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FridayJune 8, 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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A Bus and Train Collide in Dominican Republic Killing 3 Tourists, Injuring 23

A Bus and Train Collide in Dominican Republic Killing 3 Tourists, Injuring 23

Photo: The wreckage of the crash

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Three French tourists were killed and at least 23 others injured when a bus collided with a train in Higuey, a city in the eastern Dominican Republic, media reports said.

The bus was carrying more than two dozen French tourists and two Dominican employees on the Bavaro-Bayahibe route when the accident happened on Thursday night, emergency management office regional director Amado Avila said.

The accident occurred around 8:00 p.m. on the Higuey-Yuma highway, the Listin Diario newspaper reported on its Web site.

Two men and a woman died in the accident, Avila told Channel 7’s Noticias SIN.

Two of the victims were pronounced dead at the accident scene and the third died at Doctor Cedano clinic in Higuey, the capital of La Altagracia province, located 145 kilometers (90 miles) east of Santo Domingo.

The injured tourists were also treated at the clinic.

The victims have not been identified and the condition of the injured tourists is not available, Avila said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Bus Accident Kills 16 Bolivian Students, Injures 32

Bus Accident Kills 16 Bolivian Students, Injures 32

Photo: The highway where the crash occurred, near Unduavi

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At least 16 people were killed and 32 others injured when a bus plunged into a ravine on the highway that links La Paz to Bolivia’s northern Amazon region, police and medical personnel said.

The accident happened on Thursday afternoon near Unduavi, a town about 46 kilometers (28 miles) from La Paz, when the bus went off the road and fell 120 meters (393 feet) to the bottom of the ravine, highway patrol chief Victorino Torrez told reporters.

“We have more than 16 dead, the highway patrol and the Bersa rescue team are working to recover the bodies,” Torrez said.

La Paz’s Arco Iris Hospital received 32 accident victims, with several listed in critical condition, hospital spokesman Dr. Fernando Arispe said.

The bus was carrying a group of students from Chicaloma, a town in Sud Yungas province, who were going to take part in a sports event in La Paz.

The government has been trying for years to reduce the number of traffic accidents in Bolivia.

President Evo Morales’s administration enacted a law in January 2010 that cracked down on bus drivers caught working drunk, inexperienced drivers and drivers who work excessive hours.

The measure’s goal is to reduce accidents, which kill an average of 1,000 people annually, according to International Automobile Federation figures, in this Andean nation.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latin America’s 1st Double-Arm Transplant Performed After Man Loses Arms in Electrical Accident

Latin America’s 1st Double-Arm Transplant Performed After Man Loses Arms in Electrical Accident

Photo: Latin America's 1st Double-Arm Transplant Performed After Man Loses Arms in Electrical Accident

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A 52-year-old Mexican man who lost his arms in a 2011 electrical accident became the first patient in Latin America to receive a double-arm transplant.

Surgeons at Mexico City’s Salvador Zubiran National Institute of Medical Science and Nutrition performed the May 18 operation on Gabriel Granados, who was discharged on Thursday after a satisfactory recovery, the Health Secretariat said.

In a statement, the hospital said the donor was a 34-year-old man who had been declared brain dead.

The coordinator of the surgical team that performed the procedure, Martin Iglesias Morales, said in this type of transplant the limbs must be as compatible as possible with the characteristics of the recipient.

Surgeons, therefore, take into account weight, height, skin color and other attributes, as well as the recipient’s health, in carrying out the operation, he said.

Morales, chief of the hospital’s plastic surgery division, said the operation was part of a program involving the participation of some 60 experts from several medical and academic institutions.

He said that initiative - known as Tlalpan Team - was launched to explore new therapeutic alternatives for patients with rheumatoid arthritis, a disease that attacks flexible joints, particularly those of the hand.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Cuban Catholic Primate Meets With Dissident Group Ladies in White

Cuban Catholic Primate Meets With Dissident Group Ladies in White

Photo: Ladies in White

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Leaders of the dissident group Ladies in White spent nearly four hours Thursday with Cuba’s Catholic primate, Cardinal Jaime Ortega, asking him to mediate with the communist government to stop its repression of them.

The meeting, held at the Havana Archdiocese, came at a time marked by criticism of the cardinel by certain Cuban exile groups and the internal opposition.

At the close of the meeting, the spokesperson for the dissident group, Berta Soler, told reporters that Ortega was “very receptive” to their request and listened to everything they had to say.

Soler said she and her three colleagues has as their objective informing the cardinal that the Ladies in White are “being “taken to jail” for going to their regular Sunday Masses and that “the repression (against them) has intensified.

Their aim was “for the cardinal to listen to us, and to be able to transmit (what we said) to (Cuban President) Raul Castro so that at least, although the violence against the Ladies in White might not cease, it could diminish because we’re peaceful women,” Soler said.

“We have confidence, faith in him, given that we have much to thank him for,” emphasized Soler, recalling that in 2010 Ortega contributed to engineering the release of political prisoners and the cessation of a series of attacks by goverment supporters against the Ladies in White in Havana.

Ortega at that time headed an unprecedented dialogue between the Catholic Church and the communist government that bore fruit in the form of a process of gradually releasing dozens of political prisoners.

Since then, the Church has taken on a renewed role as an interlocutor with the authorities and has opened spaces within Cuban society for exchange and dialogue on issues such as reconciliation among Cubans outside and within the country.

In recent weeks, Ortega has been the target of criticism by sectors who accuse him of aligning himself with the government.

The Ladies in White, who are asking for the release of all political prisoners in Cuba, emphasized that freedom for those people is not in the cardinal’s hands but rather those of the government.

“The bridge there was between the Catholic Church and the government ... was valid,” said Soler, adding that the members of the group will continue “knocking on the doors” of the Church and appealing to it for mediation with the goverment.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Armed “Terrorist Criminals” Rob 18 Gas Company Workers in Peru

An armed group briefly abducted 18 gas company workers in the southeastern region of Cuzco and stole equipment from them, the Peruvian military said.

Workers with the Transportadora de Gas del Peru firm were doing maintenance work on a gas pipeline in the Echarate district when they were accosted by 35 “terrorist criminals,” the statement said.

During the 40 minutes the workers were retained, the kidnappers carried out propaganda activities and stole communications gear belonging to TGP, the armed forces joint command said.

The Peru.21 daily reported that the attackers painted a hammer and sickle on a helicopter used to transport the workers.

Energy and Mines Minister Jorge Merino told RPP radio the assailants probably belong to the ranks of Martin Quispe Palomino, a.k.a. “Gabriel,” who authorities say leads a group of Shining Path remnants in the Valley of the Apurimac and Ene rivers, or VRAE, region along with three of his brothers.

Gabriel, meanwhile, has disavowed any affinity with the Shining Path, an insurgency blamed for tens of thousands of deaths in the Andean nation, referring to his group as the “militarized Communist Party of Peru.”

Wednesday’s incident occurred at a spot six kilometers (four miles) from the town of Kepashiato, where a group of armed men at Gabriel’s command kidnapped 36 TGP workers for five days in April.

The operation to rescue the captives resulted in the death of 10 police and soldiers, prompting questions about the role of the security forces in the Cuzco region.

The Maoist-inspired Shining Path launched its uprising on May 17, 1980, with an attack on Chuschi, a small town in Ayacucho province.

A truth commission appointed by former President Alejandro Toledo blamed the Shining Path for most of the nearly 70,000 deaths the panel ascribed to politically motivated violence during the two decades following the group’s 1980 uprising.

The guerrilla group, according to commission estimates, also caused an estimated $25 billion in economic losses.

The group became notorious for some of its innovations, such as blowing apart with dynamite the bodies of community service workers its members killed, or hanging stray canines from lampposts as warnings to “capitalist dogs.”

Shining Path founder Abimael Guzman was captured with his top lieutenants on Sept. 12, 1992, an event that marked the “defeat” of the insurgency.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spanish Man Found Dead in Home 20 Years After Death

Spanish Man Found Dead in Home 20 Years After Death

Photo: Spanish Man Found Dead in Home 20 Years After Death (pictured: Canizal, Spain)

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The body of a man was only recently found in the northwestern Spanish village of Canizal, though he may have been dead for up to 20 years.

Police looking in to how Vicente Benito could have died two decades ago, without anyone noticing her was suddenly not around anymore.

Prior to an autopsy, investigators figured he’d have to have been dead for at least 12 years, as the only currency found in his home was in pesetas. In 2002, the euro was introduced to Spanish and with no euros in anywhere in the home, police deduced he had died sometime before more then.

When asked when the last time they saw Benito was, neighbors said they had not seen him in about 20 years. However, he was a solitary man and it was not uncommon for people to go weeks without seeing him. Many in the 520-person village thought he simply moved to neighboring Portugal when he stopped answering the door. Some had heard rumors he had a girlfriend in Portugal so thought nothing of it.

Even the mayor of the town admitted no one had seen him in at least 15 years

Neighbors also recalled Benito leaving his dog tied up outside, which caused a bit of anger. The dog eventually chewed through his restraint and was taken in by a neighbor, but even that was at least a decade ago.

Benito’s body was finally discovered last week when his nephew, a man in a neighboring village, decided to break into his uncle’s home.

If he were alive today, Benito would be 73 years old.

Read more at The Guardian →

Roselyn Sanchez to Celebrate Her Daughter’s Baptism in Puerto Rico

Roselyn Sanchez to Celebrate Her Daughter’s Baptism in Puerto Rico

Photo: Twitter: @Roselyn_Sanchez

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Actress and singer Roselyn Sanchez said Thursday she will baptize her daughter, Sebella Rose, in her native Puerto Rico.

“Desperate because September 9 is coming. Crazy to do RS Triathlon For Life and for Sebella to go to Puerto Rico for the 1st time! And to baptize her! Happy!” said Sanchez via Twitter.

The artist will travel to Puerto Rico to participate in the third edition of the Triathlon for Life, a benefit organized by the San Jorge Foundation and the Casa Cuna of Puerto Rico.

Sebella Rose, the first child of Sanchez and actor Eric Winter, was born in January. The couple wed in November 2008 in San Juan.

The 38-year-old Sanchez became known to U.S. television viewers in 1996 as “Pilar Domingo,” the first Latino continuing character on the long-running soap opera “As the World Turns.”

From 2005-2009, Sanchez portrayed an FBI agent on the primetime drama “Without a Trace.”

She made her singing debut in 2003 with the album “Borinqueña.” The first single from the disc, “Amor Amor,” garnered a Latin Grammy nomination for Best Music Video.

Sanchez is currently filming a 13-episode television series in Colombia for Fox Telecolombia.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Misspelled Spanish Language Street Signs in Ybor City, Fla May Be Sold

Misspelled Spanish Language Street Signs in Ybor City, Fla May Be Sold

Photo: Misspelled Spanish Language Street Signs in Ybor City, Fla May Be Sold

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The Tampa City Council has voted to change the misspelled Spanish language signs on Seventh Avenue in Ybor City, Florida, and are debating whether or not to put the old signs up for sale.

For nearly 15 years, the signs which should have read “La Septima” instead read “La Setima”. Residents had been asking that the signs be changed for years, and the council is now that the signs are going to be changed, the council is deciding if they will sell signs.

Of all the members of the council, only one was opposed to the spelling change, according to UPI, and that was Council Chairman Charlie Miranda. He was also the one who suggested the signs be sold, saying, ““I think you’ll be surprised what someone will pay for an old sign. If, legally, I can be a bidder, I will bid.”

The misspelled signs have been up since 1998.

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: El Paso Mechanic Arrested on Child Pornography Charges

LATINO BLOTTER: El Paso Mechanic Arrested on Child Pornography Charges

Photo: LATINO BLOTTER: El Paso Mechanic Arrested on Child Pornography Charges

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U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents arrested a local school district bus mechanic on child pornography charges.

Jose Miranda, 46, was arrested at his home in the 3200 block of Black Elk in El Paso.

He is charged with receiving and possessing material showing minors being sexually exploited.

Miranda is employed by the El Paso School District as a mechanic supervisor.

HSI special agents assigned to the Cyber Crimes Group, along with Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and El Paso Independent School District (EPISD) Police Department officers, executed a federal search warrant at Miranda’s east El Paso home May 31.

HSI special agents seized various electronic media items, including a computer.

A forensic analysis of the computer revealed numerous videos containing child pornography.

Miranda made his first appearance in court June 1, and remains in federal custody. His detention hearing was set for June 6 in federal court.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Research Finds Immigrants Build Stronger, Safer Communities in Southern California

Research Finds Immigrants Build Stronger, Safer Communities in Southern California

Photo: Research Finds Immigrants Build Stronger, Safer Communities in Southern California

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UCI prepares first regional progress report on socioeconomic, quality-of-life trends

Contrary to some perceptions, the large influx of Asian and Latino immigrants into Southern California over the past 50 years has resulted in stronger and safer multicultural communities, according to a report to be released next week by UC Irvine.

High levels of ethnic mixing were found to be associated with increased property values, lower joblessness and less crime in many areas throughout the five counties.

The inaugural Southern California Regional Progress Report was prepared by researchers with the School of Social Ecology’s Metropolitan Futures Initiative, which aims to build a base of knowledge to guide policymakers in improving the overall quality of life in the Southland.

Five faculty members, 10 graduate students and six undergraduates collected data from 14 sources on the region’s demographic, social and economic landscape. It allows for systematic statistical analyses at the county, city, neighborhood and street-block levels.

The report draws on this unprecedented data set to examine the interrelationships among such community factors as racial/ethnic demographics, employment and economic welfare, housing density and availability, crime and public safety, and land use.

It’s intended to serve as a catalyst for evidence-based dialogue that will inform planning for the future. Subsequent biennial reports will continue to monitor trends and expand the domain of coverage to include, for example, health and welfare.

UCI Chancellor Michael Drake will host a breakfast event to release and discuss the Metropolitan Futures Initiative report on Thursday, June 14, at the UCI Student Center.

“This inaugural study provides a wealth of findings on the area’s changing landscape – findings that constitute crucial considerations for successfully planning a future with healthy, sustainable, affordable, safe, economically vibrant and just communities in which residents enjoy the many benefits of Southern California,” said Valerie Jenness, dean of UCI’s School of Social Ecology.

“These reports will provide policymakers, businesses, residents and others with essential information and thoughtful analyses about our region for years to come.”

The soon-to-be-released study examines data from the past 50 years to paint a broad yet incisive picture of Southern California. Researchers compiled the data in metropolitan clusters by grouping together cities that are geographically close and socially similar. Among the findings:

The ethnic makeup of Southern California has changed dramatically during the past five decades: Latino and Asian populations have grown substantially; the African American population has become concentrated within fewer communities; and the proportion of whites has steadily decreased.

South Central Los Angeles provides a glimpse of the changing landscape: African Americans made up the majority of residents in 1960, with Latinos accounting for 8.5 percent of the population. In 2007, the area was 80 percent Latino and just 15 percent African American.

The burgeoning immigrant population in Southern California communities has contributed to increases in property values and decreases in crime rates. Southern California air quality has improved dramatically over the past three decades.

Neighborhoods with 10 percent more Latinos than surrounding areas at the beginning of the 2000s experienced a 1.3 percent greater increase in home values over the decade.

Similarly, ethnically mixed neighborhoods in Southern California today are more likely to have higher property values than homogenous neighborhoods, reversing a trend from earlier decades. In the 1980s and 1990s, neighborhoods with higher levels of racial/ethnic mixing at the beginning of the decade experienced lower home value appreciation over the following 10 years.

There is evidence of a revival in downtown Los Angeles, as the inner city has become a hub of mixed land uses and a 24-hour lifestyle. Violent crime downtown fell from 350 percent higher than the region average in 1990 to just 67 percent above the average in 2010 – during a period in which crime rates in general were trending downward. Meanwhile, rates for both the northeast San Fernando Valley and Hollywood Hills dropped from double or triple the average in 1990 to average levels in 2010. Rates for the Westside and Westwood/Beverly Hills areas fell from about average in 1990 to half the average in 2010.

The foreclosure crisis has begun to abate but has had a sizeable impact on home values throughout affected areas. Hardest hit were residents of San Bernardino and Riverside counties. Foreclosure rates also correlated strongly to falling home values throughout the region.

Home ownership corresponds to lower crime rates; a higher number of vacant units equates to higher crime rates.

In the city clusters within Los Angeles County, a large proportion of areas (17 of 24) showed year-over-year increases in average commute time between 1980 and 2007. The Claremont cluster had the lowest average commute time (25.4 minutes) in 2007, with the Glendale cluster close behind (25.7 minutes). The Lancaster cluster, an exurban area with comparatively low home values and fewer available jobs, had the highest average commute time in the county (36.4 minutes) in 2007.

Los Angeles County had 6.6 million vehicles registered in 2007. Only six states – Florida, Illinois, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas – had more vehicles registered. It should be no surprise that the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana metropolitan area is the nation’s most traffic-congested.

A 10 percent increase in nearby job density reduces a given household’s annual vehicle miles traveled by an average of 1.58 percent.

“A number of findings took us by surprise,” said John Hipp, associate professor of criminology, law & society who led the team of researchers behind the Southern California Regional Progress Report. “We’re looking forward to more extensively analyzing the data to better understand many of the changes that have shaped the region over time.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Orphaned Elephants from Namibia Make it to New Home in Mexico

A group of 9 elephants from Namibia are enjoying their new home in Mexico.

The African elephants were orphans after their parents were killed by ivory hunters and range in age from 4 to 9.

The orphans were likely to be euthanised by Namibian rangers, as they were having trouble finding them a permanent home.

Luckily, Mexico’s Africam Safari Zoo, the zoo with the largest population in Latin AMerica, was able to fight through the red tape, and after a 40-hour trip, the elephants are in their new home. Africam was not the only zoo looking to take the elephants, however.

“It was very complex. There were many countries who were interested in participating in this rescue and only Africam Safari got it. It was a race against time, we had to do very complex logistical operations, negotiations with the governments of Namibia and Mexico. We achieved it with willpower, we got the support of an airline so we could bring this large, valuable cargo,” Africam Safari Zoo Development told Reuters.

For now, the nine elephants are under careful observation by medics, but they will hopefully be moved to a much bigger enclosure in the near future.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Triple Crown Dreams Die for ‘I’ll Have Another’ and Jockey Mario Gutierrez

Triple Crown Dreams Die for ‘I’ll Have Another’ and Jockey Mario Gutierrez

Photo: I'll Have Another Out of Belmont Stakes, No Triple Crown

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The ‘I’ll Have Another’ race horse that was on the road to achieving Triple Crown glory after winning the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness will not compete in the Belmont Stakes due to a reported leg injury.

The training staff for ‘I’ll Have Another’ is due to present the horse in front of the media at noon CST to show the horse is ok but with the type of injury he reportedly has on its left leg it might not be able to race safely.  The horse went out on its morning run alone without other horses to bother it – it is probably during this morning run or its late Thursday practice that the injury was discovered.  Trainer Doug O’Neill delivered the bad news to racing fans on ‘The Dan Patrick Show’. 

Jockey Mario Gutierrez and ‘I’ll Have Another’ were on the way to creating Triple Crown glory after winning the Kentucky Derby in April and then the 137th Preakness in May. The third and final race of the Triple Crown is the Belmont race held tomorrow in New York which is the longest race at 1.5 miles.

Gutierrez, 25,  from Vera Cruz, Mexico was the first jockey to win the Kentucky Derby on his first try since 2004.  He was discovered by owner J. Paul Reddam after winning 91 races as a novice in Canada and has been jockeying since age 14 starting out in Mexico City.

There has not been a Triple Crown winner since Affirmed won in 1978. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

University in Denver Lowers Tuition for Undocumented Students

University in Denver Lowers Tuition for Undocumented Students

Photo: Metropolitan State College of Denver

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Starting in August, the Metropolitan State College of Denver will authorize lower tuitions for certain undocumented students.

The initiative creates an intermediate university tuition level above what legal residents in the state must pay but substantially below what students coming from other states or from abroad pay.

According to MSCD president Stephen Jordan, the measure would benefit some of the 300 incoming undocumented students and 120 other students who are already enrolled, but who up to now have had to pay as if they were not Colorado residents.

In concrete numbers, undocumented people who are studying at this time at MSCD would pay almost $7,200 per year, compared with the $4,300 that legal residents pay and the almost $16,000 that students from outside Colorado pay.

In remarks to the media, Jordan said that the proposal began to be acted upon in October 2011, when efforts were begun in the Colorado legislature in favor of bill SB12-15, which sought to create an intermediate university tuition level to benefit certain undocumented students.

That measure proposed that reduced tuitions be authorized for undocumented students who could demonstrate that they had studied in Colorado schools for three years, that they had already graduated from a school in the state or that they had received a GED, and who qualified to regularize their immigration situation.

SB12-15 was approved by the Democratic-controlled Senate, but later it was rejected by the Republican majority in the state House of Representatives.

That rejection, Jordan said, motivated MSCD authorities to explore the possibility of implementing the reduced tuitions on their own.

Jordan emphasized that the initiative seeks “to create a type of positive environment and acceptance of the Hispanic community.”

Currently, 18 percent of the 24,000 students at MSCD are of Hispanic origin.

The measure could meet opposition in the Colorado Higher Education Commission, which regulates the universities, and probably will face opposition among Republican lawmakers, who have already announced that, if MSCD implements the reduced tuitions, they will seek to overturn the measure by means of a new law in 2013.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Nicaragua Plans to Construct Interoceanic Canal Within 10 Years

Nicaragua Plans to Construct Interoceanic Canal Within 10 Years

Photo: Nicaragua

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Nicaragua’s government plans to build a $30 billion interoceanic canal within the next 10 years, calling that project a “priority” and an addition to the country’s “national heritage.”

A bill for the canal’s construction, which President Daniel Ortega sent Tuesday to the unicameral National Assembly and to which Efe gained access, states that the project would complement and not compete with the Panama Canal.

The waterway, according to the bill, would be built over a period of no more than 10 years once it has been approved by lawmakers and could be completed by 2019.

The Nicaraguan canal would have the capacity to handle 416 million metric tons of cargo by 2019, or 3.9 percent of the global total, and 573 million metric tons by 2025, or 4.5 percent of the global total, the bill said.

Nicaragua plans to own 51 percent of the shares and profits of the mixed public-private venture and offer the remaining 49 percent to a range of possible investors, from countries and international organizations to individuals and corporations,

Neighboring Costa Rica, meanwhile, said it should be consulted about the future construction of the waterway because the project could adversely affect its rights.

“Nicaragua cannot make plans for an interoceanic canal without requesting and hearing Costa Rica’s opinion beforehand,” the Costa Rican Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding that in cases such as this in which its sovereign rights could be affected that opinion would be “binding.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

FridayJune 8, 2012