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FridayJune 15, 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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Los Zetas Leader Known as “The Czar of Piracy” Arrested in Mexico

Los Zetas Leader Known as “The Czar of Piracy” Arrested in Mexico

Photo: Gregorio Villanueva Salas

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A member of Mexico’s Los Zetas drug cartel suspected of running piracy operations for the criminal organization was arrested earlier this week, the Defense Secretariat said Thursday.

Gregorio Villanueva Salas, known as “The Czar of Piracy,” also faces charges in connection with several grenade attacks.

Villanueva was arrested by army troops on Monday in Monterrey, the capital of the northern state of Nuevo Leon, along with three other members of the gang.

All four suspects were paraded before reporters Thursday in Mexico City.

Villanueva was “one of the principal operators” of Los Zetas, a drug cartel notorious for dismembering its victims, Defense Secretariat spokesman Col. Ricardo Trevilla said, reading from a joint statement prepared by the Defense Secretariat and the Attorney General’s Office.

The suspect controlled the production and distribution of pirated music in the states of Zacatecas, San Luis Potosi, Nuevo Leon and Coahuila, as well as in the border city of Nuevo Laredo, located across the Rio Grande from Laredo, Texas, Trevilla said.

Villanueva told investigators that he personally turned over the proceeds from the piracy business to Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano, known as “El Lazca” and considered the top leader of Los Zetas, Trevilla said.

Lazcano Lazcano deserted from the Mexican army in 1999 and formed Los Zetas with three other soldiers, all members of an elite special operations unit, becoming the armed wing of the Gulf drug cartel.

After several years on the payroll of the Gulf cartel, Los Zetas, considered Mexico’s most violent criminal organization, went into the drug business on their own account and now control several lucrative territories.

Villanueva’s arrest “cuts the flow of resources for this criminal organization,” Trevilla said.

Mexico’s drug cartels have expanded into kidnapping, extortion, piracy and other criminal enterprises in recent years.

Villanueva is suspected of being behind an undetermined number of attacks on schools, businesses, media outlets and military installations in Matamoros, a city in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, since May 31, Trevilla said.

The attacks were designed to “generate a climate of violence” in Matamoros, located across the Rio Grande from Brownsville, Texas, and to “affect the activities” of the rival Gulf cartel, the military spokesman said.

Villanueva told investigators that the bodies found on June 7 in Tamaulipas were those of presumed members of Los Zetas murdered by the Gulf cartel “in retaliation for their participation in the grenade attacks.”

The men arrested with Villanueva were identified as Rodolfo Chan Cornejo, Christian Miguel Navarrete Gonzalez and Ruben Dario Martinez Alvarado.

Soldiers seized four rifles, including a submachine gun, a pistol, six vehicles and 291,000 pesos (about $20,000) in cash from the suspects, the secretariat said.

Villanueva and the other suspects face organized crime, weapons, piracy and other charges.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Surveillance Video Links Police in Mexico to Murder of Three They Arrested

Surveillance Video Links Police in Mexico to Murder of Three They Arrested

Photo: Surveillance Video Links Police in Mexico to Murder of Three They Arrested

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Mexicans have been scandalized by the release of surveillance video showing seven uniformed police officers taking custody of three men who were later found dead.

The cops seen in the video were themselves arrested last week, the spokesman for the Jalisco state Attorney General’s Office told Efe on Friday.

The officers have already admitted links to criminals and could face charges for homicide, Lino Gonzalez said.

The images were captured the night of Jan. 20 by security cameras at a hotel in Lagos de Moreno, Jalisco, where the three men were staying.

Jalisco Attorney General Tomas Coronado Olmos released the tape on Tuesday.

The men, handcuffed and wearing only their underwear, are loaded onto a police vehicle by the cops, who appear to be taking direction from three other civilians also seen on the video.

The men were found dead hours later inside a van belonging to one of them.

The victims, all residents of the northern state of Coahuila, had traveled to Lagos de Moreno on business, Gonzalez said.

Prior to the night of their abduction, the visitors were briefly detained by Lagos de Moreno police for drinking in public, the AG’s office spokesman said.

While few in Mexico are surprised to see police collude with criminals, the behavior documented by the surveillance video has struck many as unusually brazen.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Armed Men Rob 54 Bus Passengers in Venezuela

Armed Men Rob 54 Bus Passengers in Venezuela

Photo: A bus in Venezuela

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Armed assailants intercepted a bus traveling between the Venezuelan cities of Maracaibo and Caracas, robbing 54 people, a police spokesperson said.

Five robbers boarded the bus on a stretch of highway near the town of Moron, in the northwestern state of Carabobo, the spokesperson told Efe Thursday.

The assailants followed the bus early Wednesday in another vehicle, intercepted it when the driver slowed down and forced him to open the doors.

The spokesperson said an investigation is underway.

Violent crime is a major problem in Venezuela and the government has acknowledged its lack of success in lowering an annual homicide rate of roughly 48 per 100,000 inhabitants.

By way of comparison, Mexico, which has been racked by drug-related violence in recent years, has an annual murder rate of 22.9 per 100,000 inhabitants, according to a study published in April by the Washington Office on Latin America and Mexico’s Colef think tank.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican Journalist Slain in Veracruz, 9th Since December 2010

Mexican Journalist Slain in Veracruz, 9th Since December 2010

Photo: Victor Baez

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The body of a kidnapped journalist was found Thursday in the eastern Mexican state of Veracruz, where nine members of the media have been murdered in the past 18 months, state officials said.

Victor Baez, a police reporter for the Milenio Xalapa newspaper and partner in the reporterospoliciacos Web site, was abducted on Wednesday night.

Baez’s body was found in a busy street in downtown Xalapa, the capital of Veracruz state.

The reporter’s body was discovered around 6:00 a.m. in Centro, a neighborhood that is home to the offices of three of Xalapa’s newspapers, Veracruz state government spokeswoman Gina Dominguez said.

Baez was kidnapped around 11:40 p.m. outside the Web site’s office by three gunmen, Dominguez said.

Baez’s murder “is an affront to the journalism profession, and it seeks to intimidate society and push back against a government determined to fight” crime, the state spokeswoman said.

The government of Veracruz will continue to fight crime and work to ensure that the reporter’s murder does not go unpunished, Dominguez said, adding that she had been friends with Baez for many years.

Dominguez said Baez told her a few days ago that people should not live in fear.

“We cannot let them impose fear on us as a way of life,” the state government spokeswoman said Baez told her.

Nine journalists have been murdered in Veracruz since December 2010, when Javier Duarte, of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, became governor.

Photojournalists Gabriel Huge, Esteban Rodriguez and Guillermo Luna were murdered and dismembered on May 3 in the Gulf port of Veracruz.

Regina Martinez, Proceso magazine’s correspondent in Veracruz, was murdered on April 28. Martinez was beaten and strangled in her house.

Journalists Noel Lopez Olguin and Yolanda Ordaz de la Cruz, as well as Miguel Angel Lopez Velasco and his son, Misael Lopez Solana, who was also a reporter, were murdered last year in the state.

The federal government launched “Operation Safe Veracruz” last October in an effort to stem the wave of drug-related violence in the Gulf state, where a turf war between rival drug cartels has sent the murder rate skyrocketing.

The Gulf, Los Zetas and Jalisco Nueva Generacion cartels, as well as breakaway members of the once-powerful La Familia Michoacana organization, are fueling the violence in the state.

Veracruz, Mexico’s third-most populous state, is coveted as a key drug-trafficking corridor to the United States.

Mexico, where 78 journalists have been murdered since 2000, is considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world for members of the media.

Last Friday, Stephania Cardoso, a police reporter for the daily El Zocalo in Saltillo, the capital of the northern state of Coahuila, and her 2-year-old son disappeared.

“Cardoso’s disappearance comes less than three weeks after a crime journalist in Sonora, Marco Antonio Avila Garcia, was kidnapped and later found tortured and killed,” the Vienna-based International Press Institute, or IPI, and the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, or WAN-IFRA, said in a statement released earlier this week.

The police reporter is the 15th journalist to disappear in Mexico since 2000 and the second reporter to go missing in Coahuila, the Foundation for Freedom of Expression, or Fundalex, said in a statement.

Rafael Ortiz, another reporter for the Zocalo newspaper, disappeared on July 8, 2006, the Fundalex said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Porn Stars Offering Free Oral Sex to Twitter Followers if Miami Heat Win NBA Championship (VIDEO)

Porn Stars Offering Free Oral Sex to Twitter Followers if Miami Heat Win NBA Championship (VIDEO)

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Porn stars Angelina Castro and Sara Jay announced on Twitter and YouTube that if the Miami Heat win the NBA Championship, they will give their Twitter followers “free blow jobs.”

Calling themselves big Miami Heat fans the women, who live in Miami, all they ask is for people to follow them on Twitter (@SaraJayxxx and @AngelinaCastroX), use #TeamBJNBA, and root for the Heat.

If Miami Heat win NBA Championships Sara Jay and Angelina Castro make a promise to the fans and followers of #TeamBJNBA

Watch the video below (WARNING: language NSFW)

 


Related Videos

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: 2 Men Chase, Murder Well-Known Doctor Near Border in Nogales After he Tries to Flee

LATINO BLOTTER: 2 Men Chase, Murder Well-Known Doctor Near Border in Nogales After he Tries to Flee

Photo: Fransisco Javier Salazar Nolasco, Abraham Minjares Covarrubias shot Dr. Armando Flores Haro

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Mexican authorities have two men believed to be behind the murder of a well-known doctor.

At around 8:35 p.m. Monday night, two men cut off Dr. Armando Flores Haro, who driving his Arizona-plated 2006 Jeep Liberty SUV in Nogales, Sonora. The doctor attempted to flee by making a U-turn, but was chased, rammed by the suspects’ car, and shot multiple times when he reportedly tried to run. (Some reports say he was shot while still in his vehicle, while others say he had run a few yards before he was fatally shot.)

According to a press release from Carlos Alberto Navarro Sugich, Sonora’s attorney general, the two men, who were identified as Fransisco Javier Salazar Nolasco, 23, and Abraham Minjares Covarrubias, 23, then robbed and fled the scene, leaving Dr. Flores Haro to die.

The doctor provided care to patients from both the U.S. and Mexico in both his 9-doctor office and also as an internist at Hospital del Socorro, a local emergency center.

The suspects were caught after their 2005 Audi was spotted in a neighborhood near where the doctor was found. Upon investigation of the car, police found an AR-14 rile and two pistols, bullets from which matched those found at the crime scene.

Dr. Flores Haro was just 5 blocks from the U.S.-Mexico border and some believe he was attempting to make it to a border crossing for help.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Human Rights Group Reports Over 400 Arbitrary Arrests in Cuba last May

Human Rights Group Reports Over 400 Arbitrary Arrests in Cuba last May

Photo: Arbitrary political arrests in Cuba

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The opposition Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation reported Thursday that at least 423 arbitrary arrests were made for political reasons in May of this year.

In a communique released in Havana, the group led by activist Elizardo Sanchez said that the growing trend to make arbitary political arrests continues to be “disturbing.”

In its customary monthly report, the commission said that in May, for the first time in 50 years, the Cuban government offered figures on the island’s prison population, putting the total at 57,337.

The rights commission, however, estimates the number of inmates at between 65,000 and 70,000.

“The Cuban government has among the highest number of prisoners per 100,000 inhabitants in the world,” the commission said, and asked that Cuban jails be opened to inspection by international organizations like the Red Cross.

The Communist Party daily Granma reported in May that Cuba has 57,337 prisoners, of whom more than 31,000 are locked up and almost 26,000 are in “open facilities.”

In the last six months, according to these official figures, 10,129 inmates have been set free for different reasons, including the more than 2,900 who where pardoned last December by the Raul Castro government.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Study Shows Whites Sleep Better than Hispanics, Asians, and Blacks

Study Shows Whites Sleep Better than Hispanics, Asians, and Blacks

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Study shows differences in length, quality of sleep and daytime sleepiness by race

White people seem to sleep longer at night, have a better quality of sleep and experience less daytime sleepiness than people identified as black, Hispanic or Asian, according to a new study from Northwestern Medicine.

“We found that black adults have the worst quality of sleep, and Asians experience the highest amount of daytime sleepiness of the four races,” said Mercedes R. Carnethon, PhD, associate professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Carnethon presented the research at SLEEP 2012, the 26th annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS) in Boston, on June 13 .

These racial/ethnic differences in sleep persisted, even when researchers took into account the participants’ cardiovascular disease risk (CVD) factors and education levels, Carnethon said. In previous studies, CVD has been associated with shorter and poor quality sleep, and persons with less education and fewer financial resources often suffer the worst sleep.

“The link between sleep and cardiovascular risk factors, such as obesity and diabetes, is known to vary by race and ethnic group,“ Carnethon said. “This study suggests race differences in sleep characteristics are not completely explained by these cardiovascular risk factors or by differences in socioeconomic resources.”

Here are highlights from the research, with the results adjusted for age, sex, education, body mass index, hypertension and diabetes:

  -Average length of sleep per day varied by race:

      -White: 7.4 hours

      -Asian: 6.9 hours

      -Hispanic: 6.9 hours

      -Black: 6.8 hours

  -Sleep quality, which is impacted by indicators such as waking during the night after initially falling asleep, was more of a problem for black versus white participants. There were minimal differences in Asian or Hispanics versus whites when it comes to sleep quality.

  -Black, Asian and Hispanic participants reported more daytime sleepiness than white participants, with Asians experiencing the highest amount of daytime sleepiness.

The study of more than 500 randomly selected Chicago-area men and women who did not suffer from sleep disorders measured sleep using in-home wrist monitors and queried sleep quality using surveys. Previous studies have typically relied on self-reports of sleep only and usually included people with known sleep disorders, Carnethon said.

“The monitors were worn on the wrist and recorded movement associated with sleeping or waking,” Carnethon said. “The monitor has a computer on board, and we downloaded the data in order to calculate an average sleep duration over seven days.”

More studies are needed to investigate the role race plays in sleep, but Carnethon said no matter your ethnic background, you should take your sleep seriously.

“Every night you should engage in a regular calming bedtime routine that includes decreasing screen time with phones, TVs and computers and allows you to sleep a full, quality, seven to nine hours,” she said.

Read more at Northwestern University School of Medicine →

A Narciso Rodriguez Line May be Heading to Kohl’s

A Narciso Rodriguez Line May be Heading to Kohl’s

Photo: Narciso Rogriguez Line May be Heading to Kohl's

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Apparel from one of First Lady Michelle Obama’s favorite designers may soon be available at your local Kohl’s store.

According to WWD, “Narciso Rodriguez will soon be unveiling a special collection for Kohl’s. According to sources, the designer has been putting together a limited-run capsule collection for the retailer, which is expected to serve as the kickoff for a series of such collaborations at Kohl’s this fall.”

Though celebrities like Jennifer Lopez and Lauren Conrad also have lines at the retailer, Rodriguez is more following Vera Wang, bringing high fashion from big-name designers to those who can’t afford the usual top-designer prices.

Should the deal with Kohl’s see fruition, it is said Rodriguez’s collection would be a limited-run unlike the long-running ‘Simply Vera’ Vera Wang collection at Kohl’s and more like Isaac Mizrahi for Target.

Rodriguez is one of America’s top designers and has even gotten the nod from hard-to-please Anna Wintour of American Vogue, who said, “No one but Narciso has ever made a simple line look more stunning.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Benecio Del Toro to Star as Plains Indian in ‘Jimmy Picard’

Benecio Del Toro to Star as Plains Indian in ‘Jimmy Picard’

Photo: Benecio Del Toro to Star as Plains Indian in 'Jimmy Picard'

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New father Benicio Del Toro is set to be playing the lead in director Arnaud Desplechin’s Jimmy Picard, according to Deadline.

Jimmy Picard is based on ethologist/psychologist Georges Devereux’s project titled Psychotherapy Of A Plains Indian, and follows the friendship between Devereux (Mathieu Amalric) and Picard as the French psychoanalyst attempts to help Picard work through physical and psychological turmoil.

Picard, a member of the Plains Indian Blackfoot nation, has returned from World War II and struggles with feelings of rootlessness, alcoholism, and severe neuroses. He meets Devereux at Winter Hospital in Topeka, Kansas. The 80 meetings the two men have lead to a friendship.

The film is being produced by Desplechin’s long-time partner Pascal Caucheteux and Jeniifer Roth of Black Swan.

Before Jimmy Picard however, Del Toro can been seen in Oliver Stone’s

alongside Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively, John Travolta, and Salma Hayek.

Read more by HS News Staff →

More Latinos Graduating High School, Large Part of Rising National Average

More Latinos Graduating High School, Large Part of Rising National Average

Photo: More Latinos Graduating High School, Large Part of Rising National Average

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Report Examines Challenges Facing Latino Students; Identifies Promising Strategies and Districts Beating the Odds

A new national report from Education Week and the Editorial Projects in Education (EPE) Research Center finds that the nation’s graduation rate has posted a solid gain for the second straight year. Amid this continuing turnaround, the nation’s graduation rate has risen to 73 percent, the highest level of high school completion since the late 1970s. The report shows that the nation’s public schools will generate about 90,000 fewer dropouts than the previous year. Nationwide improvements were driven, in large part, by impressive gains among Latino students.

“It’s no exaggeration to say that the educational and economic future of the nation will hinge on our ability to better serve the nation’s large and growing Latino population, which faces unique challenges when it comes to success in high school and the transition to college and career,” said Christopher B. Swanson, Vice President of Editorial Projects in Education, the nonprofit organization that publishes Education Week. “Given what’s at stake, it is heartening to see that graduation rates for Latinos are improving faster than for any other group of students.”

The nation’s 12.1 million Latino schoolchildren encounter significant barriers on the road to educational success: language challenges, poverty, lagging achievement, low rates of high school and college completion, and, more recently, a wave of state laws targeting illegal immigrants that have put additional strain on Hispanic students, families, and communities. The 2012 edition of Diplomas Count—Trailing Behind, Moving Forward: Latino Students in U.S. Schools—takes a closer look at the state of schooling for this population of students, the challenges they face, and the lessons learned from some of the schools, districts, organizations, and communities that work closely with Latino students.
...
The national public school graduation rate for the class of 2009 reached 73.4 percent, an increase of 1.7 points from the previous year. Much of this improvement can be attributed to a rapid 5.5 point rise in graduation rates among Latinos and a 1.7 point gain for African-Americans. These increases more than offset modest drops in graduation rates for Asian-American and Native American students. Rates for white students remained largely unchanged.
...
However, because the Latino graduation rate, at 63 percent, lags substantially behind the U.S. average, this group makes up a disproportionate number of the students who do not finish high school. Of the 1.1 million members of the class of 2012 that we project will fail to graduate with a diploma, about 310,000 (or 27 percent) will be Latinos. Two states—California and Texas—will produce half the nation’s Hispanic dropouts.

The educational experiences of Latino students are largely reflected in—if not directly driven by—the characteristics of the communities in which they live and the school systems by which they are served. Latinos are much more likely than whites to attend districts that are large and highly urbanized, that serve high proportions of English-language learners, and that struggle with high levels of poverty and racial and socioeconomic segregation. Yet some schools, districts, and communities—including those profiled in the report—have demonstrated records of success serving diverse Latino populations.

Read more by HS News Staff →

J.D. Martinez First Grand Slam helps Houston Win

J.D. Martinez First Grand Slam helps Houston Win

Photo: J.D. Martinez Grand Slam

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In the top of the third inning with Houston leading 1-0.  San Franciso Giant pitcher Barry Zito walked the bases loaded for Martinez.  On a 0 and 1 count Zito throw an 84mph fastball; which Martinez rocketed over the left field fence for his first ever career grand slam.  The grand slam for Martinez snapped a 0 for 12 slump. 

After the game Martinez told mlb.com, “He ( Barry Zito) was making some mistakes and falling behind and walking guys, and I was going up there aggressive because I knew he had to give me something to hit,” Martinez said. “That’s the kind of mindset I went up there with, was be aggressive. I didn’t care he walked three guys. I had to be aggressive and if I got a pitch, I was going to go for it.”

Martinez was draft by Houston in 2009 in the 20th round.  On July 30, 2011, Martinez was called up to replace Hunter Pence, who was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies. Martinez is currently hitting .227 with 7 homeruns and 37 rbis. 

Written by HS News Sports Writer: Tim Horodyski

 

Read more by HS News Staff →

BREAKING NEWS: Obama to Stop Deportation of Undocumented Youth

BREAKING NEWS: Obama to Stop Deportation of Undocumented Youth

Photo: BREAKING NEWS: Obama to Stop Deportation of Undocumented Youth

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Ahead of a press conference this afternoon, Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano has released a statement announcing that President Obama will stop the deportation of undocumented youth.

Here is her statement:

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today announced that effective immediately, certain young people who were brought to the United States as young children, do not present a risk to national security or public safety, and meet several key criteria will be considered for relief from removal from the country or from entering into removal proceedings. Those who demonstrate that they meet the criteria will be eligible to receive deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and will be eligible to apply for work authorization.

“Our nation’s immigration laws must be enforced in a firm and sensible manner,” said Secretary Napolitano. “But they are not designed to be blindly enforced without consideration given to the individual circumstances of each case. Nor are they designed to remove productive young people to countries where they may not have lived or even speak the language. Discretion, which is used in so many other areas, is especially justified here.”

DHS continues to focus its enforcement resources on the removal of individuals who pose a national security or public safety risk, including immigrants convicted of crimes, violent criminals, felons, and repeat immigration law offenders. Today’s action further enhances the Department’s ability to focus on these priority removals.

Under this directive, individuals who demonstrate that they meet the following criteria will be eligible for an exercise of discretion, specifically deferred action, on a case by case basis:

  -Came to the United States under the age of sixteen;

  -Have continuously resided in the United States for a least five years preceding the date of this memorandum and are present in the United States on the date of this memorandum;

  -Are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;

  -Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety;

  -Are not above the age of thirty.

Only those individuals who can prove through verifiable documentation that they meet these criteria will be eligible for deferred action. Individuals will not be eligible if they are not currently in the United States and cannot prove that they have been physically present in the United States for a period of not less than 5 years immediately preceding today’s date. Deferred action requests are decided on a case-by-case basis. DHS cannot provide any assurance that all such requests will be granted. The use of prosecutorial discretion confers no substantive right, immigration status, or pathway to citizenship. Only the Congress, acting through its legislative authority, can confer these rights.

While this guidance takes effect immediately, USCIS and ICE expect to begin implementation of the application processes within sixty days. In the meantime, individuals seeking more information on the new policy should visit USCIS’s website (at www.uscis.gov), ICE’s website (at www.ice.gov), or DHS’s website (at www.dhs.gov” title=“www.dhs.gov”>www.dhs.gov). Beginning Monday, individuals can also call USCIS’ hotline at 1-800-375-5283 or ICE’s hotline at 1-888-351-4024 during business hours with questions or to request more information on the forthcoming process.

For individuals who are in removal proceedings and have already been identified as meeting the eligibility criteria and have been offered an exercise of discretion as part of ICE’s ongoing case-by-case review, ICE will immediately begin to offer them deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal.

For more information on the Administration policy reforms to date, please see this fact sheet.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Fashion Meets Social Responsibility in Latin Designers’ Handbags

Fashion Meets Social Responsibility in Latin Designers’ Handbags

Photo: Marisa Collado - Time Inc. Digital Studio

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Fashion and social responsibility go hand-in-hand for up-and-coming designers like Marisa Collado from Mexico and Costa Rica’s Jennifer Lang, who provide employment for the indigenous communities that produce their handbags that have won awards in New York.

“I’ve always had an interest in artisan crafts and a deep-down love of Mexican culture,” said Collado, who on Wednesday walked off with the prize for social responsibility at the sixth edition of the Independent Handbag Designer Awards.

Collado entered a red leather handbag decorated with woven palm fronds made by Mixtec Indians in the mountains of the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca.

“This is not a personal achievement, but the work of many people, dreaming and working hard. They turn their dreams into reality, and keep on dreaming,” Collado said upon receiving the award.

Jennifer Lang, whose handbag was voted the best by readers of In Style with 236,000 votes on her Web site, worked with a community of Boruca Indians in Costa Rica to create her next collection.

“It’s a fairly needy community,” she told Efe, and said that her collaboration with the Boruca women’s association is “a way to help the community and add an interesting element to the collection.”

Image
Jennifer Lang - Time Inc. Digital Studio

Read more by HS News Staff →

Niece of Singer Celia Cruz Entering Georgia State Rep. Race

Niece of Singer Celia Cruz Entering Georgia State Rep. Race

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The niece of the late salsa queen Celia Cruz seeks to enter the field of politics in Georgia and has ambitions to become a state representative.

Linda Becquer Pritchett, who grew up under the influence of the iconic Cuban-American singer, recalls her relationship with her aunt as something very special and acknowledges that she left a significant mark on her life and impressed her with the need to serve others.

“Ever since I was little my aunt taught me by her example to give back to the people, and that is something that has stayed with me all my life and throughout my career. A lot of what I learned, I learned from her,” the candidate told Efe.

Pritchett, who is very involved with the Celia Cruz Foundation, noted as part of her famous aunt’s legacy her activism in matters affecting minority communities in Georgia, and how she felt “the responsibility” of being a voice for the Hispanic community.

“As a Hispanic I gradually realized that I too could be a voice for the community by speaking out about people’s troubles and informing the community about things that affect them,” she said about the reasons for her bid to enter the political arena.

Pritchett, the mother of two teenagers, chose to run for the office of state representative for Georgia House District 63, which includes parts of Fulton, Clayton and Fayette counties, and which was created following the redistricting in Georgia last year.

She will face two fellow Democrats in the July 31 primary and is one of eight Hispanic candidates for public office this year in Georgia, an unprecedented number.

Pritchett firmly opposes Georgia’s harsh HB 87 immigration law, which, she said, has led to huge economic losses for the state.

“This law is doing a lot of damage to the state’s Hispanics and to its agriculture, which has already lost $75 million because they can’t find people who want to do farm work,” she said.

Pritchett has also expressed her opposition to the HB 861 bill, which would require anyone who receives government assistance to submit to random drug testing, a measure that she believes would particularly affect minorities and women.

“We all have to fight these social injustices together and revoke these bad laws,” she said.

One of the candidate’s goals is to promote greater dialogue as a way to build a consensus on decisions that affect the region’s Hispanic community.

Besides combating anti-immigrant feeling, Pritchett said she will put other matters on the table that affect the state and that she considers of fundamental importance like education, crime prevention, economic development and mortgage foreclosures.

“Foreclosures are a serious problem for our state, but they don’t just affect people who lose their homes, they affect everyone because they bring down the value of houses and cause enormous economic damage to entire communities,” the candidate said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

15 Colombian Soldiers to Stand Trial for Murdering 6 Civilians

15 Colombian Soldiers to Stand Trial for Murdering 6 Civilians

Photo: Cumaribo, Colombia

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A former battalion commander and 14 of his men will be tried for murder in the deaths of six civilians falsely reported as rebels killed in combat, the Colombian Attorney General’s Office said Thursday.

Lt. Col. Isnardo Polania Delgadillo, now retired, led a motorized infantry battalion that was operating in the eastern border province of Vichada in late 2006.

The unit reported having killed six guerrillas during a Dec. 22, 2006, engagement in the remote jungle village of Cumaribo, but it subsequently emerged that the fatalities were civilians.

Such killings are known in Colombia as “false positives.”

The phenomenon came to light in October 2008 with the discovery in northeastern Colombia of the bodies of a score of young men from a poor Bogota suburb who had been buried in mass graves as if they were insurgents killed in battle.

With Colombian politicians and the military brass demanding results in the war against leftist guerrillas, inflating body counts became a way for troops to earn promotions, bonuses and extra leave.

The AG’s office has investigated more than 2,000 instances of “false positives” and probes are ongoing.

Read more by HS News Staff →



FridayJune 15, 2012