing an end to their cycle of exploitation,” he said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Eva Mendes Disproves Early Hollywood Critics

Eva Mendes Disproves Early Hollywood Critics

Photo: Eva Mendes

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Hispanic film star Eva Mendes is proud of her career after many initially said of her that her look was not “commercial,” she told Efe at the U.S. screening of the comedy “Girl in Progress.”

“When I started out, people said that my appearance was not commercial, that I was too ethnic and that perhaps I could do a few good films but not sell a product,” said the actress. “And here I am years later,” she added.

The star of films such as “Training Day” (2001), “2 Fast 2 Furious” (2003), “We Own The Night” (2007) and “The Spirit” (2008) has become a regular face on the lists of the most beautiful people in the movie industry and has been the image of numerous advertising campaigns for top fashion and cosmetics brands.

That radical change makes her feel “very proud” for two reasons: being able to show her early critics how wrong they were and seeing how the concept of what it means to be an American has evolved. “That point of view has evolved and I’m part of that. I’ve been a witness to a great change,” said Mendes, 38.

Soon, Mendes will also come out with “Holy Motors,” by French filmmaker Leos Karax, and “The Place Beyond the Pines,” in which she appears with her boyfriend Ryan Gosling.

“I’m at a point in my career where I only do films that mean something for me. I hope that ‘Girl in Progress’ is successful, connects with people and opens doors to more works with minorities,” she concluded.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Argentine Grandmother Charged For Beating Grandson Over Report Card

Argentine Grandmother Charged For Beating Grandson Over Report Card

Photo: Bad report card leads to beating in Argentina

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A court in Buenos Aires arraigned a woman on domestic violence charges after she hit her 7-year-old grandson for bringing home a bad report card, the Argentine press said Thursday.

If convicted, the granny could face anywhere from six months to two years behind bars, and the court placed an embargo of 10,000 pesos ($2,250) on her assets.

The court allowed the case to go forward after witnesses confirmed the boy’s claim that his grandmother beat him with a belt on his legs and backside as punishment for poor grades.

The incident came to light after the youngster missed two days of school and, when asked to explain the absence, told his teacher about the beating.

At her arraignment, the defendant described her grandson as “very restless” and said he was prone to injuring himself while playing or in the bath, Tiempo Argentino newspaper reported.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latin Grammy Award Winning Molotov Looking to Sharpen Their Message

Latin Grammy Award Winning Molotov Looking to Sharpen Their Message

Photo: Molotov Members

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Mexican rock band Molotov, known for taking overtly political stances on social issues in its songs, says it now prefers to seek more subtle and intelligent ways to convey its message.

“We have to find a smart way to express ourselves in terms of what’s happening right now,” vocalist and guitarist Tito Fuentes said at a press conference.

The band members met with the media Wednesday in Mexico City to promote their new live album titled “Desde Rusia con amor” (From Russia With Love), which also includes an accompanying DVD documenting Molotov’s concert tour in that country.

Throughout its history, the four-time Latin Grammy Award-winning band composed of Fuentes, Miky Huidobro, Randy Ebright and Paco Ayala has railed against politicians and taken up the mantle on immigration and other social issues with anthems like “Frijolero” and “Gimme the Power.”

But now it “would be very obvious” to compose protest songs on issues such as drug trafficking because the band would risk ending up with “something trite” that does not adequately convey its message, Fuentes said.

Around 50,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence in Mexico since December 2006, when President Felipe Calderon took office and militarized the struggle against the country’s numerous drug cartels.

The use of army soldiers and marines for law enforcement has been accompanied by numerous complaints about abuses by the troops.

In an upcoming documentary about Molotov titled “Gimme the Power,” directed by Olallo Rubio and set to premiere on June 1, the band members give their perspective on Mexico and the country’s socio-political problems in recent decades.

Various public figures interviewed for the film also weigh in on Molotov’s influence on society and the protest movement that has coalesced around the band.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Oldest-Known Mayan Calendar Found by U.S. Archaeologists in Guatemala

Oldest-Known Mayan Calendar Found by U.S. Archaeologists in Guatemala

Photo: Oldest-Known Mayan Calendar Found by U.S. Archaeologists in Guatemala

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A team of U.S. archaeologists announced Thursday the discovery of the oldest Mayan calendar to date, a ninth-century artifact amid the ruins of an ancient city in Guatemala.

The calendar documents cycles of the moon and, apparently, those of Venus and Mars as well, Boston University’s William Saturno and University of Texas archaeologist David Stuart told a press conference.

The find, to be detailed in this week’s issue of the journal Science and the June issue of National Geographic, also further discredits the notion that the Mayas predicted the world would end in December 2012.

Proponents of the doomsday idea said 2012 would mark the conclusion of the last of the 13 “baktuns” - cycles of 400 years - that make up the Mayan calendar.

But the calendar uncovered in Xultun, Guatemala, has 17 baktuns, and Stuart said the Mayas method of time measurement included units much larger than the baktun.

“The Mayan calendar is going to keep going for billions, trillions, octillions of years into the future,” he said.

The hieroglyphs in Xultun are several hundred years older than the calendar and astronomical tables of the Dresden Codex, which dates from the 11th or 12th century.

The home containing the calendar was part of a large residential complex.

Though Xultun was discovered in 1915, 99.9 percent of the site has yet to be explored, according to Saturno, who spoke of “the great wealth of scientific material that remains in Guatemala in the Maya area for us to discover.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico To Use French Soccer Tournament to Finalize its Olympic Roster

Mexico To Use French Soccer Tournament to Finalize its Olympic Roster

Photo: Marco Fabian De la Mora, star of the U23 team

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Mexico’s under-23 national soccer team will compete in a tournament this month in Toulon, France, fielding a squad of 20 players under consideration for the Olympic roster.

The manager of the Mexican team that will compete in the 2012 London Games, Luis Fernanda Tena, unveiled the list of players who will take part in the Espoirs de Toulon competition, several of whom helped lead Mexico to victory in the recently concluded Olympic qualifying tournament.

The Mexican under-23 squad will assemble on Sunday in Mexico City and travel on May 20 to Toulon to play in Group B, which also includes France, Belarus and Morocco.

After that tournament, a major event in the under-23 category that runs from May 23 to June 1, the players will go on vacation and then return to work on June 24 to prepare for the Olympic Games.

Mexico has been placed in Group B in London and will face South Korea on July 26, Gabon on July 29 and Switzerland on Aug. 1.

The Olympic squad will feature several of the members of the team taking part in the Espoirs de Toulon event plus some other players, including three over the age of 23 to be determined in early July.

The Mexican soccer federation announced Wednesday that two potential members of the Olympic squad - Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and Carlos Vela, strikers for Manchester United and Spain’s Real Sociedad, respectively - will not be available to play in London, although Tena said the squad will not be weakened by their absence.

Hernandez was not cleared to play by his English club, while Vela - on loan to Real Sociedad from London club Arsenal - asked not to be called up so he could focus on his career in Europe ahead of a possible further transfer this summer.

- Mexican squad for the Toulon tournament:

Goalkeepers: Liborio Sanchez (Guadalajara) and Antonio Rodriguez (Guadalajara).

Defensemen: Nestor Araujo (Cruz Azul), Darvin Chavez (Monterrey), Hiram Mier (Monterrey), Isaac Rodriguez (Atlas) and Nestor Vidrio (Pachuca).

Midfielders: Jorge Enriquez (Guadalajara), Miguel Ponce (Guadalajara), Javier Aquino (Cruz Azul), Diego Reyes (America), Nestor Calderon (Toluca), Hector Herrera (Pachuca), Jorge Hernandez (Chiapas) and Javier Cortes (Pumas UNAM).

Forwards: Alan Pulido (Tigres), Jeronimo Amione (Atlante), Marco Fabian (Guadalajara), Candido Ramirez (Santos Laguna) and Raul Jimenez (America).

Manager: Luis Fernando Tena.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Honduran Radio Journalist Kidnapped On Way to Work

Honduran Radio Journalist Kidnapped On Way to Work

Photo: Alfredo Villatoro was kidnapped in Honduras

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Honduran police have enlisted the help of foreign investigators who happened to be here for a conference in the search for a radio journalist kidnapped early Wednesday, the office of President Porfirio Lobo said in a statement.

The communique was issued hours after the president voiced solidarity with the family of Alfredo Villatoro and asked for “his prompt release and respect for his life.”

Villatoro is “a great journalist, we pray to God and we have faith that everything will work out fine,” Lobo said during a Cabinet meeting broadcast on state television.

The journalist, who works for HRN, one of Honduras’ leading radio networks, was abducted around 4:45 a.m. while on his way to work.

A police source told Efe that ex-cop Jerson Basilio Godoy, who was dismissed from the force last November, is in custody on suspicion of involvement in the kidnapping.

Villatoro was apparently intercepted by six assailants traveling in two vehicles, according to media accounts. His car was found abandoned in Tres Caminos, a residential neighborhood in Tegucigalpa.

HRN said the kidnappers have already made contact with Villatoro’s family.

Journalism has become a dangerous occupation in Honduras, where a score of media professionals have been slain in recent years.

The latest victim was Erick Alejandro Martinez, a reporter who was also spokesperson for a gay and lesbian rights organization and a member of the resistance front that arose after the June 2009 overthrow of reformist President Mel Zelaya.

The 32-year-old journalist was found dead Monday in Tegucigalpa.

Honduran reporters reacted to Villatoro’s kidnapping by demanding government action to protect journalists and vigorous efforts to find and punish Martinez’s killers.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Chilean Man is John Travolta’s Third and Latest Sexual Harassment Accuser

Chilean Man is John Travolta’s Third and Latest Sexual Harassment Accuser

Photo: Chilean Fabian Zanzi Latest Travolta Accuser

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A former employee of the Caribbean cruise line, Fabian Zanzi, is the latest man to come forward with allegations of sexual harassment by actor John Travolta. 

The Chilean-born Zanzi worked on the cruise ship in May, 2009 as a VIP guess coordinator, when he was approached by Travolta, nude under a bathroom and offering $12,000 for sex.  Zanzi went to cruise ship authorities and they did not believe him and punished him by confining him to his room.  He gave an interview to 24 Horas in Spanish explaining his ordeal recently.

According to Spanish-language media, Zanzi turned down Travolta offers and is filing a sexual harassment lawsuit and hopes to be vindicated now that others have come forward.  It is not known if Zanzi is joining two other sexual harassment accusers that surfaced recently.

Two male masseurs have filed suit against the actor for $2 million accusing him of sexually aggressive behavior while getting a massage.

Homosexual rumors had always surrounded Travolta in spite of his 20-year-plus marriage to actress Kelly Preston.  The couple have three children, one of which died at age 16 after a seizure in the Bahamas.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Will Jessic Sanchez be the Next ‘American Idol’?  (VIDEO)

Will Jessic Sanchez be the Next ‘American Idol’?  (VIDEO)

Photo: Will Jessic Sanchez be the Next 'American Idol'?

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On Wednesday night’s “American Idol”, Jessica Sanchez and fellow contestants chose songs MTV called “obscure” or “the most obvious choices possible.”

Now down to the final four, it’s sometimes easy to forget that Jessica Sanchez, with her powerhouse voice and professional stage presence is just 16 years old.

On last night’s show, Sanchez sang Etta James’ “Steal Away” and the Jennifer Holiday’s “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going,” The latter may have been a message to her fellow contestants that she’s not going anywhere, and they better watch. However, with that song being so impressively covered by “Idol” alum Jennifer Hudson, it was perhaps a bad choice. It may have been a mistake to present such an easy comparison to one of the strongest voices to ever come out of a Idol contestant. That being said, the little Latina was far from unimpressive. Sanchez clearly has the voice to build a career. The judges even gave her a standing ovation.

But has she picked up enough voting fans to make her the next American Idol? And if she’s sent home without the top prize, will she follow in J.Hud’s footsteps and show everyone that a being named an “Idol” doesn’t stop you from being an idol.


Check out Sanchez’s performance of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” from Wednesday night’s show.


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Students Take Over University of Michoacán

Students Take Over University of Michoacán

Photo: Universidad de Michoacan Students Protest

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Members of the ‘Coordinator of Struggling University Students’ organization or CUL took over University of Michoacan campus facilities as well as the San Nicolás de Hidalgo preparatory school.  The take over is in protest to the detention order issued to the ten students allegedly involved in the burning of officials vehicles. 

The takeover affects more than 50,000 students getting ready to finish the academic year. 

The protest began on campus and extended into the preparatory schools located at different points of the university.  Colegio San Nicolás, one of the university prep schools, which will be holding an event commemorating the birth of Miguel Hidalgo, was also involved in the takeover. 

The members of CUL demanded the release of the ten students facing charges for the burning of official vehicles on April 28th.  The students are currently being held in the David Franco Rodríguez prison.  This past Sunday, the judge assigned to the case, released three of the detainees yet issued a warrant for the arrest of ten other suspects ranging in ages from 19-22 years old.  The students will have to face property damage charges while in prison.

The state government announced its decision to appeal the release of the three students after stating that sufficient evidence existed for trial. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: After Night Out Drinking Illinois Father Burns Son With Iron Over Missing Dollar

LATINO BLOTTER: After Night Out Drinking Illinois Father Burns Son With Iron Over Missing Dollar

Photo: Night Out Drinking Illinois Father Burns Son With Iron Over Missing Dollar

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An Illinois father has been arrested after he allegedly burned his son’s face because he believed the boy stole a dollar bill from him.

Police say 35-year-old Josue Marinque of Joliet came home Sunday night after a night spent drinking and watching boxing. He was reportedly “on the edge” when he came home because the fighter he was cheering for lost and on his way home had transmission problems with his car.

Upon coming home, Marrinque said he noticed a dollar was missing off of his dresser. Believing his 11-year-old son had stolen from him, the father woke him up by hitting him with a leather belt. He then used a hot iron to burn the young boy’s arm and hand in an attempt to get him to confess to stealing the $1 bill.

According to the Chicago Sun Times, Police Commander Brian Benton said Marinque “initially claimed he had been struggling with the boy to keep him from burning himself with the iron, but later changed his statement.”

The father has been charged with aggravated domestic battery and aggravated battery of a child.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Colleges Starting to Welcome Undocumented Immigrant Students

Colleges Starting to Welcome Undocumented Immigrant Students

Photo: Undocumented Students Getting a Break

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Although an extremely small Catholic college in suburban Chicago, Dominican University continues to demonstrate its passion towards social justice by admitting and many times financing undocumented immigrants’ college education.  This year alone, the school paid $274,000 in financial aid for 17 undocumented students.  Dominican’s President, Donna Carroll says her only regret is not helping more students.  Yet although she admits that what they are doing may be controversial, she states, “It’s against the law to discriminate against any student group.  You need to start from that premise.”

Dominican is not alone in this venture, several other universities and student groups across the nation are working together to aid undocumented students.  At Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, a student group raised $10,000 in order to help an undocumented student pay the close to $43,000 bill.  The university is also discussing options for scholarships, work study programs as well as increased advising for these students.

At Haverford College, outside of Philadelphia, student groups have requested that the school begin, “fair, need-blind admissions consideration” in order to help undocumented students with admittance.  Other nearby schools, such as Swarthmore and Bryn Mawr are also beginning similar initiatives.

One undocumented Bryn Mawr student, Jessica Hyejin Lee, stated, “Our most important goal is to empower and liberate undocumented students, so we can come out of the shadows.”  Lee is from South Korea and is the co-founder of Students for Undocumented Dreams and Decision Equity Now. 

Yet not every group embraces these programs.  Raj Kannappan, the president of Cornell’s College Republicans, states, “There’s going to have to be justification for why that aid can’t go to students who are enrolled legally.  There’s a lot of talk about it, but no one’s really doing anything about it because a lot of people would not be in favor.”

Every year close to 65,000 undocumented students graduate from high schools in the United States according to data found by the College Board.  Many still debate whether or not it is just for undocumented students to pay lower in state tuition rates at public universities. 

Yet, as undocumented students begin to voice their concerns on the matter, schools are increasingly pressed to make tuition more affordable for everyone. It is clear that word is spreading about what’s happening at Dominican University according to freshman Arianna Salgado, an undocumented student from Mexico who has lived in the United States since the age of 6. “When undocumented students apply to a school it’s because they’ve already heard that it’s welcoming.  It makes you really comfortable with the whole application process.”

 

Read more at USA Today →

Sofia Vergara’s Son, Manolo, Presents a Very Sweet Mother’s Day Video (VIDEO)

Sofia Vergara’s Son, Manolo, Presents a Very Sweet Mother’s Day Video (VIDEO)

Photo: Sofia Vergara's Son Presents a Very Sweet Mother's Day Video of His Early Years with His Mom

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On the latest episode of “Mi Vida Con Toty,” Sofia Vergara’s 19-year-old son Manolo presented viewers and his mother with a touching video compilation of old family videos at various occasions throughout his life.

Check out the video Manolo Gonzalez called, “Sofia Vergara Best Mother’s Day / Día de la Madre”.


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Parents and Peers Have Strong Effect on Behavior of Mexican American Students

Parents and Peers Have Strong Effect on Behavior of Mexican American Students

Photo: Family Key to Success for Mexican-American Students

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A recent study by Missouri University professor, Gustavo Carlo, found that parents and peers influence strongly the behaviors and moral development of Mexican American college students.  As a result of these findings, Carlo, a Millsap Professor of Diversity and Multicultural Studies in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at MU, believes that universities need to encourage family and social involvement in students’ lives in order to attain more successful students.

The study, entitled, “Empathy as a mediator of the relations between parent and peer attachment and prosocial and physically aggressive behaviors in Mexican American college students,” surveyed 148 Mexican American college students from California and Texas.  Students were asked about parental and peer attachment as well as empathy, prosocial or positive behaviors and physical aggression.  The study demonstrated a direct correlation between strong relationships with parents and peers and greater empathy with less physical aggression. 

According to the statistics the number of Latino students enrolled at the university level is increasing however full time Latino students still trail behind other ethnic groups.  Latino students also have a high dropout rate.  According to Carlo, in order to improve these statistics, universities should begin connecting with parents in order to introduce them to the college lifestyle as well as the opportunities a college education will provide in the future.  “We have to be cognizant of the fact that some of them may have never attended a college or university, and so it may be somewhat of an intimidating environment for them to actually come to campus,” Professor Carlo stated.

The study, published online by the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships this past December will be available this month in the journal’s print edition. 

Read more at Columbian Missourian →

Joseph Rodriguez Beautifully Photographs Mexican Families Coming to America in “Migrantes”

Joseph Rodriguez Beautifully Photographs Mexican Families Coming to America in “Migrantes”

Photo: Joseph Rodriguez Photographs the Humanity of Mexican Migrants Coming to America in "Migrantes"

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Award-winning photographer Joseph Rodriguez recently revealed the stunningly heartwarming and heartbreaking images of his long-term project he calls “Migrantes”.

In an interview with The New York Times, Rodriguez spoke of the project, in which he followed a number of several immigrant families as they traveled from Mexico to various parts of the southern United States, including the highly publicized state of Arizona.

What makes Rodriguez’s “Migrantes” different from other reports and photographs, is the fact that it’s truly a photographic documentary. Rather then just pop into these families’ lives, take a couple photos, and pop out, Rodriguez says, “I always felt it was important for me to hang out in the living room. It slows me down and makes me listen.”

Read more about Rodriguez’s project and see the photos at The New York Times.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican 6th-Graders Make Porno in School

Mexican 6th-Graders Make Porno in School

Photo: Mexican 6th-Graders Make Porno in School

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According to police, a group of six-graders in Mexico reportedly filmed a pornographic movie at their school during a recess in late April.

The teacher whose classroom was used was not in the video, but investigators are looking in to whether any adults were involved. So far no disciplinary action has not been taken against either the teacher or any of the boys.

The video was filmed at the Mateo Reyes School in the state of Campeche, and is said to graphically show one of the boys performing oral sex on one of his classmates and having anal sex with a third boy. A mother of one of the boys involved reportedly saw the minute-long video on her son’s phone and filed a complaint, calling for an investigation by Office of The Attorney General.

A spokesman for the State Education Department confirmed the video’s existence with reporters, saying, “It is real, the case is real, the video exists. The Education Department is very concerned.”

In all, five boys were involved, 3 in the video, 1 watching, and another holding the camera.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Arizona’s Sheriff Arpaio and His Office Sued by U.S. Govt for Discriminating Against Latinos

Arizona’s Sheriff Arpaio and His Office Sued by U.S. Govt for Discriminating Against Latinos

Photo: DOJ Sues Sheriff Joe Arpaio

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The Department of Justice filed a civil lawsuit in federal court today against Maricopa County, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) and Sheriff Joseph M. Arpaio, arising from unconstitutional and unlawful actions.

The lawsuit follows a investigation initiated, in June 2008.  On Dec. 15, 2011, the department issued a 22 page letter of findings, which found reasonable cause that MCSO and Sheriff Arpaio were engaged in a pattern or practice of unconstitutional conduct and/or violations of federal law.  Following the issuance of the letter of findings, the department attempted to reach a resolution with MCSO and Sheriff Arpaio,  negotiations were unsuccessful, primarily because MCSO and Sheriff Arpaio refused to agree to any independent oversight by a monitor.

The complaint alleges that Maricopa County, MCSO and Sheriff Arpaio engaged in and continue to engage in a pattern or practice of:

·      Discriminatory and otherwise unconstitutional law enforcement actions against Latinos who are frequently stopped, detained and arrested on the basis of race, color, or national origin;
·      Discriminatory jail practices against Latino inmates with limited English skills; and
·      Illegal retaliation against their perceived critics, subjecting them to baseless criminal actions, unfounded civil lawsuits, or meritless administrative actions.


According to the complaint, since approximately 2006, MCSO and Sheriff Arpaio have intentionally and systematically discriminated against Latinos.  They have accomplished this by stopping Latinos in their vehicles four to nine times more often than non-Latino drivers.  In addition, MCSO stops Latinos on the county’s roads without the required legal justification.  Also, MCSO detains and searches Latinos on the roads, in their homes, and in their workplaces without legal justification for doing so.  Further, MCSO mistreats Latino detainees with limited English proficiency by ignoring important requests if they are not made in English and punishing detainees if they fail to understand orders given in English. 

Additionally, the complaint alleges that the conduct is the product of a culture of disregard for Latinos that starts at the top and pervades the organization.  MCSO employees frequently use derogatory terms to refer to Latinos, and Sheriff Arpaio and MCSO supervisors, through their words and actions, set the tone and create a culture of bias that contributes to unlawful actions. 

In the complaint, the department seeks declaratory and injunctive relief that would ensure that MCSO implements policies and procedures to prevent the pattern or practice of unconstitutional conduct identified in the complaint.

In light of the deeply rooted nature of the problems facing MCSO, the complaint seeks a host of reforms, including a court order requiring that the defendants:

·      Develop and implement new policies and procedures and train MCSO officers in effective and constitutional policing;
·      Implement systems to ensure accountability and improve the quality of policing throughout the county; and
·      Eliminate unlawful bias from all levels of law enforcement decision.

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: Raul Garza Kills Wife then Rapes and Murders her 12-Year-Old Sister

LATINO BLOTTER: Raul Garza Kills Wife then Rapes and Murders her 12-Year-Old Sister

Photo: Raul Garza Kills Wife then Rapes and Murders her 12-Year-Old Sister

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South Texas’ Raul Garza has been jailed without bond for allegedly killing his wife before raping and murdering her 12-year-old sister.

The 24-year-old of Wesalco, Texas has been charged with a number of offenses, including capital murder, after police believe he killed his wife, Veronica Serrano Rivera. He then allegedly raped and killed her 12-year-old sister, Elisa Rivera, and locked his two young children in a room for more than a day.

Serrano Rivera reportedly argued with Garza about his alleged cocaine addiction on Friday, and threw a beer can at his head after he snorted a line of cocaine and bled all over the home. That is when he snapped.

When investigators arrived at the family’s home, they discovered the bodies of Serrano Rivera and her little sister. Garza allegedly beat and choked his common-law wife before stabbing her more than 20 times. Elisa, who is believed to have walked in on her sister’s murder, was then raped and murdered. Police believe Garza also abducted a neighbor, but luckily she escaped.

On Sunday, two of the couples’ children, ages 5 and 6, were found wandering near their home, one telling a passer-by, “My mother is dead.” The couple also has a third child who is just 6-months-old. The older children were reportedly attempting to walk to their grandmother’s house.

Garza faces charges of capital murder, aggravated kidnapping, and possession of a controlled substance. He faces kidnapping charges for allegedly forcing his neighbor, Andrea Tafolla, to drive to numerous ATMs and withdraw hundreds of dollars, holding her at knife-point.

Tafolla was able to escape Garza when they stopped at Rudy’s Country Store and Barbeque in McAllen, Texas.

Sheriff Lupe Treviño, says Garza was spotted by a member of the Gulf Coast Violent Crimes Task Force in Weslaco. Garza took off on foot and ended up a his place of work, the Weslaco Wastewater Treatment Plant. He reportedly attempted to drown himself at a sewage pond three or four times, but was unsuccessful.

Combative, Garza was taken to McAllen hospital, where he was treated for ingesting the dirty water. Unconfirmed reports state that when asked why he was trying to drown himself, he told police because shooting himself would hurt too much.

Justice of the Peace Homer Jasso denied Garza bond.

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Gloria Estefan to Appear on “Glee” Season Finale

Gloria Estefan to Appear on “Glee” Season Finale

Photo: Gloria Estefan to play Santana's mother on Glee

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Cuban American singer Gloria Estefan confirmed Wednesday, via Twitter, her upcoming participation in the successful musical television series “Glee” in the role of the mother of Cheerio Santana, played by Naya Rivera.

It is Rivera to whom Estefan directs her messages on Twitter: “I have to say that working with @NayaRivera was an amazing experience!”

In addition, Estefan has posted several photographs with part of the cast of the Fox series, which last December announced the participation of the well-known singer, but the broadcast, which had been scheduled for January, was postponed.

Also on her Twitter account, Estefan thanks the show’s production team.

Other Latino performers who have joined the show in guest roles include Ricky Martin, in the role of a sexy Spanish teacher, and actress Ivonne Coll, who will play the mother of Gloria Estefan’s character.

According to what “Glee” creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk have said, viewers of the program have shown they are very interested in knowing about the parents of the main characters, and that was the reason that they decided to include the characters created for Estefan and Coll.

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Colombia and China Reach Agreement to Boost Oil Cooperation

Colombia and China Reach Agreement to Boost Oil Cooperation

Photo: Colombia and China Reach Agreement to Boost Oil Cooperation

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Colombia’s Juan Manuel Santos and Chinese President Hu Jintao presided over the signing here Wednesday of nine agreements to boost cooperation in a range of industries, including the oil sector.

A pact that Colombian state oil company Ecopetrol inked with the Sinochem conglomerate and the China Development Bank invites the energy-hungry Asian country to participate in a pipeline project linking central Colombia to the Pacific coast.

“Ecopetrol was looking to expand the pipeline network toward the Pacific ... and we issued a call for bids from all interested parties, the Chinese included,” the company’s transportation vice president, Alvaro Castañeda, said after signing the accord with Sinochem Group President and CEO Liu Deshu.

“We’re still in the preliminary and conceptual phase of the engineering development model and we’re inviting any international players that want” to join the project, Castañeda said.

Another agreement in principle establishes “long-term strategic cooperation” between Ecopetrol and Sinochem, he added.

In the electricity sector, an agreement in principle was signed between Hydrochina Corp. and Cormagdalena, the government agency tasked with managing the Magdalena River, for the second phase of a project for the use and protection of Colombia’s main waterway.

Another document of intent, signed by Colombia’s minister of trade, industry and tourism, Sergio Diaz-Granados, and Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming, calls for a joint feasibility study for a potential free-trade agreement.

Earlier, Hu met for just over an hour with his Colombian counterpart at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People.

The Chinese president expressed his country’s desire to promote mutual understanding and diplomatic cooperation “to open new paths within the friendship and collaboration that already unite us,” while Santos said he is “convinced that bilateral relations, while already very good, can be much further strengthened.”

Bilateral trade exceeded $8 billion in 2011, up from $700 million in 2003, but oil, ferronickel and coal make up 80 percent of Chinese imports from the Andean nation, while Colombia imports Chinese telecommunications equipment, vehicles, appliances and medium technology.

According to news reports in Colombia, China is interested in importing coltan - a vital component in cell phones and computers - from Colombia’s Vaupes and Guainia provinces.

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Suspicious Details Regarding the Arrest of Prominent Cuban Dissident

Suspicious Details Regarding the Arrest of Prominent Cuban Dissident

Photo: Jose Daniel Ferrer

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The opposition Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation denounced the fact that dissident Jose Daniel Ferrer, who spent eight years in prison as one of the “Group of 75,” was arrested on Wednesday in Havana.

The spokesman for the commission, Elizardo Sanchez, told Efe that Ferrer was arrested Wednesday morning in the capital in an operation he called a “virtual kidnapping.”

Sanchez said that the arrest occurred when Ferrer was going to the Czech Embassy in Havana to “access the Internet” and it was witnessed, from a distance of about 20 meters (yards), by another dissident who was accompanying him.

Sanchez said that Ferrer had been in Havana for several days and on Tuesday he had had a meeting with diplomats representing European Union countries.

“I took him there and then a diplomat took him back to my house,” said Sanchez, explaining that the dissident had been staying at his home and during his activities in Havana “he was accompanied by somebody at all times.”

Ferrer, the head of the illegal opposition group Patriotic Union of Cuba, was held under arrest for 27 days in April in his home province of Santiago de Cuba and currently is awaiting trial on charges of disturbing the peace.

In the past few months, the 41-year-old dissident was temporarily arrested several other times.

The rights commission added that this “arbitrary arrest” of Ferrer may be added to the arrests of members of the Ladies in White group and opposition figures in the central province of Villa Clara, all of which occurred earlier this week.

Henry Perales, a member of the Patriotic Union of Cuba who witnessed Ferrer’s arrest on Wednesday, told Efe that people in plainclothes “stopped him on the street, asked him for his identity card and loaded him into a car.”

According to Perales’ version, someone in another automobile was filming the arrest of Ferrer, who presented his identification and did not resist.

As one of the Group of 75 members sentenced to lengthy prison terms in the spring of 2003, Ferrer was freed on parole in March 2011 and was among the 12 members of the group who refused to travel to Spain as a condition for being allowed to leave prison.

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49 Guatemalan Migrants Detained by Mexican Authorities

49 Guatemalan Migrants Detained by Mexican Authorities

Photo: The migrants were detained in the Mexican state of Chiapas

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Mexican police arrested 49 undocumented Guatemalan migrants in the southern border state of Chiapas, authorities said.

The travelers were detained after a routine inspection at a checkpoint in Arriaga determined that the 44 men and five women were carrying forged documents.

The migrants were traveling in a bus without license plates.

Five people accompanying the migrants were arrested on suspicion of human trafficking and the Guatemalans were taken to the border town of Tapachula for repatriation.

Large numbers of Central Americans undertake the hazardous journey across Mexico each year on their way to the United States, although the number of border crossers fell from an estimated 433,000 in 2005 to 140,000 in 2010 due to recent U.S. economic woes.

The trek is a dangerous one, with criminals and corrupt Mexican officials preying on the migrants.

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ThursdayMay 10, 2012