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TuesdayJune 26, 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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Costa Rican Authorities Destroy over 500,000 Marijuana Plants

Costa Rican Authorities Destroy over 500,000 Marijuana Plants

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Police destroyed 562,757 marijuana plants in the mountains of Talamanca, a canton in southern Costa Rica, but no arrests were made, the Security Ministry said.

The plants were destroyed during an operation conducted June 7-21 by officers, who also provided food, medicines and other humanitarian assistance to 190 Indians in communities in the remote region, the ministry said.

Police have destroyed more than 4.1 million marijuana plants over the past two years in Talamanca, the most difficult to reach area in Costa Rica and home to the country’s tallest mountains, the ministry said in a statement.

Some Indians plant marijuana along with corn, plantains and other food crops, the ministry said.

Forests have been cleared to plant corn and plantains by the Indians, who live in poverty and lack access to medical care and basic services, police stationed in the area said.

“According to officers, the area is increasingly deteriorating; in fact, ‘clearings’ can be seen that are affecting biodiversity, as well as much poverty and little attention to public services,” the ministry said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

John Leguizamo Documentary Coming to PBS this Summer

John Leguizamo Documentary Coming to PBS this Summer

Photo: John Leguizamo 'Ghetto Klown' Play

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Tales From a Ghetto Klown’ which profiles award-winning actor and playwright John Leguizamo’s rise to success and his struggles to mount his latest one-man show on Broadway and beyond will premiere on PBS this summer.  .

The program premieres Friday, July 13 at 9:00 p.m. EST on PBS (check local listings) as part of the PBS ARTS SUMMER FESTIVAL. 

Starting with a survey of his Colombian and “NuyoRican” roots and building to his high-profile career in Hollywood, Leguizamo bares his soul (as do his colleagues, family members and celebrity friends) in this behind-the-scenes glimpse of one of the industry’s most versatile actors. After the Broadway success of his latest show, Ghetto Klown, Leguizamo goes on the road to his native Colombia and performs it in Spanish.

The film is currently seeking support of fans via Kickstarter: ‘We aim to complete the film in the next few months with the highest quality standards possible. The film has been offered the opportunity to premiere on PBS this summer, but need support to make it happen.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Hispanic Church in Colorado Helps Feed Children During Summer When School Lunches are not Available

Hispanic Church in Colorado Helps Feed Children During Summer When School Lunches are not Available

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Every summer millions of children across the country go without the meals that the federal government provides for them during the school year - the reason a Hispanic church in suburban Denver has taken on the task of meeting this need with a program that has already become a national model.

“A lot of our kids get nutritious breakfasts and lunches during the school year. But during the summer many of the same children go hungry,” the Rev. Joseito Velasquez, pastor of the Assembly of God Church in Wheat Ridge, told Efe.

In view of that need, the church decided to offer not only food but also a lineup of other benefits at the Healing Waters Family Center.

“We believe we’re not only called upon to satisfy spiritual needs but also physical needs,” the pastor said.

A year ago, Velasquez and other leaders of his 90-percent Hispanic congregation took part in an online seminar about the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program.

During the seminar it was explained how churches can become SFSP sponsoring sites.

The experience in 2011 was so positive that this year, for the launching of SFSP at Healing Waters, a number of local personalities turned up including the mayor of Wheat Ridge, an assistant coach of the NBA Denver Nuggets and even USDA Under Secretary Kevin Concannon.

“Those who benefit most from our program are children under 18 because they receive good nutrition at a safe, easy-to-reach location. But apart from food they also receive four hours of free activities every day like sports, handicrafts, art, education and excursions,” Velasquez said.

“All these services are totally gratis. So not only the youngsters benefit but their parents do too, because now they have something for their kids to do all summer long that doesn’t cost them a cent,” he said.

Of the more than 220,000 children in Colorado who during the school year get meals free or at a discount, fewer than 24,000 took advantage of such meals during the summer of 2011.

Nationwide the USDA supervises 15 food programs that provide meals for one out of every four people in the country, half of them children.

Velasquez said his motivation for seeking local and federal aid to serve meals to children of low-income families grew even stronger after discovering in 2011 that, while these children and their parents asked for food, they also sought spiritual guidance and wanted to belong to a friendly community willing to lend a hand to those in need.

“That’s why we’re working with other agencies providing community aid. In fact we have become a kind of link with those funds. And it all began with the program of summer meals - it’s really been a blessing,” Velasquez said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Uruguay President Mujica Propses Plan to Legalize Marijuana

Uruguay President Mujica Propses Plan to Legalize Marijuana

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Though the country never criminalized the possession of drugs for personal use, Uruguay has now revealed a plan for ”regulated and controlled legalization” of cannabis.

The plan, which was presented by President Jose Mujica, 77, calls for marijuana to be sold by the government to adults and for the taxes collected from its sales to be used for drug rehabilitation.

President Mujica told El Observador, “The idea isn’t to make it totally free. We’re going to control it through a state network of distribution.”

Under the new plan, drug users will be monitored using a government database to prevent people from reselling cannabis to underground sources.

The legalization of marijuana is not simply to make legal a drug many argue is far less dangerous than cigarettes, but also to hopefully combat the abuse of a drug known as “pasta basica”, often compared to crack cocaine, by moving users over to marijuana, which studies have found is not addictive while still giving users a high.

Should Uruguayan lawmakers approve the president’s legalization plan, the country will become the first to not only legalize and regulate the drug, but also the first in which the government takes over the market.

Recent polls show more Americans are supporting marijuana legalization, with a number of states either implementing or considering decriminalization of cannabis.

Read more at Los Angeles Times →

Bronx Couple Pleads Guilty to Sexual Exploitation of Child and Distributing Child Pornography

Bronx Couple Pleads Guilty to Sexual Exploitation of Child and Distributing Child Pornography

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A Bronx couple pleaded guilty for engaging in conduct that led to the sexual exploitation of a child. These events come as a result of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Inocencia Ortega, 35, pleaded guilty June 21, to conspiring to commit the sexual exploitation of a child and making false statement relating to a sex offense. On June 11, Ortega’s husband, Luciano Mendez-Rojas, 38, pleaded guilty to committing the sexual exploitation of a child and distributing child pornography.

“Inocencia Ortega and Luciano Mendez-Rojas created a most unhealthy domestic atmosphere for their children by repeatedly exposing them to explicit activity. Mendez-Rojas also downloaded and distributed images and videos of other children engaged in explicit activity,” said James T. Hayes Jr., special agent in charge of HSI New York. “These pleas bring an end to their abusive behavior and are a significant victory for all of us who want to keep these sexual predators from hurting children.”

“Child pornography is pernicious in all of its forms and it is something that will not be tolerated by this office,” said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, Southern District of New York

According to court documents, in July 2011, Ortega and Mendez-Rojas engaged in sexually explicit conduct in their home in the Bronx, New York, while their minor child (the victim) filmed videos of the conduct at the direction of Mendez-Rojas.

On Feb. 9, 2011, Mendez-Rojas distributed child pornography over the Internet using file-sharing software.

Furthermore, in connection with the investigation, Ortega falsely stated to HSI special agents that her children, including the victim, never told her that they had seen child pornography. In fact, the victim had already told Ortega that he/she had seen a video containing child pornography on a computer in the family’s home.

Ortega and Mendez-Rojas are both citizens of Mexico. Ortega faces a maximum sentence of 13 years in prison. Mendez-Rojas faces a maximum sentence of 50 years in prison with a 15 year mandatory minimum.

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: Fast Food Worker Stabs Customer for Complaining About His Order

LATINO BLOTTER: Fast Food Worker Stabs Customer for Complaining About His Order

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Most would agree you shouldn’t mess with the people who handle your food, but what happens when the people handling your food go after you? In this case: stitches.

Gabriel Villalba, 28, was working at a Southern California Del Taco fast food establishment when a drive-thru customer complained about his order.

The incident occurred Thursday at around 2 a.m. at a Del Taco restaurant I in Hemet, Calif.

The argument over the order escalated and Villalba reached out the drive-thru window with a knife and stabbed the customer in the abdomen.

The unnamed customer was rushed to a local hospital by a friend in serious condition.

Police arrested Villalba on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon. As of Saturday, Villalba was being held on $25,000 bail.

The victim’s injuries were serious, but not fatal.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Hispanic Standout:  Hector Ramirez - Man with Most Emmy Nominations

Hispanic Standout:  Hector Ramirez - Man with Most Emmy Nominations

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You may not immediately know his name, but you have probably seen Hector Ramirez’s work, the work that has earned him the most Emmy nominations in the awards’ history.

At the 67, the Colombian native has been dubbed the most successful camera operator in history largely due to the fact that he has 64 nominations from the Academy of Arts & Sciences, with 17 wins under his belt.

The Wrap recently spoke with Martinez and asked him about some of the highlights and disappointments of his career.

Martinez may have a number of nominations and wins, but when asked if he ever felt snubbed, he recalled losing to a stand-up comedy special.

“I lost years ago when I was doing David Copperfield’s shows. I went to China for one, and it was a beautiful show; it had everything. The work was special,” he told The Wrap. “I lost to a stand-up comedy show in a room in Vegas somewhere…I was wondering if everyone was asleep.”

Though he really got into Hollywood in 1972 working for “All in the Family”In 1978, Ramirez was part of the team nominated for the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Daytime Programming for After Hours: Singing’, Swingin’ and All That Jazz. Later that year he

In a May 2011 interview for the Archive of American Television, Ramirez was asked what he believed was the most important image he had captured in his career.

“I would have to say, historically, Richard Nixon at San Clemente crying…after the Watergate case. There have been many pictures during my career, but I think that picture, I still have it in my head. I was the only camera. I was on a pool camera for CBS News … I was on the compound when he came to California after Watergate. I remember thinking, ‘My god, look where I am.’ I mean, I’m watching this President of the United States, the most powerful man in the world, and he’s crying.”

Over the years, Ramirez has covered both the Daytime and Primetime Emmys, the Academy Awards, the MTV Video Music Awards, and various others.

When asked which is his favorite, Ramirez told The Wrap, “The Grammys. I’ve been doing them now for 38 years. The Oscars are fun and everything, but they’re more formal and more dry. People come in and out quickly. There’s not too much to do. With the Grammys you’re there for five days and you see all the music, all the acts. It’s just a fun show to do.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

RUBIO WATCH:  Check out Marco Rubio on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show (VIDEO)

RUBIO WATCH:  Check out Marco Rubio on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show (VIDEO)

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Check out Florida Senator Marco Rubio on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show.  Rubio was there to chat and promote his new memoir “An American Son”.

The banter was on the dry side for Jon Stewart and though he is the bright star of the Republican Party, Rubio is a little on the boring side.

Rubio has mastered the avoidance of owning his own negative rhetoric and it was evident in this interview. 

What do you think?

 

Read more by HS News Staff →

ACLU INFOGRAPHIC - What’s At Stake: SB 1070 at the Supreme Court

ACLU INFOGRAPHIC - What’s At Stake: SB 1070 at the Supreme Court

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What’s at Stake: SB 1070 at the Supreme Court

SB 1070 is Arizona’s controversial anti-immigrant law

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Image

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NY Giant Victor Cruz Partners with Time Warner for Multiple Projects

NY Giant Victor Cruz Partners with Time Warner for Multiple Projects

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Time Warner Cable announced today that it has partnered with Victor Cruz, New York Giants wide receiver and Super Bowl champ, to bolster its Enjoy Sports Better initiative that helps customers enjoy the sports and teams they love even more.  The partnership will feature Cruz in a national advertising campaign and on regular segments on NY1 and NY1 Noticias as well as appearances by Cruz at community and philanthropic events.

Along with the advertising campaign, Cruz will connect with Time Warner Cable customers in the New York area to share his inspiring story.

“I am pleased to join the Time Warner Cable family in a relationship that already feels like a true partnership.  At the outset we have worked together closely to identify projects that are mutually beneficial, which has been a fantastic experience,” said Victor Cruz, New York Giants wide receiver.

Read more by HS News Staff →

New Online Source for Latino Families Struggling with Teen Drug/Alcohol Abuse

New Online Source for Latino Families Struggling with Teen Drug/Alcohol Abuse

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The Partnership at Drugfree.org announced the launch of new tools for Hispanic parents and families, accessible at “HablaConTusHijos,” a free, bilingual online resource to help Hispanic parents who are struggling to address drug and alcohol abuse by their children.

Recognizing the urgent need within the Latino community for these kinds of comprehensive tools, The Partnership at Drugfree.org created “HablaConTusHijos” to provide effective, yet easy-to-use, resources equipping Hispanic parents and grandparents to take action in preventing teen substance abuse.

This new web resource was made possible with major support from MetLife Foundation.

The website features practical advice from experts and other parents, including the “Six Components of Effective Parenting,”(Seis Practicas De Crianza) a tool developed as part of the Parents Translational Research Center – a joint venture of The Partnership at Drugfree.org and the Treatment Research Institute, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

New research from the latest Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS), a nationally projectable study that tracks drug and alcohol use among youth, shows that Hispanic teens are using drugs at alarmingly higher levels when compared to teens from other ethnic groups. According to the most current PATS research data:

*  When compared to other ethnic groups, more than half of Hispanic teens (54 percent) reported having used an illicit drug in the past year, versus 42 percent of African-American teens and 39 percent for Caucasian teens.

*  Also, 23 percent of Hispanic teens report having ever abused a prescription medicine at least once, compared to 16 percent for Caucasian teens and 11 percent for African-American teens.

*  Half of Hispanic teens (50 percent) reported they have used marijuana in the past year versus 40 percent for African-American teens and 35 percent for Caucasian teens.

*  Hispanic teens are significantly more likely than other teens to have used Ecstasy and cocaine/crack in the past year.

*  Ecstasy use is at 15 percent for Hispanic teens versus 9 percent for African-Americans and 6 percent for Caucasians.

*  Cocaine/crack use is at 12 percent for Hispanic teens versus 5 percent for African-Americans and 4 percent for Caucasians.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latino Blotter:  Liquid Butt Silicone ‘Injecter’ Sentenced to One-Year in Prison

Latino Blotter:  Liquid Butt Silicone ‘Injecter’ Sentenced to One-Year in Prison

Photo: Whalesca Castillo to be Jailed

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Whalesca Castillo was sentenced to one year in prison and ordered to forfeit $100,000 for charges stemming from her illegal injection of liquid silicone into women’s butts as part of an underground business she ran out of her Bronx home.

Since at least 2009, Castillo, who does not hold a medical or nursing license of any kind in New York State, has imported liquid silicone from the Dominican Republic and administered injections to women for butt enhancements. She administered these injections in her Bronx home, representing to her clients that they were safe, and charging them hundreds of dollars per injection.

One woman, who paid Castillo $1,000 for injections, experienced pain and shortness of breath following the procedure, and fainted within hours. When the woman called Castillo to report her medical symptoms after being revived by her boyfriend, she was discouraged by Castillo from seeking proper medical attention, saying that a hospital would not help her because the procedure was illegal.

Investigators found trash bags containing over 100 bottles, some of which contained silicone residue, syringes, needles, bloodied gauze, and dozens of tubes of Krazy Glue, which sometimes are used to seal puncture wounds.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Three Federal Police Officers Killed in Mexico City at Benito Juarez Int’l Airport

Three Federal Police Officers Killed in Mexico City at Benito Juarez Int’l Airport

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Several individuals wearing uniforms fired the shots that killed three Federal Police officers at Mexico City’s Benito Juarez International Airport on Monday, airport security officials told Efe.

Two of the officers were pronounced dead at the scene and the third died while being treated at a hospital, the Public Safety Secretariat said.

It is not clear what police agency or military unit the shooters belonged to, but one of the dead officers had been investigating a corruption network involving the Federal Police and organized crime groups, airport security officials said.

Both the assailants and the victims were wearing Federal Police uniforms, and the dead officers did not even have a chance to draw their weapons, eyewitness Paula Lopez told Efe.

The shooting occurred around 8:50 a.m. in the airport’s Terminal 2, which handles Aeromexico flights, sending terrified travelers scrambling for cover.

The three Federal Police officers were on patrol in a hallway when they encountered several subjects wearing uniforms and engaged them in a brief argument, airport security officials said.

One of the officers was knocked to the ground and shot at point-blank range, while the other two were shot as the assailants tried to flee, airport security officials said.

Officials have not said whether any arrests have been made in connection with the shooting.

The Federal Police has been investigating a possible police corruption network for more than three months, working with other law enforcement agencies that operate at the facility, airport security officials said.

The officer who was wounded and later died was identified as Fidel Rojas, while the two other officers were identified only by their last names - Matadano and Villa.

The Public Safety Secretariat confirmed in a statement that three officers were killed at the airport, but it did not provide details on the assailants.

Shots were fired when Federal Police officers “who were conducting investigative work went to detain individuals probably linked to the crime of drug trafficking,” the secretariat said.

“Upon seeing themselves surrounded by the Federal Police, shots were fired at the federal officers,” the secretariat said.

The Public Safety Secretariat, however, did not say whether the shooters were also law enforcement officers.

Mexico City’s Benito Juarez International Airport is the country’s largest airport, handling more than 25 million passengers annually.

Read more by HS News Staff →

U.S. DEA Agent Kills Suspected Narco in Honduras, Claims Self-Defense

U.S. DEA Agent Kills Suspected Narco in Honduras, Claims Self-Defense

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A U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent shot and killed a suspected drug trafficker over the weekend during an operation conducted by Honduran security forces that resulted in the seizure of several hundred kilos of cocaine, a U.S. Embassy spokesman said.

The suspect was killed Saturday in the operation, which also left four other people wounded.

“A suspected drug trafficker tried to draw a weapon, so the DEA agent fired on the drug trafficker to protect his own life,” embassy spokesman Stephen Posivak told Efe.

“Several people were unloading cocaine from a plane at a landing strip” when police backed by helicopters arrived, Posivak said.

Honduran authorities and DEA agents seized 360 kilos of cocaine in the operation in Ahuas, a district in the Caribbean province of Gracias a Dios, and arrested four suspects.

The government sent a team “of the highest level to the place where the incident occurred to conduct the necessary investigation in a prompt and transparent manner,” Security Minister Pompeyo Bonilla said.

Honduras will continue to conduct these operations in the area with the support of “DEA officials who are specialists on drug trafficking,” Bonilla said.

Four Misquito Indians died in the Caribbean region of Honduras on May 11 in a joint operation conducted by the DEA and the Central American country’s security forces.

The U.S. government said on May 17 that the DEA agents who took part in the operation did not fire any shots.

“In this operation, the DEA was involved only in a support role. We did not use force. No agent of the United States fired any weapon,” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.

Honduran Foreign Minister Arturo Corrales said on May 18 in Washington that Honduran officers opened fire during the joint operation, not the DEA agents.

Honduran police and military personnel seized more than 22 tons of cocaine in 2011 during several operations in the Caribbean region coordinated with the U.S. Coast Guard.

Read more by HS News Staff →



TuesdayJune 26, 2012