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WednesdayMay 30, 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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Brazil’s Indians Occupy Health Ministry Protesting Poor Health Care

Brazil’s Indians Occupy Health Ministry Protesting Poor Health Care

Photo: Indians protesting in Brasilia

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About 100 Indians of various ethnicities on Tuesday occupied Brazil’s Health Ministry in this capital, while other groups blocked highways in the southern part of the country to demand that the authorities provide better health care for their people.

The protest was called by the Kaingang, Guarani and Charrua ethnicities, all from southern Brazil, for the purpose of calling attention to the grave deficiencies in the health facilities of their villages, the demonstrators said.

“The rate of indigenous mortality is constantly increasing because the Health Ministry does not define adequate policies - it makes promises but does nothing,” Pedro Kaingang, spokesman for the group occupying the ministry’s offices in the capital, said.

The demonstrators gave reporters copies of their document demanding an “immediate solution” to the situation and better wages for the doctors working in their villages, a greater number of health facilities and supplies including wheelchairs, glasses and dentures.

Kaingang said the occupiers are on the fourth floor of the Health Ministry, where the offices dedicated to indigenous health care are located and where they will stay until they are received by the head of that unit, Alexandre Padilha.

While the protest was being carried out in the capital, groups of Indians of the same ethnicities blocked traffic on five highways in the southern states of Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul, the state news service Agencia Brasil said.

Officials at the Health Ministry consulted by Efe said that Minister Padilha is ready to meet with the demonstrators, but has demanded “guarantees” that, after the meeting, they will vacate the ministry offices.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico’s Telecom Industry Saw Nearly 12% Growth in First Quarter

Mexico’s Telecom Industry Saw Nearly 12% Growth in First Quarter

Photo: Telecommunications in Mexico

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Mexico’s telecom industry grew 11.9 percent in the first quarter of 2012 compared to the same period last year due mainly to strong performance by the satellite TV, mobile telephony and long distance segments, the Federal Telecommunications Commission, or Cofetel, said.

The telecom industry’s growth was much more robust than that of the economy as a whole, which expanded by 4.6 percent in the first quarter, Cofetel said in a statement.

The strong quarter was due in part to market changes that bolstered competition and to various strategic alliances forged among telecom firms.

Technological developments that have made fixed and mobile broadband services the “main drivers of growth” also were a contributing factor, the regulator said.

The most dynamic segment between January and March was satellite TV, which grew 26.9 percent relative to the first three months of 2011, followed by international long-distance telephony, up 26.6 percent, and mobile telephony, which climbed 15.8 percent.

The number of mobile broadband subscribers rose from 4.1 million at the end of March 2011 to 8.7 million at the close of the same month of 2012, Cofetel said.

Landline service continued to cede ground to mobile services in the areas of voice and data transmission, with the number of fixed-line subscribers falling to 19.7 million at the close of March 2012, down 0.3 percent from the end of the first quarter of 2011.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Cuba’s Sugar Harvest Fell Short By 68,000 tons

Cuba’s Sugar Harvest Fell Short By 68,000 tons

Photo: Cuba had a disappointing sugar harvest

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The 2011-2012 sugar harvest in Cuba was 16 percent bigger than the year before, but the results were “modest” and “insufficient” following a disappointing growing season, government officials said.

Harvest results were analyzed at a meeting of managers in the sector, at which two of the country’s vice presidents, Jose Ramon Machado Ventura and Marino Murillo, complained about the deficiencies in sugar production, state television reported.

“We could have produced more sugar and we didn’t do it, it escaped us, we lost it and we could have done more…We have to change, really change and we have to do things differently from the way they’ve been done up to now - we can’t keep believing in stories and promises,” Machado Ventura, the No. 2 man in the Cuban government, told managers of the sector.

The latest harvest, according to Cuban television, fell short by 68,000 tons of sugar, and though production grew by 16 percent over the previous year, “these modest results are still insufficient for the economic progress the country requires.”

Marino Murillo, in charge of organizing and activating the plan of economic adjustments the nation is undertaking, criticized specific failures like the delay in getting sugar mills up and running despite the investments allocated for them.

According to a May 18 article in the daily Granma, the official voice of the ruling Communist Party, the managers of the AZCUBA sugar industry group expected “a greater surge” this year because conditions were “ideal” - and yet the harvest failed to produce the volume of sugar to which the industry had committed itself.

The 2011-2012 harvest has been marked by the restructuring of the sector following the substitution of the historic Sugar Ministry with the state business organization AZCUBA, an umbrella organization covering 13 provincial companies plus nine support and services agencies, two research institutes and a training center.

AZCUBA’s mission is to inculcate better management, adopt new technologies and generate exports to finance its own operations.

According to official projections, the next sugar harvest should increase by 20 percent over the latest one’s disappointing recovery following the drastic drop in 2010, when Cuba had its worst sugar harvest in 105 years.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico’s Supreme Court to Review Constitutionality of Perp Walks

Mexico’s Supreme Court to Review Constitutionality of Perp Walks

Photo: La Barbie on perp walk

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Mexico’s Supreme Court plans to rule on whether the parading of suspects before the press violates the constitutional presumption of a person’s innocence until convicted of a crime, the Federal District Human Rights Commission said in a statement.

Justice Luis Maria Aguilar Morales will review the legal challenge filed by the Federal District Human Rights Commission and prepare the case for debate by the 11-judge panel.

The commission alleges that the practice of the Federal District Attorney’s Office to parade suspects who have not gone to trial before the media is unconstitutional.

The DA’s office parades suspects arrested for serious crimes, such as kidnappings, before the press so they can be identified by victims.

Parading people who have not been convicted of a crime before the media “restricts” their right to a presumption of innocence and “due process,” the commission said.

Legal action was taken because the DA’s office did not accept a recommendation in March to change its procedures, the commission said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Influential Brazilian Singer Gilberto Gil Nearly 70 and Still Performing

Influential Brazilian Singer Gilberto Gil Nearly 70 and Still Performing

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Singer-songwriter Gilberto Gil, an icon of Brazilian music, reviews in a new show his prolific career and celebrates his 70th birthday.

Gil, born in Salvador, the capital of the northeastern state of Bahia, expressed his emotions Monday night to the crowd that jammed Rio de Janeiro’s Municipal Theater for his new show, which includes the great hits of his career and which he will take to other Brazilian cities as well as to France, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and Italy.

In the “Concert of strings and rhythm machines,” Gil reviews his career accompanied by his son, guitarist Bem Gil, bass cellist Jacques Morelenbau, violinist Nicolas Kassik, percussionist Gustavo di Dalva and a symphony orchestra.

The artist, one of the key figures in tropicalism, a cultural movement that swept Brazil in the 1960s and ‘70s, explained in an interview with Efe that with this concert he wants to cover all he has been doing since his start in performing.

Gil, who on June 26 will turn 70, said that this show “with songs in Portuguese, English and Spanish” will also be used to record a DVD that will accompany a book, both to be released for the commemoration of his birthday.

The numbers in the concert’s song list include many from his 57 albums, in particular interpretations of Jimi Hendrix, his great friend Caetano Veloso and Tom Jobim, among others.

“I will do this as an artist, but as an individual what I want is to celebrate with a dinner at home with my family,” Gil said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Venezuelan Model and Miss World 2011 Ivian Sarcos Says She Nearly Became a Nun

Venezuelan Model and Miss World 2011 Ivian Sarcos Says She Nearly Became a Nun

Photo: Venezuelan Model and Miss World 2011 Ivian Sarcos Says She Nearly Became a Nun

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Venezuelan model Ivian Sarcos, who was crowned Miss World in 2011, said in an interview published Wednesday by Kenya’s The Standard newspaper that she considered the possibility of becoming a nun during the time that she spent in a convent.

“I thought about becoming a nun after the mother superior of the convent spoke to me about that,” the 22-year-old beauty, who spent a week in Kenya to visit charitable projects and participated last Saturday in the Miss Kenya gala, said.

“From minute to minute, I changed my opinion and decided that I could not get into that if I had doubts,” the model said.

Sarcos, the youngest of 13 siblings, was placed as a girl in a convent in the Venezuelan city of San Carlos after the accidental death of her parents.

The five years she lived in the convent “were one of the best times of my life. The sisters helped me a lot. I received all the love and education that unfortunately my parents could not give me,” Sarcos said.

When asked if any man had captured her heart after she was recognized as the most beautiful woman on the planet, Sarcos said: “No, I don’t have a boyfriend. I’m not sure that any boy wants to endure the hectic life of a Miss World.”

Since she was elected Miss World in November 2011, Sarcos has lived in London, but she has not forgotten the food of her native country, saying her “favorite dish” is the very Venezuelan “pabellon criollo,” or the nuns who cared for her during a good part of her childhood.

“(The nuns) support me a lot. I miss them and visit them whenever I can,” the beauty queen said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Illicit Oil Depots Found By Mexican Authorities

Illicit Oil Depots Found By Mexican Authorities

Photo: The site was located near one Mexico's oil refineries in Veracruz

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Army troops found clandestine oil depots containing 1.5 million liters (396,258 gallons) of stolen fuel in the eastern state of Veracruz, the Mexican Defense Secretariat said.

Soldiers from the 29th Military Zone, “in responding to a tip from citizens, carried out land reconaissance in Ejido Tacoteno, city of Minatitlan, Veracruz, where they found two fields with clandestine hydrocarbons deposits,” the secretariat said in a statement.

The depots held 1.4 million liters of crude oil, 141,000 liters of diesel and 16,000 liters of export-grade UBA diesel, the secretariat said.

Two tanker trucks and eight tanks on trailers were seized at the site, which is near one of Mexico’s six oil refineries, the secretariat said.

State-owned oil giant Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, told Congress last month that theft of fuel soared over the past few years.

Fuel theft rose 38 percent in 2011, compared to the prior year, totaling 6.8 million barrels, Pemex said.

Drug cartels and other criminal organizations have turned fuel theft into another source of money.

Pemex is suing 14 companies in the United States for allegedly buying stolen fuel from the Los Zetas drug cartel.

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: Father Creates Fake Porn Profile Using Asst. Principal’s Name as Revenge

LATINO BLOTTER: Father Creates Fake Porn Profile Using Asst. Principal’s Name as Revenge

Photo: Father Creates Fake Porn Profile Using Asst. Principal's Name as Revenge

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A man seeking revenge for his son’s allegedly confiscated iPod has been convicted of computer fraud and identity theft.

Robert Dale Esparza Jr. of Gilbert, Arizona reportedly created a fake porn profiled of the assistant principal at his son’s school because his son told him the man had confiscated his iPod.

The 34-year-old father wanted to get back at Frank Hendricsen, so he went to the pornographic website xHamster. Using a photo of Hendricsen and his wife, which he took from the school’s website, Esparza pretended to be Hendricsen and claimed he and his wife were swingers looking for someone to join them in sexual activities. He even used photos of male genitalia he found in Craigslist ads and said they were his (Hendricsen’s).

The pornographic profile was found by a parent of a student who searched Hendricsen’s name online after the assistant principal was hired by the Gateway Pointe Elementary School.

From there, police investigators got involved and it was not long before the IP address was tracked back to Esparza with help from xHamster’s webmasters. It was revealed Esparza was even using a computer at his place of work, home-security company Safeguard, where he is reportedly no longer employed.

When police first confronted Esparza he reportedly laughed then tried to say his son made the profile. Evidence proved otherwise and he was arrested.

Though he ultimately confessed to making the profile, he refused probation, taking the case to trial. Now that he has been convicted by a journey, Esparza will be lucky to avoid jail time.

The profile, which was created in May 2011, was deleted by xHamster and Hendricsen has chosen to continue working at Gateway Pointe. As for the iPod, Hendricsen says he never took it.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Ana Gabriel to Perform in Dominican Republic and Record New Album

Ana Gabriel to Perform in Dominican Republic and Record New Album

Photo: Ana Gabriel

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Mexican singer Ana Gabriel said she planned to perform on June 9 at the Altos de Chavon amphitheater in La Romana, a province in the eastern Dominican Republic, using the concert to record her new album, which is scheduled to be released in September.

“I’m really excited, Altos de Chavon is a beautiful and magical place, and the Dominican people are known for their warmth, it’ll be the perfect place for this great moment in my career, it’ll be unforgettable,” the singer said in a statement released by her representatives in Santo Domingo.

Ana Gabriel, who scored hits with “Quien como tu,” “Amigos, simplemente amigos,” “Ay amor,” “El cigarrillo” and “Cosas del amor,” will travel to the Caribbean country with her musicians and mariachis.

Tickets to the event will be by invitation only and distributed mainly via radio stations in the Dominican Republic.

Ana Gabriel will be joined on stage by Dominican singer Eddy Herrera, who performs merengue, ballads and boleros, as well as Mexican ranchera and corrido songs.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Loves His Tacos: Man Rams Truck Into Taco Bell After They Forget a Taco

Loves His Tacos: Man Rams Truck Into Taco Bell After They Forget a Taco

Photo: Loves His Tacos: Man Rams Truck Into Taco Bell After They Forget a Taco

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Tuesday, a taco-loving man was really angry after discovering the crew at an Ohio Taco Bell had forgotten part of his order.

Now, while it is annoying when something like that happens, and one may grumble about it and go back in, Michael Smith must have a really strong attachment to the sort-of-Mexican food to do what he did.

Witnesses say the 23-year-old was so angry that he rammed his truck through the glass front of a Huber Heights Taco Bell restaurant, backed up, and left.

It was not exactly a clean getaway however, as the damage to his truck and the trail of motor fluid allowed police to easily track him home and make an arrest.

When asked why he felt the need to slam his vehicle into the building he told police he was angry because they forgot one of the tacos for his order.

Smith was charged with felony vandalism.

Read more by HS News Staff →

California School District Bans Derogatory Terms Taunting Those of Indigenous Mexican Heritage

California School District Bans Derogatory Terms Taunting Those of Indigenous Mexican Heritage

Photo: California School District Bans Derogatory Terms Taunting Those of Indigenous Mexican Heritage

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A California school district has banned the use of Mexican epithets given to indigenous people in an attempt to put a stop to intolerance and bullying.

Students were reportedly using names like “oaxaquita” (“little Oaxacan”) and “indito” (“little Indian”) in negative ways to make fun of fellow students and those who hail from the Mexican state of Oaxaca.

Though the main language in Oaxaca is Mexican Spanish, the state is ethnolinguistically diverse, with 16 indigenous languages, many of which even have their own dialects. Overall, Mexico has 62 indigenous languages.

Though the second most common language in Oaxaca state is spoken by roughly 1 million people throughout central Mexico, it is uncommon in the California schoolyards.

In California’s Oxnard School District, children who do not speak Mexican Spanish were being bullied by fellow students, also of Mexican heritage, for speaking a different language and/or for having darker skin.

To combat the bullying, Oxnard’s Mixteco/Indigena Community Organizing Project has launched the “No me llames Oaxaquita” (“Don’t call me little Oaxacan”) campaign.

On Wednesday, May 23, the school district unanimously passed the resolution to prohibit the derogatory terms and create an anti-bullying committee.

Read more at Los Angeles Times →

Number of Hispanic Home Buyers is Skyrocketing

Number of Hispanic Home Buyers is Skyrocketing

Photo: Latino Homeowners Booming Numbers

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Each year the National Association of Realtors (NAR) releases the “Profile of Buyers and Sellers,” a comprehensive document that attempts to parse data from the previous year’s housing market. Among that data is a breakdown of such things as the median age of a home buyer and median income.

Among the information NAR gathers and releases is data on the race/ethnicity of first-time and recurring home buyers. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that whites make up the majority of home purchases—about 85 percent.

When first-time home buyers and repeat buyers are separated into two categories there is a different story. While whites still made up the majority of first-time home buyers, the percentage is smaller. About 75 percent of first-time home buyers self-identify as white.

The next largest group was Hispanic/Latino home buyers, which made up 11 percent of all first-time home buyers. This was in an increase of 38% percent over 2010 figures.

“The rapidly growing U.S. Hispanic population is entering the housing market in increasing numbers,” said Movoto founder and CEO Henry Shao.

Furthermore, the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) claimed that over the next 10 years, Hispanics are expected to account for 40 percent of the estimated 12 million net new households, with minorities comprising 70 percent of total growth.

Read more at Movoto →

Miami Mansion Owned by Conchita the Chihuahua Sells for $8.4 Million

Miami Mansion Owned by Conchita the Chihuahua Sells for $8.4 Million

Photo: Miami Mansion Owned by Conchita the Chihuahua Sells for $8.4 Million

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In 2010, Conchita the Chihuahua became somewhat of a celebrity when it was revealed her owner, deceased socialite Gail Posner, had bequeathed a Miami mansion to Conchita and Posner’s other two dogs. Along with the home, Conchita and her “sisters” were also given a $3 million trust.

This week, Miami Beach mansion on Sunset Island was sold for $8.4 million. The 9,696-square-foot pad had direct access to Biscayne Bay and has 7 bedrooms, 8 full and 2 half baths, a rooftop terrace, a gym, an elevator, marble floors and a master suite with two large baths.

Conchita and her doggy sisters – a Maltese names April Maria and a Yorkshire Terrier names Lucia – were not the only ones left a fortune. Posner’s household staff was also left a total of $27 million. Certain members of the staff was also allowed to live in the Miami home rent-free as long as they took care of the dogs.

Under the terms of the trust, the mansion was to be sold after the dogs died and the proceeds donated to charity, and is unclear why the home was sold since Conchita is still alive.

It is unclear where Conchita and the others dogs will reside now, though with a $3 million trust it will likely be somewhere very nice.

It should be pointed out that after Posner’s death, her son, Bret Carr, was only left $1 million, which he quickly contested, claiming the staff drugged his mother and conspired to steal her wealth.

Read more by HS News Staff →

5-Year-Old Dominican Boy Carries Out Execution Hit

5-Year-Old Dominican Boy Carries Out Execution Hit

Photo: Dominican Police Station Holding 'Polo'

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Dominican Republic authorities are investigating the shooting death of Arsenio Diaz Rodriguez, 53, as an ordered execution carried out by a five-year-old.

Rodriguez had recently returned to his home country after being deported out of the U.S. and serving a 10—year narcotics sentence.  Rodriguez lived and owned several businesses in the town of San Francisco de Macoris. 

Dominican police are alleging a five-year-old boy shot Rodriguez on orders from another man known locally as ‘Polo’ .  ‘Polo’ whose legal name is Fabian Antonio Gonzalez Duarte, has since been arrested for giving the five-year-old a loaded gun and telling him to “scare” Rodriguez when he showed up at the boy’s house. 

Duarte told authorities that he and the victim were friends and he lent his gun to him, which in turn was used by a five-year-old to shoot his friend.  He denies ordering the five-year-old to shoot his friend knowing Rodriguez was coming over to the boy’s house and held a business grudge against him, as authorities allege. The five-year-olds parents say ‘Polo’ was present when the five-year-old used the gun and then sped away after the hit was carried out. 

Police continue to investigate and are looking into the connection between the five-year-old boy and the two men.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Judge: Spanish Doctor Will Pay Monthly Child Support to Woman After Abortion Botched

Judge: Spanish Doctor Will Pay Monthly Child Support to Woman After Abortion Botched

Photo: Spanish Doctor Will Pay Monthly Child Support to Woman After Abortion Botched

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A Spanish gynecologist is now financially responsible for a baby after he failed to properly perform an abortion.

In April 2010, a woman whose name has not been released, sought to terminate an unwanted pregnancy and went to a clinic to do so. However, the doctor botched the procedure and the woman left the clinic not knowing she was still pregnant.

Three months later, the woman, believing she was pregnant once again, went to the clinic for another abortion. After an ultrasound, however, she was shocked to learn she was not pregnant again, but rather still pregnant.

At this point, the woman was 5 months pregnant and the clinic was no longer legally able to terminate the pregnancy, as the legal time limit is 14 weeks. The clinic offered her a refund for the initial abortion and suggested a clinic in Barcelona where they might perform a late-term abortion. However, when she arrived, they too refused.

The mother gave birth to a healthy baby boy and though she had sought to terminate the pregnancy, she (through her lawyer) has stated she does not regret having the child.

“When the day comes for me to explain to my son what happened I will tell him hoping he understands,” the mother said through her lawyer, Eva Munar.  “I didn’t want him when I went to have an abortion but that’s not the case now.”

For his negligence, the gynecologist has been ordered by Judge Jose Perez Martinez to pay the mother 150,000 euros ($186,255) in “moral damages” as well as 978 euros (about $1214) a month until the child, now 18 months old, turns 26.

This sentence marks a legal first in Spain, especially considering abortions have only been legal in Spain since 2010. Before then, abortions were only legal in cases of rape, serious deformity, or if a woman’s health was at risk.

The gynecologist is seeking to have the sentence overturned in an appeal.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Venezuelan Outfielder and Detroit Tiger Great: Magglio Ordonez Set to Retire this Weekend

Venezuelan Outfielder and Detroit Tiger Great: Magglio Ordonez Set to Retire this Weekend

Photo: Magglio Orgonez Set to Retire

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The Detroit Tigers will have a pregame ceremony to honor the 38 year-old Ordonez , who is set to retire, before Detroit plays the New York Yankees this weekend,.

Ordonez started his career with the Chicago White Sox, where je was a consistent hitter on the Southside of Chicago.  He batted over .300 for five consecutive seasons from 1999-2003.  Ordonez battled some injuries near the end of his time in Chicago and departed the Windy City after the 2004 season.

Ordonez signed a five-year, $85 million contract to play for Detroit in 2005. The Caracas born player helped the Tigers reach the 2006 World Series. Ordonez had his best season in 2007, when he batted a league high .363 and had 139 RBIs. Ordonez played his last game in the 2011 American League Championship Series after suffering a broken ankle.

Ordonez will be remembered as one of the most consistent hitters of the decade, who helped turnaround the Detroit Tigers franchise.

Written by HS News Sports Writer:  Nate Jacobson


Read more by HS News Staff →

UFC Octagon Girl Arianny Celeste Arrested for Allegedly Kicking Boyfriend in Face During Argument

UFC Octagon Girl Arianny Celeste Arrested for Allegedly Kicking Boyfriend in Face During Argument

Photo: UFC Octagon Girl Arianny Celeste Arrested for Allegedly Kicking Boyfriend in Face During Argument

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One of the UFC’s most popular octagon girls, Arianny Celeste (born Arianny Celeste-Penelope Lopez Marquez), was arrested on a domestic violence charge over the Memorial weekend.

Early Saturday morning, Celeste, 26, was arrested in Las Vegas for allegedly kicking her boyfriend, Praveen Chandra, 34, in the face during an argument over text messages he had sent to various women.

ImageAccording to TMZ, Celeste and Chandra began arguing about the texts in a limousine and continued the argument in their room at the Wynn hotel.

At around 4:30 a.m., an employee heard crashing sounds and arrived at the room as Celeste was running out.

The police were then called and Celeste told officers Chandra had choked and grabbed her while they were in the room. Officers noted the marks found on her body.

ImageChandra told police he was also injured, as Celeste kicked him in the nose in the limousine. When they went up to the room, he claims she also threw two vases at him.

Both were arrested and the Mexican-Filipino model/octagon girl/web-show host posted $3,000 bond and was released at around 7 p.m. Saturday night.

UFC President Dana White gave a statement to TMZ after Celeste’s arrest, saying, “Arianny is our baby. She has been with us for over five years. She is a good girl and an amazing ambassador for UFC. I don’t know all the details of what happened but we have her back and support her 100%.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

RUBIO WATCH:  Senator’s First Trip to Cuba is to Guantanamo Bay

RUBIO WATCH:  Senator’s First Trip to Cuba is to Guantanamo Bay

Photo: Rubio Watch: Senator in Cuba

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Yesterday, Florida Senator Marco Rubio made a visit to the homeland of his parents when he made a surprise visit to Guantanamo Bay to meet with military personnel.

Rubio, in his capacity as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, wanted to see first hand the conditions of this U.S. Navy base and assure this “facility remain open and operating.” 

The often talked about potential Vice Presidential candidate was born in this country but his parents are from Cuba.  Rubio’s parents came here in 1956 and this is Rubio’s first visit to the island. 

Rubio noted the emotional aspect of the visit to McClatchy Wire: “Certainly, it was touching to be able to fly over the island from a distance and see it and know that’s the land that saw your parents and your grandparents born.”

Critics of the conservative Senator see this as another high-profile move to keep his name front and center as Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney seeks his running mate.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Drug-war Victims’ Families Call For “National Unity” Pact in Mexico

Drug-war Victims’ Families Call For “National Unity” Pact in Mexico

Photo: The relatives of the victims and mPJD activists demanded "unity pact"

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Family members and activists representing more than 50,000 victims of drug-related violence in Mexico in recent years held a testy meeting with the four presidential hopefuls and called for a “national unity” pact to restore peace.

During Monday’s gathering, organized by prominent poet Javier Sicilia’s Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, or MPJD, the activists demanded the candidates move away from President Felipe Calderon’s military-based approach to combating powerful drug cartels so that Mexico’s domestic policy will not “remain subjugated to U.S. interests,” the MPJD said in a statement.

Frontrunner Enrique Peña Nieto, of the once-dominant Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI; Josefina Vazquez Mota, of the governing conservative National Action Party, or PAN; Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, of the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution, or PRD; and Gabriel Quadri, of the small New Alliance Party, or Panal, took part in the meeting at the Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City.

The basic national unity pact should be ready before June 10, the date of the candidates’ second debate, and is aimed at introducing the “emergency” of drug-fueled violence in Mexico into the campaign, the MPJD said.

The movement says it wants the next Mexican administration (Calderon is constitutionally barred from seeking a second six-year term) to change course and treat the battle against drug trafficking as “a health problem, not a national security” matter, a shift in strategy that would imply “demilitarizing the country as soon as possible.”

The victims’ representatives also stressed the “essential” need for legislation on missing persons in a country where 20,000 forced disappearances have occurred, according to the MPJD, which Sicilia founded in May 2011 after his son was murdered by suspected drug-gang assailants.

The poet said the activists did not attend Monday’s meeting to support any candidate in particular but rather to build “that national unity that will allow the nation to achieve the dream” of living in peace.

He said it is regrettable that the election campaigns, in which nearly 25 billion pesos (almost $1.8 billion) will be spent, appear to offer a “continuation of the violence by other means.”

The politicians then took the podium to defend their plans for battling the cartels and bringing down the high levels of drug-related violence, but Sicilia later blasted each of them on behalf of the MPJD.

Among other criticisms, he accused the PAN of persisting with a failed strategy and the PRI and PRD of tolerating corruption within their ranks.

The #Yosoy 132 movement, meanwhile, called Monday on elections officials who authorized it to participate as an observer in the July 1 presidential balloting to guarantee “democratic transparency.”

The head of the Federal Electoral Institute, or IFE, Leonardo Valdes, received members of the student movement and told them he is “open to citizens and citizen organizations who so desire to register as electoral observers,” the institute said in a statement.

The protest movement started on May 11, when Peña Nieto visited the Universidad Iberoamericana and was jeered by students.

Those in Peña Nieto’s inner circle and some members of the media downplayed the incident, accusing the students of being agitators and prompting them to counterattack by making a video that was posted on YouTube.

The criticism led to the birth of the “Somos mas de 131” (We Are More Than 131) movement, which took its name from the number of students who appeared in the video and later evolved into the “Yo soy 132” (I Am 132) movement when students from other universities joined the protests.

The young people also created the Twitter hash tag #LaMarchaYoSoy132 to get their message out to supporters and the public.

“If you’re also concerned about having fair elections, it’s very easy to help. Remember that we’re going to register as xYoSoy132x with the IFE to be electoral observers. You can do so before Wednesday, (May) 30,” the students said in a video posted Monday on YouTube.

Lopez Obrador lost the bitter 2006 presidential contest to Calderon by a margin of less than 0.6 percent and he continues to maintain that the election was stolen.

After his inauguration in December 2006, Calderon deployed tens of thousands of federal police and army soldiers to drug war flashpoints in a bid to pacify those regions.

The strategy has succeeded in slaying or capturing more than a score of Mexico’s most-wanted drug lords, but the number of people killed annually in drug-related violence has risen steadily and totals more than 50,000 during Calderon’s administration.

In addition to Sicilia’s movement and other civic organizations in Mexico, international human rights groups also have blasted the military deployment.

New York-based Human Rights Watch, for example, said in a report last year that Calderon’s war on drugs has led to a “dramatic increase in killings, torture, and other appalling abuses by security forces, which only make the climate of lawlessness and fear worse in many parts of the country.”

It also has raised serious doubts about Calderon’s claims that “90 percent of the victims of drug-related deaths were criminals.”

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Chilean Photographer’s Dancing Dog Carrie Promoting Latin Music in America

Chilean Photographer’s Dancing Dog Carrie Promoting Latin Music in America

Photo: Chilean Photographer's Dancing Dog Carrie Promoting Latin Music in America

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Chilean photographer Jose Fuentes trained his little dog Carrie to dance to the beat of Latin rhythms as entertainment for family get-togethers - and today she’s a show-stopping sensation around the United States.

“I bought the little dog when she was 2 months old and I started doing tricks with her like a kind of game. And when she was 2 years old she just upped and started dancing without any planning on my part,” Fuentes told Efe.

“We established a really good connection from the time she was a puppy, so I started teaching her tricks, tricks and more tricks, and she learned so quickly my brain couldn’t keep up with her to teach her more things to do,” Fuentes said.

Fuentes, who in the Chilean capital is an advertising photographer, said he only danced with Carrie for fun and to amuse his family.

“I don’t know why she likes to dance, she does it as a way of playing with me and it’s like her vibe,” Fuentes said of the Golden Retriever.

“I looked for the right music to suit her way of expressing herself…like dance rhythms. But I’m not sure if what she likes best is the rhythm, though I think it is because she learned to associate it with something fun to do with us, like dancing, like playing,” Fuentes said.

Last weekend Carrie showed her ballroom talent at the 14th Annual Los Angeles Salsa Congress.

“We’ve become famous for the song ‘The Dance of the Dog,’ which is a merengue,” Fuentes said.

Fuentes has worked out a dance routine in which he crouches down smiling to Carrie’s level, puts out his hands like the paws of a dog and sticks out his tongue to dance with his pet.

“But she also dances cumbia and the national dance of Chile called the ‘cueca,’ which she does perfectly and in Chile that rhythm, that dance that she does is very popular, because it’s very measured, very precise and she does it perfectly,” Fuentes said.

In the United States Carrie has been presented “as the most talented animal in the world” by Animal Planet, and has appeared on the programs of David Letterman, Wendy, El Gordo y La Flaca (The Fat Man and the Skinny Lady), and on Don Francisco Presents.

“Carrie appears in two commercials that were made in Chile and Argentina, We were on tour of several states in Mexico for a month and what surprised me is that she attracted the attention of Japanese television - and they sent a production team to Chile to film her performances,” Fuentes said.

The next project for “Carrie, the dancing dog” will be to shoot a documentary in Chile for the Canadian Animal Planet channel, Fuentes said about the artistic agenda of his pet, whose eighth birthday will be in September. She is expected to live to be around age 14.

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Peace Activist Slams Mexican Presidential Campaigns

Peace Activist Slams Mexican Presidential Campaigns

Photo: Javier Sicilia questions the motives of the presidential campaigns

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Poet Javier Sicilia, the leader of Mexico’s Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, or MPJD, blasted on Monday the farce represented by the current electoral campaign, considering it “the continuation of violence by other means.”

“It seems that the polls are no longer able to respond to the nation’s broken dreams,” Sicilia said.

Mexico is “facing an electoral process trapped in a dead end,” in the grip of violence that has left almost 60,000 people dead and more than 20,000 missing since the end of 2006 when President Felipe Calderon launched a strategy of all-out war against crime, Sicilia said.

Mexico today has been seized “by hypocrisy, cynicism and crime,” and is in a situation of national emergency because of the insecurity and violence, Sicilia said.

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.

The poet recalled that the victims, who are meeting Monday with the four presidential hopefuls at Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City “have not yet received an ounce of justice” from Mexico’s institutions.

Sicilia reproached the candidate for the government National Action Party, or PAN, Josefina Vazquez Mota, the first nominee to appear before the victims’ representatives, because she and her political party seem to just talk about violence without specifying any policies with the power to end it.

“While the citizenry remains defenseless, you and your party spend millions on campaigns and demagogy,” Sicilia told Vazquez Mota after reading some verses by Mexican writer Octavio Paz and observing a minute of silence in memory of the victims.

Sicilia said that PAN has “been satisfied with accusing the other parties of corruption” without laying out any paths to true peace.

The organization created by Calderon to channel the demands of victims of violence, known as Provictima, “is shameful considering the size of the problem” facing the country, Sicilia said.

The MPJD, established in early May 2011 to support the victims of violence, believes that everything related to drug trafficking should be analyzed as a health problem, not a problem of national security, as it has been throughout the Calderon presidency that took power on Dec. 1, 2006.

The victims will also question and exchange ideas with frontrunner Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution, or PRD, and Gabriel Quadri of the minority New Alliance Party, or Panal.

The four candidates will vie for the presidency in the elections next July 1, in which nearly 80 million citizens are eligible to vote.

On that day all new lawmakers in the lower house will be elected along with half the Senate, while state and municipal officials will also be voted in.

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.

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WednesdayMay 30, 2012