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TuesdayJuly 10, 2012

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

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

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Cuba Cholera Cases Reach 85 and May Rise

Cuba Cholera Cases Reach 85 and May Rise

Photo: Cuba Cholera Cases Reach 85 and May Rise

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At least 85 cases of cholera have been confirmed in Cuba and three people have died since the outbreak was detected, officials of the Pan American Health Organization told Efe on Tuesday.

The figures match those announced by Cuban state epidemiologist Ana Maria Batista Gonzalez.

For its part, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention make no mention of cholera nor recommend vaccination against the disease in their warnings to travelers going to Cuba.

A doctor in the eastern Cuban city of Manzanillo, cited Tuesday in Miami’s El Nuevo Herald newspaper, attributed to the epidemiologist Batista the number of 346 possible cases of cholera and of 3,998 people suffering from vomiting and diarrhea.

The same daily mentioned a dissident in Bayamo who said that “he had heard reports of five deaths,” and an independent journalist in Havana who said that as many as 15 people had died.

The last cholera epidemic in Cuba occurred in 1882, while a previous one followed the fall of the dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1959.

Hundreds of Cubans have worked and continue working with cholera patients in Haiti, where people in their tens of thousands contracted the disease after the 2010 earthquake. Among the Cubans who have worked in Haiti are hundreds of doctors and nurses from Granma province, scene of the current outbreak.

The director of Melia Hotels International in Cuba, Gabriel Canaves, in a message posted on the Web site Preferente.com, said that “it’s all under control” and that “Cuban doctors are the best professionals in the world.”

Melia, Blau Hotels, Iberostar and H10 are some of the Spanish hotel chains operating in Cuba whose business, according to Preferente.com, has not suffered in any way as a result of the cholera outbreak.

Read more by HS News Staff →

New Section of Inca Trail Discovered in Peru

New Section of Inca Trail Discovered in Peru

Photo: New Section of Inca Trail Discovered in Peru

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A section of the Peru’s Inca Trail was recently discovered in the Cusco region on the country’s southeast side after having been abandoned for about 500 years.

Among the surprising amount of orchids and flora, the new section was discovered by Peruvian archaeologists and will reportedly be available to visit in two years, after a research project is conducted.

The new section of the trail is about 1.7 meters (about 5’ 7”) wide, 4.3 kilometers (about 2.7 miles) in length, and was built using a retaining wall, rainwater drainage channels, and a paved platform. Archaeologists say about 70 percent of the trail is in very good condition with the rest having been damaged by vegetation and landslides.

According to Andina, the new section connects the Chakiqocha part of the trail with the Qantupata archeological site.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Colombian Drug Operative Who Faked Own Death in 2010 Arrested During his Caribbean Wedding Party

Colombian Drug Operative Who Faked Own Death in 2010 Arrested During his Caribbean Wedding Party

Photo: Colombian Drug Operative Who Faked Own Death in 2010 Arrested During his Caribbean Wedding Party

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A man wanted by Colombian authorities was arrested at a really inconvenient time – during his week-long wedding reception.

Last week, Camilo “Fritanga” Torres was celebrating his wedding in the Caribbean with a number of soap opera stars and pop singers when he was arrested.

Torres, who has legally been “dead” since 2010, is believed to be the lead operative in Colombia’s Los Urabeños drug trafficking operation.

The celebrities at the lavish, $1.4 million party have since claimed they had no Torres was involved in the drug trade.

On the video below, he laughs when shown a photo of his old ID, saying he barely recognized himself as he hasn’t seen the card in years.

Torres was arrested on Colombia’s Caribbean island of Mucura, and Colombian officials are now trying to determine how he faked his death and who is responsible for his death certificate, which says he died of natural causes in Bogota.

The drug trafficker is also wanted by the U.S. government.

This video below from El Heraldo shows Torres being arrested.

Related Videos

Read more by HS News Staff →

Las Cruces Tea Party Displays Confederate Flag on Float and Wins Prize

Las Cruces Tea Party Displays Confederate Flag on Float and Wins Prize

Photo: Las Cruces Tea Party and Confederate Flag

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Yes, the Las Cruces, New Mexico Tea Party display of the Confederate flag is “contrary to what 99% of the people think” but that didn’t stop the parade float with the flag from winning an award.

The quote of displeasure came from Mayor Ken Miyagishima to Las Cruces Sun-News in reaction to the local Tea Party’s award-winning float at the popular Las Electric Light Parade.  In addition parade sponsors are disavowing knowing anything about the Tea Party ‘s float decorations.  Others are circulating a petition so that the City can denounce the float and withdraw the $1,000 cash prize.  Thus far the city has received 4,800 emails complaining about the float.

The parade judges, according to Las Cruces Sun-News, claim to not have seen the Confederate flag during the nighttime parade.  They were awarded for their light display not the float content, they claim. 

In their defense the Las Cruces Tea Party says its use of the flag was justified since it was part of New Mexico’s history – something disputed by local historians.  The flags of Mexico and Spain were not on display though New Mexico at one time in its history was a part of those countries.  Tea Partiers claim the Mexican flag got shredded and the Spanish flag never came in the mail.

The Party continues to defend itself from criticism that they are divisive and racist and no mention if they plan on returning the award money. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Costa Rica Mattress Fire in Prison Set by Men With Ties to Mexican Drug Cartel

Costa Rica Mattress Fire in Prison Set by Men With Ties to Mexican Drug Cartel

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A fire at the jail of a courthouse in Costa Rica was reportedly set by eight men with ties to a Mexican drug cartel.

Saturday, jail cell mattresses at the courthouse, the Tribunales de Goicoechea in San Jose, were set on fire by eight men looking to start a mutiny as part of their plan to escape.

The men are believed to have ties to Mexico’s Gulf Cartel. Prisoner Juan Manuel “El Guero” Hernandez had been arrested earlier in the week and was believed to the be the leader of a Costa Rican drug trafficking operation with ties to a Mexican counterpart with e the Gulf Cartel.

The mattresses, 15 total, were ignited using a lighter investigators believe was smuggled into the jail by a prisoner who likely brought it in inside his body.

Of the eight men who started the fires, five are Mexican and are believed to be members of the Mexican cartel.

El Guero is now being held in La Reforma prison’s maximum security block.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Superintendent John Deasy Fires Entire School as Investigation of Child Sex Abuse Charges Continues

Superintendent John Deasy Fires Entire School as Investigation of Child Sex Abuse Charges Continues

Photo: Superintendent John Deasy Fires Entire School as Investigation of Child Sex Abuse Charges Continues

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As the investigation into child sexual abuse allegations within the Los Angeles school system continues, Superintendent John Deasy has taken a major step towards ending what he called a “culture of silence.”

Shortly after the abuse allegations started coming out, Deasy had all teachers at the Miramonte Elementary School sent elsewhere, but this week, he fired the school’s entire staff, telling the Associated Press, “It was a quick, responsible, responsive action to a heinous situation. We’re not going to spend a long time debating student safety.”

Among the allegations brought against the teachers were that one, Mark Berndt, fed cookies with his semen on top to the children in his classroom. Just before Berndt’s arrest, another Miramonte educator, Martin B. Springer, was charged with committing lewd acts on multiple children.

In response to the horrific allegations, Deasy, 51, a man known for his get-it-done attitude and often-criticized decisions, thought it best to give the school a fresh start and bring in a new staff. He has also urged more than 50 current principals throughout the district to retire or transfer and allow him to interview their replacements to better serve the students.

Deasy had not been Superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District for a year when the alleged abuse came to light.

“I’m intolerant when it comes to students being disrespected,” Deasy told AP. “I do what I think is right and everyone has the right to criticize. You appreciate the critics, but you wouldn’t get up in the morning if you listened to them.”

The predominantly Latino school district is responsible for educating 660,000 students, and Deasy, known to students as Dr. D., was determined to fulfill the promises he made to improve performance and graduation rates.

Deasy is on a mission to improve test scores, graduation rates, and various other aspects of students’ education in eight years and has been working to set up reforms to make those things happen within his first four years.

This mass firing, as expected, has caught both criticism and praise from parents, administrators, and educators. However, despite critics like former president of the L.A. teachers union known as the Union Teachers Los Angeles protesting that there are “processes” to go through before actions such as this, Deasy says, “The culture in this district has been talk, protest, argue, not actually do.”

“This style has come up against that.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Reggie Jackson Banished by the Yankees for Bad Mouthing Alex Rodriguez

Reggie Jackson Banished by the Yankees for Bad Mouthing Alex Rodriguez

Photo: Alex Rodriguez and Reggie Jackson on the Outs

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Reports are coming out that Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson has been banished from the New York Yankees as a result of disparaging remarks he made about Alex Rodriguez in Sports Illustrated latest issue.

Jackson, a former Yankee, will not be traveling with the team, be seen in the dugout, clubhouse or anywhere the Yankees are playing.  Apparently management was not too happy with Jackson questioning Rodriguez’ batting ability after admitting to using enhancement drugs. 

He told the magazine “But I think there are real questions about his numbers.  As much as I like him, what he admitted about his usage does cloud some of his records.”

Jackson’s comments on other players abilities didn’t stop there.  He proceeded to identify players he did not deem worthy of inclusion in the Baseball Hall of Fame of which Jackson is a member.  The list included Gary Carter, Phile Niekro, Kirby Puckett, Jim Rice and Don Sutton.

The banishment was confirmed by former Yankee manager Joe Torre, saying to USA Today, “Reggie is still a Yankee, they just asked him to step aside a while.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Demi Lovato to Host 2012 Teen Choice Awards

Demi Lovato to Host 2012 Teen Choice Awards

Photo: Demi Lovato and Britney Spears joined LA Reid and Simon Cowell as judges on 'X Factor'

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One of the X Factor’s newest judges will be this year’s host for the Teen Choice Awards.

Next month, former Disney sweetheart Demi Lovato will host the 2012 Teen Choice Awards on Fox.

Earlier this year, the Latina singer-actress and fellow former Disney kid Britney Spears announced they would be the new judges on X Factor, replacing Nicole Scherzinger and Paula Abdul.

The “Give Your Heart a Break” singer was officially named host on the award show’s Twitter (@TeenChoiceGirl) on Monday and Lovato confirmed the news by retweeting the post.

Alongside her hosting duties, Lovato is also up for Choice Summer Music Star: Female , Choice Summer Song and Choice Love Song (both for “Give Your Heart a Break”).

The 2012 Teen Choice Awards will air on Fox on July 22 at 8pm.

Carly Rae Jepson, Flo Rida, Justin Bieber, No Doubt, and Selena Gomez are reportedly set to perform at the live event.

The announcement of her as host follows her appearance on both Self and Cosmopolitan magazines.

Read more by HS News Staff →

$28 Million Worth of Counterfeit Piguet Watches Found at U.S.-Mexico Border

$28 Million Worth of Counterfeit Piguet Watches Found at U.S.-Mexico Border

Photo: $28 M Audemars Piguet Counterfeits at Border

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The Import Specialist Enforcement Team (ISET) at U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Laredo Port of Entry recently seized a commercial shipment of counterfeit watches and other watches carrying a combined retail value of $28.7 million.

In the enforcement action, a CBP import specialist at World Trade Bridge selected a shipment of watches for an examination. In the course of their examination, CBP officers and import specialists discovered possible infringement of the Louis Arden and Audemars Piguet design trademarks, which are recorded trademarks. CBP subsequently on June 29 seized 10 boxes containing 1,120 watches found to be infringing on the Audemars Piguet design trademark as well as 28 boxes containing 3,080 watches determined to be used to facilitate the importation of the fake watches also were seized.

The combined manufacturer’s suggested retail price, had the Audemars Piguet trademark been genuine, was $28.7 million.

“This is one of the highest valued seizures in terms of MSRP in the history of the Port of Laredo,” said Sidney Aki, CBP port director, Laredo Port of Entry.

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: Burglar Thomas Molina’s Escape Thwarted When he Gets Stuck in Blinds

LATINO BLOTTER: Burglar Thomas Molina’s Escape Thwarted When he Gets Stuck in Blinds

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Police in Albuquerque, New Mexico say burglar Thomas Molina was caught on Sunday when he became tangled in window blinds.

Molina, 38, was found stuck in blinds at Central New Mexico Community College after someone called police to report a break-in.

He later told police he had been looking for computer hardware to steal and was attempting to escape when he got tangled in the window blinds.

KRQE-TV has reported Molina has been charged with breaking and entering and burglary. He is now being held on $10,000 bond.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Brooklyn Museum of Art Purchases Rare Peruvian Painting

The Brooklyn Museum recently acquired a rare piece of art from Peru dating back to the late eighteenth century.  The piece entitled, ‘A Merry Company Along the Banks of the Rimac River’, was purchased on June 21, 2012 by the Museum’s Board of Trustees.  It will be the highlight of a new exhibit at the museum entitled, Behind Closed Doors: Power and Privilege in the Spanish American Home, 1492-1898

The painting is attributed to the viceroyalty of Peru and was formerly in a collection of a Peruvain count according to Art Daily

In the painting, a multi racial group of Spaniards, Africans, mestizos as well as Native Americans are shown dancing and drinking on a country estate along the banks of the Rimac River.  During this time, Spanish Americans were some of the world’s wealthiest people and this scene depicts their private life and luxury in colonial Latin America. 

The exhibit, organized by Richard Aste, Curator of European Art at the Brooklyn Museum, will be on display beginning on September 20, 2013 through January 12, 2014.  The exhibit will then travel to three other museums in the United States according to Art Daily.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Perfect Climbing in Cuba but Now It’s off Limits

Perfect Climbing in Cuba but Now It’s off Limits

Photo: No More Climbing Valle de Vinales

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Since the late 1990s, foreigners have been heading to a Cuban national park, in Valle de Viñales, to enjoy the spectacular mogotes.  It may sound like a refreshing drink, but the mogotes are islands of karstic limestone that became a rock climbing paradise once climbers found hundreds of routes up the precipitous mountain faces.

However, a crackdown on climbing, which began in 2003, has become more strictly enforced. Visitors are threatened with police action by the park guards and this is driving climbers away. Locals worry that this climbing prohibition will destroy the economy in Viñales which has over 300 boarding houses where tourists stay while visiting the park.  Although rules are strict many people believe that the climbing location is worth the risk.  Oscar Jaime Rodriguez, an owner of one of the many boardinghouses, states, “They are always saying, ‘It’s prohibited, it’s prohibited,’ but climbers still come and they still climb.  It’s worth it.”

The government claims that they are setting up a system allowing people to buy daily passes or licenses to climb, though this story has been going around for nearly a decade. Other explanations say the state is worried that Cubans and foreigners are meeting at Viñales to organize against the government as many of the favorite climbing locations are part of the national defense plan in case of possible attack.

Yet, according to German climbers Jens and Ina Franzke, although the climbs they managed to complete by evading guards were breathtaking, the risks have been too overwhelming to ever do it again.  “It feels like East Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall.  There are all these rules and none of them make sense.  There are no signs.  No detailed maps at all.  You ask if you can go somewhere and do something by yourself and they say, ‘No, it’s impossible.’ It’s a real shame because it’s such a paradise, but we will never come back.” 

This feeling is the fear for many locals in Valle de Viñales.  The crackdown on this outdoor adventure sport would be devastating to an area that has flourished from tourists looking to climb the mogotes. 

Read more at NY Times →

300,000 Living in U.S. with Chagas “Kissing Bug” Disease, Most are Immigrants from Latin America

300,000 Living in U.S. with Chagas “Kissing Bug” Disease, Most are Immigrants from Latin America

Photo: Chagas Disease in the U.S.

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As many as 300,000 people in the United States may have chronic Chagas disease—mostly spread by blood-sucking insects—health officials report.

However, the first confirmed U.S. case of transmission from a mother to a newborn was recently documented, adding to ongoing concern about this parasitic disease, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Most people with Chagas disease in the United States are immigrants from areas in Latin America, where the disease is endemic, the report said.

While Chagas is treatable and curable, it often goes unrecognized. Untreated, the infection is lifelong.

“Only a few people who are infected develop early symptoms,” said Dr. Anne Moore, a CDC medical epidemiologist. “The vast majority have such mild symptoms, or no symptoms, that they don’t know they are infected.”

The parasite stays in the blood system and gradually causes disease in the tissues it affects—and the tissues it likes the most are heart muscle, Moore said.

“About 30 percent of those infected will develop serious cardiac disease, which can be fatal,” she explained.

Chagas is spread by triatomine insects, which can carry the parasite that causes the disease. People become infected when the bug feeds by sucking blood. The insects are also called kissing bugs because they tend to bite around the face, Moore said.

While most people who have Chagas are from Latin America and Mexico, the insects that cause the disease are common across the lower southern, eastern and western United States, according to the CDC.

Whether the species of these bugs found in the United States carry this parasite isn’t known, Moore said.

“We really don’t have good information about whether there is a lot of transmission in the United States—there has been a handful of cases, but no one is looking, so we don’t have an idea of the magnitude of the problem,” she noted.

The CDC, however, does test these insects for the parasite, she said.

Other, but undiagnosed, cases of mother-infant transmission have likely occurred in the United States, the report said. In other countries, the rate of congenital transmission from infected mothers is about 1 percent to 10 percent.

Two antiparasitic drugs can be used to treat Chagas. “Neither one is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but they are available free from the CDC,” Moore said.

No manufacturer has applied for approval for the drug because there are only a few cases of Chagas in the United States, she noted.

Moore believes people from Latin America, especially pregnant women, should be screened for Chagas, particularly those who have lived in rural areas. Many doctors don’t know about the disease, so they don’t look for it in these patients, she added.

The report was published in the July 6 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The current case involved an infant whose mother had recently emigrated from Bolivia. The child was diagnosed two weeks after birth when doctors saw Trypanosoma cruzi parasites in the blood.

The infant was treated and cured with the antiparasitic drug benznidazole.

Chagas also can be spread through blood transfusions and organ transplants. In 2006, the American Red Cross began screening blood donors for Chagas, Moore noted. Chagas can be acquired through food contaminated with the parasite.

Dr. Marc Siegel, an infectious disease expert, said that “Chagas disease is a reminder to us that we are part of a worldwide community of health.”

Chagas affects about 10 million people around the world, said Siegel, an associate professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City.

“With all of the immigrants we have, Chagas has become more of a problem, because it can be transmitted from mother to child or through blood transfusion, not just through an insect,” Siegel said.

This report should alert doctors to look for Chagas in patients with unexplained heart disease, he said.

“It’s not enough of a problem that we should be worried about it,” Siegel said. “It’s trending and we have to keep an eye on it.”

Read more at National Institutes of Health →

Venezuelan Singer Yordano Says Caracas Inspires His Music

Venezuelan Singer Yordano Says Caracas Inspires His Music

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The streets of Caracas once again are inspiring Venezuelan singer-songwriter on “Tierra del sol bendita,” a number on his new album that evokes his 20-year-old hit “Por estas calles.”

“Tierra del sol bendita” is part of “Sueños clandestinos,” which will be released in September and on which the artist once again fuses pop-rock with Caribbean musical genres, something that has characterized his career.

“‘Por estas calles’ has been around for 20 years and it occurred to me to give it a wink, revisit it,” said the singer in an interview with Efe in which he recalled that many people in his country have been constantly asking him when he would come out with another song like that one.

“I told them that I had already done it, but recently I took it more seriously,” said Yordano, who wrote “Tierra del sol bendita” after a night on which, upon arriving at his home in Caracas, he saw that his wife was smiling in her sleep and it seemed to him that she was dreaming.

He said that the song “has to do with violence, with the lives uselessly lost because of it, with the confrontation that there has been between different politics, ideas. I felt that 20 years after ‘Por estas calles’ it would be worth it to make a small reminder with another song.”

This song is linked “with the terrible social breakdown, and those who suffer most are the poor,” said the artist, who through his songs has transformed himself into one of Venezuela’s urban chroniclers.

Read more by HS News Staff →

STUDY:  Not Enough Latinos in Illinois and Chicago Government

STUDY:  Not Enough Latinos in Illinois and Chicago Government

Photo: Illinois Government not Diverse

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Despite the growth in their population, Latinos are underrepresented in important posts in the Chicago, Cook County and Illinois governments, according to an analysis published Monday by the Chicago Sun-Times.

“We’re extremely disappointed,” Sylvia Puente, executive director of the Chicago-based Latino Policy Forum, told the newspaper.

The analysis found that of the 30 top officials named by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in his first 14 months in office, just three were Hispanics and five were African Americans.

Municipal departments headed by white appointees manage nearly 80 percent of the city’s 2012 operating budget of more than $3 billion, the Sun-Times said.

Puente pointed out that the Hispanic community grew in Illinois in the past decade while the white and African American populations declined.

“As our population grows, we see the gaps in opportunities become more and more exacerbated,” she said.

In the government of Cook County, where Chicago is located, County Board President Toni Preckwinkle selected Hispanics for only two of the 34 main posts in the administration and named Asians to four posts, even though Latinos outnumber Asians in the county by four to one, the study says.

Hispanics are also underrepresented in the administration of Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn.

“When filling vacancies, Gov. Quinn looks for the best and brightest leaders that reflect the population of Illinois,” his spokeswoman, Annie Thompson, told the newspaper.

She emphasized that the governor works with two Latinos, Gery Chico, head of the Illinois State Board of Education, and Miguel del Valle, who chairs a committee to improve education.

“It’s really unfortunate that none of our government leaders have proper representation in their cabinets,” Sylvia Puente said.

Emanuel’s press secretary, Jennifer Hoyle, said that the mayor “recognizes the importance of a diverse work force that mirrors the diversity of Chicago.” EFE

Read more by HS News Staff →

TuesdayJuly 10, 2012