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SundayMay 27, 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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2 Power Company Guards Arrested for Killing Guatemalan Peasant

2 Power Company Guards Arrested for Killing Guatemalan Peasant

Photo: Santa Cruz Barillas

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Two employees of Spanish hydroelectric power company Hidro Santa Cruz were arrested for the murder of a peasant, a crime that sparked disturbances and the declaration of a state of siege for 18 days in the Indian town of Santa Cruz Barillas in western Guatemala.

Ricardo Garcia Lopez and Oscar Armando Ortiz Solares, both Guatemalans, were arrested for the killing, the Attorney General’s Office said.

Garcia was arrested in San Juan Sacatepequez, about 30 kilometers (19 miles) west of Guatemala City, and Ortiz in the capital, the AG’s office said.

Both workers for Hidro Santa Cruz, a subsidiary of Spain’s Hidralia Energia S.A., stand accused of being responsible for the murder of Andres Pedro Miguel on May 1.

Hidralia Energia S.A. is building a hydroelectric power plant in Santa Cruz Barillas, which is located 415 kilometers (257 miles) northwest of Guatemala City.

Guatemalans Pablo Antonio Pablo and Esteban Bernabe Mateo also were injured in the incident, which occurred in the town of Poza Verde.

The victims, residents said, were fired upon by private security agents of Hidro Santa Cruz when they returned to their community from Santa Cruz Barillas.

The reasons for the shooting are unknown, but townspeople say it stemmed from the opposition of local residents to the construction of the power plant.

Miguel’s killing sparked violent disturbances in Santa Cruz Barillas, which forced President Otto Perez Molina’s administration to declare a state of emergency.

The emergency decree was lifted after 18 days when authorities reestablished control in the community, where 17 people were taken into custody for allegedly being responsible for the riots, including the forceful takeover of a military barracks there as well as the destruction of several private homes.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Landmine on Chile-Peru Border Detonates, Kills 1

Landmine on Chile-Peru Border Detonates, Kills 1

Photo: Anti-tank mine

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A person was killed when they drove over an anti-tank mine in a remote area along the border between Chile and Peru, the Chilean army said.

The identity and nationality of the victim, who was driving a vehicle belonging to a Peruvian taxi company, have not been released.

The vehicle triggered the anti-tank mine around 9:00 p.m. Friday on a dirt road between markers 13 and 14 near the Chacalluta border crossing in Arica and Parinacota region, located some 2,100 kilometers (1,304 miles) north of Santiago.

Army landmine specialists opened a safe path Saturday so police investigators and prosecutors could reach the vehicle and move the wreckage to a secure area.

Thousands of anti-personnel and anti-tank mines were planted in the 1970s by Chile’s military regime along the borders with Argentina, Peru and Bolivia.

The government said recently that about 50,000 anti-personnel and anti-tank mines had been destroyed since 2002, accounting for less than one-third of the 181,814 landmines planted.

Read more by HS News Staff →

3 Dead, 16 Wounded in Mexican Bar Brawl

3 Dead, 16 Wounded in Mexican Bar Brawl

Photo: Hooded gunmen attacked the bar in the Mexican state of Morelos

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Three men were gunned down following an argument with a woman at a bar in Ocotepec, a city in the central Mexican state of Morelos, prosecutors said.

The woman made a telephone call after the argument and told the people on the other end, “come over here,” the Morelos Attorney General’s Office said in a statement, citing eyewitness accounts.

Several men armed with assault rifles and wearing hoods drove up to the bar, went inside and opened fire, the AG’s office said.

One of the dead men was found outside the bar along with a message threatening several gangs.

The second body was found inside the bar and the third man, who worked as a waiter at the establishment, died at a hospital.

The gunmen wounded 16 people, including four who are listed in serious condition at hospitals, the AG’s office said.

Morelos has been the scene in recent years of turf wars involving rival drug cartels.

Earlier this month, the dismembered bodies of two men were found buried in trash bags at a house in Temixco, a city in Morelos.

Two assault rifles - an AR-15 and an AK-47 - a .38-caliber revolver, four ammunition clips for an AK-47 and ammunition were found buried near the bodies.

The Familia Michoacana, Los Zetas, Pacifico Sur, Sinaloa and Gulf cartels all operate in the state, officials say.

About 50,000 people have died in Mexico’s drug war since December 2006, when President Felipe Calderon declared war on the country’s powerful cartels, sending soldiers into the streets to fight criminals.

Read more by HS News Staff →

FARC Will Finally Release Detained French Journalist This Week

FARC Will Finally Release Detained French Journalist This Week

Photo: Romeo Langlois

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French journalist Romeo Langlois will be released this week, Colombia’s FARC guerrilla group said in a statement on Sunday.

Langlois will be released on Wednesday, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, said in a statement issued a day before his one-month mark in the custody of the insurgent group.

The FARC’s 15th Front used the Web site of the Ivan Rios and Martin Caballero blocs to release the information.

The FARC statement, datelined in the “mountains of Colombia,” consists of three points in which the rebels say, first, that “the release of the French journalist Romeo Langlois will take place (on) Wednesday, May 30.”

After that, the communique lists the coordinates of the site where Langlois will be turned over “at the proper time” to a humanitarian mission composed at the request of the guerrillas of representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross, former Sen. Piedad Cordoba and a representative of the French government.

The guerrillas said that they expect security protocols to be implemented to ensure the operation’s success. “All the parties to this release must be surrounded by certain guarantees for their physical integrity,” the FARC said.

Cordoba, who is in Mexico to prepare her program for Venezuelan television channel Telesur, will move up her return to Colombia from Thursday to Monday so that she can finalize the details of the release operation, her press office said.

It was scheduled for French President Francois Hollande’s personal representative, whose identity has not yet been made public, to arrive in Colombia once the FARC announced the date of Langlois’s release, the former senator, who was removed from office in 2010 for her links to the rebel group, told RCN La Radio on Saturday.

Authorities are working on the logistics of the operation and in the coming hours they are scheduled to deliver a draft of the security protocol to representatives of the Defense Ministry as a first step toward presenting it to the “other parties” for mutual agreement, Red Cross spokeswoman Maria Cristina Rivera told Efe.

Langlois was accompanying a task force of police and troops when the contingent was ambushed by FARC units, sparking a battle that left four members of the security forces dead.

The journalist was wounded in the firefight and fled toward the rebel lines, after shedding the army helmet and bulletproof vest he was wearing.

A FARC medic treated Langlois’ wound, but the rebels then decided to hold him as a prisoner of war.

“Romeo Langlois wore regular-army military garb in the middle of a battle. We believe the least that can be expected for the full recovery of his freedom is the opening of a broad national and international debate on the freedom of information,” the FARC said in an earlier statement.

Langlois, the Colombia correspondent for France 24 television and Paris daily Le Figaro, went missing April 28 amid fighting between rebels and soldiers in the jungles of the southern province of Caqueta.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican Rights Activist to Discuss Anti-Violence Movement With Presidential Candidates

Mexican Rights Activist to Discuss Anti-Violence Movement With Presidential Candidates

Photo: Javier Sicilia

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Poet and human rights activist Javier Sicilia plans to meet with Mexico’s four presidential candidates this week to lay out the position of his Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, or MPJD, on security and victims of violence.

“The goal of these dialogues is to set down the position and demands of the MPJD, focusing on the victims and the national emergency created by the war on drugs. We will demand a clear position in light of the current situation in the country,” the movement said in a statement.

The meeting is scheduled to take place Monday at Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City.

Sicilia and representatives of his movement have previously met with President Felipe Calderon to discuss the violence in Mexico.

The poet and human rights activist has said that he plans to cast a blank ballot in the July 1 general elections as a “dignity” vote and to protest the inability of the political parties to deal with Mexico’s problems, including the wave of drug-related violence.

Sicilia plans to meet with each of the presidential candidates - Josefina Vazquez Mota, Gabriel Quadri, Enrique Peña Nieto and Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador - for 90 minutes starting at 9:00 a.m., the movement said.

A delegation of crime victims and MPJD members, as well as invited guests, will participate in the event, which will be open to the media.

“We want to reiterate that these dialogues are non-profit and non-partisan, and of a civil and peaceful nature,” the movement said.

The Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity has been calling for a change in Mexico’s security strategy and more attention to the suffering of victims.

About 50,000 people have died in Mexico’s drug war since December 2006, when Calderon declared war on the country’s powerful cartels, sending soldiers into the streets to fight criminals.

Sicilia became a human rights activist in the wake of his son’s murder last year.

The poet’s 24-year-old son, Juan Francisco, and six other young men were murdered by the violent Pacifico Sur drug cartel in the central state of Morelos on March 27, 2011.

Juan Francisco’s killing led Sicilia to stop writing and dedicate himself full-time to working for peace so other parents will not have to feel his pain.

Sicilia organized the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, traveling across Mexico to spread his message of peace.

The organization staged two caravans - one in northern Mexico and the other in the southern part of the country - to gather testimony from victims of violence and push for a law to protect them.

Sicilia is planning a peace caravan around the United States starting on Aug. 12.

Read more by HS News Staff →

CHCI and Univision Partner for 35th Annual Awards Gala

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) announced today that Univision Communications Inc., the leading media company serving Hispanic America, will serve as its exclusive media partner for the 35th Anniversary Awards Gala on Thursday, September 13, 2012 in Washington, D.C.  The event, themed “CHCI at 35: Keeping the Founders’ Promise” is the largest and most prestigious in the Latino community, gathering more than 2,500 of the most powerful leaders in support of CHCI’s leadership development programs and educational services for Latino youth and young professionals.  Emmy Award-winning Univision News anchor and 2006 CHCI Chair’s Award recipient Maria Elena Salinas will serve as celebrity host of the Gala, where CHCI will present its highest honors, the Medallion of Excellence Awards and its Chair’s Award, as well as pay tribute to its 35 years of successfully developing the next generation of Latino leaders.

“CHCI is thrilled to continue its work with Univision to celebrate more than three decades of supporting Latino youth in their academic pursuits,” said Esther Aguilera, CHCI President & CEO. “Univision’s ongoing support of CHCI demonstrates the company’s commitment to educating and preparing America’s fastest-growing demographic so that they may become the leaders of tomorrow and help ensure the future success of our nation.”

The gala partnership adds to CHCI’s long-standing relationship with Univision’s Es El Momento initiative and complements Univision’s support of CHCI programs and events throughout the year.  Univision has supported CHCI for more than a decade and currently sponsors CHCI’s Ready to Lead® program for high school students. The company also has served as a long-time media partner with CHCI, producing public service announcements promoting its scholarship, fellowship and internship programs, and providing other in-kind support to the organization.

CHCI programs serve nearly 1,700 young Latinos annually. Many are first in their family to go to college, and the majority comes from families with annual incomes of less than $45,000. CHCI’s unique model of educational services and leadership development – promoting college readiness, supporting college attainment and providing direct access to the most powerful network of Latino leadership – helps ensure career success and has put thousands of young people on a pathway to achieving the American Dream.
Source: PR Newswire (http://s.tt/1cHil)

Read more by HS News Staff →

Luis Miguel, Daddy Yankee to Perform at People en Espanol Music Festival

Luis Miguel, Daddy Yankee to Perform at People en Espanol Music Festival

Photo: Festival PEOPLE EN ESPANOL

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Festival PEOPLE EN ESPANOL Presented by Target, an event celebrating Hispanic entertainment, culture and community, announces its line up of musical talent performing in San Antonio, Texas, on September 1 – 2. 

Luis Miguel, the Warner Music artist and five-time GRAMMY Award winner, will headline an evening performance at the Alamodome as part of Festival PEOPLE EN ESPANOL 2012.
Additional live concert performances at the two-day Festival PEOPLE EN ESPANOL include: Daddy Yankee, Prince Royce, Tito “El Bambino,” Larry Hernandez, 3Ball MTY, and Banda Los Recoditos.

The diverse musical acts will represent the variety popular Hispanic music including Latin Pop, Reggaeton, regional Mexican and Tribal Guarachero, club music inspired by regional folk songs and house music from Northern Mexico.  Festival PEOPLE EN ESPANOL will deliver two of the most dynamic nights in Latino music with its wide array of artists and musical genres.

In addition to the mega-wattage of music performances, visitors to Festival PEOPLE EN ESPANOL can also visit The Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center for free, open to the public day-time activities including celebrity appearances, musical performances and panel discussions.  From 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on September 1 & 2, Festival will offer visitors the opportunity to catch Q&A sessions with celebrities, hear tips from leading industry experts on topics ranging from fashion to wellness, and interact with favorite brands through special on-site consumer experiences.  Guests to appear during the daytime activities include PEOPLE EN ESPANOL columnists Maria Marin (author), Jose Fernandez (fitness expert) and Jeanette Torres (family expert). There will also be a special tribute to Selena, the late singer known as, “the Queen of Tejano music,” with a special performance by AB Quintanilla & Kumbia Kings/AllStarz.

Read more by HS News Staff →

States Ignore Minorities in Climate-Related Disaster Plans

States Ignore Minorities in Climate-Related Disaster Plans

Photo: Climate change - New America Media

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Minority populations across the south and southwest are especially vulnerable to climate change, according to a new report put out by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. Local and state governments, it also found, are failing to integrate such concerns into their climate disaster plans.

“Only three states (Arizona, Arkansas, New Mexico) have climate change plans,” noted the study’s co-author, Nadia Siddiqui, during a teleconference Monday discussing the findings. She added researchers found “no evidence of planning for racially and ethnically diverse populations in any state” included in the study.

Siddiqui is Senior Health Policy Analyst with the Texas Health Institute (THI), which conducted the study.

Joint Center President and CEO Ralph B. Everett said in the report the project’s aim is to “encourage the development of policies that engage diverse populations while bringing environmental justice to their communities.”

The states included in the study, titled Climate Change, Environmental Challenges and Vulnerable Communities: Assessing Legacies of the Past, Building Opportunities for the Future, were Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas.

Siddiqui pointed out the results were based in part on reviews of existing Web sites and literature relating to plans for coping with climate change, as well as from talks with “representatives from across the states.” All agreed, she said, “this is an area that has not been fully planned for.”

Part of the problem, she explained, is a lack of awareness among policymakers of the varying degrees of vulnerability to climate change from one community to the next. Such issues as poverty, little to no access to health care and other social inequities common to minority communities make them more susceptible to the damaging effects of climate change, she said.

According to the report, nearly one in five residents living in the region fall below the federal poverty line, one in five adults describe their health status as fair or poor, and one in 10 people have Limited English Proficiency (LEP).

Read more about minorities and climate-related disaster plans on New America Media

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Win the Quince of Your Dreams, Complete with Daddy Yankee Performance

Win the Quince of Your Dreams, Complete with Daddy Yankee Performance

Photo: Verizon's My Fabulous Quince

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Recognizing that a quinceanera symbolizes one of the most important coming-of-age traditions for Latino teens and their families, Verizon is again offering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to celebrate this memorable moment with an all-expenses-paid party and college scholarship through its My Fabulous Quince essay contest.  From June 1 through July 31, teens from eight participating cities and the surrounding areas will have the chance to enter to win the Quince of their dreams by submitting an essay online or at Verizon’s My Fabulous Quince expos.  Participating cities include: Chicago; New York; Miami; Dallas; Houston; El Paso, Texas; Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Contest Entry, Selection Process and Prizes

From June 1 to July 31, teens turning 15 in 2012 can participate in My Fabulous Quince by answering each of the following questions in 100 to 500 words:

    What does a Quince mean to you?
    What are you planning to accomplish after high school?
    How would you use technology to make all of your Quince dreams come true?

Teens can submit their essays online at My Fabulous Quince or at Verizon’s My Fabulous Quince expos.

Following the entry phase, a voting panel of judges will select 20 finalists in each market based on the most compelling essays.  The finalists will be featured on the My Fabulous Quince website, and the public will be able to vote online or text in their vote for their favorite finalist from Aug. 24 through Sept. 2, 2012.

The finalist with the highest number of votes will win the grand prize, which includes a college scholarship, four smartphones and Verizon gift cards.  The grand-prize winner will also receive an all-expenses-paid Quince for up to 100 guests, featuring a special performance by one of the most acclaimed award-winning Latin urban artist of all time, Daddy Yankee.  Daddy Yankee will perform songs from his most recent album, Prestige, as well as some of his greatest hits, including “Lovumba,” among others.

In addition to the grand prize, four first-prize packages will be awarded to the top vote recipients in the following four regions: Midwest, Northeast, South and West.  Each first-prize winner will receive a college scholarship, a smartphone and a Verizon gift card.

Quince Expos and Daddy Yankee Meet & Greets

Teens and their families around the country will also have the chance to enjoy meet-and-greet sessions with Daddy Yankee at the My Fabulous Quince expos at select Verizon Wireless stores, which will take place in the following cities:

    DATE       CITY
    June 13     Chicago
    June 16     Secaucus, N.J.
    June 23     Hialeah, Fla.
    June 30     Irving, Texas
    July 1       Houston
    July 7       El Paso, Texas
    July 21     Chino, Calif. (San Bernardino County)
    July 22     San Francisco

As part of the expos, attendees will receive exclusive offers from local vendors and useful tips on how to plan an unforgettable Quinceanera.  In addition, individuals who bring no-longer used wireless phones to donate to HopeLine from Verizon will receive a VIP pass that gives them exclusive access to a meet-and-greet session with Daddy Yankee.

Verizon customers who are Daddy Yankee fans will be able to get an exclusive song from the artist at no additional charge on the Verizon Wireless Facebook page or at My Fabulous Quince expos. Data rates may apply when downloading the song.

For more information about Verizon’s My Fabulous Quince, including contest rules, eligibility and Quince expos, please visit My Fabulous Quince

Read more by HS News Staff →

Celebrate Memorial Day With This Cheese Flautas Recipe

Celebrate Memorial Day With This Cheese Flautas Recipe

Photo: Cheese Flautas

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Flautas are a Mexican dish, from Sinaloa, consisting of a tortilla stuffed with different ingredients and then fried.  These crispy snacks make the perfect party food.

Memorial Day Weekend is here, V&V Supremo; one of the nation’s oldest family-run Hispanic food business, wants to share some authentic recipes to celebrate !a la Mexicana!

Cheese Flautas

Ingredients

2 ½  pounds russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
3 cups sour cream
4 cups Chihuahua cheese
2 cups Cotija cheese
1 ½ tsp. pequin powdered chile or cayenne to taste
Corn tortillas
Corn oil for frying
Salsa of your choice

Preparation

    1. Place potatoes in pot with water to cover over medium heat.  Bring to boil, and cook until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.  Drain potatoes well in sieve and return to pot.
    2. Turn heat under pot to low, and add 1 cup of V&V SUPREMO® CREMA SUPREMO® sour cream to potatoes.  Mash potatoes and sour cream with potato masher.  Add both cheeses and powdered chile.  Mash well, until all cheese is fully melted.
    3. Place 2 tablespoons of corn oil in skillet over medium heat.  Allow oil to heat for 2 minutes.  Using tongs, pass each tortilla through oil quickly, just to soften, and place tortillas on paper towels to drain.
    4. Fill each tortilla with approximately 3 tablespoons of potato-cheese mixture, and roll up tightly.  Pierce each flauta with a round wooden toothpick to keep closed.
    5. Pour corn oil in skillet to a depth of ¾ inch, and place over medium heat for 3 minutes.  Carefully place flautas in oil in single layer (don’t overcrowd) and fry until crispy, turning when necessary.  Drain on paper towels and hold warm while frying remaining flautas.

Serving

Remove toothpicks from flautas and top with sour cream and salsa.

Yields: 6 Cups of filling

Read more by HS News Staff →

New TV Series Based on Drug Lord Pablo Escobar’s Life To Premiere

New TV Series Based on Drug Lord Pablo Escobar’s Life To Premiere

Photo: Pablo Escobar

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The life of notorious Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar can soon be followed on the small screen in a series that recounts his reign over a vast criminal empire during the 1980s and early 1990s when he terrorized his country with murders and car bombs.

Escobar, el Patron del Mal” (Escobar, Boss of Evil) is the title of this 63-episode series set to premiere next week on Caracol Television, produced by Juana Uribe and written by Camilo Cano, both victims of the kingpin, and which will air more than 20 years after his death.

Juana Uribe is the daughter of Maruja Pachon, a journalist kidnapped by Escobar in November 1990 and niece of Gloria Pachon de Galan, wife of Luis Carlos Galan, slain by the cartel boss’s hired guns in August 1989.

Camilo Cano is the son of journalist Guillermo Cano, editor of the daily El Espectador who was murdered on Dec. 17, 1989 on orders of the drug lord.

Though a great number of “narcoseries” have been produced in Colombia, which in some cases have extolled the drug traffickers, in this case the cartel boss is pitilessly represented as a person who started his criminal career smuggling cigarettes and stealing cemetery stones, and who rose to occupy a seat in Congress.

“Modern generations don’t know who Pablo Escobar was, a person who permeated the life of Colombians for 20 years,” Uribe told Efe, adding that the series “does not praise” the man with the thick moustache and enough money to get practically everything he ever wanted.

Such was his power that at one time he offered to pay off Colombia’s foreign debt. He had collections of vintage cars, costly motorcycles, works of art, extravagant homes with golden faucets and even a private zoo.

According to Uribe, the series shows who Escobar really was, a man who spent an incredible amount just on all the rubber bands he needed to bundle up the wads of dollars that came from selling tons of cocaine in the United States and Europe, for which he created routes, bribed authorities and made illegal border crossings an everyday part of his business.

“We want to tell the new generation who the few Colombians were that dared to defy the boss but died in the attempt,” Uribe said.

For the producer, “it’s surprising that the country has managed to survive and that it still has the will to grow and go on working. That’s why it’s important to tell the story from the victims’ point of view.”

The point is that Colombia must not forget that Escobar ordered the murder of judges, journalists, ministers and managed to checkmate four presidents by infiltrating enough strata of the government and society to defy the world, Uribe said.

The TV production is based on an in-depth investigation as well as the book “La Parabola de Pablo,” written by Medellin’s ex-Mayor Alonso Salazar.

The actors’ wardrobes are carefully chosen and even the wig used by actor Andres Parra, who brilliantly plays the role of Pablo Escobar, was ordered from specialists overseas.

Each episode cost around $150,000 to make, a higher budget than is usually available for Colombian television productions.

The outdoor locations are in the cities of Bogota and Medellin, the latter being the home of the immense drug cartel that Escobar founded, as well as in the eastern llanos and Miami.

Besides Andres Parra in the lead role, the cast features Angie Cepeda in the role of Virginia Vallejo, the great television celebrity and the drug lord’s mistress, Nicolas Montero who plays Luis Carlos Galan, and Cecilia Nava in the part of Escobar’s wife and the mother of his three children.

Also in the series are German Quintero as El Espectador editor Guillermo Cano, Ernesto Benjumea as Rodrigo Lara Bonilla, the Justice minister who was murdered, and Carlos Mariño as alias “Popeye”, Escobar’s henchman who planted more than 200 bombs in Colombia.

Read more by HS News Staff →

NBC/WSJ/Telemundo Poll:  61% of Latino Voters for Obama, 27% for Romney

NBC/WSJ/Telemundo Poll:  61% of Latino Voters for Obama, 27% for Romney

Photo: Mitt Romney and Barack Obama

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According to the first national NBC News/WSJ/Telemundo poll, 61 percent of Latino registered voters consulted would cast their ballots for President Obama and 27 percent for Mitt Romney. The poll, the first in a series of surveys of Latino respondents to be produced by NBC News, The Wall Street Journal and Telemundo, also revealed a 61 percent approval rating for Barack Obama (compared with 48 percent of all Americans in the recently released NBC/WSJ poll).

The NBC News/WSJ/ Telemundo poll also shows that Latinos are more optimist than Americans in general, with 40 percent of respondents saying that the country is headed in the right direction (versus 33 percent of all Americans in the NBC/WSJ poll). Likewise, 54 percent approve of Obama’s handling of the economy (versus 43 percent overall) and 53 percent agree with the President’s management of foreign policy.

On the issue of gay marriage, 58 percent of respondents said it won’t make a difference on their vote. However, 16 percent are more likely to vote for President Obama and 10 percent for Mitt Romney based on their respective views on the subject.

51 percent consider that President Obama has values they identify with. The challenge for Obama, however, will be turning out these voters with only a combined 68 percent of respondents saying they are highly interested in the upcoming election.

Meanwhile, the poll shows Romney is struggling with Latinos. Just 26 percent view him positively, while 35 percent see him in a negative light. By comparison, Obama’s positive/negative score among Latinos is 58/23 percent.

This NBC/WSJ/Telemundo national poll– part of the just-released NBC/WSJ poll — was conducted May 16-21 of 300 adults who identified themselves as coming from a Latino or Spanish-speaking background. That sample includes 119 interviews that were conducted in Spanish. The overall margin of error for this survey is plus-minus 5.7 percentage points. The margin of error for the 188 registered Latino voters survey is plus-minus 7.2 percentage

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Chilean Robbers Make Off With Nearly $1 Million

Chilean Robbers Make Off With Nearly $1 Million

Photo: The thieves abandoned the armored car after the robbery

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A gang of criminals in Santiago assaulted the armored car of a company that transports cash and valuables, then fled with a booty of some 500 million pesos ($980,000), police officials said.

The robbery took place at dawn in the affluent Las Condes neighborhood of the Chilean capital while the vehicle was parked in front of a supermarket.

As the commander of the Carabineros militarized police force, Luis Soto, said, two of the three guards from the armored car were inside the supermarket checking on a defective ATM.

Just then a gang of between five and six individuals got into the vehicle, threatened to shoot the driver and made off with a dozen bags of money.

After the assault the thieves ran away on foot in different directions.

The police deployed a widespread operation to catch them, though without results up to now.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Partial Veto of Land-Use Bill Not Enough, Greenpeace Protests in Brazil

Partial Veto of Land-Use Bill Not Enough, Greenpeace Protests in Brazil

Photo: Greenpeace in Brazil

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The environmental organization Greenpeace blocked a freighter from being loaded with iron in the port of Sao Luis in the northern Brazilian state of Maranhao in protest against the partial veto by President Dilma Rousseff of a widely criticized land-use bill.

A group of 14 Greenpeace activists sailed into the port on their ship, the Rainbow Warrior, and several climbed onto a crane that was about to load a cargo of pig iron, the raw material of iron and steel, on the freighter Clipper Hope, property of the Viena iron and steel works, the NGO said in a communique.

A studio released by Greenpeace two weeks ago said that some Brazilian iron and steel works contribute to the deforestation of the Amazon jungle by the intensive use they make of charcoal produced from timber taken illegally from the forest.

“The Amazon jungle is turning into charcoal. Brazil, turn off the chain saw,” said a giant banner tied to the crane, according to a photo distributed by the NGO.

The director of the Greenpeace Amazon campaign, Paulo Adario, said that the demonstration was also a protest againt Rousseff’s “omission” in not vetoing the Forest Code in its entirety as they had asked.

Rousseff announced this Friday a partial veto of 12 of the 84 articles of the controversial bill that regulates how land is to be used on rural properties.

One of the vetos annulled the article providing amnesty for people who contributed to deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon region in recent decades in order to expand farming activities.

The head of state also blocked a provision that would reduce the size of forested buffer zones around rivers from 30 meters (100 feet) on either side to 15 meters (50 feet).

Environmental groups sought the annulment of the entire bill which, they said, will provide a legal opening for unchecked deforestation.

In any case, Congress can override the president’s vetoes.

Greenpeace blocked the Clipper Hope in the port of Sao Luis for the first time on May 14 and continued the blockade until last Thursday while awaiting a conciliatory meeting with local authorities, whose results, however, failed to satisfy the environmentalists.

The deputy governor of Maranhao state, Washington Luiz, went to the port Saturday to negotiate an end to the blockade of the freighter, the NGO said.

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Spanish Bank Requests $23.77 Billion Bailout and Admits to Lying About 2011 Profits

Spanish Bank Requests $23.77 Billion Bailout and Admits to Lying About 2011 Profits

Photo: BFA-Bankia

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Spain’s fourth-largest financial institution said Friday that it needs an additional 19 billion euros ($23.77 billion) from the government to boost loss provisions.

Nationalized earlier this month, BFA-Bankia is seeking what would be the largest bank bailout in Spanish history.

The request for funds is more than double the amount Economy Minister Luis de Guindos cited Wednesday in comments to Spanish lawmakers.

BFA, the group’s corporate parent, said 6.7 billion euros of the new money will compensate for a decline in the market value of Bankia and other holdings.

BFA management had valued its Bankia shares at 12 billion euros, even though the bank’s current market value figure is less than 1.5 billion euros.

The first order of business, BFA said, is completing the nationalization process, which consists of converting into shares the 4.46 billion euro ($5.77 billion) loan the institution received in late 2008 from the state-backed Fund for Orderly Bank Restructuring, or FROB.

The 19 billion euros in additional funds would also be channeled through the FROB, BFA-Bankia said.

“The clients of Bankia can have absolute confidence that their savings are now more secure and guaranteed than ever,” the institution’s new CEO, Jose Ignacio Goirigolzarri, said.

Bankia also disclosed Friday that it sustained a loss of 2.97 billion euros in 2011, not the 309 million euro profit reported in February by the bank’s previous management.

The troubled bank likewise announced the departure of 16 directors from the seven savings banks that merged in 2010 to form Bankia.

Bankia holds Spain’s largest mortgage portfolio.

Spain’s banks have been hard hit by the collapse of the country’s 1995-2007 real estate boom.

The 2008 global financial meltdown came as Spain was struggling with the bursting of the property bubble. The ensuing slump has led to numerous business failures and pushed the country’s jobless rate above 24 percent.

Nearly half of Spaniards under 25 are jobless and tens of thousands of families have been evicted from their homes after falling behind on their mortgages.

Bankia and three other Spanish banks - Banco Civica, Banco Popular and Bankinter - saw their bonds downgraded by rating agency Standard and Poor’s on Friday to junk status.

The Iberian nation’s two leading financial institutions, Grupo Santander and BBVA, maintained their current ratings of A- and BBB+, respectively.

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SundayMay 27, 2012