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SaturdayJune 16, 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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Cuba Denies U.S. Claim that Gross’s Health is Deteriorating

Cuba Denies U.S. Claim that Gross’s Health is Deteriorating

Photo: Alan Gross

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U.S. contractor Alan Gross, behind bars since December 2009, is in “normal” health, the Cuban government said Friday, dismissing Washington’s recent statements to the contrary as “distortions.”

“The state of Mr. Alan Gross’ health is normal. He suffers from chronic illnesses characteristic of his age, for which he is receiving treatment,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

“He has a healthy and balanced diet. He maintains an elevated exercise regime, which demonstrates his good general state of health,” the ministry said.

The U.S. government said Thursday that Gross’ health has deteriorated to the point that he is unable to walk.

“We are extremely concerned about Alan Gross’ health. His health has seriously deteriorated during his incarceration. He has lost more than 100 pounds since his arrest,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.

“He suffers from severe degenerative arthritis and is no longer able to walk in his cell. He has other health problems that cause pain and require treatment,” she added.

The spokeswoman urged Cuban authorities to hand over the results of his latest medical exam to his relatives so they can assess whether he is receiving proper care.

Responding to Nuland, the Cuban foreign ministry insisted that Havana has “systematically” shared Gross’ medical reports with his family and with U.S. officials.

The ministry said that if the United States does not end the “campaign of fabrications” in regard to Gross, the Cuban government will have “no choice” but to publicly release the medical reports.

Gross’ attorney in the United States, Peter J. Kahn, said he demanded in a letter sent to the Cuban Interests Section in Washington that Havana provide Gross’ family the results of a medical exam his client underwent six weeks ago.

The lawyer said in addition to the severe weight loss and arthritis Gross also has developed a mass behind his right shoulder blade.

Although Cuban doctors have told Gross that mass is a hematoma, his family is concerned and asked for a medical report, as well as MRIs and other scans taken of his hip so doctors in the United States can review them.

Nuland also cited reports from family members indicating the contractor is increasingly depressed over the Cuban government’s refusal to allow him to visit his 90-year-old, terminally ill mother.

“We call on the government of Cuba to release Alan Gross immediately and allow him to return to his family, putting an end to this injustice that began more than two years ago,” Nuland said.

Now 63, Gross was arrested in Havana on Dec. 3, 2009, in possession of satellite communications equipment he said he was planning to distribute among Cuba’s Jewish community.

Havana says he was illegally aiding dissidents and inciting subversion on the Communist-ruled island. Last August, Cuba’s highest court upheld the 15-year jail sentence imposed on Gross five months earlier.

Gross was in Cuba as an employee of a Maryland firm contracted by the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Washington has dismissed suggestions that it trade five Cuban intelligence agents convicted of espionage in Florida more than a decade ago for the contractor.

Havana, which has publicly hinted it would be prepared to free Gross outright in exchange for the return of the “Cuban Five,” acknowledges the men were intelligence agents but says they were spying on Miami’s Cuban exile community, not the U.S. government.

Nuland said last month there was no “equivalence” between the situations because “on the one hand, you have convicted spies in the United States and on the other hand you have an assistance worker who should never have been locked up in the first place.”

In a phone interview with CNN aired in May, Gross said he was being held at a “secured hospital building” with three people to a room as opposed to a “typical Cuban jail.”

He said he “didn’t really see any sunlight for the first year-and-a-half or so” behind bars, his “food was infested with insects” and he was not allowed to read anything.

But added that “eventually, after the conviction and after the Supreme Court upheld the conviction, things improved as far as my physical comforts were concerned.”

The U.S. State Department has repeatedly asked Cuba to heed Gross’s request to visit his dying mother as a reciprocal measure after Washington allowed one of the Cuban Five - Rene Gonzalez, on probation in Florida after serving 13 years for espionage - to travel to the island in late March for a brief visit with his terminally ill brother.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Colombia Accused of Spying on Nicaragua’s Armed Forces

Colombia Accused of Spying on Nicaragua’s Armed Forces

Photo: Top Secret

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Nicaragua has accused Colombia of sending a spy to obtain classified information about the Central American country for its armed forces.

Inspector General Armando Juarez said at a press conference Friday that “convincing evidence” has been gathered about the activities of Colombian Luis Felipe Rios Castaño, whom the Attorney General’s Office charged Thursday with espionage.

Rios Castaño’s purpose was to obtain and gather “restricted, reserved and classified” army information and transmit it to the general command of the Colombian armed forces, Juarez said.

The purported spy, who has been jailed and is scheduled to appear in court for an initial hearing on June 26, could face up to eight years in prison,

The alleged spying “is not a peaceful action. It’s not an action that would be expected between fraternal nations or between governments that have legal relations,” Juarez said.

Nicaragua’s army chief, Gen. Julio Cesar Aviles, said the espionage case comes at a time when the two countries are awaiting a ruling by The Hague, Netherlands-based International Court of Justice in a maritime dispute.

Nicaragua filed a complaint against the South American country in 2001 before the ICJ, claiming territorial rights over Colombia’s San Andres, Providencia and Santa Catalina archipelago and other islands and asking the court to redraw the nations’ maritime border.

The Nicaraguan army says the alleged spying occurred between July 2011 and June of this year and that Rios Castaño recruited two Nicaraguan army officers who have been discharged and will be tried in military court for treason.

According to the AG’s office, the soldiers received money transfers of up to $29,000 sent from Colombia via Western Union.

Military intelligence services said Rios Castaño entered Nicaragua in late 2010 and claimed to be a correspondent for a Spanish magazine covering security and defense issues, adding that since then he has “carried out work against (Nicaraguan) security.”

The Nicaraguan army first detected the alleged spying in August and on Tuesday authorities arrested the suspect at a home he was renting on Managua’s south side.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said Friday from Costa Rica, where he had traveled to meet with President Laura Chinchilla, that he has ordered an investigation into the matter.

Read more by HS News Staff →

HUD, USDA and Treasury Step Up Efforts to Fight Poverty in Border Communities

HUD, USDA and Treasury Step Up Efforts to Fight Poverty in Border Communities

Photo: Us-Mexico border fence

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The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Rural Development (USDA-RD) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) announced a joint “Border Community Capital Initiative” (Border Initiative), a collaboration designed to increase access to capital in the U.S./Mexico border region which includes some of the poorest communities in the country.

The three agencies signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will offer up to $200,000 to nonprofit and/or tribal financial institutions serving colonias for direct investment and technical assistance focusing on affordable housing, small businesses, and community facilities. Colonias are communities along the U.S./Mexico border struggling with chronic poverty, the lack of drinking water, inadequate sewage systems, and a shortage of decent, safe and sanitary housing.

The lack of stable funding and capacity among the organizations serving the colonias is a major barrier in the effectiveness of federal programs. The Border Initiative will assist local financial institutions improve their capacity to raise capital, increase lending, and boost investment it in their communities.

Resources offered through the Border Initiative will support activities such as loan or investment capital, loan loss reserves, program staff costs, information systems, market studies, portfolio analyses and business planning. Applicants may propose to expand lending or investing in affordable housing, small business and/or community facilities that benefits colonias communities or the current low income residents of colonias. Applicants may also propose to secure new sources of capital for existing activities such as these.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Panamanian Students to Benefit from IDB Loans

Panamanian Students to Benefit from IDB Loans

Photo: Education in Panama

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The Inter-American Development Bank approved a loan for $70 million to provide innovative educational infrastructure to 47 communities in Panama that will benefit more than 38,000 students. The goal is to expand educational opportunities and encourage students in marginal and indigenous areas to complete basic education.

More than a third of Panamanians between the ages of 13 and 17 do not attend school. Coverage levels are especially low for the groups targeted by the program. For example, in the Ngäbe-Buglé and Guna Yala indigenous administrative regions, only 43 percent of youths attend secondary school.

The IDB financing will be used to expand and equip 20 primary schools to include grades seven to nine and construct two model schools that will have innovative facilities and will employ a new pedagogical and educational management approach. These investments are expected to result in the matriculation of 10,000 new students from preschool through secondary school.

Only 62 percent of Panamanian schools have drinking water in Panama, compared with 77 percent for the Latin America and the Caribbean as a whole. Half have adequate sanitation, compared with 65 percent for the region

Studies indicate that the quality of a school’s physical environment directly affects both the motivation and behavior of teachers as well as learning, discipline, and attention levels of the students.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Luis Fitch Named Winner of Friends of the American Latino Museum Design Contest

Luis Fitch Named Winner of Friends of the American Latino Museum Design Contest

Photo: Winning design of Friends of the American Latino Museum Contest

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Friends of the American Latino Museum (@LatinoMuseum) is excited to announce the winner of our 2012 Campaign Design Contest. This design was chosen by supporters in a popular vote style. It will be used throughout all of the activities for the remainder of the year including participation at the major Latino conferences and our national fundraising and awareness events. Posters will be available on their website and to attendees of the NCLR Conference in Las Vegas, NV.

Upon hearing of his win Luis Fitch, founder of UNO Branding (@UNOBranding), stated “At UNO Branding, we are very excited that our campaign poster design won. For us it is a great honor to help the Friends of the American Latino Museum continue to create awareness and support but mainly to accomplish the goal of one day having a museum to represent all Latinos in the U.S.”

Luis Fitch founded UNO Branding in 1999 with the goal of expanding the Hispanic branding and available creative options to the community. Fitch is a well-respected designer whose work has been profiled internationally, and he was noted as one of Graphic Design USA’s “Special People to Watch” and METRO Magazine’s “Twin Cities top creative minds” in 2009.

Congratulations to UNO!

Read more by HS News Staff →

New Bi-lingual YouTube Channel Premieres With Original Juanes Docu-series

New Bi-lingual YouTube Channel Premieres With Original Juanes Docu-series

Photo: 123UnoDosTres

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123UnoDosTres, a revolutionary Channel targeted at young, bilingual U.S. Latinos, launched on YouTube June 15th with the premiere of the new docu-series,“123:POV Juanes”.  “Juanes” chronicles an artist The Los Angeles Times calls “the single most important figure of the past decade in Latin music.”  Juanes, a multi-platinum rock superstar and humanitarian sets out on a first-person exploration of the things that excite him creatively.  The series features many of the people who inspire him, and the fans he attracts wherever he goes. 

123UnoDosTres’s incredible access will take viewers on a journey they won’t forget, often to places where camera crews rarely have access: backstage, home, and the precious personal space Juanes manages to carve out between his many public appearances. The YouTube platform will provide viewers with unprecedented opportunities for engaging with Juanes directly including weekly video responses to viewer posted questions and an exclusive live Google hangout with him. It’s a personal and vibrant video travelogue set against the backdrop of Juanes’ own music, which we’ll hear throughout thanks to secret/impromptu musical performances in local pubs, street scenes, and inside the homes of fans and friends.

123UnoDosTres, a joint venture between IconicTV, and prodigious talent manager James Cruz and the noted director Jessy Terrero, who has directed for an international clientele of famous artists including Jill Scott, Lionel Richie, Syleena Johnson, 50 Cent, Ludacris, Akon,  Paulina Rubio, Enrique Iglesias and many others.  More recently, he directed the music video Follow the Leader with Wisin Y Yandel and J.Lo, and the movie Freelancers starring Robert de Niro, 50 Cent, and Forrest Whitaker that hits theaters later this summer.

123UnoDosTres aims to tap into the fastest growing demographic in the U.S.  Over the next ten years 88% of the population growth among age 18-34 will come from Hispanics, representing $1 trillion in purchasing power.  With content that spans everything from music to pop culture, sports, fashion, comedy and politics from Mexico to the Caribbean, 123UnoDosTres will superserve the 3rd-generation – or Ñ – Latino youth market.  While the formal launch happened June 15th, the Channel already has over 1.7 million views.

Find the sneak peek of “123:POV Juanes” below.

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Read more by HS News Staff →

Latin America and Caribbean Face Close to $100 Billion in Damages from Global Warming

Latin America and Caribbean Face Close to $100 Billion in Damages from Global Warming

Photo: Tortoises from the Galapagos Islands - Planet Ark

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Latin America and the Caribbean face annual damages in the order of $100 billion by 2050 from diminishing agricultural yields, disappearing glaciers, flooding, droughts and other events triggered by a warming planet, according to the findings of a new report to be released at the Rio+20 summit.

On the positive side, the cost of investments in adaptation to address these impacts is much smaller, in the order of one tenth the physical damages, according to the study jointly produced by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Economic Commission of Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

However, the study also notes that forceful reductions in global emissions of greenhouse gases are needed to avert some of the potentially catastrophic longer term consequences of climate change. The report estimates that countries would need to invest an additional $110 billion per year over the next four decades to decrease per capita carbon emissions to levels consistent with global climate stabilization goals.

Latin America and the Caribbean contribute only 11 percent of the emissions that cause global warming. However, countries are especially vulnerable to its effects, given the region’s dependence on natural resources, an infrastructure network that is susceptible to climate events, and the presence of bio-climate hotspots such as the Amazon basin, the Caribbean coral biome, coastal wetlands and fragile mountain eco-systems.

Mexico and Brazil have the largest land distribution just above sea level, making those countries vulnerable to rising sea levels.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Rep. Gutierrez Applauds President Obama’s DREAM Announcement

Rep. Gutierrez Applauds President Obama’s DREAM Announcement

Photo: Luis Gutierrez

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Yesterday, the President and Secretary of Homeland Security are announcing a major initiative to protect young undocumented immigrants raised in the United States from being deported.  The policy, contained in a memo by Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano, will give “deferred action,” a form of deportation relief and work authorization, to those who are already in deportation proceedings and to those who go through a process to apply affirmatively for relief.  They will be granted a two-year deferred action if they meet certain criteria.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), as Chairman of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), led the effort to seek administrative relief for immigrants with clean criminal records and deep roots in their communities, like those who are eligible for the DREAM Act.  This included getting arrested in front of the White House at a demonstration in 2012 calling for the White House to grant relief from deportation for select individuals.

The following is a statement by Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez:

For a year and a half after the DREAM Act was filibustered, I have been standing with others and saying to the President ‘yes you can’ prevent the deportation of DREAMers and now he and the Secretary clearly agree and are taking proper action.  This could protect 800,000 or more young immigrants with roots here right now, and will be seen in the immigrant and Latino community as a very significant down payment on broader reform.  It is the right thing to do and I am overjoyed and proud that the President has acted.

DREAMers who came here at a young age have grown up believing that our country would eventually embrace them as much as they have embraced this country and now that is coming true, at least on a provisional basis.  No group of young immigrants has fought harder or more bravely for their place in our country than the DREAMers and we have all taken a lesson from their tenacity and leadership.

The details of this program are still being finalized, so immigrants across the country should be patient and very skeptical of anyone who claims to have all the answers immediately.  I was told the government needs at least 60 days to put things in place and I will work with the President and Secretary Napolitano to get clear and accurate information out about who does and does not qualify for the relief in the Secretary’s memo as soon as possible.

This will be a process to evaluate each individual case to see if they qualify for the two-year relief, but it is a tremendous first step towards addressing the problems caused by our outdated and inflexible immigration system.

But this is a time to celebrate.  The DREAMers are not the sum total of the immigration issue and even with the announcement, the DREAM Act legislation is still needed to give people permanent relief beyond the two-year reprieve.  And many other immigrants with no criminal history and deep roots here deserve the same consideration and we will keep fighting for them.

This sets the ball in motion to break the gridlock and fix our laws so that people who live here can do so legally and on-the-books and people can come with visas instead of smugglers in the first place.  Today the students are being protected, but we have to fix the system for their families and for the country once and for all.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Ancient Cave Art Discovered in Spain Could Be From Neanderthals

Ancient Cave Art Discovered in Spain Could Be From Neanderthals

Photo: Hand prints dating from 37,000 years ago, and a red disk from 40,600 years ago (not pictured), in El Castillo Cave in Spain, are the oldest cave paintings in Europe. (Pedro Saura)

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Scientists believe cave paintings discovered in Spain could be the work of Neanderthals, our closest prehistoric relatives, who lived throughout Europe and Asia until about 30,000 years ago.

“This currently is Europe’s oldest dated art, by at least 4,000 years,” says Alistair Pike of the University of Bristol in England. 

A new study in the journal Science dated 50 paintings in 11 caves, which are believed to be up to 40,000 years old.

Researchers analyzed the thin layer of calcite that formed on top of the art and measured the radioactive decay of uranium.

Unlike radio carbon dating, this method can be used on mineral pigments like those in the caves. It is also more accurate, less invasive and able to date further back in time.

Project leader Alistair Pike of Bristol University removes calcite samples from the cave paintings for dating. As little as 10 milligrams, about the size of a grain of rice, is required. (Marcos Garcia Diez)
Pike, the study’s lead author, perfected this technique in caves and on ancient bones. Among the samples described in the study are 37,300-year-old hand stencils made by blowing colored pigment onto a cave wall.

In the same cave, a red disc made by a very similar technique was dated at 40,800 years old. 

According to the historical record, modern humans arrived in Europe, moving north from Africa, between 42,000 and 41,000 years ago. If the calcite crust on top of the red disc symbol is 40,800 years old, Pike says, that means the work underneath it is even older and may very well be Neanderthal. 

That Neanderthals might be Europe’s first cave artists comes as no surprise to Joao Zilhao, a research professor at the University of Barcelona, who co-authored the study.

“We know that from the fact that they were burying their dead, that they were decorating bone and ivory tools with abstract markings, and from the fact that they were painting their bodies using sophisticated cosmetic recipes, in some instances, and that they were using objects of personal ornamentation,” Zilhao says. “We know they were doing this from at least 50,000 years ago, and in the case of burials from at least 100,000 years ago.”

Zilhao says the new dates produced in the study further challenge assumptions about our shared evolutionary history.
“We know from the Neanderthal Genome Project that four percent of the genes of present day Europeans are of Neanderthal origin,” Zilhao says. “So perhaps we should start thinking of these people as the European brand of homo-sapiens, that were morphologically different from what we call modern humans in Africa, but they were sapien people as well.”

The study only sampled a small portion of cave art in Europe. To prove the work is Neanderthal, the team must collect more samples which predate the arrival of modern humans in Europe. That effort is now under way. 

“At the moment [it] is targeting hand stencils and red discs and red symbols in order to see whether or not dates that are significantly older than 41,000 or 42,000 can be found in similar samples from other paintings,” Pike says, adding that the earlier dates will help document not only who painted them, but why. 

The creation of art, he notes, is considered an important sign of intellect and language development.

Read more at Voice of America →

Human Rights Organization Expresses Concern about Disappearance of Mexican Journalist and Her Son

Human Rights Organization Expresses Concern about Disappearance of Mexican Journalist and Her Son

Photo: Hypatia Stephania Rodríguez Cardoso

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The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) expressed its concern over the disappearance of Mexican journalist Hypatia Stephania Rodríguez Cardoso and her 2-year-old son, which apparently happened in Saltillo, Coahuila, in the early morning Friday June 8.

The Office of the Special Rapporteur asks the State to undertake all the necessary actions to find the reporter and her son alive, and to ensure the investigation looks into the possibility that the disappearance be connected to the reporter’s professional practice.

According to the information that has been received, the reporter works for Zócalo, a newspaper of Saltillo, and usually covers news stories on police-related affairs.

On the night of June 7, the journalist went to a social gathering of journalists, along her son. Once the gathering was over, on the first hours June 8, she went to her house and minutes later she called some colleagues to say that she had made it home safely. However, the next day she was discovered missing and her house showed signs of having been searched. Her camera was found destroyed and her car was not found.

Her disappearance was reported to the police on the morning of Saturday, June 9, at the state’s office of the Solicitor General of Justice, but the investigation has apparently been transferred to the national Office of the Solicitor General.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Storm Carlotta Weakens over Mexico’s Pacific Coast, Two Dead

Storm Carlotta Weakens over Mexico’s Pacific Coast, Two Dead

Photo: Tropical Storm Carlotta

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Officials downgraded Carlotta from a hurricane to a tropical storm early Saturday as it weakened while moving across southern Mexico.

The National Weather Service’s National Hurricane Center in Miami discontinued the hurricane warning that had been in effect from Salina Cruz to Punta Maldonado and the hurricane watch from west of Punta Maldonado to Acapulco.

Carlotta pushed northward toward the resort city of Acapulco on Saturday after making landfall near the Mexican beach town of Puerto Escondido, where it toppled trees and shook tourist hotels.

Carlotta is located less than 30 N.Mi inland from the coastline of South-central Mexico. However, the high mountainous region is steadily taking its toll on the hurricane as indicated by both satellite and radar image.

During the next 48 hours , conditions are expected to force Carlotta to slow down and gradually turn westward.

Due to the forecast of slow motion of the cyclone and its remnants, this could result in an prolonged period of heavy rains causing life threatening flash floods and mudslides across a large portion of south central and southeastern Mexico.

Two children have reportedly been killed when a mudslide collapsed their house.

Read more by HS News Staff →

9 Squatters in Paraguay and 7 Police Officers Die During Clash

Seven police and nine squatters were killed Friday when security forces tried to evict landless peasants from a rural estate in the northeastern province of Canindeyu, Paraguayan authorities said.

Around 100 people were wounded in a gunbattle between the cops and the squatters.

The clash took place on the Morumbi property, a spread of 2,000 hectares (4,938 acres) located some 380 kilometers (236 miles) northeast of this capital.

Authorities sent 321 police officers backed by helicopters to clear the peasants off the estate, pursuant to a court order obtained by Morumbi’s owner, prominent politician and businessman Blas N. Riquelme.

“As of now we have seven losses, seven police who have died in this judicial-police operation,” Interior Minister Carlos Filizzola said at a joint press conference in Asuncion with his counterpart from the defense ministry, Catalino Roy.

The ministers talked to reporters at the presidential palace after meeting with head of state Fernando Lugo.

“Nine to 10 peasants” also died, Filizzola said, accusing the squatters of firing the first shot.

Some of the armed peasants subsequently withdrew into a wooded area, where they remain surrounded by police, he said.

Paraguayan lawmakers announced plans Friday for a special session to consider imposing a state of emergency in Canindeyu.

The government has seen no indication that the shadowy EPP rebel group, which operates in the northeastern part of the country, had any part in Friday’s incident, Filizzola said.

He attributed the violence to “peasants of various origins ... who have acted in previous occupations of the Morumbi estate and in the assault on the prosecutor’s office in Curuguaty.”

Land occupations are common in central and northeastern Paraguay. The peasants usually target massive soy plantations owned by businessmen from neighboring Brazil.

Paraguay’s Truth and Justice Commission said in a 2008 report that the 1954-1989 regime of dictator Alfredo Stroessner illegally awarded titles to nearly 6.75 million hectares (16.66 million acres) of land.

Those “ill-gotten” properties represent almost a third of the country’s arable land, according to the commission.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Penelope Cruz: New Film is One of Almodóvar’s Best

Penelope Cruz: New Film is One of Almodóvar’s Best

Photo: Pedro Almodóvar

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Spanish actress Penelope Cruz said at the opening of the Los Angeles Film Festival that the screenplay for director Pedro Almodovar’s next film, “Los Amantes Pasajeros” (The Brief Lovers) is one of the best of her countryman’s career.

Cruz, 38, went to L.A. to attend the North American pre-premiere of “To Rome with Love,” a Woody Allen film that was chosen to inaugurate the Angeleno festival, which kicked off the same week it was known that the Madrid actress would be collaborating for a fifth time with her favorite director, Almodovar.

Cruz said that production of “Los Amantes Pasajeros,” a film that begins with two scenes she shares with Antonio Banderas, is not yet underway - “they’re rehearsing.”

She noted that “at last” she and Banderas are working together as they’ve always wanted to do, and was particularly glad that it would be with “Pedro.” Her comments have raised expectations about the upcoming film considerably.

“It’s great and the screenplay is wonderful, I laughed so much with this script…I think it’s one of Pedro’s best screenplays and it makes me happy that he’s coming back with such a wild, funny comedy,” Cruz told Efe.

The Spaniard repeated her wish to work again some day with Allen, the filmmaker with whom she won her Oscar for “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” and who tabbed her a second time for “To Rome with Love.”

“He’s going to work in New York again and of course I’d love to do a third film with him and do it in his own city because what could be more fantastic than filming with Woody Allen in New York!” Cruz said.

Allen himself, never very fond of being seen at Hollywood events, decided to show up at the festival’s inauguration with his wife Soon-Yi.

The Spanish actress and the New York filmmaker were the stars that glittered most on the red carpet in the absence of the cast’s famous American actors - Alec Baldwin, Ellen Page and Jesse Eisenberg.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Increased Poverty Means More Latino Children Will Go Hungry in Colorado

Increased Poverty Means More Latino Children Will Go Hungry in Colorado

Photo: 220,000 latino kids suffer from hunger

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The rapid growth of child poverty in Colorado has increased hunger and food insecurity for thousands of children in the state, many of them Hispanic, according to figures revealed by the Hunger Free Colorado organization.

“This summer only 7 percent of all the children whose families qualify to receive free food are taking part in these programs. And during the rest of the year, when schools are open, only 38 percent do so,” Rita McCusker, the group’s Community Outreach manager, told Efe.

“There are many reasons why that happens, but there is no reason to explain why children are going hungry in this state,” she said.

The situation, McCusker said, also affects other vulnerable populations, such as single mothers and the elderly living on a fixed income, who, because of the rising cost of food, “are forced to choose between buying food or medicines or paying the rent.”

Hunger Free Colorado, a coalition of some 400 organizations founded three years ago, estimates that 220,000 youngsters in the state suffer from hunger or food insecurity, defined as not knowing when they will get their next meal nor what its quality will be.

Nonetheless, fewer than 15,000 of those childrens have access to free food-distribution programs for minors.

The situation affects above all Hispanic neighborhoods and other minorities in metropolitan Denver and Latino-majority counties in southern Colorado.

For example, in the Denver suburb of Commerce City, 83 percent of the local Latino population lives beneath the federal poverty line, and in all schools in the area at least half the students qualify for free or subsidized meals.

At a state level, in recent years Hunger Free Colorado saw an increase in the number of distribution centers for free meals and a 61-percent increase in the number of people applying for that aid.

In total, the group estimates that at least 16 percent of Colorado’s population suffers from hunger or food insecurity, which means as many as 900,000 people.

In 2011, Hunger Free Colorado provided meals for 1.2 million people and expects to top that number this year.

“Though the end of the school year generally indicates the beginning of three months without classes or homework, for many children it also means the end of healthy meals every day,” the organization’s Executive Director Kathy Underhill said.

“Colorado has a great need for access to nutritional meals, given that Colorado is the state with the biggest increase in child poverty in the nation,” she said.

According to figures provided by the Colorado Children’s Campaign, child poverty in this state has grown by more than 72 percent over the last 10 years.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Dad’s Love Can Be Crucial for Happy Childhood, Study Confirms

Dad’s Love Can Be Crucial for Happy Childhood, Study Confirms

Photo: Dad's Love Can Be Crucial for Happy Childhood

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For many kids, rejection by father can be even more devastating than by mother.

Move over, tiger moms. Dads can play an even more significant role in the development of happy, well-adjusted children than do mothers, a new study indicates.

Just in time for Father’s Day, findings from a large-scale review of research shed light on how parental acceptance and rejection can affect the personalities of progeny well into adulthood.

“In our 50 years of research in every continent but Antarctica, we have found that nothing has as strong and consistent an effect on personality development as does being rejected by a parent—especially by a father—in childhood,” said study co-author Ronald Rohner, director of the Ronald and Nancy Rohner Center for the Study of Interpersonal Acceptance and Rejection at the University of Connecticut, in Storrs.

The study, published recently in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Review, analyzed 36 studies, from 1975 to 2010, involving almost 1,400 adults and 8,600 children in 18 countries. The children ranged in age from 9 to 18, and adults were between 18 and 89.

All the studies included in the review included an assessment of seven personality traits considered central to what is called “parental acceptance-rejection theory.”

Those traits—aggression, independence, positive self-esteem, positive self-adequacy, emotional responsiveness, emotional stability and positive worldview—were evaluated using self-report questionnaires. Participants were asked about their parents’ degree of acceptance or rejection during their childhoods and about their own personality characteristics or tendencies.

“The study shows a strong relationship between those seven traits and the experience of feeling accepted and cared about by your parents,” said Dr. John Sargent, a professor of psychology and pediatrics at Tufts University School of Medicine and chief of child and adolescent psychiatry at Tufts Medical Center, in Boston.

“What’s really important to kids is to know they’re accepted by their parents,” Sargent said.

Study author Rohner said fathers may have a greater impact on a child’s personality because children and teenagers pay more attention to the parent who seems to have greater interpersonal power, or influence, in the family’s power hierarchy.

He explained that when a father is perceived as having more power, even if he spends less time with the children, he can have a greater impact. That’s because his comments or actions seem to stand out more notably. This is despite the fact that, all over the world, mothers tend to spend more time with kids than fathers do.

While not being accepted causes identifiable personality issues, acceptance doesn’t necessarily confer particular benefits. “Unfortunately, humans respond more dramatically to negative things,” Rohner said. Rejection predicts a specific set of negative outcomes—such as hostility, low self-esteem, negativity—while feeling loved and accepted is not as closely associated with particular positive outcomes, he explained.

There was no difference seen in the importance of a father’s love for girls versus boys.

The study does not establish a causal connection between respondents’ personalities and perceptions of being accepted or rejected.

Rohner said the research shows that society tends to place too much emphasis on the impact of mothers on children, often blaming them for troublesome personality traits or behaviors, even into adulthood. “We need to start giving greater acclaim to dads, and put them on an equal footing with moms in terms of their impact on children,” he said.

“Our work should encourage dads to get really involved in the loving care of their children at an early age,” Rohner said. “Their kids will be measurably better off.”

More information

The University of Connecticut has more about acceptance and rejection in families.

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Clash Between Protestors and Police Leave 3 Dead, 8 Wounded

Clash Between Protestors and Police Leave 3 Dead, 8 Wounded

Photo: Protests in DR

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Three people were killed and eight others hurt in clashes between police and protesters in the northern Dominican town of Salcedo, authorities said Friday.

All three of the dead were civilians and at least two of them perished of gunshot wounds.

Two police were injured and dozens of people arrested, including six protesters said to have been carrying guns.

Community organizations launched the protests to demand the arrest of a cop they say is responsible for the May 14 killing of area resident Hector Medina.

Radio station Z-101 quoted National Police commander Jose Armando Polanco Gomez as blaming the protests on “some anarchists who don’t respect (legal) norms.”

He also accused the Salcedo coordinator of the Broad Front of National Struggle, or FALPO, Dario Antonio Camilo Ortega, of having encouraged demonstrators to confront police with guns.

Two police generals were sent to Salcedo on Thursday with orders to seek a negotiated solution to the dispute.

While representatives of the Catholic Church and the municipal administration met with the police brass, the most militant element among the protesters boycotted the talks.

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Cabo Mega-Resort Canceled After Failing to Prove It Would Not Disrupt Marine Reserve

Cabo Mega-Resort Canceled After Failing to Prove It Would Not Disrupt Marine Reserve

Photo: The Cabo Cortes proposal

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Mexico’s government on Friday announced the cancelation of the proposed Cabo Cortes mega resort at the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula, saying the Spanish developer has not scientifically shown the project would not threaten a nearby marine reserve.

In a ceremony at the Los Pinos official residence, President Felipe Calderon said there still was no “absolute certainty” that the Cancun-style development “will not cause irreversible damage” to the environment.

“A few years ago, the company Hansa Baja began steps for the construction of a tourist mega-development called Cabo Cortes,” Calderon said in reference to Hansa Baja Investments, a unit of Spain’s Hansa Urbana.

“Because of the ecological significance of (the nearby) Cabo Pulmo (marine reserve), the possibility that the Cabo Cortes tourist development would be built on 3,800 hectares (9,380 acres) adjacent to the national park sparked concerns among the local communities, academics and environmental groups,” he added.

Several non-governmental organizations, local communities and environmentalists protested against the project, saying it would threaten Cabo Pulmo, declared a natural protected area by Mexican authorities in 1995.

Being “such an important area for the Gulf of California and the country ... we should all be absolutely certain that (the project) will not cause irreversible harm and that absolute certainty simply has not been generated,” Calderon said,

He said, however, that though the project as originally conceived has been canceled, investors are not completely in the lurch and can start from scratch with a project that is compatible with Cabo Pulmo’s sustainability.

The Mexican government “is determined to respect investors’ rights and protect the value of their assets,” he said.

The goal is for a project to be designed that creates employment and increases tourist visits to that natural area while also fully protecting ecosystems and generating funds that ensure their preservation, Calderon said.

The Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park in Baja California Sur state was created by decree on June 6, 1995. It has a marine area of 7,111 hectares (17,550 acres) and boasts the best-preserved coral reef in Mexico’s Pacific region.

It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005 and three years later was added to the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.

The 20,000-year-old Cabo Pulmo reef, one of the oldest in the American Pacific, is home to 226 of the 875 fish species that inhabit the Gulf of California.

The original Cabo Cortes project called for the construction of a marina with 490 boat slips, two golf courses, seven hotels with 27,000 guestrooms for tourists and 5,000 residences for workers, all within a short distance of the Cabo Pulmo preserve.

In remarks to Efe, the president of the Mexican Center for Environmental Law, Gustavo Alanis, hailed the government’s decision as “a triumph for conservation, environmental protection and nature.”

It is “a message in favor of legality and the rule of law in the environmental sphere” and tells investors that “all are welcome as long as they respect nature and comply with” existing environmental laws, he said.

Alanis said the decision was the product of “a collective effort” by individuals and non-governmental organizations that have tried over the past five years to halt the Cabo Cortes project due to the environmental risks.

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SaturdayJune 16, 2012