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WednesdayJuly 25, 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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Spanish Cyclists Remain Positive Despite Losing Reigning Gold Medalist

Spanish Cyclists Remain Positive Despite Losing Reigning Gold Medalist

Photo: International Olympic Committee

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Despite the loss of reigning Olympic road race gold medalist Samuel Sanchez and three-time world champion Oscar Freire due to injury, Spain’s cycling contingent is determined to get back to the top of the podium in London.

Team manager Jose Luis de Santos is already in the British capital and is awaiting the arrival Wednesday afternoon of Jonathan Castroviejo, Jose Joaquin Rojas, Luis Leon Sanchez Gil, Alejandro Valverde and Francisco Ventoso, who will compete for Spain in Saturday’s men’s road race.

“There’s no doubt this isn’t the team we expected and that both Oscar and Samuel are two significant losses, the former our great figure in these Games and the latter the reigning Olympic champion,” De Santos said in a statement.

Samuel Sanchez had to withdraw from the Olympics after a crash during the Tour de France left him with a dislocated shoulder and possible broken collarbone.

“But we’ve assembled a great team, a group of cyclists who have great rapport, great camaraderie and I think this is always the key on any team. All are super motivated, at a great level, and extremely eager, aware that we’re defending the Olympic title and that we’re going to put all our energy and dreams into defending it,” De Santos said.

The manager said Valverde and Sanchez Gil are Spain’s biggest hopefuls in the men’s road race, noting that both did well at this year’s Tour de France.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Nearly 5 Million Birds Killed in Mexican Flu Outbreak

Nearly 5 Million Birds Killed in Mexican Flu Outbreak

Photo: Bird flu in Mexico

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Some 4.9 million birds have died since the outbreak of bird flu started five weeks ago at farms in the western Mexican state of Jalisco, officials said.

All of the birds are hens that either died from the illness or were destroyed to prevent the spread of the H7N3 virus, the National Food Health, Safety and Quality Service, or Senasica, said.

Some 16.5 million birds, of which 9.3 million are close to or in the area where the flu outbreak occurred, are being monitored because they face a higher risk of getting the illness, the Senasica said.

Inspectors have examined 358 farms, with the virus detected at 34 farms, 125 farms testing negative and the rest still under evaluation, the Senasica said.

A quarantine remains in effect at farms in the danger zone, with shipments of hens banned to prevent spreading the disease, the Senasica, an Agriculture Secretariat agency, said.

“As of now, the presence of the virus has only been detected in egg-laying hens,” the Senasica said, adding that the first shipment of “around 15 million vaccine doses for H7N3 bird flu” should arrive in Jalisco on Friday.

The vaccine, which is being produced by the National Veterinary Biological Production Agency, or Pronabive, with assistance from three private pharmaceutical companies, will be distributed to poultry farmers able to start the immunization campaign.

Bird flu does not pose a risk to people consuming meat or eggs, and the measures being taken are designed to protect the poultry industry, the Senasica said.

Mexico, according to National Poultry Producers Association figures, produces nearly 2.5 million tons of eggs and 1.2 million tons of meat annually.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Hispanic Vote Continues to Rise for Obama- Latest Poll 67%

Hispanic Vote Continues to Rise for Obama- Latest Poll 67%

Photo: Obama Polls

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More than two-thirds of Hispanic voters would cast their ballots for incumbent Barack Obama if the presidential elections were held now, while fewer than a quarter would opt for Republican Mitt Romney, according to a survey released Wednesday.

Over the past two months, more and more Latino voters say they have decided to vote for Obama, from 61 percent in May to 67 percent in July, and those expressing confidence in Romney have fallen from 27 percent to 23 percent, the NBC-Wall Street Journal-Telemundo survey found.

Many observers say the Hispanic vote will be decisive in the November election.

A month ago, the president approved an executive order suspending the deportations of a substantial number of undocumented immigrant young people who arrived in the United States as minors, and his job approval rating among Hispanics rose to 65 percent.

Now, that popularity level has declined slightly to 62 percent overall, and it stands at 58 percent on economic policy.

In fact, the economy is the area where surveys show that voters are putting less confidence in the incumbent, as only 48 percent believe that Obama has or will put forward good economic ideas, compared with 25 percent who say the same about Romney.

On other issues, the differences between Obama and Romney are intensifying: 69 percent of Hispanics feel that Obama looks out more for the middle class, 55 percent say he has more aptitude for dealing with immigration policy and 61 percent say he is handling the issue of health care better than his rival.

Despite that, 40 percent of Hispanic admit they have “mixed feelings” about the recent Supreme Court ruling on the constitutionality of Obama’s health care reform, while 37 percent are satisfied with it and 16 percent are disappointed.

A mere 15 percent of Hispanics express support for Romney’s foreign policy positions.

Six out of every 10 Hispanics approve of the Obama administration’s handling of foreign affairs, up from 50 percent six months ago.

In sum, 64 percent of the Latino voters questioned have a positive view of Obama and 22 percent think favorably of Romney.

The political figure who garners the most support among Hispanics is first lady Michelle Obama with a 69 percent favorable rating, quite a bit higher than Ann Romney, the wife of the Republican candidate, who has just a 20 percent approval rating among the Latino electorate.

Sixty-four percent say they prefer a Congress with a Democratic majority compared with 24 percent who are in favor of Republican control of the legislative branch.

The survey released Wednesday emphasizes that interest in the presidential race has grown among Latino voters to 68 percent, which is below the national average.

To date, the monthly NBC-Journal-Telemundo survey has detected a lesser interest in the current election cycle than in the 2008 election and in July 49 percent of Hispanics said they were “very interested,” 10 percentage points below four years ago.

The survey was carried out among 300 registered voters and its margin of error was plus/minus 5.6 percent.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico’s Olympic Boxer, Oscar Valdez, Confident he Can Beat Cuba’s Alvarez

Mexico’s Olympic Boxer, Oscar Valdez, Confident he Can Beat Cuba’s Alvarez

Photo: Mexico's Olympic Boxer, Oscar Valdez, Confident he Can Beat Cuba's Alvarez

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Oscar Valdez, Mexico’s top boxing hope at the London Olympics, said Wednesday he has what it takes to defeat the 2011 world amateur champion in his division, Cuban Lazaro Alvarez.

“I know I can beat Alvarez; in the last Pan American Games he was better than me and beat me in the final, but I’ve studied him. I know his style and I can defeat him,” the 21-year-old batamweight told Efe.

Valdez won bronze at the 2009 World Amateur Boxing Championships in Milan and has since been regarded as one of Mexico’s biggest hopes for a boxing medal at the London Games.

“I’ve matured since I won the bronze medal in Italy. I was 18 years old then and now I’m 21 and I feel stronger, although back then I competed at 57 kilos (as a featherweight) and now my weight is 56 (kilos) and I battle more to make my weight,” he said.

The other favorites in the bantamweight division include Britain’s Luke Campbell, runner-up to Alvarez at last year’s World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan; Bulgaria’s Detelin Dalakliev, gold medalist in Milan; and Tajikstan’s Anvar Yunusov and Ireland’s John Joe Nevin, bronze medalists in Azerbaijan.

“I’ve trained to do battle with whomever I’m up against, although an easy draw is always best,” the boxer from the northern state of Sonora said.

Mexico has won two golds, three silvers and seven bronzes in boxing, the country’s most successful Olympic sport, although it has not captured a single Olympic boxing medal since Cristian Bejarano’s bronze at lightweight in the 2000 Sydney Games, a drought Valdez is intent on ending.

“I want to end that. I have the quality and I’ll give everything I have,” Valdez said.

First-round fights in the bantamweight division will take place on Saturday, while the gold medal bout is scheduled for Aug. 11.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Pitbull Joins Fast Food Industry with Miami Subs Grill

Pitbull Joins Fast Food Industry with Miami Subs Grill

Photo: Miami Subs Grill

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Rapper Pitbull has become a partner and board member of the Miami Subs Grill fast-food chain, the president of the company announced.

Richard Chwatt, the general manager of the Fort Lauderdale-based chain, made the announcement Tuesday evening at a private party with franchisees and directors of the chain founded in 1980, although he did not reveal the terms of the agreement with the singer, the media reported on Wednesday.

The agreement authorizes to the rapper, who began his artistic career as a teenager on the Miami rap scene, a “significant” position in the chain, which has more than 40 stores, mainly in South Florida.

The alliance will help to relaunch a brand that has languished in recent years.

Evidently, the accord gives 31-year-old Armando Christian Perez - which is Pitbull’s real name - the rights to expand the chain in some areas of Latin America and the Caribbean.

The musician has been a regular customer of Miami Subs Grill since he was a teenager.

He said at the private party that he was there as a “partner, not as a spokesman” for the firm, adding that “The Pitbull team is joining the Miami Subs team.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Dominican Republic Ups the Ante, Gold Medalists Will Take Home $250,000 Bonuses

Dominican Republic Ups the Ante, Gold Medalists Will Take Home $250,000 Bonuses

Photo: Felix Diaz at 2008 Beijing Games

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Dominican athletes who capture gold at the London Olympics, whose opening ceremony is scheduled for Friday, will get bonuses of 10 million pesos ($250,000), the government said.

The bonuses for silver and bronze medalists will be 6 million pesos ($150,000) and 4 million pesos ($100,000), respectively.

Vice President Rafael Alburquerque discussed the bonuses Tuesday during a sendoff ceremony at the National Palace for the Dominican Republic’s Olympic team.

The members of the women’s volleyball squad will share a bonus of 12 million pesos ($300,000) if they win gold, 6 million pesos ($150,000) for a silver medal and 2 million pesos ($50,000) for the bronze, Alburquerque said.

Those amounts exceed by several million pesos the bonuses offered for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, where boxer Felix Diaz captured gold and taekwondo athlete Gabriel Mercedes took home silver.

Mercedes once again is considered a medal hopeful in the men’s flyweight division, while other possible medalists include female weightlifter Yuderqui Contreras, 19-year-old artistic gymnast Yamilet Peña and track athletes Luguelin Santos and Felix Sanchez, who will compete in the 400 meters and 400 meter hurdles, respectively.

The Dominican Republic, which has won two gold medals, a silver and a bronze in 12 previous Olympic Games, is sending 35 athletes to compete in 10 sports in London.

Read more by HS News Staff →

¡Ay Dios Mio! Sofia Vergara’s ‘Modern Family’ Fighting with Producer Over Salary

¡Ay Dios Mio! Sofia Vergara’s ‘Modern Family’ Fighting with Producer Over Salary

Photo: ¡Ay Dios Mio! Sofia Vergara’s ‘Modern Family’ Fighting with Producer, 20th Century Fox

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It seems a salary dispute has brought a halt to the production of Modern Family after a scheduled table read was canceled.

Sofia Vergara, Ty Burrell, Julie Bowen, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Eric Stonestreet have reportedly rejected 20th Century Fox Television’s latest offer of $150,000 per episode for season 4 plus bonuses.

The five actors have since filed a lawsuit in L.A. Superior Court to void their contracts because they extend more than 7 years, which is illegal under California law. It is aptly named the “Seven-Year Rule” prohibits personal services contracts for longer than 7 years.

The actors are calling for more money per season 4 episode and increases to their salaries each year after. As of season 3, the five cast members were making about $60,000 an episode.

Though the television family’s patriarch Ed O’Neill was not part of the original dispute, he has reportedly joined the cast as a plaintiff out of solidarity.

O’Neill was making more than $100,000 per episode, but it also said to be in contract negotiations for more.

The cast is scheduled to have another table read on Thursday, though no one is certain it will actually happen.

The cast is being represented by litigator Jeff McFarland with L.A.‘s Quinn Emanuel firm

Read more by HS News Staff →

Peru Receives $15M Loan to Develop Waste Management System

Peru Receives $15M Loan to Develop Waste Management System

Photo: Current waste management system

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The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approved a loan for $15 million to support the development of a sustainable and efficient system for managing solid waste in priority areas in Peru.

The project will benefit the regions and municipalities of Amazonas (Bagua), Apurímac (Andahuaylas), Ayacucho (Huamanga), Lima (Chancay), Pasco (Oxapampa and Pozuzo), Junín (Yauyos), and Loreto (San Juan Bautista).

The project also supports development initiatives, sanitation, and water resources management. It deals with solid waste disposal through the construction of infrastructure for the collection and disposal of municipal solid waste and institutional strengthening of the national and subnational government units in legal, regulatory, and technical issues. Support will also be provided to formalize waste pickers.

The project will result in the processing of 23,000 tons per day of municipal solid waste, which will reduce its environmental impact and increase the efficiency of waste disposal.

By 2021, Peru’s government expects that 100 percent the country’s municipal waste will be safely disposed and recycled. Completion of this project will result in the reduction of at least 432 tons per day of municipal solid waste in the eight project areas and increase public waste storage capacity from 22 percent to 90 percent.

The IDB loan has an expiration date of September 15, 2024, with a single payment, and a variable interest rate based on LIBOR. Peru will provide $3.5 million in local counterpart funds.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Becoming a Condom Tester in Brazil Could Win You Free Condoms for a Year

Becoming a Condom Tester in Brazil Could Win You Free Condoms for a Year

Photo: Becoming a Condom Tester in Brazil Could Win You Free Condoms for a Year

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Brazil’s DKT International is asking people to test their condoms and share their opinions of them in exchange for a year’s supply of condoms.

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This is the fourth condom tester contest and not much is required to win. Participants need only purchase DKT’s low-priced, Prudence brand condoms, use them, and share their experiences on this website.

So far, more than 3,000 experiences/stories have been shared from those Brazil and other countries. (For those who do not speak Portuguese, you will have to rely on a good translator, sorry.)

In 2011, DKT sold 114 million condoms in Brazil alone, a 24 percent increase from the previous year.

The nonprofit organization uses TV commercials and other mass media, including internet platforms, to reach millions of women and men with messages about family planning and safe sex.

When DKT Brazil began, products and the operation were supported by DKT international and donors. Now, DKT Brazil is completely self-sustaining from its revenues. It still continues to provide large numbers of affordable condoms to low-income customers.

DKT Brazil also supports local nongovernmental organizations in Brazil with condoms, financial aid, and information about HIV/AIDS prevention.

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER UPDATE: Woman Who Falsely Claimed $2.1 Million Tax Refund Sentenced to 5 1/2 Years

LATINO BLOTTER UPDATE: Woman Who Falsely Claimed $2.1 Million Tax Refund Sentenced to 5 1/2 Years

Photo: LATINO BLOTTER UPDATE: Krystle Marie Reyes Falsely Claimed $2.1 Million Tax Refund

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UPDATE:

On Tuesday, Krystle Marie Reyes, 25, pled guilty to duping the state of Oregon out of millions by falsely claiming a large tax refund.

After pleading guilty to one felony count of tax evasion and three counts of felony fraud, Reyes was sentenced to 5 1/2 years.

Reyes’ attorney Gale Rieder said her client is “remorseful and saddened by the impact on her family,” but that she “wanted to take responsibility for what she did.”

Had she not lost the debit card linked to the large refund and reported it lost, Reyes may have actually gotten away with it.

Lesson: Always keep track of your cards. Oh, and don’t try to fraud the government.

___________________________________________________________

ORIGINAL STORY:

An Oregon woman may have gotten away with falsely claiming a $2.1 million tax refund had she not lost the debit card that gave her access to it.

Krystle Marie Reyes of Salem was arrested last week after is was discovered she used Turbo Tax to claim she made $3 million last year. She was ultimately refunded $2.1 million even after her taxes were filed and reviewed by the Oregon Revenue Department. Reyes was then sent a Visa debit card containing the $2.1 million balance.

According to the affidavit, Reyes used Turbo Tax to file a fraudulent 201 Oregon personal income tax return on January 31. She falsified both her wages and her employer information. The fraudulent return was approved, however, and Reyes was sent the Visa debit card.

In the time between when she received the card and when she was arrested, Reyes had spent more than $150,000. Interestingly, the 25-year-old bought a relatively older vehicle, a 1999 Dodge Caravan. She paid just $2,000 for it and spent another $800 on tires and wheels.

In the end, Reyes was caught when she lost the debit card and sent a request for another.

Reyes was released from Marion County jail, but has been charged with aggravated theft and computer crime. She is due in court on July 5th.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Luis Ruiz, Jimmy Massey Officially Charged with Murder of Carina Saunders

Luis Ruiz, Jimmy Massey Officially Charged with Murder of Carina Saunders

Photo: Luis Ruiz and Jimmy Massey Charged with Murder of Carina Saunders

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On Monday, Luis Enrique Ruiz and Jimmy Lee Massey were charged in the death of 19-year-old Carina Saunders, an Oklahoma woman whose body was found in a duffel bag.

In October 2011, animal welfare workers in the Oklahoma City suburb of were rounding up feral cats when they stumbling upon a duffel bag. Inside was the dismembered dead body of Carina Saunders.

The medical examiner’s office stated that Carina was died a violent a torturous death.

According to the Daily Mail, Carina was kidnapped and murdered by a human trafficking gang. However, she was not killed immediately and a witness, Tia Downour, has reportedly told police that Carina’s captors beat her, tied her to a table, and attempted to saw off her right foot while she was still alive, stopping only because the saw broke. Downour said she saw a video on Ruiz’s phone of the gruesome torture.

It is believed Carina was murdered as a means of scaring other females into cooperating with the drug and human traffickers. 

Ruiz, 37, was arrested on a larceny charge after allegedly trying to steal clothes from a Sears store, and Massey, 33, was already in jail on drug charges. Both have now been formally charged with first-degree murder.

While in jail, Massey is said to have given key details about what was done to Carina, as well as details regarding where her body was left.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Nearly 200 Chihuahuas Now Up for Adoption After Being Rescued from Hoarders

Nearly 200 Chihuahuas Now Up for Adoption After Being Rescued from Hoarders

Photo: Nearly 200 Chihuahuas Now Up for Adoption After Being Rescued from Hoarders

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When Department of Agriculture officials in Pennsylvania raided the home of a suspected hoarder they were shocked to find nearly 200 Chihuahuas in the home residence.

“This is one of the worst cases of animal hoarding we’ve seen in Pennsylvania, but through the efficient work of dog wardens, state and county animal response teams and local animal shelters, the dogs are one step closer to finding healthy forever homes,” department Executive Deputy Secretary Mike Pechart said in a statement.

The raid on the Columbia County home of Albert and Thomas Ambrosia revealed 187 Chihuahuas in the home. Some had eye, skin, and dental issues, while others were found dead in the home or elsewhere on the premises.

After they were rescued, the dogs were sent to a various animal shelters across the state. Officials say the little dogs will soon be up for adoptions.

As of Friday, no charges had been filed against either Ambrosia. However, under Pennsylvania law, any person who keeps, transfers or boards at least 26 dogs per year must obtain a kennel license and be inspected annually.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Olympics 2012: Lopez Siblings Hungry For Gold

Olympics 2012: Lopez Siblings Hungry For Gold

Photo: Mark, Steven and Diana Lopez, Taekwondo Olympians

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For people looking for a feel good story in the 2012 summer Olympics, you might want to get to know the Lopez siblings.

Steven, Mark, Diana and Jean have all competed for team USA in the sport of taekwondo. The siblings were born in the United States to Nicaraguan parents.

The headliner of the bunch is Steven, who will be competing in his fourth Olympics. He won a Gold Medal in 2000 and 2004, and collected a Bronze in 2008. He will be coached by older brother Jean in the 2012 games.

Diana will be participating in her second Olympics. She earned a Bronze Medal in 2008. Mark won’t be in competition, but will be in London as a training partner.

Taekwondo is a Korean martial art and has been an Olympic sport since 2000. Scoring is based off kicks and punches that are powerful, according to the World Taekwondo Federation.

The taekwondo events will take place from August 8-11 in London. There are four weight divisions each for men and women.

Story Written by HS News Sports Writer:  Nate Jacobson

Read more by HS News Staff →

Number of Hispanics Pursuing Ph.D.s Rises 161% from 2000 to 2010

Number of Hispanics Pursuing Ph.D.s Rises 161% from 2000 to 2010

Photo: Number of Hispanics Pursuing Ph.D.s Rises 161% from 2000 to 2010

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According to information obtained from U.S. Census data, Hispanics with doctorates jumped 161 percent from 1990 to 2010.

This number is almost double the non-Hispanic rate of 90 percent, according to the census data.

According to Bloomberg News, “People of Latin American or Spanish ancestry have emerged as a powerful voting bloc, courted by President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney on job-creation and economic issues.”

As the Hispanic population doubled in those ten years, so too did the number of Hispanics obtaining Ph.D.s. As of 2010, Hispanics make up 16 percent of the U.S. population and was marked as the fastest growing ethnic group as a result of both birth rates and high immigration rates.

Richard Fry of the Washington-based Pew Hispanic Center says Latinos/Hispanics and Asians have driven the growth among adults going to college. Hispanics with degrees rose to 13 percent in 2010 from 10 percent in 2000.

Fry also points out that the down economy has actually kept Hispanics in high school, with higher graduation rates.

‘For some young adults, they’d rather work than go to college but they can’t find work because of the recession,’ Fry told Bloomberg. ‘The dropout rates have declined because jobs are not available.’

Still despite the rise in the number of Hispanics and Latinos not only going to college, but earning Ph.Ds, Lisa Garcia Bedolla, chairwoman of the Center for Latino Policy Research at Berkeley, says, ‘The actual number is still not tremendously large,’ as whites are still ‘way overrepresented in higher education, more so than any other group.’

However, using the University of California, Berkeley as a model, it would seem the number of whites seeking Ph.Ds is dropping, while that number is rising among Hispanics. Whites seeking doctoral degrees fell 25 percent in 20 years, while Latino students pursuing doctoral degrees increased 46 percent over the same period.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Brazilians Have Close to $520 Billion Stashed Away in Offshore Tax Haven Accounts

Brazilians Have Close to $520 Billion Stashed Away in Offshore Tax Haven Accounts

Photo: Brazilians have Billions in Offshore Accounts

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In a report entitled, ‘The Price of Offshore Revisited’ it is estimated that Brazil’s wealthiest are stashing away close to $520 billion dollars in offshore accounts.  Even with such a high amount, Brazil finds itself behind China with $1.18 trillion dollars, Russia with $798 billion dollars and South Korea with $779 billion dollars in tax havens. 

According to this research, at the end of 2010, millionaires from 139 different countries have close to $21 trillion dollars in offshore accounts, which would be the equivalent of the United States and Japanese economies combined. 

According to Mr. James Henry, a Senior Advisor at the Tax Justice Network, which commissioned the study, these figures are of particular importance during a time when many countries are faced with raising taxes as a means to reduce national debts.  Henry believes that the world’s wealthiest use, “an industrious bevy of professional enablers in private banking, legal, accounting and investment industries…The lost tax revenues implied by our estimates are huge.  It is large enough to make a significant difference to the finances of many countries.”

Yet, according to Mr. Henry, this information does not only bring bad news.  He also believes that the findings shed light on a large group of wealth in the world that may be able to contribute possible solutions for the global economic problems

Read more at Rio Times →

Olympics 2012:  Can Argentina or Spain Beat Team USA in Men’s Basketball?

Olympics 2012:  Can Argentina or Spain Beat Team USA in Men’s Basketball?

Photo: Men's USA Basketball

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Two teams that will be the biggest competition for the star-studded USA men’s basketball team are Argentina and Spain.

Argentina: Manu Ginobili (San Antonio Spurs) and Luis Scola (Phoenix Suns) lead the Argentines. Ginobili has played in two Olympics including the 2004 games when Argentina won the Gold Medal. Former NBA player Andres Nocioni is also on the Argentina squad. The ex-Chicago Bull currently plays in Spain. Argentina gave the USA a great fight in an exhibition game on Sunday in a six-point loss.

Spain: The Spanish have the best size in the Olympics with Pau Gasol (Los Angeles Lakers), Marc Gasol (Memphis Grizzlies) and Serge Ibaka (Oklahoma City Thunder). Ricky Rubio is out with an injury, which is a huge blow to Spain’s Gold Medal hopes. Spain lost their tune-up to the USA on Tuesday in Barcelona by the score of 100-78. Marc Gasol didn’t play because of injury.

How to beat the USA: Team USA is stacked, but they have some flaws. The low-post depth is a concern for the Americans. Dwight Howard and Chris Bosh are out injured, which leaves the USA thin on the frontline. Tyson Chandler will start at center. Kevin Love and Anthony Davis are the other natural power forwards on the roster, but lack experience. Spain can beat the USA if they dominate the paint and get Chandler into foul trouble. Another way to beat the USA is hope they struggle from behind the three-point arc. Long range shooting is vital in international basketball and the three-point line is closer than in the NBA. Besides Kevin Durant, there isn’t a great three-point shooter on the USA. If Durant struggles one game then the USA could be in trouble.

It will be a challenge for a team to win a Gold Medal over the USA, but it is certainly possible.

Story by HS News Sports Reporter:  Nate Jacobson

 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Tough Road Ahead for Spanish Film Industry

Tough Road Ahead for Spanish Film Industry

Photo: Spanish Film Making in Trouble

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It is becoming increasingly evident that the Spanish film industry is in danger of sinking.  Attendance at movies is at an all time low while funding has recently been cut in half, yet ticket prices continue to increase by 13 percent.  Silvia Arribas, a Madrid based script analyst is also concerned.  She states, “The Spanish cinema is in danger.  We have a fragile industry with a strong dependence on state support.  The way of administrating the direct state funds has demonstrated not to be efficient enough to stimulate the growth of the industry.”

This increase in ticket prices could not come at a more difficult time as Spain faces tough economic challenges.  With one in four people currently unemployed in Spain, an increase in price from eight to ten euros will clearly not be a winning strategy for the Spanish film industry.  Since 2009, movie attendance has been declining across the country.  Many believe this decline will eventually lead to theaters and concert halls closing their doors for good, possibly as soon as the end of 2012. 

“Many cinemas will close and there will be more piracy.  Without an audience, production companies won’t be able to take on new film productions, many professionals will be fired and the brain drain (to Hollywood) in search for an opportunity to develop will arise.  This new measure will be damaging for everyone,” worries Arribas.

Piracy alone has aided in the movie industry depression in Spain.  With increasing prices, many more will be more likely to simply download their film of choice instead of visiting a local theater.  One possible solution to this problem is to begin marketing online film distributors.  Netflix is expected to arrive in Spain by the end of the year.  Currently Spain’s version of Netflix, Youzee, is struggling. 

Many popular film festivals throughout the country are also feeling the effects of the decline.  San Sebastian’s film festival is facing a 35 percent budget cut while smaller festivals such as Valencia’s Mostra and Pamplona’s Punto de Vista have cancelled or decided to present on a biannual basis. 

Arribas believes that one key to improving the film industry in Spain is to create films that have more of an international appeal, which will thus lengthen their box office time allowing for each film to gross more money.  If the industry cannot make this happen, she fears the industry and Spain’s visibility throughout the world could disappear. She explains, “Film and culture are extraordinary and fundamental vehicles for our values and idiosyncrasy on the international ground.  Inside our borders, it works as a social stimulus and coheres our collective identity.  If the production of our culture is cut down on, the Spanish society and the international projection of our country will be severely weakened.”

Read more at Smart Planet →

Star de Azlan’s Music Is a Mix of Country and Mariachi

Star de Azlan’s Music Is a Mix of Country and Mariachi

Photo: Star de Azlan

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Star de Azlan, faithful to her Mexican-American heritage, is starting to focus on making a musical crossover by fusing mariachi and country.

The Texas-born daughter of Mexican parents has just released the single “Si quieres verme llorar,” with which she is seeking to broaden her fan base and fulfill her dream of integrating her Hispanic roots into her music.

“My style is country, mariachi and pop; it’s a fusion that can be defined as country in Spanish with Mexican touches that sounds very good,” the 27-year-old singer, who was born Esther Gonzalez, told Efe during a promotional stop in Los Angeles.

Produced by Pepe Quintana - who is known for his work with musical icons such as Sting, Mana and Luis Miguel - the song is the new version of a classic melody popularized by Lisa Lopez.

“It’s a song that has not been done in 25 years and which now with the arrangements that Pepe Quintana put into it sounds fresher,” said the artist.

But the most important thing for Star is the push that the number can give to a new stage in her career.

“It’s a song that I can sing from my soul and my heart and in which I can project my voice,” she said about the promotional single from her new album, which contains original compositions such as “Desnudate” and “Como una flor.”

It was thanks to her love for genres such as country and pop that in 2008 Star managed to get her first single, “She’s Pretty,” onto the Billboard country charts.

Now, the artist is singing in Spanish and carving out a niche for herself in a segment of the market where she says she feels right at home.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Cuban Opposition Activists Arrested During Fellow Dissident’s Funeral

Cuban Opposition Activists Arrested During Fellow Dissident’s Funeral

Photo: Cuban Opposition Activists Arrested During Fellow Dissident's Funeral

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Several opposition activists were detained Tuesday as prominent Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya, who died last weekend in a traffic accident, was buried in Havana’s Colon Cemetery.

More than 300 people accompanied the casket after the Mass officiated by Cardinal Jaime Ortega at Paya’s parish church in the capital.

When the mourners started on their way to the cemetery, as many as 10 were arrested in the parish including independent journalist Guillermo Fariñas, Efe was told by Elizardo Sanchez, leader of the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation.

Dozens of people gathered in the cemetery chapel to pay their last respects to Paya at a brief religious ceremony led by the auxiliary bishops of Havana, Alfredo Petit and Juan de Dios Hernandez.

At the end of the service Paya’s widow, Ofelia Acevedo, thanked the “brothers of the opposition” for their company and collaboration following the death of the leader of the Christian Liberation Movement, or MCL, as well as her companions in that organization and her work colleagues.

She also said that the documents and projects for unity created by Paya over the years add up to a “common base” and one of the possible paths to follow as part of the opposition’s struggle for democracy in Cuba.

Remains of the 60-year-old dissident were taken Monday to Havana by road from Bayamo, located some 750 kilometers (460 miles) east of the capital, where he and MCL colleague Harold Cepero were killed Sunday in a traffic accident.

In his sermon on Tuesday, Ortega said that Paya never strayed from his religion for the sake of his “obvious political vocation,” and supported the difficult task of being “a lay Christian with a political position completely faithful to his ideas without ever being unfaithful to the church.”

With Paya’s death, the Cuban opposition loses a leader who was highly respected both inside and outside the country.

Paya received the European Union’s Sakharov Prize in 2002 after promoting the Varela Project for the island’s transition to democracy, which he presented to the Parliament with the support of thousands of signatures.

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Shooting at Maximum Security Prison Wounds 3 in Honduras

Shooting at Maximum Security Prison Wounds 3 in Honduras

Photo: Shooting at Honduran prison

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At least three inmates were wounded, one of them seriously, in a shooting Tuesday at the Honduran national penitentiary in Valle de Tamara, warden Ismael Colindres said.

The shooting happened in the maximum-security section of the prison, located 25 kilometers (15 miles) north of Tegucigalpa, where an armed inmate “fired at other inmates, wounding three,” Colindres said.

The reason for the shooting has not been determined, the warden said.

Two of the wounded inmates were transported to the Teaching Hospital in Tegucigalpa, Colindres said, adding that the shooter had been identified.

The third wounded inmate was treated at the prison’s clinic.

The wounded inmates were identified as Arnold Hernandez, Melvin Cruz and Norlin Varela, the warden said, without specifying which of the three was the one in serious condition.

The Honduran prison system operates 24 facilities, with most of them overcrowded and unsafe.

Shootings, riots and seizures of arms and drugs are common in the Central American country’s prisons.

A fire killed 360 inmates and a female visitor on Feb. 14 at the Comayagua prison farm, located about 80 kilometers (49 miles) north of Tegucigalpa.

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WednesdayJuly 25, 2012