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ThursdayJuly 26, 2012

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

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

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Cuba Open to Discussing Human Rights with U.S.

Cuba is open to dialogue with the United States about all topics, including human rights, but only on the basis of equality, President Raul Castro said Thursday.

He made the offer during an impromptu address at a Revolution Day event in the eastern province of Guantanamo

Dressed in his olive green general’s uniform, Castro broke with his practice of the past two years by taking the opportunity of the July 26 holiday to speak out on both foreign and domestic policy.

“I have already said this through the existing diplomatic channels. If they want to talk, we will talk,” the president said, reiterating his willingness for discussions with Washington.

He added, however, that Havana will accept only a dialogue of equals, as Cuba is neither a colony nor a satellite.

Castro also denounced U.S.-backed “factions” for trying to create conditions in Cuba “so that someday what happened in Libya or what people are trying to do in Syria happens here.”

If the United States wants “confrontation” with Cuba, he said, “let it be only in baseball or in some kind of sport.”

Turning to domestic concerns, the president sought to assure Cubans that his government is fully aware of the “many difficulties” they face in their daily lives, including low pay.

The median salary in the Communist-ruled island is 450 pesos ($18), though Cubans benefit from free healthcare and education and subsidized prices for many items.

The prerequisite for boosting pay is increasing output and productivity, Castro said in Guantanamo.

“We have to move forward, at the pace we Cubans decide, without haste but without cease, little by little,” he said.

Raul Castro, who formally succeeded ailing older brother Fidel in 2008, has significantly expanded the scope for self-employment and small business, authorized the private buying and selling of homes and vehicles and taken other cautious steps toward economic liberalization.

The ceremony in Guantanamo marked the 59th anniversary of Fidel Castro’s failed July 26, 1953, attack on the Moncada army barracks, a defeat the Communist regime venerates as the start of the revolution that brought it to power in 1959.

Read more by HS News Staff →

World Champion Boxers Represent LatAm at Olympics

World Champion Boxers Represent LatAm at Olympics

Photo: Cuban Boxing team

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Amateur world champions Lazaro Alvarez and Julio Cesar la Cruz of Cuba and Everton Dos Santos Lopes of Brazil headline Latin America’s contingent in the Olympic boxing competition, which will kick off Saturday at London’s Excel Arena.

Alvarez, a bantamweight, and La Cruz, a light heavyweight, will lead a Cuban team determined to erase the memories of the 2008 Games in Beijing, where the Caribbean island failed to win a single boxing gold medal.

The lightweight silver medalist at the 2011 World Amateur Boxing Championships in Azerbaijan, Yasnier Toledo, and the light welterweight amateur world champion in 2009, Roniel Iglesias, will also try to add to Cuba’s impressive overall medal haul in Olympic boxing: 32 golds, 19 silvers and 12 bronzes.

But fighters from Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Mexico also will be in the hunt for medals in London.

Brazil’s top hope is Dos Santos Lopes, world light welterweight champion, but other boxers such as Esquiva Falcao Florentino, middleweight bronze medalist in Azerbaijan; and Pan American Games silver medalists Robson Conceicao (lightweight) and Yamaguchi Falcao Florentino (light heavyweight), are expected to reach the latter stages of their respective competitions.

The Dominican Republic, whose lone gold medal in the 2008 Olympics was won by light welterweight Felix Manuel Diaz, sends three fighters to London: bantamweight William Encarnacion, lightweight Wellington Arias and middleweight Junior Castillo.

But the Puerto Rican contingent appears to have a better shot at a medal with light flyweight Jantony Ortiz, a bronze medalist at the Pan American Games; and 18-year-old light welterweight Francisco Vargas, who has made marked improvement over the past two years and could pull off an upset.

Ecuador also will compete for podium spots in London with boxers such as Ytalo Perea, super heavyweight gold medalist in the 2011 Pan American Games; and Julio Castillo, heavyweight silver medalist at that same competition.

Mexico will pin its boxing hopes on bantamweight Oscar Valdez, a bronze medalist at the 2009 World Amateur Boxing Championships who says he has what it takes to defeat Cuba’s Alvarez, the reigning world amateur champion in his division.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latin Grammy Winner Miguel Bose Says Penelope Cruz Sings “Fabulously”

Latin Grammy Winner Miguel Bose Says Penelope Cruz Sings “Fabulously”

Photo: Miguel Bose and Penelope Cruz

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Miguel Bose next week will begin a performing tour of Spain to which he will invite some of the artists who have collaborated with him on his forthcoming album, among whom, to the surprise of everyone, was actress Penelope Cruz.

“Penelope sings fabulously and, above all, she has a lot of personality in her voice and enjoys it a lot, something that you can’t say about everyone,” the artist said Thursday in an interview with Efe before he kicks off his new show tour on Aug. 2 at the Starlite Festival in the resort city of Marbella.

Bose and his team have created an authentic show “factory ... to throw in an enormous quantity of ideas that aren’t on the album, among other things, because here the eyes and the skin also work,” he said.

Thus, Alain Corthout - who was in charge of the staging on the latest tours - wraps up “Mirarte” in a sea of fabric, while a moving and elegant dance of lights is used on “Si tu te vas” and an explosive finale in the “dance” style runs for 12 minutes to close out “Amante bandido.”

“It keeps climbing, keeps climbing and at the end everything winds up in a party,” added Bose, who did not rule out the fact that surprise guests ranging from Alaska to Paulina Rubio might appear onstage.

Also working with the production will be Joaquin Sabina, Juan Luis Guerra, Tiziano Ferro, Dani Martin and Pablo Alboran, among others, in addition to Penelope Cruz, who will sing the unrecorded “Decirnos adios,” written by her brother, Eduardo Cruz.

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US Volunteers Brave Warnings to Help Build Orphanage in Guadalupe

US Volunteers Brave Warnings to Help Build Orphanage in Guadalupe

Photo: Mexico Orphanages

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Groups of Americans are challenging their government’s warnings about the violence in Mexico and are crossing over into the municipality of Guadalupe Distrito Bravos to cooperate in the construction of an orphanage.

Groups of up to 30 people from all over the country are crossing the border into Mexico several times a year to help with building the future Casa de las Gemas, which will house more than 400 Mexican children in the town roughly 5 kilometers (3.5 miles) south of the border.

“Groups of young people and adults come for several weeks to help build the orphanage in Mexico, which has been constructed mainly by donations and aid from the United States. Up to now, we’ve been dealing with almost $6 million invested,” Steven Brewer, pastor of Tapestries of Life ministries here in Fabens, told Efe.

Despite the warnings issued by the U.S. State Department not to travel to northern Mexico due to the violence linked to drug trafficking there, these Americans think more about helping those in need.

Joseph Markley, 19, had the chance to go to a beach in North Carolina on his summer vacation, but he preferred to go to Guadalupe to help with the construction.

“It’s very gratifying to be here. To know that this building is going to be full of children who need so much help is incredible and even moreso when I’m working to make it possible. I know that here there’s a lot of poverty because I see children on the streets of Guadalupe without shoes and asking for money,” Markley said.

Scott Moseley, who is doing his second stint in Guadalupe, accompanied this time by his wife and children, said that people in his hometown of Newfield, New York, warned him that northern Mexico is a “war zone.”

Volunteers have performed all sorts of work, from painting and setting up beds to installing electrical wiring, he told Efe.

For the past 15 years, when Brewer began the project to build the orphanage, which will be one of the largest in Latin America, about 24 different groups of volunteers have traveled to Fabens.

Daniel Romero, who has worked with Brewer for 12 years, said that the help of people from north of the border is a marvelous thing.

“They are so committed to the children of this area, they do their work with so much love. It’s a shame that Americans have to do the work that we Mexicans or the government don’t take the trouble to do,” Romero told Efe.

Matt Furman, another volunteer from New York state, said that currently Guadalupe is a ghost town compared with five years ago, when he visited the area for the first time to collaborate in the construction of the orphanage, which is 90 percent finished.

Brewer said that when the violence hit the town of some 9,000 people, the U.S. aid groups began to diminish in numbers.

“Although the Americans who help me in the construction of the orphanage really never have been afraid, last year the volunteers didn’t want to come and, definitively, it was because of the violence. Now, once again, we’re seeing the Americans here in Guadalupe,” Brewer said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican Man Crucifies Self to Demand Payment of Insurance Claim, Now Hospitalized

Mexican Man Crucifies Self to Demand Payment of Insurance Claim, Now Hospitalized

Photo: Mexican Man Crucifies Self to Demand Payment of Insurance Claim, Now Hospitalized

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A Mexican man who “crucified” himself for 17 hours in this Gulf coast port city to demand payment of an insurance claim was hospitalized Thursday after showing symptoms of a possible heart attack and signs of gangrene on his hands.

Red Cross spokespersons said medical personnel decided shortly after 11:00 a.m. to remove the nails from the hands of Sergio Manuel Vargas Mortera, who had begun his protest shortly before 6:00 p.m. Wednesday in Veracruz’s main square.

The paramedics, who had been administering fluids to the man intravenously, said he showed pre-heart attack symptoms early Thursday and that an inspection of his hands revealed signs of gangrene.

Vargas was rushed to a Veracruz hospital despite his earlier vow not to end the protest until the insurance subsidiary of BBVA Bancomer - Mexico’s largest financial institution - compensated him for damage caused to his home two years ago by Hurricane Karl.

Moments before lying down on a wooden cross and having his hands pierced with metal nails with the aid of another individual, Vargas said the firm had refused to cover the cost of the repairs and that he was opting for that extreme form of protest to call the attention of Veracruz state authorities.

Karl made landfall near Veracruz in September 2010 as a devastating Category 3 hurricane.

The powerful storm was blamed for 15 deaths, forced 40,000 people to seek refuge in temporary shelters and caused property damage in 62 municipalities.

A total of 500,000 people were reportedly affected by the hurricane.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Coal Mine Explosion Kills 7 in Mexico

Coal Mine Explosion Kills 7 in Mexico

Photo: Scene of the mine accident

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Seven men died Wednesday in an explosion at a coal mine in the northern Mexican state of Coahuila, authorities said.

The victims ranged in age from 22 to 39, the spokesman for the state emergency management office, Juan Antonio Ibarra, told Efe.

The blast occurred at 8:30 a.m. as the men were digging a ventilation shaft, according to Coahuila Public Safety Secretary Jorge Luis Moran Delgado.

“They apparently bumped into one of the pockets of methane gas,” he told Efe.

The Deborquez mine, owned by the Minera El Progreso company, “had their documentation in order, apparently,” the state official said.

The mine had only been operating for a week prior to the accident, the federal labor department said in a statement, adding that Minera El Progreso “has been the object of 16 inspections” and is facing sanctions in connection with problems at its other mines.

Miguel Pompa Corella, chairman of the Mexican Congress’ mining committee, recently presented a bill to tighten regulation of coal mines, where dozens of workers have died in recent years.

Coahuila is home to numerous coal mines, many of which fall short of official safety standards.

A February 2006 gas explosion at the Pasta de Conchos coal mine in San Juan de Sabinas, Coahuila, killed 65 men. Only two of the bodies were ever recovered.

Read more by HS News Staff →

17 Alleged Murderers Arrested in Northern Mexico

17 Alleged Murderers Arrested in Northern Mexico

Photo: Alleged murderers arrested in Nuevo Leon

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Security forces arrested 17 people accused of committing 25 murders in three towns in the metropolitan area of Monterrey, in the northern Mexican state of Nuevo Leon, the state government announced Wednesday.

Nuevo Leon state security spokesman Jorge Domene reported the arrest of the 17 alleged criminals in the municipalities of Monterrey, Guadalupe and Benito Juarez. Among the crimes they are alleged to have committed are the murders of eight taxi drivers on April 10.

The capture of the presumed criminals was carried out in two different operations, the first on July 6 and the second three days later, in which a 16-year-old was also arrested.

Domene said that according to statements by the alleged murderers, the taxi drivers were killed in different neighborhoods in Guadalupe because they did not pay the protection money demanded of them to continue working.

He added that the 17 alleged killers, among whom are two women, also stand accused of other murders linked to turf battles among bands selling drugs in the area.

Those taken into custody are being held under provisional arrest for the time being.

Recently, the Monterrey metropolitan area has been the scene of violent incidents carried out by members of organized criminal groups operating in the area, including Los Zetas.

On Tuesday, eight people were murdered in the area in incidents attributed to organized crime.

Seven taxi drivers were killed in the morning by armed gunmen in the municipality of Benito Juarez, the State Investigations Agency, or AEI, announced.

In another incident, authorities reported finding the body of a woman shot multiple times in Guadalupe. The killers left a message that said “CDG” (for “cartel del Golfo” or Gulf Cartel) written on the wall of a business near where the woman’s body lay.

Police said that the two incidents could be related, given that the woman was kidnapped in Benito Juarez, where the taxi drivers were killed.

Those municipalities, along with Cadereyta, are refuges and centers of operations for Los Zetas and have been the scene of numerous clashes with other criminal groups, such as the Gulf Cartel.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Alexa Vega is Not a [Spy] Kid Anymore - Latina Steps Out as ‘Machete Kilsl’ Character KillJoy

Alexa Vega is Not a [Spy] Kid Anymore - Latina Steps Out as ‘Machete Kilsl’ Character KillJoy

Photo: Alexa Vega is Not a [Spy] Kid Anymore - Latina Steps Out as 'Machete Kilsl' Character KillJoy

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Woah, Alexa Vega is all grown up.

The 23-year-old Latina may be going through a divorce from Sean Covel at the moment, but that doesn’t mean she’s sitting around moping. Vega recently revealed the first glimpse of her as a character named KillJoy in Alex Rodriguez’s Machete Kills.

The film is still being shot, but Vega took to Twitter to give fans a quick shot of KillJoy, tweeting, “RR gave the OK for a sneak peek.”

Machete Kills is not the first time the Colombian-American actress has worked with director Rodriguez or Danny Trejo. The three worked together on the successful Spy Kids movie franchise.

In the second of the three planned Machete films, Vega is joined by Trejo, Michelle Rodriguez, Mel Gibson, Jessica Alba, Demian Bichir, Amber Heard, Sofia Vergara, Zoe Saldana, William Sadler, Edward James Olmos, Charlie Sheen, Elise Avellan, Electra Avellan, and even Lady Gaga.

Though Vega is clearly not a kid anymore, some might remember her from some of her earliest movies - Little Giants. Nine Months, and Twister.

Thursday, Vega posted a photo of her as a little girl. Oh, how much has changed…



Read more by HS News Staff →

Human Trafficking, Sexual Tourism Going Undetected in Mexico, Says Expert

Human Trafficking, Sexual Tourism Going Undetected in Mexico, Says Expert

Photo: Human trafficking and sexual tourism in Mexico

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Officials are not aware of the real scope of people trafficking in Mexico, which has become a “paradise” for those involved in this type of crime, expert Alicia Mesa Bribiesca told Efe.

“The problem we have in Mexico is that the authorities have not detected the problem. This is an indicator that they are not focused on it. And not seeing it is not making a commitment with adequate legislation and public policies,” Mesa Bribiesca, who is with the Latin American Observatory against People Trafficking, said.

“What’s more, (Mexico) is a paradise for sexual tourism and people trafficking,” the expert, who is also a representative of the Federal District Observatory against People Trafficking, said.

Between 16,000 and 20,000 individuals are involved in people trafficking in Mexico, Mesa Bribiesca said, citing figures from the Attorney General’s Office.

“I believe it’s many more,” Mesa Bribiesca said, noting that the best figures come from foreign sources.

“On the other hand, at the international level via the United Nations, we know that we are the top or number two country, we compete with Thailand in sexual tourism involving girls, boys and teenagers,” the expert said.

Mesa Bribiesca joined other experts Tuesday in presenting the 2nd Report on Human Rights in People Trafficking Aimed at Sexual Exploitation in the Federal District.

People trafficking is equal to drug trafficking in terms of the amount of money it generates in Mexico, Federal District Human Rights Commission chairman Luis Gonzalez Placencia said.

Victims of sexual exploitation in Mexico City neighborhoods, such as La Merced, are “increasingly young,” with some just 13, and they fall victim to corruption networks “that get them Federal Electoral Institute identification cards so they can enter hotels as adults,” Mesa Bribiesca said.

Mexico City is plagued by “significant delays in the detection and pursuit” of criminals involved in this crime, the report said.

The capital also has “serious difficulties in analyzing in a consistent manner information” about trafficking, murders of women and everything related to pornography, procuring, sexual tourism, corruption of minors and kidnappings, the report said.

Legislation alone is insufficient because the sexual exploitation networks are “a new form of slavery” in which victims are subjected to violence, including “femicides” in some cases, the report said.

Crimes against women “have existed for many years, fostered by silence” in Mexico, the AG’s office, which has a special prosecutor to handle these types of crimes, said.

Investigations of crimes against women have increased since 2008, but only 11 people were arrested and 110 victims assisted in the January-November 2011 period, the AG’s office said.

Crimes against women are most common in Baja California, Veracruz, Guanajuato, Tlaxcala, Puebla, Guerrero, Oaxaca, Chiapas and Mexico states.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Eva Longoria & Iron Chef Michael Symon Join Lay’s Potato Chips in Asking You to “Do Us A Flavor”

Eva Longoria & Iron Chef Michael Symon Join Lay’s Potato Chips in Asking You to “Do Us A Flavor”

Photo: Eva Longoria & Iron Chef Michael Symon Join Lay's Potato Chips to Ask You to "Do Us A Flavor"

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“Do Us A Flavor” contest launched in Times Square at first-ever Lay’s brand flavor store; Contest winner to be awarded $1 million or one percent of chip flavor’s net sales

Power up those taste buds—a nationwide search for the next great Lay’s potato chip flavor is officially underway. Lay’s, one of the marquee brands from PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay division, today kicked off its “Do Us A Flavor” contest that invites fans to submit their potato chip flavor ideas for the chance to win $1 million in grand prize money or one percent of their flavor’s 2013 net sales (whichever is higher). From now until Oct. 6, consumers can share their flavor inspirations on the Lay’s Facebook page ( https://www.facebook.com/lays ), with the winning flavor being revealed in 2013, the year Lay’s - America’s most-loved potato chip brand - celebrates its 75-year anniversary.

To launch the contest, the Lay’s brand is creating its first-ever pop-up store in New York City’s Times Square - a place known for bringing unique flavors from around the world together. At this one-of-a-kind Lay’s flavor destination, consumers can sample up to 20 existing Lay’s flavors and learn about unique Lay’s potato chip flavors from around the world in order to excite their palates and inspire their contest submissions. Actress and restaurateur Eva Longoria, and celebrity chef and restaurateur Michael Symon also will be on hand to encourage fans to submit their winning flavor ideas.

“We’ve created some really great potato chip flavors over the years, but this time around we’re asking our consumers to weigh in and share their ideas for what comes next,” said Ram Krishnan, vice president of marketing, Frito-Lay North America. “With a mix of traditions, cultures and backgrounds, we know our fans have what it takes to come up with a truly winning flavor that will be a delicious treat for fans all across the country. We can’t wait to see what fans come up with and all the creative submissions.”

As the largest food brand in the world, Lay’s has a global reach that many don’t realize. The “Do Us A Flavor” contest has already been held in numerous countries with consumers suggesting more than eight million ideas for chips flavors around the world. From the UK and India to Australia and South Africa, the “Do Us A Flavor” contest has resulted in a wide spectrum of popular consumer-created chip flavors, including Mastana Mango, Walkie Talkie Chicken, Caesar Salad, Chilli & Chocolate, Late Night Kebob and even Cajun Squirrel. Today’s launch marks the first time the “Do Us A Flavor” contest has been held in the U.S.

Beyond their involvement in the contest launch, Longoria and Symon also will be part of a judging panel made up of chefs, foodies and flavor experts who will narrow down the contest submissions to three finalist flavors. In addition, the two will appear in national television and online advertising, as well as a retail marketing campaign to support the contest. Longoria, an award-winning actress, best-selling cookbook author, philanthropist, is the owner of Beso, one of the hottest eateries in Los Angeles and Las Vegas known for its eclectic menu of colorful and tasty dishes from around the world. Originally from Cleveland, Symon is the current co-host of the ABC daytime talk show “The Chew” and appears on the Food Network’s “Iron Chef America” and Cooking Channel’s “Symon’s Suppers.” He is also the owner of four award-winning restaurants located in America’s heartland: Lola, Lolita, Roast and B Spot, as well as the recently opened Bar Symon inside Pittsburgh International Airport.

“To me, the best part about the contest is that you don’t have to be a foodie, chef or flavor expert to enter,” explained Eva Longoria. “You just have to trust your taste buds. If you’re passionate about a flavor, likely there are others who agree.”

Image“I am constantly impressed with the range of flavor combinations possible in the culinary world, which presents an exciting variety of options for the next great potato chip,” said Chef Michael Symon. “I’m confident America has what it takes to create a delicious new potato chip flavor. The tough part will be reviewing the many creative ideas and selecting our top three.”

Now through Oct. 6, 2012, fans can submit their flavor suggestions on the Lay’s Facebook page or by using their cell phone to text FLAVOR to CHIPS (24477). To submit a suggestion, fans will be asked to provide their flavor name, up to three possible ingredients and a 140-character description or inspiration for their flavor.

Visitors to the Lay’s “Do Us A Flavor” Page can interact on Facebook in deeper, more social ways. Exclusively for the contest, consumers can select their favorite flavors by clicking an “I’d Eat That” button (rather than the Facebook Like button), and they can share their voting activity back to the Facebook community, providing consumers with a fun opportunity to interact with their friends and other contestants in head-to-head “flavor showdowns.” In addition, consumers in need of additional inspiration can use Chef Michael Symon’s “Flavorizer” app, which scans the individual’s Facebook timeline to recommend ingredients most unique to him or her.

Three finalist flavors will be fully developed by Frito-Lay’s culinary experts and unveiled in early 2013. Then, it will be up to fans to vote for the finalist flavor they love most with the winning flavor being revealed in May 2013. The two runner-up finalists will each win $50,000 in prize money, with the grand prize winner taking home $1 million or one percent of the 2013 net sales of the winning flavor (whichever is higher). More details and official contest rules are available at www.facebook.com/lays.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Drug Smugglers Attempt to Bring $2M in Marijuana to U.S. by Hiding it in Peppers

Drug Smugglers Attempt to Bring $2M in Marijuana to U.S. by Hiding it in Peppers

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Rio Grande City port of entry seized over 2,500 pounds of alleged marijuana with an estimated street value of $2,070,000.

On July 23, CBP officers at the Rio Grande City/Ciudad Camargo International Bridge cargo facility came in contact with a red 2008 International tractor/trailer that arrived with a manifested commercial shipment of serrano peppers. A CBP officer referred the shipment to secondary for a thorough examination of conveyance and commodity. Once the cargo was offloaded, officers discovered a total of 448 packages of alleged marijuana, weighing approximately 2,587 pounds, concealed within the crates of serrano peppers. CBP seized the marijuana, tractor/trailer and the commodity.

“This is the second big load of marijuana that we have seized at our port within a week and is one of the most significant seizures made at the Rio Grande City port of entry,” said Severiano Solis, Rio Grande City Port Director. “Our officer’s excellent commitment to the CBP mission has enabled us to intercept these narcotics from the drug trafficking organizations and help keep our communities safe.”

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Colorado Grandmother Sandra Cortez is Not a Narcoterrorist, but Her Credit Report Claimed Otherwise

Colorado Grandmother Sandra Cortez is Not a Narcoterrorist, but Her Credit Report Claimed Otherwise

Photo: Colorado Grandmother Sandra Cortez is Not a Narcoterrorist, but Her Credit Report Claimed Otherwise

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When a dealership pulled her TransUnion credit report for Sandra Cortez in 2005, she found out she had been labeled a narcoterrorist. The manager even threatened to call the FBI.

Shocked by the accusation and horrified that an official document would say such a thing, Cortez and her attorney, James Francis, began a 7-year fight to clear her name.

Cortez discovered that at some point, her name had been crossed with that of purported Colombian narcoterrorist Sandra Cortes Quintera.

Francis recently told ABC News, ‘The credit reporting agencies are making horrible matching mistakes because they’re not using identifying criteria to make sure it’s the right person.’

Luckily, TransUnion was the only credit agency reporter Cortez was a narcoterrorist and the Office of Foreign Assets Control’s (OFAC) Specially Designated Nationals List (SDN List) was not.

Cortez then took TransUnion to court claiming defamation, negligence, and invasion of privacy for releasing a “inaccurate information’ consisting of “statements that cannot be attributed.”

However, a U.S. Treasury officials told ABC OFAC does not track the false positives like Cortez experienced.

‘The Office of Foreign Assets Control’s (OFAC) Specially Designated Nationals List (SDN List) is a publicly available resource that is intended to aid financial institutions and the general public in compliance with U.S. sanctions,’ the official stated. ‘n some cases outside parties have been known to incorrectly identify persons as being on the SDN List.  If someone feels they have been incorrectly identified they can contact OFAC.’

In the end, Cortez was awarded $150,000, and the incorrect alert was still on her credit file until the week for her trial.

As for that car - later that same day, Cortez said she received a call from the dealership and a sincere apology for the mix-up. She returned and was able to drive away with her new vehicle.

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: Mango-Throwin’ Momma Fights Off Thieves (VIDEO)

LATINO BLOTTER: Mango-Throwin’ Momma Fights Off Thieves (VIDEO)

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An elderly woman is being hailed a hero after her fruit-throwing skills caused the men robbing her son-in-law’s shop to run.

On Friday, Otilia Martins was visiting her son-in-law, Manuel Nogueira’s shop, the Continental Market in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Nogueira had stepped outside when two men entered the store and pointed a gun at the cashier’s face.

Martins, who had been shopping, looked around for something to throw. That’s when she saw the mangoes and apples. The man with the gun then ran back around the counter at Martins and pistol-whipped the 80-year-old, lacerating her forehead. She did not go down though and actually appeared to be following them out of the store.

The gutsy mother began hurling the fruit at the robbers, who then fled.

Nogueira saw the men run from the store, and not realizing one had a gun, began a chase. He managed to catch one of the men two blocks away, while the other, the one with the gun, ran into a nearby apartment.

Both thieves, identified as Eduardo Torres-Lopez, 22, and Jesse DosSantos, 24, were ultimately arrested. They now face charges of armed robbery, carrying a dangerous weapon, and assault and battery on a person over the age of 60.

As for Martins, a Portuguese immigrant, she refused a trip to the hospital, so paramedics treated her head wound on the scene.

Martins’ daughter told SouthCoastToday.com, “She was amazing. She said, ‘He’s lucky I didn’t have something stronger to hit him with.’”

Though the thieves robbery was cut short thanks in large part to Martins, they still managed to grab $500 from the register.


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OLYMPICS: Mexican Diver Thrives on Fear and Risk

OLYMPICS: Mexican Diver Thrives on Fear and Risk

Photo: Ivan Garcia (Rodrigo V. Medero)

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Mexico’s Pan-American diving champion, Ivan Garcia, said Wednesday that if one day he loses his fear of diving from the 10-meter platform he will retire.

“When I stop being afraid, diving will be over for me. What I enjoy is the risk and feeling that adrenaline in my belly, that sensation of flying so similar to when you fall in love,” said the 18-year-old competitor who represents one of Mexico’s best chances to take home a medal from the London Olympic Games.

Garcia became known on the international diving circuit when he won a bronze medal at the Youth Olympics in Singapore in 2010 and last year he emerged as the champion at the Pan American Games in platform diving, both in the individual and the pairs competition.

In London, his partner will be German Sanchez, with whom he will try to win a medal on June 30 competing against the top teams from China, Britain, Ukraine and Germany.

“We’re very well prepared. We’ve raised the grade of difficulty of our dives a lot and if everything goes well for us, we can even defeat the Chinese favorites,” said Garcia, who is from the western city of Guadalajara.

That is not just an idle statement either, because the Mexican duo’s routine is one of the most complex among the teams and if they come out of the qualification round well, they could give champions Qiu Bo and Huo Liang and the others a run for their money.

Mexico hopes to win more than just one medal in diving with a team headed by Paola Espinosa, who won a bronze medal in the 10m Synchronized Platform with her partner Tatiana Ortiz at the 2008 Games in Beijing, the gold medal in the 10m platform at the 2009 World Aquatics Championships in Rome and several golds at the 2011 Pan American Games.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Nicaraaguan Patients to be Treated by California Doctors for Free

Nicaraaguan Patients to be Treated by California Doctors for Free

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A group of 100 health professionals affiliated with the International Medical Alliance are traveling from California to spend 10 days treating very low-income patients in Nicaragua.

Antonio Gonzalez, a dental surgeon with the IMA, told Efe that an initial group of 12 medical professionals began traveling to Tujunga, Ecuador, to perform such work in 2000.

More than a decade later, scores of volunteers provide services that include costly reconstructive surgeries.

The aim is “to perform more charitable work, a humanitarian task, for ... our brothers in Latin America,” the Ecuadorian-born Gonzalez told Efe.

“Up to now, we’ve visited two countries, which are Ecuador and Nicaragua,” he added last Sunday while the group was packing up its equipment in preparation for the trip.

The odontologist, who with his health brigade will travel to Peru in 2013, said that the team of volunteers has grown by word of mouth among the networks of healthcare professionals in California.

However, there are other specialists who through the Web page www.internationalmedicalalliance.org are asking to become part of the Medical Brigade.

“There are colleagues, hospitals and medical equipment and pharmaceutical companies who are contributing to IMA so that we can treat as many people as possible,” Gonzalez said.

He explained that the group’s 2010 and 2011 visits to Nicaragua were made because the Nicaraguan consul-general in Los Angeles read a news story about the Medical Brigade.

“He sought us out via the Internet and met with the founder, Ines Allen, to whom he explained Nicaragua’s health needs,” Gonzalez said.

“Besides the experts in prosthetics, plastic and maxilofacial surgeons have joined our team (and) perform reconstructive surgery completely free of charge, including cleft palate (surgery), which costs no less than $100,000,” he said.

Argentina-born Carolina Vasconcelos works as a dental assistant in California and has been an IMA volunteer since she learned about the Medical Brigade from surgeon Christopher Tiner, who in 2010 reconstructed part of the face of a man who had crashed his car while driving drunk.

“Just like the entire IMA group and many other organizations who make the effort, who go and help, it doesn’t solve the entire problem,” Vasconcelos said.

“But it alleviates a little of the health problem (because we perform) operations that change the lives of those people,” she said.

Tiner, who works with the Premier plastic surgery team at Huntington Memorial Hospital, told Efe that over the coming year they will provide free health care services in Peru and he emphasized that in each country they add their expertise to the efforts of local doctors with whom they create solid friendships.

“This year, I’ll take to Dr. Edgar Alvarado, whom I met in Esteli (Nicaragua), some magnifying glasses to wear to do surgery ... I bought them at a discount through friends who sell that kind of equipment,” Tiner said.

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U.S.-Mexico Program Launched to Detect Illegal Shipments of Nuclear Materials

U.S.-Mexico Program Launched to Detect Illegal Shipments of Nuclear Materials

Photo: Megaports Initiative

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A program to improve the detection and interdiction of illegal shipments of nuclear materials has been successfully implemented at Mexico’s four main ports, the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City said.

The Megaports Initiative was implemented by Mexico’s Customs Administration, or SAT, and the U.S. government, the embassy said in a statement.

“The Megaports Initiative is a U.S. Department of Energy program intended to enhance the ability of ports around the world to detect and interdict illicit shipments of special nuclear and other radioactive materials,” the embassy said.

Fixed and portable radiation detectors have been installed at the ports and personnel have been trained to use the equipment with technical support being provided at the key ports.

The Megaports Initiative was implemented in Veracruz, Altamira, Lazaro Cardenas and Manzanillo, which handle about 92 percent of Mexico’s maritime cargo.

“Cooperation on this project between Mexico’s Customs Administration (SAT) and the Department of Energy began in 2007,” the embassy said.

“The inauguration of the Megaports in these four cities is an illustration of Mexico’s overall commitment to modernize its import and export management system over recent years,” U.S. Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Laura F. Dogu said during a ceremony Tuesday at the port of Manzanillo.

The project’s implementation “is also an illustration of the continuing close cooperation between the United States and Mexico to make our shared landmass safer and more secure for the citizens of both countries,” Dogu said.

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ThursdayJuly 26, 2012