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FridayJuly 13, 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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Leaders Urge the 8.2 Million with Green Cards to Become Citizens

Leaders Urge the 8.2 Million with Green Cards to Become Citizens

Photo: Becoming a citizen

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Hispanic activists say that more than 8 million permanent residents have not become U.S. citizens, and so they continue to be unprotected from aggressive policies against immigrants and are losing political influence.

“Every person who qualifies to be a permanent resident and does not apply for citizenship should be aware of the damage he’s individually causing to the entire immigrant community by not exercising all his rights as a citizen,” Juan Jose Gutierrez, an attorney and immigrant rights advocate in Los Angeles, told Efe.

“If all those who can get their citizenship would vote, with that power we could put pressure on the politicians to attend to the most pressing demands of our community such as fair and comprehensive immigration reform,” he said.

Lizette Escobedo, National Director for Civic Engagement with the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund, told Efe that, according to Department of Homeland Security figures, 8.2 million of the 12 million foreign residents are already eligible to apply for citizenship.

“Of the 8.2 million people eligible for citizenship, 44 percent were born in Latin American countries, and in California in particular there are 3.3 million permanent residents of whom 2.3 million can already apply for citizenship,” she said.

“Our Latino community has been here for several centuries. Their children were born here, they pay taxes, they work and so they are contributing to the greatness of this country,” said Escobedo, who added that the only thing that’s lacking is that they are not citizens.

Francisco Rivera, the president of the Mesa Redonda Nacional Centroamericana (National Central American Roundtable), said that “there are many people who don’t make the effort, because they don’t have the $680 that the citizenship procedure costs and when there are several people in the family the costs are not within the reach of their salaries.”

“But it’s necessary for low-income families to know that they can fill out a request to be made exempt from paying with Citizenship and Immigration Services and if they can prove that they are in the low-income category they will not pay the $680,” he said.

Rivera said that to become better informed for free about the procedure families should attend the citizenship fairs that are organized each year by NALEO.

Antonio Gonzalez, the president of the William Velazquez Institute, told Efe that “with the economic crisis everything went downhill, the rate of naturalization was cut by more than half because people don’t have the money to pay for the process, which the government has made more expensive.”

“Both the government of George W. Bush and the one of Barack Obama have not allocated funds to get strong campaigns going through organizations so that people apply for citizenship,” he said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Yajaira Sierra One Step Closer to Becoming First Puerto Rican Woman in Space

Yajaira Sierra One Step Closer to Becoming First Puerto Rican Woman in Space

Photo: Yajaira Sierra One Step Closer to Becoming First Puerto Rican Woman in Space

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Yajaira Sierra Sastre says that dreaming “doesn’t cost anything,” so she’s spent all her life getting ready to be the first Puerto Rican woman in space - and now she’s a little closer to her goal after being chosen to take part in a new NASA project.

“I’ve wanted to be an astronaut since I was a little girl. I told people at school that’s what I wanted, and since then I’ve kept every newspaper article I ever saw about astronauts and missions to outer space,” she told Efe Friday in an interview.

The 35-year-old Sierra, who has a PhD in nanotechnology from Cornell University, could not hide her excitement when saying she is one of six people who will take part in a forward-looking NASA project.

“We’re six scientists who will live for four months isolated in a planetary module to simulate what life will be like for astronauts at a future base on Mars, while also taking part in a study on the importance of healthy meals in outer space,” she said.

Behind the project is NASA’s interest in finding out why astronauts don’t eat enough, having noted that they get bored with spaceship food and end up with problems like weight loss and lethargy that put their health at risk.

“It’s a problem they want to solve for missions to Mars where astronauts will have to stay for more than a year,” said the scientist, who would not speculate on when the first landing on the red planet will be but believes that manned spaceships will be going there “in the next 20 years.”

During the four months of simulation at a base in Hawaii, the crew will have no real-time communications with the outside world, though they will have contact with “Earth” via e-mail, and every time they step outside the module they will have to wear space suits.

“As part of the food study, we want to control our exposure to fresh air, evaluate how our senses of smell and taste change over time in isolation, and find out what role food plays in the crew’s spirits and state of mind,” she said.

Astronauts currently eat pre-prepared meals, but Sierra said that on the surface of Mars “there is a certain degree of gravity” which will allow astronauts to cook, so those in the simulation study want to try cooking with a great many non-perishable ingredients.

“They’re teaching us new cooking techniques and we’re putting together a database of recipes that we’ll recommend to NASA for future missions to Mars - and I will personally make sure we’ll have Martian paella, which we will make with rehydrated seafood,” she said with a broad smile.

The aspiring astronaut told Efe that to add zest to the recipes, the “Martian pantry” of the future will not lack some typical ingredients of Puerto Rican cuisine, such as recaito pepper sauce, culantro and annatto.

She said that the simulation project is “one more step” toward having her dream come true, after sending in her application last November to fill one of the 15 available positions NASA announced for its team of astronauts.

Meanwhile, Sierra, who recalls as if it were yesterday the first time she was entranced by the stars when as a 5-year-old she watched a formation of planets with her dad in her native Puerto Rico, continues training so that one day she can observe her native island from faraway in outer space.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican Nationals Bilk Hundreds of Thousands in Cross-border Credit Card Scheme

Investigators with the U.S. Secret Service say they uncovered an international credit card fraud operation based out of Texas.

With a search warrant in hand, the Secret Service found Mario Wong to be in possession of hundreds of gift and credit cards, a credit card encoder, various electronics, cocaine, and steroids. Investigators also found a All were found during a search of Wong’s McAllen, TX apartment. Two SUVs were also confiscated, a Hummer H2 and a BMW X5, as well as two motorcycles. Authorities also searched accomplice Jahira Montemayor’s home, which is located in the same complex as Wong’s. There they found $5,000 in cash, 100 American Express gift cards, 15 counterfeit WalMart gift cards, and electronics. Wong’s brother, Hugo, is also said to have been involved in the scheme.

Wong and Montemayor, both Mexican nationals, were caught when a man reported $340 missing from his bank account. Though we are unclear why, the man believed the thief was located at the Academy Sports + Outdoors store in McAllen. McAllen police found Wong at the store and found he was in possession of several credit and gift cards.

When questioned, Wong implicated both his brother and a man named Arnaldo Sanchez-Torteya, though neither have been charged.

Wong claims he met Sanchez-Torteya in Monterrey, Mexico in early 2011. He told investigators that shortly after meeting Sanchez-Torteya, he was kidnapped by members of the Zetas drug cartel. Wong says he was then tortured for weeks. After being released, Wong says he moved to McAllen where he ran into Sanchez-Torteya once again. He soon agreed to join Sanchez-Torteya’s credit card fraud scheme.

Wong admitted to having about $120,000 dollars in his checking accounts. Authorities were able to confirm he had at least $113,000 in his Wells Fargo saving and checking accounts.

Montemayor and Wong now face charges of federal fraud. It is believed at least another 15 others were a part of this fraud operation.

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: Texas Wendy’s Worker Gets 22 Years for Selling Child Porn at Work

LATINO BLOTTER: Texas Wendy’s Worker Gets 22 Years for Selling Child Porn at Work

Photo: Texas Fast Food Worker Gets 22 Years for Selling Child Porn at Work

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Wednesday, Juan Antonio Rosa was sentenced by a federal judge to 22 years in prison for selling child pornography to patrons at the fast food restaurant he worked at.

Rosa, 36, was sentenced this week after pleading guilty in March to distributing child pornography.

The way it worked, Rosa would meet porn customers online and while working at a Wendy’s Co. restaurant in San Antonio, Texas, patrons looking to purchase child porn would use the code word “ScoobyDoo” and order food. They paid for the food and an extra $50 for the pornography. When the food was handed over, the patron would also receive a memory card containing five or six.

This was not Rosa’s first time in jail, nor was it his first time being convicted on child porn charges.

In 2010, Rosa was released from prison after serving time on another state child porn conviction. After his release, Rosa took the job at Wendy’s.

Last summer, he was arrested when child porn was found on his home computers. However, he argued he was not watching it.

Prosecutor Tracy Thompson said Rosa claimed, “It’s not for me. I’m just trying to make some money off of it.”

Rosa has two daughters and even brought them to court for the sentencing where he tearfully apologized.

He received little sympathy and was sentenced to 22 years, with 1 year credited for spending the last year in jail.

Authorities say fellow restaurant workers were not aware of Rosa’s child porn dealings.

Read more by HS News Staff →

NPR Music’s ‘Alt.Latino’: Calle 13 & Ana Tijoux Live from LAMC Showcase at Celebrate Brooklyn

NPR Music’s ‘Alt.Latino’: Calle 13 & Ana Tijoux Live from LAMC Showcase at Celebrate Brooklyn

Photo: Calle 13, Ana Tijoux in concert on NPR Music's Alt.Latino

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Tonight (July 13), NPR Music’s Alt.Latino will broadcast a live concert featuring Puerto Rican hip-hop duo Calle 13 and Chilean MC Ana Tijoux. Part of a Latin Alternative Music Conference showcase for the Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival, the live stream of the performances will be hosted by Alt.Latino’s Felix Conteras and Jasmine Garsd, along with KEXP Seattle’s Chilly and KCRW Los Angeles’ Raul Campos. Music fans worldwide can listen to the show at NPR Music and through the NPR Music mobile apps, beginning at 8PM (ET): www.npr.org/event/music/156389689/calle-13-in-concert

“I can’t think of two more relevant artists to Latin Alternative music than Tijoux and Calle 13,” says Garsd. “They’ve both reached a point of artistic maturity that defies categorization.”

The broadcast is part of a partnership between BRIC Arts | Media | Bklyn and NPR Music to bring Celebrate Brooklyn! concerts from New York City’s Prospect Park to everyone, everywhere. Additionally, the set from the opening act Ritmo Machine will also be recorded and made available for later listening – as will all of the shows in the series – at NPR Music.

Alt.Latino is NPR Music’s web-based program dedicated to Latin Alternative music and rock in Spanish. Through the show’s blog and weekly podcasts, hosts Jasmine Garsd and Felix Contreras explore the ever-evolving world of Latin Alternative music, examine the genre’s role in American and Latin culture and connect listeners with influential Latin singers, athletes, actors and more. NPR Music celebrates great music in every genre and is an industry leader in music discovery. The Emmy Award-winning free, multimedia website at www.npr.org/music offers new features daily and an extensive archive, in collaboration with NPR’s newsmagazines, public radio Member stations and the passionate NPR community.


Read more by HS News Staff →

Terrorist Group in Peru Abducting and Training Children

Terrorist Group in Peru Abducting and Training Children

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It is estimated that between 150 and 200 children in Peru have been abducted and are currently being trained by narco-terrorist groups.

Minister of Women’s Affairs Ana Jara made the announcement mere days after police rescued nearly a dozen children from a Shining Path training facility in Satipo, Junin.

Peru’s national police are still trying to determine whether the women found in the camp from which the children were rescued are the children’s mothers. Also yet to be determined is whether they were abducted along with the children or if their participation was voluntary.

Shining Path, formally known as the Communist Party of Peru, is a Maoist organization founded by former university professor Abimael Guzman in the late 1960s. The group believes that imposing a dictatorship and inducing a cultural revolution will create a truly Communist Peru. However, its tactics have landed the group on a number of countries’ terrorist organization lists.

Abducting children, and training those born into the group has caught the attention of a number of humanitarian and child protection groups over the years. While they push for a Communist Peru, Shining Path makes money in drug trafficking, much like many rebel groups in Colombia.

Earlier this year, UNICEF told reporters, “The utilization of children and adolescents on the part of the Shining Path constitutes a violation of the [Convention of the Rights of the Child] and puts them in an extremely vulnerable situation that affects their emotional, social, cognitive and physical development.” Adding, “It is necessary to understand that in these circumstances they are victims. It is imperative that these children can enjoy their rights again.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Marc Anthony to Host Fundraisers In NY, Chicago, L.A. to Help Fund Dominican Orphanage Project

Marc Anthony to Host Fundraisers In NY, Chicago, L.A. to Help Fund Dominican Orphanage Project

Photo: Marc Anthony to Host Fundraisers In NY, Chicago, L.A. to Help Fund Dominican Orphanage Project

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Global pop icon Marc Anthony and entrepreneur Henry Cardenas, president and CEO of Cardenas Marketing Network, announced they will host a series of fundraisers in August to benefit the Maestro Cares Foundation.

Maestro Cares is an initiative that was launched earlier this year. The three-event series aims to raise funds for the completion of a new residence hall and learning facility for over 200 children living at Orfanato Niños de Cristo, in La Romana, Dominican Republic.

The Dominican orphanage will be the first territory to directly benefit from the non-for-profit organization.

“I have been granted the privilege to be the voice for these kids and they need all the support in the world. We are looking forward to having full participation from the philanthropic community in an effort to grant them a better tomorrow,” said Anthony.

The series of events are set to kick off in Anthony’s hometown of New York on Thursday, August 9 at El Museo del Barrio. The museum, which sits directly across from Central Park, is one of New York’s leading Latino cultural institutions.

The second fundraiser is scheduled for Monday, August 20 at the Sofitel Chicago Water Tower, in the heart of Chicago’s Gold Coast, while the third event will be held in Los Angeles on Thursday, August 23 at Club Nokia, located at the center of the entertainment capital, L.A. Live.

“We want to give these children the tools they need to be productive and to have a fulfilling life,” said Cardenas. “Hope is one of the greatest gifts one can give and receive.”

All events will include a cocktail reception and a silent auction featuring sports and entertainment memorabilia to help raise additional funds for the project.

By providing children with education, recreation and other development programs at an orphanage, the Maestro Cares Foundation seeks to instill a culture that includes a strong work ethic, confidence, and discipline.

Read more by HS News Staff →

More Narco Tunnels Found Near U.S. Mexico Border

More Narco Tunnels Found Near U.S. Mexico Border

Photo: Narco Tunnel Across U.S. Mexico border

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Mexico’s army said it discovered two “narcotunnels” in less than 24 hours on the northeast side of Tijuana, a hardscrabble metropolis located across the border from San Diego.

The first tunnel was located Wednesday night some 200 meters (655 feet) from the border, the military commander in that region, Gen. Gilberto Landeros Briseño, told reporters in the building where the clandestine passageway was found.

He said a small recycling business occupied the building where the tunnel began.

The general said Thursday that the tunnel was discovered thanks to ground reconnaissance operations in the area, noting that one person seen exiting the fake business fled upon noticing the soldiers’ arrival and left the door open.

The soldiers proceeded to enter the building to search the premises and discovered in the bathroom the unfinished tunnel, which presumably was to be used to smuggle drugs, weapons and undocumented migrants across the border.

Landeros said the tunnel had been constructed to a point approximately 60 meters (200 feet) from the border.

The tunnel was one meter in width, 1.7 meters in height and as much as 10 meters deep and had lighting and an unsophisticated ventilation system.

Authorities confiscated two tractor-trailers as well as different excavation tools such as shovels, picks and wheelbarrows.

On Thursday night, military officials in that region said in a statement that a second narcotunnel had been found at a property also located on the northeast side of the city, where 50 tons of marijuana were seized.

That 350-meter-long (1,150-foot-long) tunnel was discovered thanks to ongoing military operations in the area, the statement said.

Since the mid-1990s, authorities have discovered many clandestine passageways along the U.S.-Mexico border, with dozens of narcotunnels having been found in the past four years.

People traffickers and drug cartels often use clandestine tunnels to cross the vast U.S.-Mexican border, which runs 3,200 kilometers (1,988 miles).

Read more by HS News Staff →

Tattoos Creating Problems for Visa Applicants

Tattoos Creating Problems for Visa Applicants

Photo: Tattoos on Latinos Problem for Green Card

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In an effort to tighten national security, the State Department has increased its number of Visa denials in recent years.  A concern over foreign gangs entering the country has caused officials to investigate not only the background of the green card applicant but also the skin.  Now, questionable tattoos could provide one more hurdle for those looking to become legal U.S. residents. 

Hector Villalobos and Rolando Mora Huerta, both married to U.S. born citizens, have found themselves separated from their wives and children as a result of tattoos, some of which were acquired as children.  Hector Villalobos, the 37 year old father of three children from Colorado, expected to complete a routine interview portion of his application in Mexico and return home.  Yet, seven months after arriving, he still finds himself in Mexico unable to return to Colorado, his family, or his job as a result of tattoos.  According to officials, some of his tattoos are associated with violent Mexican gangs.  One particular tattoo in question is a pair of theatrical masks, known as ‘Smile Now, Cry Later,’ which can be found on Mr. Villalobos’ shoulder. 

According to Veronica Villalobos, his wife of six years, “He likes tattoos, just like many Americans like tattoos.”  She states that he is not affiliated with any gangs and that his tattoos were acquired both in Mexico as well as the U.S. only because he thought they were cool. 

Rolando Mora Huerta interviewed for his green card in March of 2010.  After officials photographed some of his tattoos and questioned him about gang affiliations his application was then denied in September of 2010.  The basis for his denial was an ‘affiliation with a criminal organization.’  His wife, a nurse in Nampa, Idaho, stated that her husband got the tattoos when he was only 14 before moving to the United States. 

Both men have very clean records.  Mr. Villalobos has had no arrests or trouble with the law.  A notarized letter from one of his children’s elementary school teachers, states, “Mr. and Mrs. Villalobos are supportive, involved parents that are always the first to volunteer for classroom activities.”  Yet, the ink on his skin seems to speak louder than his letters of recommendation.  His absence has created a financial strain on his family causing his wife to cancel their health insurance policy and rely on her own mother for support.  According to Mr. Villalobos, “Because I like art, they try to put a mask of a bad person on me.  My record tells the truth.”

Read more at Wall Street Journal →

Jalisco’s Bird Flu Costing Mexican Economy $50 Million Thus Far

Jalisco’s Bird Flu Costing Mexican Economy $50 Million Thus Far

Photo: Bird Flu in Jalisco, Mexico

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An outbreak of avian flu in the western state of Jalisco has claimed 2.5 million chickens and caused $50 million in losses, a representative of the Mexican poultry sector said Thursday.

“The industry will fail to produce $50 million, not only from the cost of the (dead) birds, but also from the intrinsic value of production, the generation of wealth and of indirect jobs in other fields,” Cesar de Anda, vice chairman of the International Egg Commission, told Efe.

De Anda is part of an inter-institutional task force seeking solutions to the crisis spurred by the outbreak of the H7N3 virus in Jalisco, which accounts for 55 percent of Mexican egg output.

The latest report from Mexico’s food safety agency, Senasica, says 2.5 million chickens have died of the flu or been slaughtered, while another 3.4 million birds are carriers of the virus.

Japan, the main foreign customer for Mexican eggs, has resumed imports from Mexico, but European and African countries continue to bar eggs from the Latin American nation, De Anda said.

Around 32,000 jobs could be lost if the bird-flu outbreak is not immediately brought under control, according to Ricardo Estrada, president of the Poultry Farmers Association in Tepatitlan, Jalisco, one of the municipalities hardest hit by the illness.

Mexican authorities “have acted slowly” in the face of the outbreak, he said, calling for more healthy chickens to be vaccinated against the H7N3 virus.

De Anda, meanwhile, noted that 1 million doses of vaccine acquired from Pakistan remain entangled in red tape at customs even as private labs in Mexico work round the clock to produce 80 million doses in three weeks.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Paulina Rubio Will Join Jenni Rivera and Beto Cuevas on “La Voz de Mexico”- Mexico’s “The Voice”

Paulina Rubio Will Join Jenni Rivera and Beto Cuevas on “La Voz de Mexico”- Mexico’s “The Voice”

Photo: Paulina Rubio Will Join Jenni Rivera and Beto Cuevas on "La Voz de Mexico"- Mexico's "The Voice"

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Singer Paulina Rubio will participate in the television competition “La Voz de Mexico” this coming season, the producers said Thursday.

The “Chica Dorada” (Golden Girl) will join the team of mentors, which includes Jenni Rivera and Beto Cuevas, on the second season of the south-of-the-border version of NBC music competition show “The Voice.”

“La Voz de Mexico” broke audience records in its first season.

The performer of “Enamorada,” “Ni una sola palabra,” “Ese hombre es mio,” among other hits, will advise and train a group of young people to help them improve and become better singers.

The 41-year-old Rubio, with a musical career that spans three decades, has managed to establish herself in the Latin American markets as well as in countries like Italy, France, Portugal, Japan, Turkey, Greece and the United States.

Currently, she is promoting her most recent album - “Brava,” which features the single “Me gustas tanto” - which made its debut with top sales figures in Spain, the United States and Mexico.

Participating in the past on “La Voz de Mexico” have been well-known singers such as Spain’s Alejandro Sanz. The second season will begin airing in September on the Televisa television network.

Read more by HS News Staff →

FridayJuly 13, 2012