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SundayJune 3, 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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Latin America Says Good-Bye to Its Largest Garbage Dump

Latin America Says Good-Bye to Its Largest Garbage Dump

Photo: Brazil's Jardin Gramacho to Close

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Brazil’s Jardin Gramacho, a gigantic trash dump on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro that was considered Latin America’s largest, finally closed on Sunday and will now begin undergoing a process of environmental recovery.

The last truck to bring a load of trash to the open air landfill left Gramacho shortly before an official ceremony marking the closure of the dump, an event in which Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes and Brazilian Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira participated.

The site, which covers 1.3 million sq. meters (1.5 million sq. yards), remains inundated with some 60 million tons of trash that practically buried a neighboring mangrove swamp and contaminated the waters of Guanabara Bay, where Rio’s northern beaches and tourist sites such as the Isla de Paqueta are located.

“We’re putting an end to an environmental crime that for more than 30 years has polluted Rio de Janeiro,” the mayor told Efe, symbolically placing a padlock on the dump’s front gate.

“To replace it, we’re building Latin America’s most modern solid waste treatment center,” Paes added, referring to the plant that has been operating for several months at Seropedica, 75 kilometers (47 miles) from the city.

Jardin Gramacho for 34 years received the greater part of the trash produced by Rio and Duque de Caxias, the municipality in the Rio metropolitan area where the dump is located.

A good part of the 8,400 tons of solid waste generated each day in Rio was brought to the site and dumped in the open air, where it was fought over and part of it consumed by scavenging birds and dug through by 1,603 people who made their livings collecting recyclable materials from the trash.

It was specifically the fate of those recyclers that delayed the dump’s closure for several months, although the mayor’s aim had always been to close it before the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development Rio+20 that the city will host on June 20-22.

Months of repeated postponements in the dump’s closure were necessary while authorities negotiated the indemnity that the recyclers would receive for losing their livelihoods. A figure of 14,000 reais ($7,000) per person was eventually agreed on, and training courses were established to help them find other ways to earn a living.

“We’re going to use the model of Rio de Janeiro to close all the dumps in the country. This ceremony marks a great advance for the environmental sector and for the country,” the environmental minister said.

Jardin Gramacho ultimately came to receive about 6,000 tons of trash per day, but in recent months with the beginning of operations at the Seropedica treatment plant, that volume fell to about 2,000 tons.

A plant that collects methane gas produced by the decaying organic material in the dump will continue operating on the site, even as the environmental recovery efforts are under way. Electric power is generated from the gas.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican Gay Pride Parade Draws 30,000 Attendees

Mexican Gay Pride Parade Draws 30,000 Attendees

Photo: Sharenii Guzmán

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Thousands of people and about 30 floats took part in Mexico’s 34th Gay Pride Parade in the capital, where a concert marked the end of the event.

The parade started at the Angel of Independence Monument and wound its way through Mexico City’s streets on Saturday.

The Tourism Secretariat estimated that at least 10,000 people attended the event, while the Federal District’s Public Safety Secretariat released a preliminary estimate of more than 30,000 paradegoers.

The theme of this year’s parade was “¡Educacion formal de la sexualidad ya!” (Formal Teaching of Sexuality, Now!).

The parade featured music, people in colorful outfits and dozens of rainbow flags on the capital’s streets.

Mexico City Tourism Secretary Carlos Mackinlay welcomed those attending the parade, calling for gender equity policies, tolerance, openness and democracy, the goals pursued in the Federal District in recent years.

Marchers shouted slogans during the parade in favor of respect for sexual diversity.

The band OV7 and more than 30 other artists performed in the Zocalo, Mexico City’s largest plaza, at the end of the parade.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Famed Mexican Photographer Hector Garcia Dies

Famed Mexican Photographer Hector Garcia Dies

Photo: Hector Garcia's portrayal of David Alfaro Siqueiros

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Mexican photographer Hector Garcia died of heart problems in this capital, a city whose modern history he chronicled in photos and for which he was considered “The Photographer of the City,” the National Culture and Arts Council, or Conaculta, said. He was 88.

Garcia, who was born in Mexico City in 1923, died on Saturday.

He took many iconic photos during his career, including the celebrated portrait of painter David Alfaro Siqueiros behind the bars of the Palacio de Lecumberri prison, an image he captured in 1960.

Garcia was hailed by Conaculta president Consuelo Saizar as a “mythic” figure who “photographed the soul of Mexico” in his work.

The photographer, a disciple of image artists such as Manuel Alvarez Bravo (1902-2002) and Gabriel Figueroa (1907-1997), over the course of his career held 65 individual expositions of his work in Mexico and abroad.

“With his camera, he photographed the street children and artists, daily scenes, nudes, peasants, prisoners, with which he became the photographer of Mexico who through his images told about the life of the country,” Conaculta said in a statement.

Garcia, born in the poor neighborhood of Candelaria de los Patos, emigrated to the United States in search of work after World War II.

“He worked as a graphic journalist at different publications in Mexico and abroad starting in 1945. On three occasions he won the National Journalism Award (1958, 1969, 1979) and in 2002 he received the National Arts and Sciences Award,” Conaculta, which serves as the culture ministry in Mexico, said.

Later, he won the prize for best ethnographic film at the Popoli Festival in Florence, Italy, in 1972.

In 1958, he covered the Mexican railway labor conflict photographing the movement headed by Demetrio Vallejo.

Between 1960 and 1967, he held 12 individual expositions, of which the most noteworthy were “Rostros de Mexico” (1960), “Imagenes de Mexico” (Paris, 1963), “Vision del mundo maya” (Madrid, 1964), “Una vision de Mexico” and “La nueva grandeza mexicana” (Mexico City, 1966 and 1967, respectively).

His images filled the annals of public collections in Paris, Washington, Houston and were included in the Vatican Museum and the Mexico City National Anthropology Museum, among others.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Wal-Mart CEO Pledges to Investigate Bribery Allegations in Mexico

Wal-Mart Stores CEO Mike Duke defended the company’s integrity amid reports of bribes paid to Mexican officials to expand market share, pledging to “get to the bottom” of the allegations.

“I want to personally assure you we’re doing everything we can to get to the bottom of this matter. We will take appropriate action when the investigation is complete,” Duke said in a speech Friday at Wal-Mart’s annual shareholders meeting in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Mexico’s federal Attorney General’s Office and Public Function Secretariat have opened separate investigations into alleged bribes paid by Wal-Mart’s Mexican subsidiary to obtain fast-track approval of permits and expand its market presence.

“We’re working to continually strengthen our compliance efforts around the world,” Duke told around 16,000 shareholders.

The allegations against Wal-Mart de Mexico came to light in April, when The New York Times published an article indicating the company’s largest foreign subsidiary paid bribes exceeding $24 million.

It said a former executive at the Mexican subsidiary blew the whistle, telling a Wal-Mart lawyer in September 2005 that “in its rush to build stores ... the company had paid bribes to obtain permits in virtually every corner of the country.”

The Times story also said that Wal-Mart’s own investigators subsequently unearthed evidence of “widespread corruption,” but top executives of the Bentonville, Arkansas-based company “focused more on damage control than on rooting out wrongdoing.”

The whistleblower, Sergio Cicero Zapata, who told the daily he resigned from Wal-Mart de Mexico in 2004 after organizing “years of payoffs,” identified the subsidiary’s then-chief executive, Eduardo Castro-Wright, as the “driving force” behind the bribery scheme.

But rather than being disciplined, the Times said Castro-Wright was promoted to vice chairman of Wal-Mart in 2008.

According to the daily, “bribery played a persistent and significant role in Wal-Mart’s rapid growth in Mexico, where Wal-Mart now employs 209,000 people, making it the country’s largest private employer.”

But Duke, who took over as CEO in February 2009, said Friday that integrity is Wal-Mart’s “bedrock” value.

“If you work for Wal-Mart, there is no gray area between right and wrong. It’s either the right thing to do, or it shouldn’t be done at all. We will not accept anything less than integrity.”

In the wake of The New York Times’ article, some shareholders have called for the removal of several members of Wal-Mart Stores’ board of directors, including Duke and S. Robson Walton, the company’s chairman and the son of Wal-Mart’s founder, Sam Walton.

Read more by HS News Staff →

New Talent Competition “Dame Un Break” Seeking Latin Performing Artists

New Talent Competition “Dame Un Break” Seeking Latin Performing Artists

Photo: Dame Un Break

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Tr3́s: MTV, Música y Más, the bilingual/bicultural entertainment destination for Latinos in the US, announces the launch of its talent competition for aspiring Latino artists with DAME UN BREAK presented by Wendy’s. Up-and-coming Latin music acts will battle it out for a shot at stardom. Aspiring artists can submit their auditions through June 18th on dameunbreak.tr3s.com.

Fans will be able to judge contest entries from May 21st through June 25th to narrow down the top 40 artists. The top-ranked artist, as well as four other finalists selected by Tr3s from within the top 40 will progress to a final five voting round. Fans can then vote for their favorite Latin music act from July 2nd to July 16th. The winner will be announced in late July.

The chosen artist will have his or her original song featured in a music video, which will be on rotation on Tr3s along with a digital “Making Of” special.  The victor will fly to Los Angeles for a recording session with 4-time Grammy and 9-time Latin Grammy winner Producer Sebastian Krys. Travel and hotel accommodations will be provided.  If that wasn’t enough, the winner will also receive a $2,500 cash prize.  The contest is open to all Latin artists in the US, including Puerto Rico, excluding Hawaii and Alaska.

More information can be found on OurStage.com

Read more by HS News Staff →

Argentine University Honors Calle 13’s Cultural Contributions

Argentine University Honors Calle 13’s Cultural Contributions

Photo: Calle 13

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Puerto Rican urban band Calle 13 has been honored by Argentina’s National University of La Plata for its contributions to popular communication and culture, the institution said.

“It’s a very big honor” to receive the “Rodolfo Walsh” prize, which “many musicians in Argentina and Latin America deserve as much or more than I do,” the band’s leader, Rene Perez, a.k.a. “Residente,” said after receiving the award Friday in a ceremony at the university’s School of Journalism.

The 34-year-old Perez, who said he feels like an “Argentine at heart,” received the prize in the name of the band. Past winners of the award have included two leftist presidents in the region - Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez (2011) and Bolivia’s Evo Morales (2008).

“Don’t be afraid. The social networks and a ton of mechanisms now exist for getting the truth out. Like (slain writer) Rodolfo Walsh said: ‘Journalism is either free or it’s a farce,’” the artist said at the ceremony.

“We reward popular expression, popular culture, the defense of Latin America and therefore we’re acknowledging Calle 13, which is not just another band: it’s a group that stands up to the powerful with its rhythms and uses alterative communication channels,” the school’s dean, Florencia Saintout, said.

The band, which has won a record 19 Latin Grammy awards, is known for its outspokenness on socio-political issues and favors Puerto Rico’s full independence from the United States, a minority position on the Caribbean island.

Rodolfo Walsh was an Argentine writer, leading critic of the country’s 1976-1983 military regime and one-time militant who was killed on March 25, 1977, in a shootout with government commandos who ambushed him on a street in Buenos Aires.

A journalist and mystery writer who belonged to the Montoneros, an armed leftist faction within the Peronist Party, Walsh was slain one day after publishing his bitter “Open Letter” to the military junta on the first anniversary of the armed forces’ seizing power.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Explore Peruvian Cuisine and the Gastronomical Phenomenon in New Documentary (VIDEO)

Explore Peruvian Cuisine and the Gastronomical Phenomenon in New Documentary (VIDEO)

Photo: Peru Sabe

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Peru is experiencing something almost unique in the world: chefs have become important change agents in a country whose society and culture are rapidly evolving in the 21st century. As a result, more than 80,000 young Peruvians are studying gastronomy, instead of becoming lawyers, doctors or even footballers, as they follow this new path towards economic and social development.

Ferran Adrià, the most prestigious chef in the world and Gastón Acurio, the most influential chef in Latin America, have undertaken a journey to explore the attraction and “splendor” of Peru’s cooking. Perú Sabe is the outcome of this trip.

Perú Sabe takes you inside the Peruvian Kitchen to explore, not only the food, but the chefs, aspiring as well as accomplished, and the gastronomy culture that are transforming Peru. Along the way, Ferran and Gaston find a whole new recipe for social inclusion and human advancement, one that has the potential to resonate far beyond Peru’s borders.

The film premieres on June 8 in Lima and June 11 in New York City.

Watch the trailer for Perú Sabe below.


Related Videos

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A Celebration of the LGBT Latino Experience

A Celebration of the LGBT Latino Experience

Photo: IN THE LIFE

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This month, newsmagazine IN THE LIFE celebrates Latin pride with Orgullo Latino, a look at the complexity of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Latinos in the United States.

Latinos are the fastest growing minority in the country. With growing political strength, buying power and cultural influence, Latinos are changing the landscape of the nation and forging a new American reality. LGBT Latinos are no exception.

IN THE LIFE meets gay and lesbian Latinos who are stepping up to create change, shatter stereotypes and become leaders within their communities. Featuring a look at the trailblazers who bring visibility to the LGBT Latino experience such as Daniel Hernandez, who President Obama declared a hero for his bravery during the 2011 Tucson shooting that wounded former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords; Spanish soap opera star turned Extreme Makeover designer Eduardo Xoi; CNN News anchor Jane Valez-Mitchell and, of course, Ricky Martin.

Orgullo Latino begins airing on public television stations across the country on June 1st and is now available for free video streaming from the In The Life Media website.

Read more by HS News Staff →

CHCI Announces Annual Hispanic Heritage Month Events

CHCI announced September 10-13 as the dates for its 35th Anniversary Hispanic Heritage Month celebration in Washington, D.C. with the theme “CHCI at 35: Keeping the Founders’ Promise.”  CHCI hosts the nation’s premier events commemorating Hispanic Heritage Month (HHM), which draws more than 3,000 Latino leaders from across the country to its Public Policy Conference, Reyes of Comedy, and Annual Awards Gala in Washington, D.C.  Registration for CHCI HHM events is now available at www.chci.org.

Actor, producer, comedian, and writer George Lopez will receive one of CHCI’s highest honors, the Medallion of Excellence Award, at the 35th Anniversary Awards Gala on September 13. The event will be celebrity hosted by Emmy Award-winning Univision News anchor and 2006 CHCI Chair’s Award recipient Maria Elena Salinas.  PepsiCo is the Host Sponsor and Univision is the Exclusive Media Partner of the CHCI 35th Anniversary Awards Gala.

“What a great honor to be recognized by CHCI for doing work that I love,” said George Lopez.  “I look forward to joining the many distinguished recipients of the Medallion of Excellence Award and celebrating CHCI’s anniversary and the great work they do.”

Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated annually from September 15 - October 15.  For CHCI, it also represents an opportunity to feature its highly competitive and nationally acclaimed Latino youth leadership development programs, including two fellowship programs, a congressional internship program, scholarship awards, and a college readiness program, Ready to Lead (R2L) for high school students.

CHCI kicks off its 2012 Hispanic Heritage Month events with its annual Public Policy Conference at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center on September 10-12. The conference assembles Latino leaders, experts and scholars to participate in timely discussions of major policy issues affecting the Latino community.  This year, CHCI Chair Charles A. Gonzalez will be joined by administration officials, Congressional Hispanic Caucus members, and national leaders in their fields.  Key issues on the agenda include: corporate America, economy and workforce, education, health, immigration, labor, media, mental health, STEM, telecommunications, and much more.  To complement the conference, CHCI’s Ready to Lead (R2L) program educates and engages high school students in policy discussions while preparing them for college.  Job and internship seekers can visit CareerLider LIVE on September 12 to interact with recruiters about employment opportunities and strategic initiatives spearheaded by participating companies and organizations.

On September 12, CHCI will hold its 12th Annual Reyes of Comedy, taking place at the Ronald Reagan Building. This popular event features both established Latino comedians as well as emerging Latino talent for a night of exceptional entertainment.  This year’s event is a sponsor benefit only and all proceeds support CHCI’s youth leadership development programs.

The closing and premier event of the conference is CHCI’s 35th Anniversary Awards Gala to be held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on September 13. This prestigious dinner recognizes CHCI’s highest honors and celebrates the outstanding accomplishments of Latino leaders who are giving back to their communities.  The Gala draws more than 2,500 guests including federal and local elected officials, corporate and nonprofit leaders, and celebrities.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Increased Numbers of Unaccompanied Minors Attempting to Cross U.S.-Mexico Border

Increased Numbers of Unaccompanied Minors Attempting to Cross U.S.-Mexico Border

Photo: Children at the Border

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The number of undocumented minors attempting the dangerous trek across the U.S.-Mexico border alone has risen, experts gathered at the University of San Diego’s “Children at the Border” forum said.

The director of USD’s Trans-Border Institute, David Shirk, who organized the forum, told Efe immigration patterns have changed over the past 20 years for reasons such as the expansion of the metal wall on a portion of the frontier in 1994 and tighter border protection following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Due to the difficulty in crossing the border, parents typically make the trek first and then urge their children to make the attempt later, usually alone, he said, adding that procedures for protecting minors’ interests and rights must be improved.

The expert said minors who try to make the journey unaccompanied by an adult relative are more likely to be sexually assaulted, fall into the clutches of organized crime gangs or suffer drug abuse or other health problems.

Wayne A. Cornelius, a director of the University of California’s Center of Expertise on Migration and Health, told Efe that the “great recession” of 2008-2009 has made undocumented immigrants afraid to travel to their homelands due to fear of losing their jobs and therefore meant that minors must travel unaccompanied to reunite with their families.

U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration has deported more than 400,000 people a year, according to Cornelius, who said another 500,000 are detained and given the option of voluntary repatriation, in which case they are not included in deportation statistics, he said.

This situation means that more and more children are caught and “thrown into the system,” nearly 8,000 in the first several months of 2012, the expert said.

The conference took its name from the report “Children at the Border: The Screening, Protection and Repatriation of Unaccompanied Mexican Minors,” prepared by Appleseed, a non-profit network of 16 public interest justice centers in the United States and Mexico.

Published in April 2011, it is the most thorough study of the problem to date.

According to the report, 59 percent of the 29,624 minors detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection between October 2009 and the end of August 2010 were unaccompanied.

It also said that 80 percent of the minors detained between October 2009 and September 2010 were of Mexican origin and the rest from Central America.

With the Central American minors, CBP makes a greater effort to contact their families, while nearly all of the unaccompanied Mexican children are immediately repatriated, the study said.

The report said the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is mandated by a 2008 law to interview every unaccompanied Mexican minor to ensure they are not a victim of trafficking, have no possible claim to asylum and voluntarily agree to go back home.

But it added that more than two years after its passage the promise of the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection and Reauthorization Act of 2008 “remains unfulfilled.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

NALEO’s Latino Voter Profile for State of California

NALEO’s Latino Voter Profile for State of California

Photo: 3.9 million Latinos are expected to vote in California

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The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, the nation’s leading organization that facilitates the full participation of Latinos in the American political process, today released its 2012 primary electoral profile for the state of California.

The NALEO Educational Fund expects 3.9 million California Latino voters will head to the polls for the November election this year, comprising more than 26% of the state electorate. The Latino electorate was decisive during the 2008 presidential primary. Latino voters were crucial the California victory of Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY), helping to ensure that her delegate count remained competitive with that of Senator Obama. According to CNN exit polls, California Latino Democrats supported Senator Clinton by a 67% to 32% margin.

California’s 2012 June primary is the state’s first election under its new “open primary” system, which will affect contests for state and Congressional offices. Under the new system, all candidates for state and Congressional offices are listed on one ballot and only the top two vote-getters in the primary election – regardless of party preference – will move on to the general election.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Combs Deserves UCLA Football Scholarship

Combs Deserves UCLA Football Scholarship

Photo: Justin Combs

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A controversy has brewed in the media about a college scholarship to UCLA for football player Justin Combs.

Combs worked hard to earn a $54,000 merit-based scholarship through dedication to football and a 3.75 GPA.

However, Combs isn’t a student who needs financial assistance. He is the son of wealthy hip-hop artist Seas “P. Diddy” Combs.

People are arguing that Combs shouldn’t receive money from UCLA because he is not burdened by financial restraints and he is taking up a scholarship that could be used for another student.

But Combs shouldn’t be criticized for accepting a scholarship offer from UCLA for football.  Combs put in an effort and his past performance on the field shows he deserves the scholarship.

Also, Combs isn’t taking away money from the needs-based scholarship fund. His scholarship is through the athletic program that notoriously generates a lot of money.

Combs committed to UCLA in November 2011 and had offers from Illinois, Middle Tennessee State, Tennessee Tech, UAB, Virginia and Wyoming, according to rivals.com. Combs played football and graduated from Iona Prep in New Rochelle, New York.

Written by HS News Sports Writer:  Nate Jacobson

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mick Jagger Tested as Peru’s Environmental Ambassador

Mick Jagger Tested as Peru’s Environmental Ambassador

Photo: Mick Jagger

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Music legend Sir Mick Jagger has been drawn into a bitter row over an ‘illegal gas grab’ in the Peruvian Amazon.

Peru’s government has provoked fury from indigenous groups after it was discovered that it is attempting to explore for gas in an Amazon reserve despite explicitly promising never to do so.

The reserve is the territory of several vulnerable uncontacted tribes, and a crucial buffer zone for the Manu National Park, listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site for having a biological diversity that ‘exceeds any other place on Earth.’

After visiting the Manu region Mick Jagger was made an Environmental Ambassador by Peru, who described him as a ‘great support in our fight to protect our ecology’. Survival International has written to the Rolling Stones’ frontman, saying ‘Peru’s last uncontacted tribes are in imminent danger… please ask the Peruvian government to stop endangering their lives.’

Peru’s plan to expand its massive Camisea gas project has been clouded in secrecy. Nine years ago it confirmed it would never expand the project eastward into the Nahua-Nanti Reserve, home to several uncontacted tribes, and passed a Supreme Decree confirming the pledge.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Obama Administration Working to Close Racial, Ethnic Gap on Asthma

Obama Administration Working to Close Racial, Ethnic Gap on Asthma

Photo: Inhalers are mainly used in the treatment of asthma

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This week U.S. federal agencies unveiled the Coordinated Federal Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Asthma Disparities.

Nearly 26 million Americans are affected by this chronic respiratory disease, including 7 million children, especially minority children and children with family incomes below the poverty level. Asthma rates of African American children are currently at 16 percent, while 16.5 percent of Puerto Rican children suffer from the chronic respiratory disease, more than double the rate of Caucasian children in the United States. The annual economic cost of asthma, including direct medical costs from hospital stays and indirect costs such as lost school and work days, amounts to approximately $56 billion.

“Low-income and minority communities often face an unacceptable burden of pollution in this country, diminishing their economic potential and threatening the health of millions of American families,” said Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. “As we close National Asthma Awareness Month today, the President’s Administration is standing behind his commitment to integrating environmental justice into the missions of federal agencies, promoting clean air and healthy communities, and ensuring this really is a country of equal opportunity for all.”

The action plan will coordinate efforts to improve asthma management and prevention:

    Reduce barriers to asthma care: Ensure that the populations most severely impacted by asthma receive evidence-based comprehensive care, which includes access to medical services, education and environmental interventions.
    Build local capacity: Enhance capacity to deliver integrated, community-based asthma care systems.
    Target services: Identify the children, families and communities most impacted by asthma disparities.
    Accelerate prevention efforts: Increase understanding of the cause or causes of asthma and test interventions that may prevent the onset of asthma.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Report: Chavez’s Cancer Has Metastasized

Report: Chavez’s Cancer Has Metastasized

Photo: Hugo Chavez

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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is taking an opiate “100 times more potent than morphine” to alleviate the severe pain caused by the spread of cancer in his bones, Spanish daily ABC reported Saturday, citing an “intelligence report.”

In addition to that medication, known as “fentanyl,” doctors also have prescribed “bisphosphonate to combat the metastasis” and “corticosteroids to alleviate the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy,” the newspaper said.

The paper said it had access to the “latest intelligence report” prepared based on “the medical orders of the team of physicians attending to the Venezuelan president.”

The same sources confirm that the leftist head of state “suffers from rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancerous tumor of the muscles attached to the bones, with metastasis.”

In regard to the prognosis, “at least a portion of the medical team estimates, according to the intelligence report, that ‘if there’s no unexpected deterioration, President Chavez could make it to (Oct. 7 presidential) elections.’”

Chavez’s candidacy was registered at the offices of the National Electoral Council on Friday, the first day for parties to present their presidential hopefuls.

According to the report cited by ABC, the side effects of the radiation and chemotherapy Chavez underwent in Cuba, including severe pain and anxiety, are “especially worrisome and at any moment his body will not be able to tolerate them.”

It adds that the treatment is aimed at combating “the spread of the cancer, not eradicating it.”

ABC’s report was published just days after U.S. journalist Dan Rather said Chavez’s cancer is now in the “end stage” and it is “doubtful” he will live to see the results of the Oct. 7 elections.

Rather, citing “a highly respected source close to Chavez who is in a position to know his medical condition and history,” also said the Venezuelan leader has metastatic rhabdomyosarcoma, an aggressive form of cancer that has “entered the end stage.”

“This source says the prognosis is dire and that Chavez is now not expected to live ‘more than a couple of months at most,’” the 80-year-old journalist wrote in an article posted this week on the Web site for his Dan Rather Reports program, which airs on HDNet.

Chavez is seeking re-election for a third time in the Oct. 7 presidential balloting and has a comfortable lead in the polls, but several sources cited by Rather, including the one who revealed the precise form of cancer, told the reporter “they believe it is doubtful the dictator will live to see the results.”

Chavez spent April 30-May 10 in Cuba for radiation treatment that followed a Feb. 26 operation in Havana to have a second malignant tumor removed.

The first tumor was extracted last June, also in Cuba, where the president’s cancer was first detected when he fell ill during an official visit.

Chavez has not released any details about the nature of the cancer, saying only that it was in his pelvic region.

First elected in 1998, Chavez is a controversial figure both at home and abroad who frequently rails against capitalism and U.S. influence in Latin America and has vowed to install “socialism of the 21st century” in Venezuela.

Despite his fiery rhetoric, Venezuela remains a key oil supplier to the United States.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Turbulent Wind Storm Attacks Colombian Town, Damages 1,000 Homes

Turbulent Wind Storm Attacks Colombian Town, Damages 1,000 Homes

Photo: Damaged caused by the wind storm in Colombia

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A wind storm battered the northern Colombian town of Sabanalarga, leaving 108 people injured and damaging 1,000 homes, the National Risk Assessment Unit, or UNGRD, said.

Six people seriously injured in Friday’s storm were taken to a hospital in the northern city of Barranquilla, UNGRD, which is under the Office of the President, said.

Some of the damaged homes were completely destroyed, it added without specifying a number, while 80 tents were installed for some families to spend the night.

Several roofs of large commercial establishments also collapsed during the storm, sparking panic among the town’s population.

UNGRD director Carlos Ivan Marquez traveled to the town to deliver food, hygiene products, mattresses and beds.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Body of Kidnapped Federal Police Commander Found Near Water Park

Body of Kidnapped Federal Police Commander Found Near Water Park

Photo: The body was found in Sinaloa

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The charred body of a federal police commander was found with signs of torture and asphyxiation in the northwestern Mexican state of Sinaloa, officials said Saturday.

The corpse of the Ministerial Federal Police coordinator in Sinaloa, Saul Carrasco Villa, was discovered around 10:00 p.m. Friday just outside the town of Tamazula II, near a water theme park, a spokesperson for the federal Attorney General’s Office said.

Carrasco was found shirtless and with numerous blows on his body, that same spokesperson and another with the Sinaloa state Attorney General’s Office added.

The federal law-enforcement official was kidnapped on Thursday in Culiacan, the state capital, while eating at a restaurant.

Heavily armed assailants located the police commander inside the establishment, stuffed him into a vehicle and drove away.

The federal AG’s office said in a statement after the abduction that federal, state and municipal police were involved in the search but had been unable to locate Carrasco.

The Ministerial Federal Police is Mexico’s equivalent of the FBI.

Read more by HS News Staff →



SundayJune 3, 2012