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SundayJuly 8, 2012

Latino Daily News: Bringing You the Latest Hispanic Current Events and News Stories 24/7

To reflect the dynamic interests of our audience, Latino Daily News is an online daily news source and virtual cultural center for and about Latinos. We offer the latest news headlines, as well as innovative and insightful Hispanic current events stories, photos, videos, and commentaries from a Latino perspective, 24/7.

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EXTREME TRAFFICKING:  700 Pounds of Cocaine Found inside Fake Rocks in Chile

EXTREME TRAFFICKING:  700 Pounds of Cocaine Found inside Fake Rocks in Chile

Photo: Cocaine in Rocks Found

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Customs agents discovered 350 kilograms of cocaine hidden in fake rocks packed into a container coming from Bolivia that was scheduled to be shipped to Spain from the port of Arica, in northern Chine, officials said.

The container had arrived in Arica - which borders on Peru and Bolivia and lies 2,051 kilometers (about 1,272 miles) from Santiago - two weeks ago and its substantial weight caught the attention of customs officials, who proceeded to inspect it with a scanner and, in the process, determined that it contained four enormous rocks.

Customs then called the police and upon opening the container authorities found that the rocks were fake and had small doors in them through which the traffickers had loaded them with hundreds of packets of cocaine, prosecutor Patricio Espinoza told the La Tercera newspaper.

The cocaine seized from inside the rocks weighed 350 kilos and was destined to be shipped to Spain, the prosecutor said, adding that they were “surprised” at the creativity of the smugglers in hiding the drug.

In May, authorities discovered 50 kilos of cocaine hidden in a cargo of scrap metal destined for Italy.

Espinosa pulled an official veil of secrecy over the investigation so that authorities might be more easily able to determine all the particulars of the case, a move that was supported by Attorney General Sabas Chahuan as necessary, considering the great variety of ruses used by traffickers to transport illegal drugs.

“The means of hiding (drugs) has included shampoo, petroleum, wooden objects ... and now rocks,” Espinoza said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Raul Castro Continues International Trip With Stop in Vietnam

Raul Castro Continues International Trip With Stop in Vietnam

Photo: Raul Castro

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Cuban President Raul Castro on Sunday began his official activities on a four-day visit to Vietnam aimed at strengthening bilateral relations between the two communist regimes.

Castro arrived in Hanoi on Saturday from China, where he had concluded an official four-day visit by signing eight bilateral accords on financial and technical aid to Cuba.

The Cuban leader is scheduled to meet with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung; the general secretary of the Communist Party, Nguyen Phu Trong; and the country’s president, Truong Tan Sang.

This is the first trip to Vietnam that Castro has made as president of Cuba and comes as the island is immersed in a reform process to “update” its socialist economic model and try to extricate itself from the crisis that has bogged it down for decades.

In April, Nguyen Phu Trong visited Cuba and met with Raul Castro and his brother and predecessor, former President Fidel Castro, who left office in 2006 for health reasons.

The Vietnamese communist leader at the time emphasized the similarities between his country’s policy of “renewing” socialism (known as “Doi Moi”) begun 25 years ago and the process of economic updating being carried out on the Caribbean island.

The Cuban government considers Vietnam a political and economic ally and maintains bilateral trade links - mainly in rice, textiles, shoes, computers, electronic and wood products, as well as coffee - that have exceeded $500 million in recent years.

Vietnam and Cuba established diplomatic relations in 1960.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Hundreds of Pamplona Bull Runners Seek Treatment From Medical Professionals

Hundreds of Pamplona Bull Runners Seek Treatment From Medical Professionals

Photo: Running with the bulls

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Nearly 400 people have been treated by emergency services personnel this weekend in the northern Spanish city of Pamplona, where the world-famous San Fermin festival is taking place, Red Cross and health officials said Sunday.

Two Spanish men were hospitalized Sunday after the second running of the bulls at the festival, but both are listed in stable condition, doctors said.

A 35-year-old man suffered a fractured vertebra, while a 29-year-old broke his nose and sustained multiple bruises.

The 73-year-old man gored during the first running of the bulls on Saturday remains hospitalized.

Hundreds of people have been treated for a variety of injuries and ailments, ranging from alcohol poisoning to bruises, the Red Cross said.

The star of Sunday’s run, traditionally the most heavily attended of the festival, was “Navajito,” a black bull from the Eduardo Mira estate in Seville.

A large number of visitors are expected to leave the city Sunday after enjoying the first weekend of the festival.

People also gathered on Sunday to remember German Rodriguez, who was shot dead in the 1978 riots that forced the cancellation of the festival.

The nine-day San Fermin festival got under way on Friday with the traditional firing of a rocket in front of Pamplona city hall amid the shouts of thousands of people, many of them visitors from around the world.

The runs in Pamplona are filled with tension and emotion, and occasionally result in tragedy, with 15 runners having been killed since statistics began to be kept in the early 20th century and many others having suffered gorings and other injuries.

The run to the bull ring is especially dangerous because some people take part in the event after all-night drinking binges, which makes them reckless and more likely to get too close to animals that weigh in excess of 500 kilos (1,100 pounds).

The running of the bulls is monitored by experts who control the route and try to prevent accidents, but, inevitably, runners fall, suffer cuts and bruises, and are even gored by the animals.

As many as 1 million visitors from around the world descend on Pamplona during the festival - many of them Americans but also Frenchmen, Britons, Italians, Germans and Latin Americans.

The festival, begun about 400 years ago, was popularized by Ernest Hemingway in his 1926 novel “The Sun Also Rises.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

UPDATE:  MX Government Confirms Mexican Citizen Killed by Border Patrol Shooting Across the Border

UPDATE:  MX Government Confirms Mexican Citizen Killed by Border Patrol Shooting Across the Border

Photo: Shots Fired by Border Patrol on U.S. Mexico Border

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UPDATE:  The Mexican government has confirmed that a Mexican citizen has been killed by U.S. Border Patrol in the cross-border shooting incident from this weekend.  U.S. Border Patrol had reported that they opened fire from the U.S. side of the Rio Grande when they were pelted with rocks and had a gun aimed at them from the Mexican side of the Rio Grande.  The deceased shooting victim has not been identified. 

Mexico’s Foreign Ministry has registered a complaint according to AP that ‘lethal force was unacceptable.’ 


ORIGINAL STORY 7/8/2012:  Yesterday morning, U.S. Border Patrol fired shots when they were hit by rocks and a gun was pointed at them coming from the direction of the Mexican border on the Rio Grande.

The incident, that occurred near Brownsville in Texas, according to the the El Paso Times, resulted in several people being taken into custody and the Mexican government being notified of shots fired into Mexico by U.S. officials. 

Border patrol agents are claiming they were not able to take cover when rocks were thrown, while another agent claims to have seen someone on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande with a gun pointed at him.  It is not known why Border Patrol was in the area or if anyone was injured on the Mexican side of the border from the gunshots.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spanish Handbag Designer Already Gaining Celebrity Clientele

Spanish Handbag Designer Already Gaining Celebrity Clientele

Photo: Laura Vela

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Spanish designer Laura Vela is taking New York by storm with attractive designs for women’s handbags that are captivating many celebrities, including actress Sarah Jessica Parker, model Bar Rafaeli and other fashion fanatics, including the Olsen twins.

“I’m living a dream, but my intention is little by little to go and set up solid bases where my designs and my collections can be supported,” Vela told Efe.

The 25-year-old Vela has enjoyed fashion since she was a girl, but she preferred to graduate in business leadership and management in Barcelona.

“When I finished my studies, I went to Miami to do a Master’s and I quickly noticed that design was my true passion,” Vela said.

Thus, with very clear ideas about what she wanted to do, she settled in New York, where she studied design and fashion at the famed Parsons School of Design.

She was a brilliant student and the school provided her with the opportunity to participate in New York’s fashion week with the line of handbags that carries her name, Laura Vela.

Designed with love and care, the leather bags are adorned with studs, metal appliques, fringes and tassels.

“With regard to Fashion, the handbag is the most personal part of a woman, it reflects her personality and the state of her mood. It’s an intimate accessory,” the young designer said.

Her bags are aimed at women who value design and quality, and among her clients she counts Sarah Jessica Parker, who acquired six different handbags in one day, the stars of the series “Gossip Girl” and actresses and businesswomen Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen.

Vela said she is very happy in New York, “a city with a lot of energy and full of opportunities.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Thousands Protest Last Week’s Election Results in Mexico

Thousands Protest Last Week’s Election Results in Mexico

Photo: Protestors in Mexico

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Thousands of people took part in a march in Mexico City to protest against Enrique Peña Nieto, of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, who was declared the winner of last week’s presidential election.

The march started Saturday at the Angel of Independence monument amid shouts of “fraud, fraud, fraud” and “Andres, hold on, the people are rising up,” a reference leftist presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Peña Nieto, according to the final tally, won the July 1 presidential election with 38.21 percent of the vote.

The results, however, have been challenged amid allegations of massive vote-buying by the PRI.

Saturday’s march, which was organized via social-networking sites and dubbed the “March against Imposition,” shut down traffic on the busy Paseo de la Reforma.

The “Yo Soy 132,” which was created to oppose Peña Nieto’s candidacy, said it did not organize the massive march.

The Federal Electoral Institute, or IFE, released its final election results on Friday, confirming that Peña Nieto won the election with 19.2 million votes, or more than 3 million votes more than Lopez Obrador, who got 31.59 percent of the vote.

Governing National Action Party, or PAN, candidate Josefina Vazquez Mota ended up in third place, winning 25.41 percent of the vote.

The figures must still be certified by Mexico’s top elections court, which will have to rule on the challenges.

Lopez Obrador, the candidate of a leftist coalition led by the Party of the Democratic Revolution, or PRD, said he planned to formally challenge the outcome, based on credible allegations of vote-buying by the PRI, which became notorious for electoral chicanery during its 1929-2000 hammerlock on the presidency.

The former Mexico City mayor lost the 2006 presidential election to Felipe Calderon, of the PAN, by 0.56 percent and has never recognized the results, claiming victory in that contest.

“We are following the trail of the money that was used to buy the votes, following the trail of the money and the illicit financing that has to do with the Monex bank and the Soriana company,” Lopez Obrador said in a press conference on Saturday.

PRD chairman Jesus Zambrano said at the same press conference that he planned to ask PAN chairman Gustavo Madero to exchange information about the election’s financing, especially about the allegations surrounding Banco Monex.

“We have agreed to expressly and officially ask Gustavo Madero for all the information that we can exchange so, if they decide, we can go together and ask the National Banking and Securities Commission, an agency of the Finance (Secretariat), to investigate all the accounts that the money moved through,” Zambrano said.

“Hopefully, the PAN will be willing to hand over the information to election authorities,” the PRD chairman said.

The PAN alleged before the election that the PRI was giving its political operatives debit cards issued by Banco Monex to buy votes, drawing on an account containing 700 million pesos ($50 million).

The election councils that will distribute seats in Congress, meanwhile, began the process on Sunday, working off the official final tally.

The councils in the different states and the Federal District will decide the allocation of seats, with the decisions subject to challenge.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Public Education Campaign on Acceptance of LGBT Members in Latino Families is Launched

Public Education Campaign on Acceptance of LGBT Members in Latino Families is Launched

Photo: Familia es Familia Campaign Launched

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Twenty-one of the nation’s leading Hispanic organizations announced today their endorsement of a first-of-its kind, comprehensive public-education campaign called Familia es Familia aimed at strengthening Latino voices to build support within the Latino community for acceptance of LGBT family members.

Public opinion polls show that Latinos really do “lead the way” when it comes to attitudes toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. Several recent studies by the Pew Hispanic Center, Bendixen & Amandi International, 2012 Opportunity Agenda and SSRS found strong support among Hispanics for a number of LGBT issues.

Familia es Familia will be a bilingual campaign providing resources and information that are culturally appropriate to empower voices within and from Latino families and communities. In addition, the campaign will provide training, technical assistance, and support to the 22 Hispanic organizations and will spearhead a national effort to educate the public through a range of viral components including: an interactive bilingual website rich with videos, resources, and publications; social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube; promoting stories and voices in the media; and an organizing campaign to engage the community through their mobile devices.

Freedom to Marry provided the seed funding and serves as fiscal sponsor for Familia es Familia. The Gill Foundation has also committed to providing additional resources.

Read more by HS News Staff →

FARC Attack Colombian Towns, Children Injured

FARC Attack Colombian Towns, Children Injured

Photo: Colombia

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At least five people, including four children, were wounded in attacks staged by FARC guerrillas this weekend on towns in the southwestern Colombian province of Cauca, army 28th Mobile Brigade commander Col. Martin Hernando Nieto told Efe.

Rebels from the Gabriel Galvis column of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, attacked army troops Friday night in Miranda, Nieto said by telephone.

“In addition to using the civilian population as a shield, they used non-conventional weapons that lack precision, affecting four children and an adult,” the brigade commander said.

The wounded civilians were treated at a hospital and later released, Nieto said.

Army troops have regained control of the area, the colonel said.

Soldiers engaged FARC rebels Saturday morning in Toribio, another town in Cauca, Nieto said.

There are no reports of any casualties from the fighting in Toribio, the brigade commander said.

At least 50 dwellings were damaged in the attacks, but residents have returned to their homes and resumed their daily activities, Nieto said.

Fighting between police and rebels in another town in Cauca, meanwhile, forced civilians to leave their homes, an Efe reporter confirmed at the scene.

The residents, the majority of them Nasa and Paez Indians, were forced from their homes in Toribio and went to shelters in nearby towns.

FARC guerrillas hid in the fields around the town and attacked officers, using snipers positioned in abandoned houses to pin down police.

A teacher was slightly injured by shrapnel, Toribio Mayor Esequiel Vitonas told Efe by telephone.

The FARC attacked Toribio 10 times during the first six months of this year, the mayor said.

Four people were killed in the town last year when the FARC detonated a truck packed with explosives.

The bombing destroyed 20 houses and damaged 170 others in the town, Vitonas said.

Toribio, Jambalo, Miranda and other towns in Cauca are frequently attacked by the FARC.

President Juan Manuel Santos ordered the deployment on June 13 of three additional army brigades and four battalions to root out National Liberation Army, or ELN, and FARC guerrillas.

The soldiers were deployed in Arauca and Norte de Santander provinces, which are on the border with Venezuela, as well as in Cauca and Nariño provinces.

The Colombian government has made fighting the FARC a top priority and has obtained billions in U.S. aid for counterinsurgency operations.

The FARC, Colombia’s oldest and largest leftist guerrilla group, is on both the U.S. and EU lists of terrorist groups. Drug trafficking, extortion and kidnapping-for-ransom are the FARC’s main means of financing its operations.

The FARC has suffered a series of setbacks in recent years at the hands of the Colombian security forces.

Alfonso Cano, the FARC’s top leader, was killed on Nov. 4 in a military and police operation that the government hailed as the biggest blow to the FARC in its nearly 50-year history.

Cano, a 63-year-old intellectual who had entered the ranks of the FARC 30 years ago, was killed in in a remote area of the southwestern province of Cauca a few hours after fleeing a bombardment.

The FARC also suffered a series of blows in 2008, with the biggest coming in July of that year, when the Colombian army rescued a group of high-profile rebel-held captives: former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, U.S. military contractors Thomas Howes, Keith Stansell and Marc Gonsalves, and 11 other Colombian police officers and soldiers.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Aircraft that Relies Solely on Solar Energy Touches Down in Spain After 17 Hour Journey

Aircraft that Relies Solely on Solar Energy Touches Down in Spain After 17 Hour Journey

Photo: Solar Impulse aircraft

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The Solar Impulse aircraft landed at Madrid-Barajas Airport at 1:19 a.m. Saturday, 17 hours after taking off from Rabat on its return trip to Switzerland “without using a drop of fuel” and flown exclusively with solar energy.

This is the second time that the solar-powered aircraft has landed at Barajas, following the stopover it made at the Madrid airport last May 25 for maintenance work on a flight it was making from Switzerland to Morocco.

The Solar Impulse was scheduled to reach Barajas in the wee hours last Tuesday, but a sudden change in the weather kept it from taking off from Rabat, since the aircraft only weighs 1,600 kilos (1 3/4 tons), though it has the same wingspan as an Airbus, which makes it very dependent on winds and air currents.

Organizers of the Morocco-Switzerland flight have said that, until it took off before dawn this Friday from Rabat, the aircraft had flown some 4,000 kilometers (2,500 miles).

Right on schedule, the prototype, created by Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg, flew at sundown Friday over Toledo - the province and its like-named capital near Madrid - and reached Madrid-Barajas before midnight, but was unable to land for several hours so as not to interfere with the ordinary operations on the runways.

Piccard and Borschberg began this adventure seven years ago and made the first trial flight in 2009.

A year later, the Solar Impulse made its first real flight and was able to remain in the air day and night for 26 hours without any kind of fuel.

The 12,000 photovoltaic cells that cover its wings absorb solar energy and transfer it to the aircraft’s four batteries, which allow it to fly for up to five hours.

The Solar Impulse’s flight to Rabat came in answer to an invitation by Morocco’s Solar Energy Agency, which plans to build five solar parks by 2020 with a capacity of 2,000 megawatts to generate a significant part of the nation’s electricity.

During their stay in Madrid last May, the promoters of the flight said that the goal of their adventure was to show that “dreams are possible” and that a world powered by renewable energy “is a better world.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Hugo Chavez Congratulates New Mexican President

Hugo Chavez Congratulates New Mexican President

Photo: Hugo Chavez

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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Saturday congratulated Mexico’s presumed president-elect on his victory in the July 1 balloting and expressed his willingness to deepen bilateral ties.

Chavez “congratulates President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto for having triumphed in last Sunday’s elections, according to official results issued by the Mexican electoral authority,” the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The Federal Electoral Institute, or IFE, confirmed Friday following a recount of more than half the ballots cast that Peña Nieto, of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, won the election with 38.21 percent of the vote.

The runner-up with 31.59 percent was leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, candidate of a leftist coalition headed by the Party of the Democratic Revolution, or PRD, while Josefina Vazquez Mota, standard-bearer of the ruling conservative National Action Party, or PAN, finished third with 25.41 percent of the ballots.

The PRI’s rivals say the contest was marred by vote-buying and the Federal Electoral Tribunal still must ratify the results.

“President Hugo Chavez reiterates Venezuela’s willingness to work with Mexico on deepening bilateral cooperation for the union of our peoples,” the statement added.

The leftist head of state said he intended to keep working with Mexico on the process of constructing the 33-member Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, “thereby strengthening hope for a future of dignity and sovereignty for the region.”

Lopez Obrador, who never accepted his defeat by a razor-thin margin to the PAN’s Felipe Calderon in 2006, has vowed to formally challenge Peña Nieto’s victory, saying the contest was marred by widespread vote-buying in poor areas.

The PAN, for its part, said it will challenge irregularities such as the breaching of campaign spending limits, direct and indirect vote buying and campaigning past the allotted time period in certain areas of the country but will not lodge an overall challenge to the voting result.

Peña Nieto said Friday that “isolated irregularities” could have occurred but that allegations of wrongdoing “must be proven in the (Federal) Electoral Tribunal,” which will begin receiving complaints on Monday.

The victory for the PRI, which governed Mexico uninterruptedly from 1929 to 2000, returns that party to the presidency after a 12-year absence.

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.

Although many Mexicans remain suspicious of the party due to its corrupt past, the PRI was able to regain power in large part due to spiraling drug-related violence that has left more than 50,000 dead during the presidency of Calderon, who took office in late 2006.

Read more by HS News Staff →

STUDY:  Latino Teens and Sexting

STUDY:  Latino Teens and Sexting

Photo: Latino Teens and Sexting

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A recent study in Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine shows that many teenagers are ‘sexting’, including Latino teens though not to the levels of other demographics.

Sexting is defined as the practice of sending sexually explicit messages and/or photos to someone else via text or email.  The study found that 28% of all teenagers had sent nude pictures of themselves to someone else.

White kids were sexting the most at a rate of 35% followed by African-America teens at 27%, then Latinos at 21.5%, and then Asians with 19%.  The survey included nearly 1,000 high school teens in Texas, 31.7% of which were Latinos, with over 50% saying they have been asked to sext.

The report notes that:  “While some differences were identified, sexting occurred across sex, age, and race/ethnicity. Specifically, more than 1 in 4 adolescents have sent a nude picture of themselves through electronic means, about half have been asked to send a nude picture, and about a third have asked for a nude picture to be sent to them.”

Click here to see the final study

Read more by HS News Staff →

Brazil Hopes to Fight Dengue With Genetically Modified Mosquitos

Brazil Hopes to Fight Dengue With Genetically Modified Mosquitos

Photo: Dengue is a mosquito-borne virus

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Brazilian authorities inaugurated Saturday a breeder for a genetically modified type of aedes aegypti mosquito in hopes of finding a more effective way to combat dengue, of which 431,194 cases have been registered this year nationwide.

The so-called “mosquito factory” was built at a cost of 1.7 million reais ($850,000) and financed by the government of Bahia state with the help of the Health Ministry.

According to health officials, mosquitoes bred in such an installation receive injections of different viruses, which are transmitted in the instant of reproduction and kill the larvae before they are born, which means the number of mosquitoes tends to diminish.

The process has been tested successfully in the small city of Juazeiro in central Bahia state, where the number of aedes aegypti mosquitoes dropped by 90 percent in six months, according to official estimates.

The laboratory inaugurated Saturday will breed 4 million mosquitoes a year, which the authorities plan to let loose in the future in a medium-sized city in order to test the real impact of the experiment based on techniques already tried out by English scientists.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Brazilians are Skipping the Beach and Hitting the Mall

Brazilians are Skipping the Beach and Hitting the Mall

Photo: Shopping Malls Popular in Brazil

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Although Brazil is known for its daily sunshine, perfect weather, and pristine beaches many locals are skipping their time on the sand for luxury shopping trips at the mall.  Even though Brazil’s economy may be starting to slow, Brazil’s high end market is booming.  The boom is focused, however in the malls.

One of Brazil’s biggest mall developers, Iguatemi Empresa de Shopping Centers, expects to see 25-30 percent growth in sales in 2012.  The developer also plans to open or expand at least eight malls by the year 2015.  The newest addition, in São Paulo, is the JK Iguatemi mall which is the developer’s thirteenth mall in Brazil and third in the city.  The mall is expecting an average of 20,000 shoppers daily and offers some of the hottest labels, such as Lanvin, Van Cleef & Arpels, Topshop, Burberry, Bottega Veneta, as well as Chanel just to name a few. 

“Every time we hit a new market, we adapt to local culture.  In Brazil, people are much more used to going to malls than shopping on the street.  Therefore we decided to open our first stores in Brazil in malls,” stated Daniela Valadão, the brand manager of Topshop in Brazil.  Such successful malls in Brazil have also caused designers such as Marc Jacobs and Giorgio Armani to close their free standing stores and open in malls. 

Located just across the Pinheiros River is competing mall Cidade Jardim, developed by real estate developer JHSF.  Both malls are constantly trying to gain a competitive edge over the other by offering new services such as personal shoppers, personal chefs, concierge, 4D movie theaters and impressive gyms.  “A shopping center needs to provide much more than just shopping options.  Customer loyalty in Iguatemi succeeded because we offer unique services.  The mission of a mall is to constantly amaze customers and this has been the reason for our success,” stated Carlos Jereissati Filho, the president and CEO of Iguatemi. 

Yet with heavy local taxes causing some items to cost twice as much in Brazil as abroad in the U.S. or Europe, many locals are also travelling to look for ‘bargains.’  “Since Brazilians are travelling overseas more and more, it is extremely important to have competitive pricing in the Brazilian branch,” stated Robert Bruce Harley, director of JHSF.  He continued to state, “Forty to fifty percent higher compared to US or European prices would be more acceptable.”  Yet even with this issue, many locals still choose to spend their money at home.  Harley stated, “Brazilians are choosing to buy locally primarily due to high quality service and the availability of payment plans.  Service is a very important differentiator in Brazil.”

Read more at Business of Fashion →

¡Win Tickets to See J.Lo and Enrique in Concert in Chicago or Los Angeles!

¡Win Tickets to See J.Lo and Enrique in Concert in Chicago or Los Angeles!

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Want to see JLo, Enrique Iglesias and Wisin y Yandel in concert?

How about catching the summer’s hottest concert for FREE?

Then look no further, because HS News has got just the ticket  tickets!

We’re giving away two (2) pairs of tickets, one pair for the show at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on August 16, 2012 and the other for the United Center in Chicago on August 3rd, 2012.


  To enter:

Like ALL THREE (3) HS News Facebook pages
  - Weird News
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      AND

Sign up to receive our newsletter below.

 

You MUST send us a message on Facebook (tell us the e-mail you used for the newsletter) letting us know you want to be entered to win the tickets. Be sure to let us know which tickets (Chicago or Los Angeles) you’re looking to win.

  *Winners will be selected and contacted via e-mail 10 days prior to each show (July 27, 2012 for the Chicago concert and August 6, 2012 for the Los Angeles performance), so be sure to check your inbox!

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Read more by HS News Staff →

Lesbian Family TV Show is J Lo’s Next Project

Lesbian Family TV Show is J Lo’s Next Project

Photo: Jennifer Lopez Developing Lesbian FAmily Show

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The ever busy Jennifer Lopez is said to be developing a family series for ABC that centers around a lesbian couple and their children, according to Deadline.

The project would be under her production company, Nuyorican Productions, and J Lo would do guest appearances as well as executive produce.  The premise of the show is about a lesbian couple, one is a cop and the other a teacher, who take in a difficult teenage girl to their already hectic household made up of a biological son and two adopted kids.

The hour-long drama is for ABC’s Family channel.  The series is being written by the creators of Queer As Folks, Peter Paige and Brad Bredeweg, the Advocate is reporting.  No announcement on who will play the lesbian couple or the title of the show.

The Puerto-Rican actress, singer, fashion designer, American Idol Judge (we know we probably missed out on several other job titles J Lo has) is currently on tour with Enrique Iglesias.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican Left Claim PRI Set Up Vote-Buying Scheme

Mexican Left Claim PRI Set Up Vote-Buying Scheme

Photo: Enrique Peña Nieto

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Mexico’s political left said several state governors, mostly members of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, were behind a massive vote-buying scheme in last Sunday’s general election.

“There’s no logic in terms of the participation that was seen in certain regions of the country, mainly where the PRI governs,” the presidential candidate of a leftist coalition headed by the Party of the Democratic Revolution, or PRD, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, said in a press conference Friday.

Speaking at his campaign headquarters a day after the Mexican left said it will formally challenge the election results, Lopez Obrador reiterated that he will provide evidence that “those who don’t want change in the country bought the election.”

“We’re talking about very poor areas, both rural and urban,” he said, adding that vote buying was “out in the open, immoral, shameless.”

Electoral authorities said Friday that the PRI’s Enrique Peña Nieto won the July 1 presidential election with 38.21 percent of the vote, while Lopez Obrador garnered 31.59 percent.

The victory for the PRI, which governed Mexico uninterruptedly from 1929 to 2000, returns that party to the presidency after a 12-year absence.

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.

Although many Mexicans remain suspicious of the party due to its corrupt past, the PRI was able to regain power in large part due to spiraling drug-related violence that has left more than 50,000 dead during the presidency of the National Action Party’s Felipe Calderon, who took office in late 2006.

Lopez Obrador, for his part, finished runner-up for the second consecutive presidential election and maintains that both contests were marred by fraud.

After losing to Calderon by a razor-thin margin in 2006, Lopez Obrador refused to accept the result and had himself proclaimed as “legitimate president” before tens of thousands of supporters in Mexico City.

On Friday, the veteran politician said “anti-democracy” forces cannot impose themselves but stressed that he and his supporters will act “responsibly” and did not say if he would take to the streets to protest the results.

“We’re going to keep acting peacefully. We don’t want confrontation. We’re right and we’re demonstrating that and it’s going to be fully demonstrated,” he said Friday.

He also did not indicate whether he will join the protests of the nonpartisan “Yo Soy 132” student movement, which arose in May to demand that Mexico’s leading television network Televisa stop slanting campaign coverage in favor of the PRI.

That student movement has compiled more than 1,000 complaints of irregularities in the election, the vast majority allegations against the PRI. The most common reported irregularities include the buying of votes and voter credentials and violations of a ban on campaigning in the days leading up to the election.

Lopez Obrador said Friday the student movement is independent and composed of young people who “have acted very responsibly and creatively.”

He added that he and his team will gather evidence this weekend and present a detailed report to Mexican society on how the presidential election was “bought.”

The goal, he said, is to “clean up the election, defend democracy, defend citizens’ votes and not accept any electoral fraud.”

Lopez Obrador urged electoral authorities not to make public statements indicating the election results are set in stone, adding that “they must act as judges and uphold the constitution.”

“We’ve got to wait and see. They made it easy for them to buy votes, easy for them to use the media to impose Peña Nieto, but it’s not enough for them to say ‘we made a mistake,’” he said.

For its part, the chairman of the conservative National Action Party, or PAN, which has held the presidency since 2000, said the PRI won the election with “wads of cash and trickery” but insisted his party will respect the election results.

Gustavo Madero said in a press conference in Mexico City Friday that “fraud no longer takes place the day of the election, but ... in the lead-up, as far back as six years or more, to pave the way for this result.”

The PAN’s standard-bearer, Josefina Vazquez Mota, finished a distant third with 25.41 percent of the vote.

Madero said his party will challenge irregularities such as the breaching of campaign spending limits, direct and indirect vote buying and campaigning past the allotted time period in certain areas of the country but not lodge an overall challenge to the voting results as the left has vowed.

He also denounced the “illegal participation” of state governments in the election and the political manipulation of voter preference polls in the media, which “did not contribute to informing citizens in a truthful manner.”

For his part, Peña Nieto was quoted as saying in a PRI statement Friday that the allegations of electoral chicanery “must be proven in the (Federal) Electoral Tribunal,” which still must ratify the results.

The presumed president-elect said last Sunday’s election was notable for the “large participation of Mexicans, with more than 50 million voters heading to the polls” and said that lent “certainty” to the process.

“Isolated irregularities” obviously could have occurred, but the election was the “most closely watched in Mexico’s history, with 3 million citizens and party representatives” maintaining vigilance over 143,000 polling stations, he added.

“I recognize the right of other parties and candidates to have recourse to the law to resolve any type of doubts that may arise, but the transparency of the electoral process and Mexican society’s support for my project are undeniable,” Peña Nieto said.

By law, political parties have from July 9 to July 12 to formally challenge the election results.

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Brazil’s National Soccer Team Sees Olympics as Practice for World Cup

Brazil’s National Soccer Team Sees Olympics as Practice for World Cup

Photo: Brazilian CBF

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The captain of Brazil’s national soccer team said in an interview with an Italian sports daily that a gold medal at the Summer Olympics could serve as a springboard to success at the 2014 World Cup, which the South American country will host.

Grabbing first place in London would allow the national squad to “arrive at the World Cup even stronger,” defenseman Thiago Silva said in remarks published Saturday by La Gazzetta dello Sport, in which he said his role as skipper is “a privilege and a very big responsibility.”

“In the past four friendlies, we’ve shown we’re in good shape despite the defeats against Mexico and Argentina. I was at the 2008 Games (in Beijing). I wasn’t a starter but I remember the match we lost to Argentina. They were pulling our leg from the bench. Now we’ll do everything possible to turn the situation around,” he said.

Silva also cited one member of Brazil’s squad, 21-year-old defensive midfielder Romulo Borges Monteiro, as someone to watch in the future, saying he is a player with “a lot of personality and quality.”

The 27-year-old A.C. Milan star is one of the only veterans on the Brazilian national team since, based on rules first instituted for the 1992 Games, squads may only suit up three players over the age of 23.

The men’s soccer tournament at the 2012 Games will be held in London and five other British cities from July 26 to Aug. 11.

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DEA Arrest 20 Gang Members Connected to Sinaloa Cartel in Drug Bust

DEA Arrest 20 Gang Members Connected to Sinaloa Cartel in Drug Bust

Photo: Confiscated in the drug bust

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U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents and police in the Arizona city of Tempe have arrested 20 members of a criminal gang linked to Mexico’s powerful Sinaloa drug cartel, authorities said.

In addition to the arrests, made within the scope of “Operation Nayarit Stampede,” authorities also confiscated $2.4 million in cash, an airplane, 10 vehicles, three tons of marijuana and 30 pounds of methamphetamine.

The gang was led by three individuals identified as Leonel Galvez Leal, Norberto Meza Montoya and Jose Alonzo Rodriguez Rosas, the Tempe Police Department said in a media release Friday.

The investigation began six months ago when police in Tempe, a city in southwestern Arizona, learned of the existence of purported stash houses used to store drugs for eventual delivery to customers in that city, as well as in New York, Alabama, California and other states.

The special agent in charge of the DEA field office in Phoenix, Doug Coleman, said the operation dismantled an organization that operated along the U.S.-Mexico border and in the interior of the United States.

“DEA and our partners have taken large quantities of drugs, millions of dollars in drug trafficker assets, and powerful weapons off our streets,” Coleman said of the operation, which also received the backing of other DEA field offices and police departments in several other Arizona cities.

The Sinaloa cartel is considered to be Mexico’s most powerful criminal organization and is led by Joaquin “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzman, whose estimated fortune of $1 billion qualified him for a spot on Forbes magazine’s list of the world’s richest people.

Guzman was captured in Guatemala in 1993 and extradited to Mexico, where he was convicted and sentenced to prison. But the drug lord escaped from a maximum-security prison in 2001 and remains at large.

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3 Mining Workers Escape From Indian Captivity

3 Mining Workers Escape From Indian Captivity

Photo: The abduction occurred in southwest Bolivia

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Bolivia’s government said Saturday that three of five mining employees abducted in the southwestern province of Potosi have fled their Indian captors.

Police search-and-rescue operations Friday near the Mallku Khota mine, 350 kilometers (215 miles) south of La Paz, enabled an engineer, a technician and a driver with Canadian mining firm South American Silver - held captive in that area since Monday - to escape, Interior Minister Carlos Romero said.

The three employees “are in a state of nervous stress” due to the psychological pressure they were under and will not talk to the media for the time being, Romero said in a press conference in the Andean city of Oruro, where police took the freed individuals Friday night.

The three, who had been abducted on Monday, were suffering from “moderate dehydration” and “psychological and physical fatigue” but did not have any external injuries, physician Freddy Quispe said.

According to Romero, a female prosecutor who was accompanying the police operations was held for several hours Friday by the Indians but also was freed and has returned to La Paz.

No information is available on the other two abducted South American Silver engineers, who have been held captive for 10 days, while a police officer who became separated from his group also remains missing.

President Evo Morales, an Aymara Indian and the Andean nation’s first indigenous head of state, dispatched nearly 400 police and a delegation headed by Labor Minister Daniel Santalla to Potosi on Thursday in a bid to negotiate the release of the kidnap victims.

One indigenous man was killed and eight people were wounded - including both Indians and police - in a clash that same day.

The Canadian firm has been conducting exploration work in northern Potosi - one of Bolivia’ poorest regions - since 2007 to evaluate its reserves of silver and indium. The massive Mallku Khota mine project mainly contains those two minerals, although it also holds lesser quantities of gold.

One faction of the indigenous people living in the Quechua community of Mallku Khota has been trying to force out the mining company so they can exploit the mine themselves.

They also are demanding the release of their leader, Cancio Rojas, who is under house arrest in Potosi city accused of illegally detaining and torturing other Indians and police officers for several days a few weeks ago as part of the same conflict.

South American Silver unit Compañia Minera Mallku Khota says a majority of the Indian clans in the area support the firm’s activities.

The company’s opponents, led by Rojas, have attacked other Indians and illegally detained police, authorities say.

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Raul Castro Signs Financial Cooperation Accords with China

Raul Castro Signs Financial Cooperation Accords with China

Photo: Raul Castro and Hu Jintao

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Cuban President Raul Castro concluded Saturday his four-day visit to China after signing a number of significant accords, particularly on financial cooperation, and having met with the current leaders and their successors, the Xinhua state-run news agency reported.

Castro, whose next destination is Vietnam, wrapped up his first visit to China as Cuba’s head of state with the signing of eight bilateral agreements on financial and technical aid for Cuba.

For some observers, the trip served to build bridges of cooperation between Havana and Beijing, the island’s second largest trade partner after Venezuela, in order to find ways for the Asian nation to become a stronger alternative to Cuba’s economic dependence on the Venezuelan regime of Hugo Chavez.

The Cuban president kicked off his agenda Thursday at a meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao and the country’s chief legislator, Wu Bangguo.

Besides meeting with Premier Wen Jiabao, Castro also had occasion to speak with Vice Premier Li Keqiang and Vice President Xi Jinping.

Xi, who in October will be named secretary general of the Communist Party of China and in March 2013 will take power as the nation’s president, replacing Hu Jintao in both positions, met with Castro on Friday at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, where a banquet was given in honor of the Cuban leader.

The next stop for Castro, 81, is Vietnam, another country with economic reforms similar to China’s, where Cuba will seek further support and inspiration.

Vietnam is currently the chief exporter of rice to Cuba, where it is a mainstay of the inhabitants’ diet.

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SundayJuly 8, 2012