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TuesdayJuly 17, 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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Latinos No Longer Playing Same Movie Roles, Says Actor Tenoch Huerta

Latinos No Longer Playing Same Movie Roles, Says Actor Tenoch Huerta

Photo: Tenoch Huerta

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Mexican actor Tenoch Huerta feels that Hispanics are gaining ground in U.S. film, while the tendency to stereotype Latinos is “weakening” every day.

Huerta, 31, said in a telephone interview with Efe that it is a positive thing that Hollywood is offering possibilities for Hispanics to have more movie roles, but he said that he feels stereotypes still exist.

“But that tendency is beginning to weaken and it’s giving us an opportunity. Little by little it’s allowing other types of roles than the nationality or the language of the undefined character, rather his circumstances, and it seems to me to be positive that U.S. society is beginning to open itself to this possibility,” he said.

The most recent film in which this “proudly Mexican” actor participated is “Get the Gringo,” starring Mel Gibson, who also wrote the screenplay.

It’s an action film in which Gibson plays a veteran thief who is captured by Mexican authorities and put into a prison where he learns to survive with the help of a 10-year-old.

A large part of the filming was done at the Ignacio Allende prison in Veracruz, Mexico.

Huerta said that “as an actor, you look to have the chance to work in all kinds of films and genres” and he explained that this film “is like a comedy” that sometimes seemed to him to be “very funny.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

RUBIO WATCH: Sen. Menendez and Rubio Express Concern About Constitutional Crisis in El Salvador

RUBIO WATCH: Sen. Menendez and Rubio Express Concern About Constitutional Crisis in El Salvador

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U.S. Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Marco Rubio (R-FL), Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate’s Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Affairs, respectively, today expressed deep concern regarding the ongoing constitutional crisis in El Salvador resulting from the National Assembly’s refusal to abide by a ruling from the Supreme Court:

“Since 1989, El Salvador has realized significant democratic and economic achievements.  The United States government and the American people are committed to working with the Salvadoran people to consolidate these achievements.  Unfortunately, these accomplishments, for which Salvadorans have fought so hard, are threatened by the recent unconstitutional actions of their legislature.

“We commend the broad section of Salvadorans that have set aside their political differences to demand unequivocal respect for the rule of law and the restoration of constitutional order in their country.  We urge them to continue making their legitimate demands peacefully and under the law.  We also welcome the statements made by U.S. Ambassador Mari Carmen Aponte and Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson, and commend the Archbishop of San Salvador, Jose Luis Escobar Alas, for his call to all Salvadorans to find a peaceful and constitutional solution to this crisis. 

“We urge the Obama Administration to engage the highest levels of the Salvadoran government to gain a quick resolution to the serious constitutional crisis.  The Administration must be clear in its engagement that if concrete measures to restore the constitutional and democratic order in El Salvador are not soon implemented, the United States will have no choice but to consider a variety of bilateral actions that would reflect this lack of a democratic framework.  These options would include immediately suspending any further consideration of a second Millennium Challenge Corporation compact, review and denial of U.S. visas for individuals participating in or facilitating the continuation of the existing unconstitutional order, and the immediate termination of any U.S. technical assistance through said individuals or institutions under the Partnership for Growth.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Help Us Find Barefoot, Tatooed Albuquerque, New Mexico Bank Robber

Help Us Find Barefoot, Tatooed Albuquerque, New Mexico Bank Robber

Photo: NM Educators Federal Union Bank Robber

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The FBI and Albuquerque Police Department are looking for a heavily tattooed man who was barefoot and had a handgun when he robbed New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union located at 6501 Indian School Road NE in Albuquerque on Monday afternoon (July 16, 2012).

The suspect is described as a white male in his 50s or early 60s, about 5’10 to 5’11 tall, with a medium build. He had black hair with some dark gray.

The suspect wore a white T-shirt, plaid shorts, and a light blue baseball-style cap with a University of North Carolina logo on it. A pair of sunglasses were propped on top of the hat.

He entered the bank barefoot and had tattoos on both legs from his knees to his ankles.

Witnesses say he entered the bank at about 2:30 p.m., put a handgun on a teller’s counter, and demanded money. He took an undisclosed amount of money and left in a vehicle.

Anyone with information about this bank robbery is asked to call the Albuquerque FBI Office at (505) 889-1300 (24 hours) or Albuquerque Metro Crime Stoppers, anonymously, at (505) 843-STOP.

The FBI may pay a reward of $1,000 for information leading to the suspect’s arrest and conviction.Image

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spain’s Royals Take 7.1%  Paycut Amidst 4th Austerity Package and 24% Unemployment

Spain’s Royals Take 7.1%  Paycut Amidst 4th Austerity Package and 24% Unemployment

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Spain’s King Juan Carlos decided to cut his salary and that of Crown Prince Felipe by 7.1 percent in line with government-mandated reductions in pay for civil servants, the royal household said Tuesday.

The monarch’s annual pre-tax income will fall by 20,910 euros ($25,543) and his son’s remuneration is set to decline by half that amount.

The palace chief of staff, who holds ministerial rank, will also see his salary reduced by 7.1 percent.

The remaining officials of the royal household, like other employees of the Spanish government, are to lose their traditional Christmas bonus, one of the measures in the austerity package announced last week by the administration of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

With the salary cuts, the total appropriation for the royal household will fall to 8.16 million euros ($9.97 million), a savings of more than 265,000 euros compared with 2011.

Spain’s fourth austerity package in seven months is aimed at achieving 65 billion euros ($80 billion) in savings to meet a European Union-mandated budget deficit target, Rajoy said last Wednesday in an address to Parliament.

The Spanish economy has been battered by the global recession and the collapse of a massive real-estate bubble, which has left many banks saddled with toxic property assets.

Overall unemployment stands at more than 24 percent, while Spain’s young people are facing a jobless rate of 50 percent.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Two Guatemalan Women Sentenced to 9 Years Each for Human Trafficking

Two Guatemalan Women Sentenced to 9 Years Each for Human Trafficking

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Two Guatemalan women have been sentenced to nine-year prison terms by a Mexican court in a case involving eight children, the Attorney General’s Office said.

Juana Tzoc Tziquin and Maria Tzoc Tziquin were also ordered by a federal district court in the southern state of Chiapas to pay fines of about $3,200, the AG’s office said.

Investigators determined that the two women recruited minors in Guatemala on the pretext that they would help them find jobs in Mexico, federal prosecutors said.

The women would take the children away from their families and transport them to Chiapas, where they forced them to wash car windshields, sell flowers and perform in the streets of different cities in southeastern Mexico “for long hours, without any rest days and without receiving any pay,” the AG’s office said.

The victims “were prevented from leaving the dwelling where they were kept, as well as from leaving the place where they were taken to perform their activities, they were watched constantly and were under the threat of physical punishment and imprisonment,” the AG’s office said in a statement.

President Felipe Calderon signed legislation on June 13 that imposes prison terms of up to 60 years on those convicted of people trafficking, feminicide and a variety of other crimes targeting women and children.

The General Law to Prevent, Punish and Eradicate Crimes Related to People Trafficking also punishes those convicted of the sexual abuse or exploitation of women or children with prison terms of 40 years.

At least 47 criminal organizations are involved in people trafficking for sexual exploitation in Mexico, victimizing about 800,000 adults and 20,000 children annually, a recent congressional report said.

People traffickers operate in the states of Veracruz, Chiapas, Puebla, Oaxaca, Tlaxcala, Baja California, Chihuahua, Guerrero and Quintana Roo, as well as in Central America, the report said.

People trafficking generates some 372 billion pesos (nearly $26.57 billion) annually in Mexico, non-governmental organizations say.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Poll Finds 53% of Florida Voters Support Obama’s Immigration Policies

Poll Finds 53% of Florida Voters Support Obama’s Immigration Policies

Photo: Poll Finds 53% of Florida Voters Support Obama's Immigration Policies

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According to a Mason-Dixon Polling & Research poll commission by the Miami Herald, the Tampa Bay Times, and Bay News 9, Florida residents favor President Obama’s immigration policies.

The poll found that roughly 66 percent of those polled support the president’s plans for comprehensive immigration reform. The plans they supported included giving though in the country illegally a pathway to citizenship.

A number of those polled also supported President Obama’s recent decision to protect younger undocumented immigrants, particularly DREAMers.

While the poll did find many in support of Obama, not all back his plans and reform fully. While some support the DREAM Act, they also believe in tighter border security and deportation of the undocumented.

When asked, “Do you approve or disapprove of Barack Obama’s job performance as president?” overall the state polled a 46 percent approval. However when broken down, 52 percent of Hispanic polled approved of the president’s performance

When asked, “Do you support or oppose President Obama’s executive decision to allow some younger illegal immigrants to stay in the country and not face deportation?”, 53 percent of the overall total polled supported the president’s decision, while 74 percent of Hispanics supported it as well.

See the additional results of the poll here.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Check Out Latin American History With @TodayInLatAm -  Only on Twitter!

Check Out Latin American History With @TodayInLatAm  -  Only on Twitter!

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HS News is proud to announce our latest addition to the Twitter-sphere, TodayInLatAmHistory (‏@TodayInLatAm).

Updated daily, we’ll bring you interesting facts about what happened on that day in Latin American history.

To receive these little factoids, be sure to follow us on Twitter @TodayInLatAm

Who knows, maybe you’ll impress your friends with how much you learn about Latin American history!


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Follow HSNews on Twitter at @HSNChicago

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Victor Cruz Memoir Tells Teens “If I Can Make It, You Can Too”

Victor Cruz Memoir Tells Teens “If I Can Make It, You Can Too”

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His size. His heritage. His hometown. Because of it all, Victor Cruz’s impressive success in American football came as a surprise to many, but in his new book, the superstar says his success in the last year has been anything but “out of the blue.”

“It may seem like I came out of the blue. But, my road was long, windy, full of hurdles, and even some dead ends. I lost family. I lost friends. I even lost my way. When I reached what felt like rock bottom, I realized I had a responsibility to everyone who believed in me and to kids, like me, who just needed a chance and something to believe in.”

In Out of the Blue, Cruz proves to be an inspiration not just to those wanting to make it big in professional sports, but for those who have a lot to overcome in the pursuit of a successful life.

Though the salsa-dancing-in-the-end-zone wide receiver is now a Super Bowl champ after leading the New York Giants all the way this year, his book, co-written by Peter Schrager, tells what life was like before everyone knew his name.

Cruz recently spoke with the Huffington Post, and when asked if he had any advice for the kids back in Paterson, New Jersey, the gritty neighborhood he grew up in, he stated:

Stay focused and use my story as inspiration. Know that no matter what goes wrong throughout your life that you can get through it, you can conquer it and move on to the next step of your life without taking a step back. These small things are just small speed bumps in your career and in your life. Know that I walked in those same streets, in those same places that you did. If I can make it out of there, then you can too.

“Out of the Blue” was released today, July 17 and is now available in stores and online.

Read more by HS News Staff →

11 Countries Restrict Tanning Beds for Minors, Brazil Newest on the List

11 Countries Restrict Tanning Beds for Minors, Brazil Newest on the List

Photo: Tanning Bed Ban for Minors, Brazil

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Restrictions on young people’s use of indoor tanning have been introduced by several countries in recent years, a new study reports.

Research suggests that indoor tanning is linked to skin cancer, the study authors pointed out.

Between 2003 and 2011, the number of countries with nationwide restrictions on the use of indoor tanning by people under 18 increased from two (Brazil and France) to 11 (Austria, Belgium, Brazil, England, France, Germany, Northern Ireland, Portugal, Scotland, Spain and Wales), according to the study released online in advance of print publication in the Archives of Dermatology.

“Since 2003, youth access to indoor tanning has become increasingly restricted throughout the world as accumulating evidence demonstrated an association between melanoma and indoor tanning. Additional countries and states are developing indoor tanning restrictions or making their existing legislation more restrictive,” study author Dr. Mary Pawlak, of the Colorado School of Public Health, in Aurora, and colleagues said in a journal news release.

Experts at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, in New York City, voiced their opinion on the issue in an accompanying commentary. “Ideally, a ruling at the federal level to restrict tanning will have the most far-reaching impact. However, in the absence of a complete ban in the near future, other strategies to limit UV exposure to minors can be promoted,” according to Lucy L. Chen and Dr. Steven Q. Wang.

“As dermatologists, we can play many unique roles in this ongoing health campaign. On a daily basis, dermatologists can educate and discourage patients, especially teenagers, from using tanning beds,” the editorialists noted. “On a legislative level, we can provide testimony as health experts and serve as advocates for key legislation in our individual states.”

Read more at Health Finder →

Mexico City’s Mobile Library Turning Heads and Expanding Minds

Mexico City’s Mobile Library Turning Heads and Expanding Minds

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Earlier this year, a group called ALUMNOS47 launched a new idea in Mexico City.

Among the increasing number of food trucks in the Mexican city, ALUMNOS47 has put its own truck on the streets, only this one is not meant to feed your stomach, but rather your mind.

ALUMNOS47’s Mobile Library Coordinator Citlali López Maldonado recently spoke with GOOD about the new project:

“Public education programs in Mexico began with mobile libraries in rural communities. Nowadays we can see many examples of them in Latin America, Spain and the United States, as well.”

The mobile library was designed by architecture firm PRODUCTURA, and was a spin-off idea from a project for public libraries that specialize in contemporary art in the San Miguel Chapultepec neighborhood of Mexico City.

The library does more than provide books to the public via moving library truck, which itself is an innovative idea. The mobile library also serves as a sort of pop-up cultural center, as workshops, seminars, and various special events are hosted outside the truck itself.

The ALUMNOS47 organization is hoping to build a public contemporary art museum by 2014, but in the mean time hope to keep the mobile library on the streets.

Read more by HS News Staff →

EXTREME TRAFFICKING:  857 Pounds of Pot on Mexico-to-U.S. Passenger Bus

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at the El Paso port of entry seized 857 pounds of marijuana Friday. The drugs were concealed in a passenger bus which entered the U.S. from Mexico at the Bridge of the Americas international crossing.

The thorough and comprehensive inspections performed by CBP officers on all modes of transport generated this significant drug seizure,” said Hector Mancha, CBP El Paso Port Director.

The seizure was made shortly after 6:00 a.m. when a 1993 Dina bus entered the port of entry. A CBP officer interviewed the driver, who was the sole occupant of the passenger bus, and then selected the vehicle for an intensive exam. CBP drug sniffing dog “Gator” alerted to the bus. CBP officers then x-rayed the vehicle and noted anomalies in the appearance of the vehicle. CBP officers continued their exam and located non-factory compartments in the front wheel well area of the bus.

CBP officers removed 754 marijuana-filled bundles from the compartments. No arrests were made and the investigation continues.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Brazilian Soccer Star Neymar “Goes Green” with Nike Wear Made from Recycled Bottles, Beans (VIDEO)

Brazilian Soccer Star Neymar “Goes Green” with Nike Wear Made from Recycled Bottles, Beans (VIDEO)

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According to Nike, Brazilian football star Neymar of Seleção will become “the world’s most environmentally-friendly football player this summer.”

Neymar will step onto the field wearing Nike’s GS football boot (soccer cleats) and a uniform made almost entirely from fabric made from plastic bottles.

The new Nike GS football boot is said to be the “lightest, fastest, most environmentally-friendly production boot the company has ever made.”

ImageThe shirt and shorts of the Brazil kit are both made from fabric that comes almost entirely from recycled plastic drinks bottles. The bottles are washed, chopped up into flakes and melted down into thread, which is then used to create the fabric. Each kit is made using a average of 13 recycled bottles. Since beginning this process for its club and national team partners in 2010, Nike has diverted over 115 million bottles from landfill sites.

The shoes were constructed using renewable and recycled materials, designed for explosive performance on the pitch and lower impact on the planet. Every component has been optimized to reduce weight and waste, creating Nike’s lightest football boot ever at 160 grams (for a size 9). The heel of the shoes are made of something called Pebax Renew, which is derived from castor bean oil. The shoes’ exterior in made of Kangalite, a faux kangaroo leather-type of material, which is a solvent-free material with a manufacturing process that results in a 35 percent lower carbon emissions than similar materials.

The Nike GS will be available for purchase on 15th August.


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The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Launches New Video Highlighting Organized Crime

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Launches New Video Highlighting Organized Crime

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Transnational organized crime is a global concern. Generating around US$ 870 billion a year, organized criminal networks profit from the sale of illegal goods wherever there is a demand and represent a threat to peace, human security and prosperity.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime launched an awareness campaign on Monday highlighting the cost and scope of transnational organized crime.

Organized crime networks turn over an estimated $870 billion a year, according to the office, more than six times the amount of official development aid, or about 1.5% of global gross domestic product.

This video-spot is part of a UNODC-led campaign highlighting the various aspects of transnational organized crime.

The PSA ends with a tagline, “Transnational organized crime: Let’s put them out of business.”

Hear Video in Spanish at Blog del Narco


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Brazil Interest Rates on Credit Cards Tops 300%, Median Rate in Latin America is 55%

Brazil Interest Rates on Credit Cards Tops 300%, Median Rate in Latin America is 55%

Photo: Brazil Credit Card Interest Rate at 300%

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Credit-card interest rates in Brazil climbed above 300 percent last month, O Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper said Tuesday, citing a report from the Proteste consumer association.

Brazilian rates are many times higher than those in other Latin American countries such as Peru, where the median rate is 55 percent; Chile, 54.24 percent; Argentina, 50 percent; and Colombia, 29.23 percent, the study noted.

The Brazilian central bank’s benchmark interest rate has declined steadily in 2012 and now stands at 8 percent, yet rates on credit cards have climbed inexorably from the January median of 237.9 percent, according to the report.

“There is no economic explanation for this,” one of the report’s authors, economist Hessia Costilla, told o Estado.

Proteste analyzed the rates Brazil’s 13 largest banks charge on credit card debt.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Austin Cruz Falls From Roof on to Off-duty Idaho Sheriff’s Detective, Breaking his Neck

Austin Cruz Falls From Roof on to Off-duty Idaho Sheriff’s Detective, Breaking his Neck

Photo: Austin Cruz Falls From Roof on to Off-duty Idaho Sheriff's Detective, Breaking his Neck

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Working a security job, one runs the risk of injury, but what happened to one man while working at a street party was definitely unexpected.

Sgt. Corey Weatherly of Idaho’s Blaine County was off-duty and working a security job at a street party that was part of the music festival when something fell from the roof on top of him.

That something was actually 20-year-old Austin B. Cruz and he had been on the roof when he fell and landed on Weatherly at around 1:45 a.m. Sunday morning.

Sheriff Gene Ramsey says Sgt. Weatherly underwent surgery at a Boise hospital after the fall left him with a broken neck. He was listed as being in “guarded” condition. Both he and Cruz were first taken to a hospital in Ketchum before Weatherly was flown to Boise.

Cruz suffered broken facial bones and a possible concussion. It is unclear what caused Cruz to fall from the roof, though some have suggested alcohol was a factor.

Read more by HS News Staff →

STUDY:  Latino Children Bear Greatest Burden of U.S. Deportation Policies

STUDY:  Latino Children Bear Greatest Burden of U.S. Deportation Policies

Photo: Children Bear Burden of Deportation Policies

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Children suffer the most serious emotional and physical consequences from U.S. deportation policies, a University at Albany researcher finds.

Sociologist Joanna Dreby, in a report published this month in The Journal of Marriage and Family, finds that children in Mexican families, whether or not they have had a family member deported, were prone to emotional distress, fears of separation and associating immigration with illegal activity.

“An act of deportation splits up families, separating U.S. citizen children from their parents. But the threat of deportation has an equally devastating impact on children,” said Dreby.

In 2011, some 400,000 foreign-born individuals, a record number, were detained and removed from the United States. Mexicans families are the most likely in the U.S. to be affected by deportation policies. While Mexicans constitute approximately 30 percent of the foreign-born residents in the United States and 58 percent of the unauthorized, in 2010 they represented 83 percent of those detained, 73 percent of those forcibly removed, and 77 percent of voluntary departures.

Drawing on interviews with parents and children in 80 Mexican households, including parents’ stories about the impact deportations have had on their families as well as the often overlooked accounts from children, Dreby documented how an emphasis on enforcement that targets Mexicans at the level of public policy has had disturbing consequences for young children who have Mexican immigrant parents, many of whom are U.S. citizens.

A common fear parents expressed in interviews is that they could lose custody of U.S. born children if detained or deported.

Children in Mexican immigrant households describe fear about their family stability, association of immigration with illegality, and a predisposition to denying their immigrant heritage.U.S. citizen children today are growing up afraid of the authorities, who can potentially tear their families apart. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Jennifer Lopez Next Project after American Idol:  Selling Designer Tees Online

Jennifer Lopez Next Project after American Idol:  Selling Designer Tees Online

Photo: Teeology by Jennifer Lopez

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Jennifer Lopez is not wasting too much time thinking about her American Idol exit, swiftly announcing another venture this one in the eCommerce world.

TechCrunch is reporting Lopez is teaming up with eCommerce impresario Brian Lee, who connects stars with suitable retail websites, to launch Teeology

The online-retailer describes itself the place to buy ‘limited edition luxury tees’.  If you are interested click here to get more info on t-shirts retailing for $20 to $29.  The site has not gone live but if you give them your email they will notify you when they do.

The creators of LegalZoom and ShoeDazzle are reportedly working with Lopez on the eCommerce site, as well as fashion entrepreneurs. 

J Lo doesn’t seem fazed by reports that she was ‘dumped’ for being a tad bit greedy by requesting a $2 million raise on American Idol.  The Puerto-Rican super star continues to assert she quit them, they didn’t quit her. 

Lopez’ salary last season was $15 million and reports assert she was requesting $17 million to stay on for a third season of AI. 

She is currently on world tour with Enrique Iglesias.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Puerto Rican Cop Shoots at 85-Year Old Who Bumped His Car

Puerto Rican Cop Shoots at 85-Year Old Who Bumped His Car

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A police officer in Guaynabo, a city in the San Juan metropolitan area, fired nine shots at an 85-year-old woman who hit his patrol car and continued going, Puerto Rican officials said.

Catalina Reyes hit the patrol car while backing up on Monday.

The elderly woman, who sustained cuts from broken glass, stopped her vehicle after it was hit by the shots.

Puerto Rico’s Special Investigations Bureau is handling the case, the Department of Justice said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Convict Runs Major Art Theft Ring from Brazil Prison

Convict Runs Major Art Theft Ring from Brazil Prison

Photo: Art Thief Still Stealing in Brazil

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A convicted art thief was found by the Brazilian Federal Police to be running an international ring from a prison in Rio de Janeiro, selling stolen art works in neighboring countries, media reports said.

Laessio Rodrigues de Oliveira, who studied information science, began serving a 12-year prison sentence in 2007 for stealing and falsifying art works, the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper reported on its Web site.

The 39-year-old Rodrigues de Oliveira has been running the ring from the Bangu prison in Rio de Janeiro.

The ring stole art works from museums and libraries in the Brazilian states of Bahia, Minas Gerais, Pernambuco, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, selling them to collectors in Argentina, Uruguay and even Brazil.

Rodrigues de Oliveira, who staged robberies at the request of collectors, “is the biggest thief of rare works in the country,” police said.

The convicted art thief used cell phones, letters and messages carried by visitors to run the ring.

Rodrigues de Oliveira first gained notoriety in 1998, when he stole 14 antiquarian magazines and newspapers worth $750,000 from the National Library in Sao Paulo.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Bilingual Website Created to Encourage Hispanics to Vote in Coming Election - Latinosavotar.com

Bilingual Website Created to Encourage Hispanics to Vote in Coming Election - Latinosavotar.com

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A group of professionals has launched a bilingual Web site that is aimed at spurring Hispanics to vote in the November election and increasing their participation in politics.

“The idea came up to try and connect and unite the experience of social networks with Hispanics. That is, how to involve Latinos in politics through those networks,” the executive director of latinosavotar.com, Ana Maria Jaramillo, told Efe on Monday.

She emphasized that although 24 million Hispanics are eligible to vote, scarcely half of them are expected to cast ballots in November.

“We Latinos who are eligible to vote are not very involved in what’s happening in the country and the objective is to motivate them to participate more, convince them that events in the United States are also related to them,” she said.

As a result the nonpartisan initiative to create this Web site was born, and the effort also seeks to take advantage of the use of social networks because “the experience of 2008 on that subject was very positive for the campaign of (Barack) Obama,” Jaramillo said.

The Web site contains a section that explains how the electoral process works, what the requirements are to register to vote, when the primaries and caucuses are, who the contenders are and what their campaign platforms are.

It also offers recent news about the election campaigns and issues that affect or interest the Hispanic community, the country’s largest and fastest-growing minority, as well as supplying current figures about Latin Americans who live in this country.

The site also includes an electoral map, surveys, videos of campaign ads and the section “Barrio latino” (Latino neighborhood) where people can ask questions about the elections.

“In the question and answer section we’ve tried to explain how the electoral system works, because it’s complicated, and in the suggestions section we try to diagram the platforms of the candidates and make them very simple, so that anybody can see the difference in a very clear way,” Jaramillo said.

She said that they are recruiting artists and famous Latinos to help on the project of encouraging Hispanics to vote and to date they have been joined by singers Fonseca and Nelly Furtado, composer Kike Santander and Spanish journalist Marian de la Fuente.

“They’ve recorded videos exclusively for us and we also have on the site videos by other famous people who have already made their vote known and which we obtained via the Internet. We’re gaining a lot of support with that because they are artists who people follow,” she said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

First Puerto Rican Woman Cycling in Tour de France

First Puerto Rican Woman Cycling in Tour de France

Photo: Maria del Pilar Vazquez in Tour de France

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Maria del Pilar Vazquez is on her way to becoming the first Puerto Rican woman to cycle the entire Tour de France course.

Vazquez, a 40-year-old mother of three, admitted to Efe on Monday during a telephone interview from France on her day of rest after completing 15 stages, that the experience is “pretty tough” and that she sometimes wonders why she decided to take on this challenge.

But, she said, “I’m a defiant woman who likes challenges, and this is literally a life-changing experience. I’ll go back feeling like another person, like I’ve been through a process of detoxing and cleansing the soul.”

This is the first time a group of female cyclists will have finished all stages of the Tour de France, a competition for men only, and they’re doing it just before the official race starts.

The Reve (French for “dream”) group has organized this parallel race on behalf of the Bikes Belong organization, which has promoted cycling since 1999.

The rest of the Reve team is made up of Americans Kate Powlison, Heidi Swift, Jennifer Cree, Kym Fant and Kristen Peterson, all younger than Vazquez.

She joined the group after a friend recommended her to the leader of the team, after which Vazquez became the first Puerto Rican woman to finish the Paris-Brest-Paris stage, a distance of 1,200 kilometers (745 miles).

Before Vazquez flew to France for this parallel race, she trained by cycling more than 5,600 kilometers (3,480 miles) between March and June.

“This is an experience that not even many professionals will ever have. It shows we’re trying to get more women cycling and that a woman with a family can do it,” she said.

Vazquez has suffered a number of mishaps so far in France, including being hit by a car last Friday and fracturing a hip.

She was afraid that would stop her from finishing that day’s race, but in the end she decided to get back on her bicycle and complete that stage.

Vazquez’s husband, Steven Rolon, told Efe how proud he is of his wife.

“You have no idea what I feel for that woman. It’s a sacrifice, I won’t deny it. To be without your wife for a month is hard, but this is her dream and mine too. If I’d had the chance to do it, I would have done it as well. People feel really fulfilled when they achieve such things,” he said.

Rolon is confident that his wife and the rest of the team will complete the trial “with no problems.”

“One reason that drives these cyclists to break with the regulations that exclude women is precisely to show that they not only have the physical strength but the courage and endurance needed to see this race through to the end,” Rolon said.

Read more by HS News Staff →



TuesdayJuly 17, 2012