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FridayJuly 6, 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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Hispanic Standout:  Homeless, Honor Role Student Monserrat Lopez Sings National Anthem - Padres Game

Hispanic Standout:  Homeless, Honor Role Student Monserrat Lopez Sings National Anthem - Padres Game

Photo: Monserrat Lopez to Sign National Anthem

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Tonight’s Padres v Reds game was graced by Monserrat Lopez voice, a Hispanic standout and role model. 

The 17-year-old San Diego high school honor student finds the time and energy to be in the school band, play sports and sing, her first love, all while facing homelessness.  Lopez and her brother have been living at “Father Joe’s Village” in the Toussaint Academy for two years when their father became too ill to take care of them and their mother remained out of their life.

Lopez kicked off the game at Petco Park with part of the game’s proceeds benefiting the very organization that has helped her survive, Father Joe’s Village. 

As a resident of the Toussiant Academy, a group home which takes in homeless and abandoned youth in San Diego, Lopez gets life skills, job training and college counseling on top of getting a place to live.  She hopes to attend either Stanford or Berkeley, her brother was accepted to UC San Diego. 

Lopez’ wish is not only to sing but to be an inspiration for other teens who find themselves homeless and hopeless. “You don’t always do the wrong thing to get homeless, sometimes it just happens to you,” Lopez said to NBC San Diego. “Never give up and always go to every door possible because the craziest things will turn out to be something amazing.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Calderon Accused of Hindering Victims’s Rights Law in Mexico

Calderon Accused of Hindering Victims’s Rights Law in Mexico

Photo: Felipe Calderon

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Poet turned peace activist Javier Sicilia accused Mexican President Felipe Calderon Thursday of breaking his word by effectively vetoing a measure to aid the thousands of innocent victims of the drug war.

“A man who doesn’t keep his word is worthless,” the leader of the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, or MPJD, said at a press conference.

Sicilia made his remarks after Calderon decided to return the so-called Victims’ Law to Congress with objections. That bill requires the state to protect, assist and repair the harm caused to victims of crime and human rights abuses.

Emilio Alvarez, an MPJD member, said the administration should not have waited until nearly 8:30 p.m. last Sunday - after the polls closed in Mexico’s general elections - to return the bill to lawmakers.

“Calderon didn’t want to veto the bill within the scope of the election process” to avoid harming his National Action Party’s interests so he opted for an illegal procedure that left the legislation in limbo for 20 days, Alvarez said, describing the move as a joint action between the government and the leadership of the lower house.

The former Mexico City public ombud pointed out that under the law, any bill the president has not returned to the corresponding legislative chamber with observations within 30 days of receipt should be deemed approved.

In the case of the Victims’ Law, that window closed on June 9, but in spite of that the executive branch did not publish it in the Official Gazette.

Sicilia, for his part, said the government’s veto not only shows “disdain for the victims” but also reflects the “absolute remoteness of the political class from (Mexico’s) reality,” as well as the lack of willingness to “see that what’s happening in the country is much more than insecurity and criminality.”

Championed by groups representing victims of violence, the Victims’ Law would require the government to guarantee legal, medical and economic assistance to those who suffer attacks by organized crime gangs or abuse at the hands of the authorities, as well as to recognize their right to truth, justice and reparations.

The initiative had already been approved by both houses of Congress and only needed the president’s signature to become law.

The return of the bill means lawmakers now must analyze the suggested observations, first in committee, a process that won’t begin until the new Congress takes office in September.

Since the conservative Calderon took office on Dec. 1, 2006, as many as 60,000 people have lost their lives in turf battles among drug cartels and clashes between the gangs and the security forces.

But despite the high murder toll Calderon has consistently defended his government’s decision to militarize the struggle against the mobs.

Sicilia, who formed his movement after his son was murdered last year by suspected drug-gang members, is demanding an end to Calderon’s strategy of deploying tens of thousands of army soldiers and federal police to drug-war flashpoints, saying it has only made the country less safe.

The candidate of Calderon’s National Action Party, or PAN, Josefina Vazquez Mota, finished well behind winner Enrique Peña Nieto, of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, in Sunday’s presidential balloting.

Peña Nieto’s victory has been attributed in part to voter frustration over persistently high levels of drug-related violence during the tenure of Calderon, who was constitutionally barred from seeking re-election.

In addition to Sicilia’s movement and other civic organizations in Mexico, international human rights groups also have blasted the military deployment.

New York-based Human Rights Watch, for example, said in a report last year that Calderon’s war on drugs has led to a “dramatic increase in killings, torture, and other appalling abuses by security forces, which only make the climate of lawlessness and fear worse in many parts of the country.”

It also raised serious doubts about Calderon’s claims that “90 percent of the victims of drug-related deaths were criminals.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mark Jimenez and Beau Chandler:  First Gay Couple Arrested in Texas Protesting Gay Marriage Ban

Mark Jimenez and Beau Chandler:  First Gay Couple Arrested in Texas Protesting Gay Marriage Ban

Photo: Gay Couple Mark Jimenez and Beau Chandler Protest Gay Marriage Ban, Texas

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Mark Jimenez and his life-partner Beau Chandler were arrested for protesting their inability to get a marriage license in Dallas, Texas.

On Thursday the gay couple attempted to apply for a marriage license, though legally banned in Texas since 2005.  After being denied a license they handcuffed themselves to each other at the Dallas County Clerk office. 

After their arrest and release, Chandler filed paperwork to legally change his last name to Jimenez.  The couple has also started a Facebook page to tell their story and get support for gay marriage in Texas. 

Jimenez and Chandler are the first gay couple arrested in Texas for protesting the state’s gay marriage ban.  The exact criminal charges they face are unknown, criminal trespassing carries a $2,000 fine with up to 180 days in jail. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latino Teen Facing Teddy Bear Theft and Harm to 6-Year-Old Charges in El Paso, Texas

Latino Teen Facing Teddy Bear Theft and Harm to 6-Year-Old Charges in El Paso, Texas

Photo: Martin Morales - El Paso Police

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Everyone is talking about the ‘Ted’ movie and that foul-mouth teddy bear that appears to be man’s real best friend.  The movie is No. 1 in the country opening up strong last weekend at the box office with $54.4 million in ticket sales

We aren’t sure if the popular movie influenced this teddy bear thievery in El Paso, Texas earlier this week.  Teddy bears are expected to make a popularity surge thanks to ‘Ted’. 

17-year-old Martin Morales stole one of those cuddly creatures from Mr. C Toys inside the Outlet Shoppes mall by hiding it in his pockets.  He was approached by store management and asked to return inside the store.

Morales panicked when he realized mall security was being called and made matters worse by pushing a 6-year-old child as he ran out of the store.  The child was injured on a store display and Morales was apprehended shortly thereafter by the store manager who ran after him.

The teddy bear thievery has resulted in Morales facing injury to a child and second degree felony charges.  He was placed in the El Paso jail with a $5,000 bond. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latino Blotter:  Transgender Housekeeper Charged with Molesting Teen at Motel He Cleans

Latino Blotter:  Transgender Housekeeper Charged with Molesting Teen at Motel He Cleans

Photo: Latino Blotter: Vanesa Olmos Transgender Maid Accused of Abuse

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A man working as a female housekeeper has been charged with sexually abusing a minor teen at the motel where he worked at. 

The 35-year-old Mexican transgender known as Vanesa Olmos was working at a Days Inn in Orlando, Florida frequented by Universal Orlando theme park tourists.  The alleged 14-year-old victim was staying at the motel with his family when Olmos entered the room on the premise of replacing the towels, something that had been done earlier in the day.

After entering Room #315 Olmos asked the teen if he was alone.  After saying yes Olmos allegedly attempted to touch the boy’s genitals.  The boy ran to the bathroom and locked himself in until his mother returned to the room.

Olmos whose first name is Chris, according to WKMG-Orlando, has denied all accusations and even denies entering the motel room at all. Olmos has been dressing and living as a woman since arriving to the U.S. from Mexico. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico Considers Importing Eggs in Response to Jalisco Bird-Flu Outbreak

Mexico Considers Importing Eggs in Response to Jalisco Bird-Flu Outbreak

Photo: Mexico Bird Flu Outbreak

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The Mexican government is preparing to import up to 132,000 tons of eggs to prevent a surge in prices as a consequence of a bird-flu outbreak in the western state of Jalisco, Economy Secretary Bruno Ferrari said. The government is ready to suspend duties on egg imports from countries with which Mexico does not have free trade pacts, he told a press conference.

Turkey, Poland, China and Ukraine have been identified as countries that export eggs at competitive prices, the secretary said.

Ferrari said avian flu has been detected in 2.5 million of the 14.4 million poultry birds in Jalisco, the country’s main chicken-farming region.

Nearly a million birds have died or been slaughtered, he said.

“Mexico is self-sufficient in egg production. In fact, we export eggs,” Ferrari said, pointing out that the infected chickens represent only 1.7 percent of the country’s egg-producing poultry.

Eggs remain in abundant supply, “so one can’t justify the rise in prices” that has been detected in some parts of the country, the economy secretary said.

“This department will act severely against those who are exploiting this situation to raise prices without economic justification,” he vowed.

Authorities have quarantined the affected chicken farms in Jalisco to stop the spread of avian flu, the director of the food safety service, Enrique Sanchez, said earlier this week

Read more by HS News Staff →

Argentine Junta Leader Sentenced to 50 years for His Role in Baby-Stealing Scheme

Argentine Junta Leader Sentenced to 50 years for His Role in Baby-Stealing Scheme

Photo: Jorge Rafael Videla

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Former junta leader Jorge Rafael Videla was sentenced Thursday to 50 years in prison for his part in a systematic plan to steal children from political prisoners during Argentina’s 1976-1983 military regime.

The scheme, which often involved holding pregnant women until they gave birth and then executing them, was part of a “general plan of annihilation” targeting a segment of society seen by the military as subversive, the court found.

The trial involved more than 30 specific instances of child stealing.

Sentenced along with Videla were one of his successors as junta chief, Reynaldo Bignone, who received a 15-year term; Adm. Antonio Vañek, 40 years; Lt. Cmdr. Jorge Eduardo Acosta, 30 years; and Gen. Omar Riveros, 20 years.

The 87-year-old Videla, who listened impassively Thursday as the verdict was read, is already serving a life sentence for crimes against humanity.

Human rights organizations have established the true identities of 105 people who were taken from their jailed parents in given in adoption to military families or others close to the dictatorship.

More than 400 additional cases of alleged child stealing are pending.

The Argentine military regime killed as many as 30,000 people and brutalized thousands more.

Read more by HS News Staff →

The “Yo Soy 132” Student Movement Says Elections Was Filled with Irregularities

The “Yo Soy 132” Student Movement Says Elections Was Filled with Irregularities

Photo: Yo Soy 132

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Mexico’s “Yo soy 132” student movement unveiled a summary of the report it will present to authorities on the July 1 general elections, saying it documents more than 1,000 irregularities.

“This report presents enough irregularities to say this wasn’t a democratic process,” Luis Cotier, one of the members of the movement launched in May, said in a press conference Thursday.

The students allege that election day did not unfold in an atmosphere of peace and legality and was marred by “profoundly undemocratic” practices such as vote buying and coercion and media manipulation that “altered the essence of free, informed, reasoned and critical voting,” Cotier said.

Through Tuesday, when the “Yo soy 132” (I Am 132) movement stopped receiving complaints due to high volume, it had collected more than 1,100 reports deemed sufficiently reliable to be considered evidence of electoral fraud.

Of them, 96 percent were crimes committed by members of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, while officials at polling stations or some local community power broker were responsible for the others, it said.

The PRI returned to power in Sunday’s presidential election after a 12-year absence with Enrique Peña Nieto as its standard-bearer.

That party had dominated Mexico’s politics for decades until 2000, a reign that Peruvian Nobel literature laureate Mario Vargas Llosa described as the “perfect dictatorship.”

During its 71 years of - largely unchallenged - hegemony, the PRI relied mainly on patronage and control of organized labor and the mass media, though it was not above resorting to outright vote-rigging and even violence.

The Yo soy 132 movement gathered the complaints through its network of observers stationed at voting stations and from ordinary citizens via social networking sites; all of the complaints were analyzed by the movement’s vigilance commission and those presented Thursday passed the verification process.

The most common reported irregularities included the buying of votes and voter credentials and violations of a ban on campaigning in the days leading up to the election.

Complaints of burnt and stolen ballot boxes also were made and backed up with video footage, photographs and citizens’ testimonials.

Edgar Tafoya, another member of the movement, said it is not up to Yo soy 132 to formally challenge the election results, but that it will send its report to the special prosecutor’s office for electoral crimes, the Federal Electoral Institute, or IFE, and the federal Attorney General’s Office.

The student movement stems from an incident on May 11, when Peña Nieto visited the Universidad Iberoamericana and was jeered by students, who accused him of being a candidate “manufactured” by the powerful Televisa network.

Those in Peña Nieto’s inner circle and some media pundits downplayed the incident, accusing the students of being agitators.

The students counterattacked by making a video that was posted on YouTube.

The criticism led to the birth of the “Somos mas de 131” (We Are More Than 131) movement, which took its name from the number of students who appeared in the video and later evolved into the Yo soy 132 movement when students from other universities joined the protests.

The non-partisan movement’s main demand was for impartiality in media coverage of political campaigns, but it also came out against the candidate of the PRI.

In Thursday’s press conference, the movement said it has no ties to a planned July 7 election-protest rally organized via social networking sites, nor to a sit-in that a score of young people have been staging outside the IFE’s offices.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Check Out: Oliver Stone’s Mexican Narco Movie “Savages” This Weekend

Check Out: Oliver Stone’s Mexican Narco Movie “Savages” This Weekend

Photo: Mexican Narcos in Oliver Stone's Savages

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Oliver Stone’s narco movie ‘Savages’ opens this weekend starring Salma Hayek, Benecio del Toro, Blake Lively, amongst others.  The movie is based on Don Winslow’s novel by the same title and tells the story of a sexually adventurous pot-selling three-some who decide to go to war with a Mexican cartel.  Their risk taking gets the girl (Blake Lively) kidnapped and her two lovers want her back and are willing to fight the cartel in their back yard, in order to do so.

For the Oscar-winning writer and director this is but another attempt to show us the ills of drugs and drug trafficking, something Mexico is all too aware of.  Stone wrote the drug classic ‘Midnight Express’ and if that didn’t scare you away from drugs his portrayal of the drug-dazed Jim Morisson in “The Doors” should of done it.  Stone also wrote a Latino favorite ‘Scarface’  - who could forget Cuban refugee Tony Montana and his piles of coke.

There are a lot of negative narco images in the movie starting with Lado (played by del Toro) as a cartel enforcer who appears mild-mannered when compared to the headlining-making Mexican Zetas.  Then we have the ruthless cartel head, Elena, played by Hayek.  Clearly Stone did his homework and knows there are more and more females taking lead roles in Mexico’s drug trafficking business.

Stone in a recent interview, with Vulture, believes drug money in Mexico to be “bigger than tourism, bigger than oil.” Stone further declared “Mexico would fall apart without drug money.”  Ouch.

Stone not only had the Mexican narcos in mind when making the movie he also had the Latino market in mind.  The studio created a promotional campaign specifically geared toward Latin American, Spanish-speaking audiences.  The Spanish-language promos include the song “El Matador” by Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, an Argentine rock band.

For all the Latinos wanting an entertaining version of the Mexican narcos this movie is for you and this movie is definitely for all the Oliver Stone fans out there, its solid film making.

 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Olympics: Young Latino Boxer to Represent U.S.A. in Boxing

Olympics: Young Latino Boxer to Represent U.S.A. in Boxing

Photo: Joseph Diaz Jr - USA Olympics

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Despite being the youngest member of the U.S. Olympic boxing team, 19-year-old Joseph Diaz Jr. has his goal clearly in mind: to bring home a gold medal and go professional after the Games in London.

He says that his love for boxing arose as a survival reaction to the ongoing harassment he suffered from schoolmates who picked on him because of his small stature.

“I started (boxing) at 11 because I was small and they picked on me at school. Then, I wanted to learn to defend myself and ... I met (the person) who was bothering me in the gym,” Diaz, who grew up in South El Monte, California, told Efe in an interview.

The sensation that remained with him after the defeat he dealt his harasser led him a few weeks later to begin his boxing training and now that work has brought him close to attaining his Olympic dream.

His father, however, dreamed that young Joseph would to go college on a baseball scholarship.

“Now, he wants to make money as a pro and have a fan base. My plan for him was baseball, which proved not to be the same plan that he had for himself,” said Joseph Diaz Sr., his son’s trainer.

Diaz Jr. has won 106 of his 110 bouts as an amateur.

He has been the national boxing champ in the bantamweight category twice and came in 5th at the 2011 World Championships in Azerbaijan.

To prepare for the Olympics, he has been spending five hours a day on physical training activities and technical preparation at the gym.

“I’m focused on winning the gold in London and I know that if I lose it’s because my rival was better than me, and not because I was in bad shape. I feel strong and I know that I’m fast,” said the boxer, whose first Olympic bout is set for July 28.

Diaz Jr. feels that his main strength is maintaining his composure in the ring, whether he is winning or losing a bout.

He acquired the certainty with which he speaks of his qualities and characteristics, perhaps, partly from being trained by his father, with whom he said he has excellent communication and to whom he can express himself without reservation.

“If we’re not in agreement on something, we talk about it and resolve it, because I can tell him everything that’s going on with me, something that perhaps I would not be able to do with another trainer,” he said.

Joseph Sr., meanwhile, said that he takes his training duties very seriously, he studies videos and gathers information prior to his son’s fights.

“I’m a trainer. I review what he eats, I seek sparring partners for him who have the proper weight. I ensure that he’s focused on what’s important and, above all, I don’t force him,” he said.

The young pugilist said that Oscar de la Hoya is one of the boxers who has inspired him since he was born in humble conditions in East Los Angeles.

And Diaz said he wants to follow in the footsteps of De la Hoya, who managed to become a multimillionaire celebrity, but at the same time preserve a charismatic simplicity.

“I want other Latinos to know that dreams can become reality and that the road to (attaining) them is to remain humble and focused on the goal you’re trying to achieve,” said Diaz.

Read more by HS News Staff →

INFOGRAPHIC: How Does Latin America Rank in Happiness?

INFOGRAPHIC: How Does Latin America Rank in Happiness?

Photo: Hispanically Speaking News

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Latin America proves to be home to some of the happiest places on earth.  While Costa Rica is the global leader, some other countries did not fare as well. 

Image

Read more by HS News Staff →

Happy Birthday to Frida Kahlo!

Happy Birthday to Frida Kahlo!

Photo: Frida Kahlo

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Frida Kahlo de Rivera (July 6, 1907 – July 13, 1954; Magdalena Carmen Frieda Kahlo y Calderón) was a Mexican painter, born in Coyoacán.  Perhaps best known for her self-portraits, Kahlo’s work is remembered for its “pain and passion”, and its intense, vibrant colors. Her work has been celebrated in Mexico as emblematic of national and indigenous tradition, and by feminists for its uncompromising depiction of the female experience and form.

Mexican culture and Amerindian cultural tradition figure prominently in her work, which has sometimes been characterized as Naïve art or folk art.  Her work has also been described as “surrealist”, and in 1938 one surrealist described Kahlo herself as a “ribbon around a bomb”.

Kahlo suffered lifelong health problems, many of which stemmed from a traffic accident in her teenage years. These issues are reflected in her works, more than half of which are self-portraits of one sort or another. Kahlo suggested, “I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best.”  She also stated, “I was born a bitch. I was born a painter

Frida was one of four daughters born to a Hungarian-Jewish father and a mother of Spanish and Mexican Indian descent. She did not originally plan to become an artist. A survivor of polio, she entered a pre-med program in Mexico City. At the age of 18, she was seriously injured in a bus accident. She spent over a year in bed recovering from fractures to her spine, collarbone and ribs, a shattered pelvis, and shoulder and foot injuries. She endured more than 30 operations in her lifetime and during her convalescence she began to paint. Her paintings, mostly self-portraits and still life, were deliberately naïve, and filled with the colors and forms of Mexican folk art. At 22 she married the famous Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, 20 years her senior. Their stormy, passionate relationship survived infidelities, the pressures of careers, divorce, remarriage, Frida’s bi-sexual affairs, her poor health and her inability to have children. Frida once said: “I suffered two grave accidents in my life…One in which a streetcar knocked me down and the other was Diego.” The streetcar accident left her crippled physically and Rivera crippled her emotionally.

During her lifetime, Frida created some 200 paintings, drawings and sketches related to her experiences in life, physical and emotional pain and her turbulent relationship with Diego. She produced 143 paintings, 55 of which are self-portraits. When asked why she painted so many self-portraits, Frida replied: “Because I am so often alone….because I am the subject I know best.”

In 1953, when Frida Kahlo had her first solo exhibition in Mexico (the only one held in her native country during her lifetime), a local critic wrote:

“It is impossible to separate the life and work of this extraordinary person. Her paintings are her biography.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

CHECK OUT:  Demi Lovato at GMA ‘Party in the Park’

CHECK OUT:  Demi Lovato at GMA ‘Party in the Park’

Photo: Demi Lovato on GMA's 'Party in the Park'

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Check out the video of Demi Lovato performing at Good America’s ‘Party in the Park’.  The new “X Factor” judge Demi Lovato sang to thousands in Central Park and entertained her fans with “Give Your Heart a Break” and “Skyscraper”.  This was part of the GMA’s Summer Concert Series.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Eva Longoria Dining With Mark Sanchez in Blond Wig?

Eva Longoria Dining With Mark Sanchez in Blond Wig?

Photo: Eva Longoria and Mark Sanchez

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Less than a week after announcing her split from beau Eduardo Cruz, Eva Longoria is reportedly dating New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez. The “Desperate Housewives” actress, 37, has been going on a series of undercover dates with the strapping athlete, In Touch magazine reports.

“It looks like they’re testing the waters,” a source tells the magazine of the coupling.

Longoria and Sanchez, 25, were spotted shopping together at a supermarket in Bedminster, N.J. in early June where the footballer owns a home in that area. In Touch even reports that the pair sipped drinks and had a “great time” together during a night out with friends at New York’s Hotel Griffou.

To avoid being recognized, the magazine reports, Longoria donned a blonde wig.

Sanchez was most recently linked to Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Kate Upton.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Long Beach Police Charged with Excessive Force as Video Goes Viral (VIDEO)

Long Beach Police Charged with Excessive Force as Video Goes Viral (VIDEO)

Photo: Police Charged with Excessive Force

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Lawyers for an employee of the medical marijuana dispensary worker wounded in a police raid at a Long Beach shop filed a claim on Thursday seeking $1 million in damages from the city of Long Beach.

The claim, alleges that a police raid of a pot shop June 19 was illegal and that the officers involved used excessive force.

“In terms of the excessive force claim, we will investigate that aspect of it,” said Long Beach City Attorney Robert E. Shannon.

Police said the dispensary was operating under state compliance, but did not have a city permit.

Five people were arrested in the raid, according to Long Beach police:
• Dallas Alexander, 31, of Long Beach, was arrested on suspicion of operating an unpermitted marijuana dispensary, serving as a looking for illegal activity and on an outstanding warrant from another jurisdiction;
• Fernando Garcia, 50, and Mario Sanchez, 31, both of Los Angeles, and Landon Alexander, 22 of Long Beach were arrested on suspicion of operating an unpermitted marijuana dispensary and obstruction;
• Dorian Brooks, 28, of Long Beach, was arrested on suspicion of operating an unpermitted marijuana dispensary

The claim stems from a YouTube video that shows officers smashing surveillance cameras and stepping on a suspect at THC Downtown Collective in the 300 block of Atlantic Boulevard. The video was posted by user “Long Beach Raids” on July 1. Officials said they learned about the video on July 3.

The claim seeks damages in excess $1 million for medical treatment and mental counseling.

View more videos at: http://nbclosangeles.com.

 

Read more by HS News Staff →

California Creates “Trust Act” to Counter Effect of Federal Deportation Policies

California Creates “Trust Act” to Counter Effect of Federal Deportation Policies

Photo: Trust Act of California Fights Secure Communities Deportations

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The California State Senate passed the TRUST Act today aimed at countering the strict deportation policies implemented by the federal government under its “Secure Communities” program.

Its sponsors contrast the common-sense tone of the California bill with the harsh law passed in Arizona, much of which was overruled by the U.S. Supreme Court last week.

The TRUST Act will eventually be sent to Gov. Jerry Brown to sign. The bill responds to and repudiates the state’s forced participation in the program enforced by the U.S. Department of Homeland Securities, which has led to the incarceration and deportation of tens of thousands of undocumented residents in California who have committed no crimes.

Supported by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and an array of local police and religious leaders, the new state law is aimed at restoring trust in law enforcement and reducing costs to the state of needless arrests and processing. 

The TRUST Act sets a minimum standard for how California localities respond to national immigration authorities’ voluntary hold requests and creates safeguards against racial profiling inherent in the federal and Arizona programs. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Nation’s Unemployment Stuck at 8.2%, While Hispanic Rate Remains at 11%

Nation’s Unemployment Stuck at 8.2%, While Hispanic Rate Remains at 11%

Photo: Latino Unemployment June at 11%

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The June unemployment rate remained unchanged at 8.2% with new jobs created coming in at a disappointing 80,000 for the month.  Analyst were expecting job growth to be between 90,000 to 100,000. 

Essentially 5.4 million American remain unemployed.

This is the third straight month of weak hiring for the stalled economy.  The average monthly job growth over the last three months was a meager 75,000. 

The Hispanic unemployment rate showed little to change at 11%.  Meanwhile, the jobless rate among African-Americas jumped by 184,000 to a rate of 14.4% the highest it has been since December, 2011.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Is Tainted Alcohol Responsible for 21 Deaths in Honduras?

Is Tainted Alcohol Responsible for 21 Deaths in Honduras?

Photo: 21 have died, 30 have been poisoned in Honduras

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Health authorities and prosecutors in Honduras are investigating whether the deaths of 21 people over the past two weeks were due to tainted liquor.

Aurora Cubas, a prosecutor in the central city of Siguatepeque, where most of the deaths have been registered, told reporters that in coordination with municipal and public health authorities the cause of the deaths was being investigated.

Among other things, authorities have seized more than 800 cases of two brands of hard liquor produced in central Honduras and have prohibited its sale while the investigation is being pursued.

About 30 people have been poisoned and of those 21 have died in Siguatepeque and other nearby communities, media outlets have reported.

Some of the victims were sent to hospitals in Comayagua and Tegucigalpa while others are receiving medical care in Siguatepeque.

The investigation to determine if the alcohol has been mixed with a poisonous substance is being headed up by the Attorney General’s Office, which has retained an expert to aid in the probe.

Seven of the victims have died in recent days at the Santa Teresa Hospital.

One of the people poisoned said he got sick after downing several drinks of liquor last Friday.

Speaking from his room at Tegucigalpa Teaching Hospital, the patient said he is recovering his sight but that he still feels “weak.”

Siguatepeque authorities are hoping that by Friday the AG’s office will report if its has found any adulterated alcohol and if that was the cause of the 21 fatalities.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Costa Rica Arrests Mexican Cocaine Kingpin Who’s Wanted in 8 Countries

Costa Rica Arrests Mexican Cocaine Kingpin Who’s Wanted in 8 Countries

Photo: 45 kilos of cocaine were confiscated during the arrest

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A high-ranking member of Mexico’s Gulf drug cartel was arrested Thursday in Costa Rica, the Central American country’s top counternarcotics official said.

Juan Manuel Garcia Hernandez organized and supervised overland shipments of cocaine from Colombia to Mexico, Commissioner Mauricio Boraschi told a press conference in San Jose.

“It’s quite an important operation at the regional level,” he said. “Garcia was sought by the DEA (U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration) and seven countries, but only Costa Rica has managed to amass evidence against him.”

“Garcia Hernandez traveled alone constantly in Central America. He was a very slippery, low profile subject, with very advanced techniques of surveillance and counter-surveillance. He didn’t attract attention and he didn’t stay very long in one place,” Boraschi said.

The investigation began in 2010 after Costa Rican authorities intercepted several truckloads of cocaine.

It was not until July 2011, however, that police identified Garcia, described by Boraschi as close to Gulf cartel boss Jorge Eduardo Costilla Sanchez.

Detectives followed Garcia for a year before detaining him Thursday at a San Jose hotel as part of an operation that included searches of buildings in the capital and in southern Costa Rica, near the Panamanian border.

Besides Garcia, the sweep netted eight suspected accomplices - four of them Mexicans - as well as 45 kilos of cocaine, $24,000 in cash, vehicles and weapons.

Intelligence from Colombia, Panama, Guatemala, Mexico and the United States was crucial in identifying and apprehending Garcia, Costa Rican Attorney General Jorge Chavarria said.

Under the administration of President Laura Chinchilla, who took office two years ago, Costa Rican authorities have seized more than 13 tons of cocaine and roughly $7.3 million in drug money.

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FridayJuly 6, 2012