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FridayAugust 10, 2012

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

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

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Mexican Antiquities of “High Artistic Value” Recovered, Man Arrested

Mexican Antiquities of “High Artistic Value” Recovered, Man Arrested

Photo: Mexican state of Nayarit

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A man was arrested and 12 archaeological items, including four sculptures that are more than 2,000 years old, of a “high artistic value” were seized in the western state of Nayarit, the Mexican Attorney General’s Office said.

The suspect planned to sell the pieces, the AG’s office said in a statement.

A tip from the public led police to the suspect, who will be charged with violating the Federal Monuments and Archaeological, Artistic and Historic Areas Law, the AG’s office said.

The pre-Columbian pieces recovered by authorities are from the Tumbas de Tiro cultural tradition, which flourished from 200 B.C. to about A.D. 450, the AG’s office said.

The pieces include four hollow female anthropomorphic sculptures, with the figures in sitting poses, an animal effigy vessel and three bowls.

Three other items, including another bowl and a female anthropomorphic figure, were also seized.

The pieces will be turned over to National Anthropology and History Institute, or INAH, officials in Nayarit “for the safekeeping, management and protection of the nation’s archaeological heritage,” the AG’s office said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

OLYMPICS 2012: Argentina Women’s Field Hockey Team Falls to the Dutch in Finals

OLYMPICS 2012: Argentina Women’s Field Hockey Team Falls to the Dutch in Finals

Photo: OLYMPICS 2012: Argentina Women's Field Hockey Team Falls to the Dutch in Finals

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A 2-0 loss to the Netherlands here Friday in the women’s field hockey final of the 2012 London Olympics left the Argentine squad with its second silver medal in 12 years.

Anxious to give departing captain Luciana Aymar a fitting send-off, the Argentines were outmatched by a Dutch squad intent on defending its status as reigning Olympic champions.

Aymar, who turned 35 on Friday, had a good scoring opportunity just before the intermission, but Dutch goalkeeper Joyce Sombroek stopped the shot.

The Europeans came out strong after the break and a lost ball by Aymar set up a penalty-corner for the Netherlands. Though Argentine keeper Florencia Mutio blocked the initial shot from Eva de Goede, Carlien Dirkse put away the rebound to give the Dutch a 1-0 lead.

A second goal nine minutes later sealed the triumph for the Dutch, who avenged their loss to Argentina in the 2010 world championships.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Chavez Honors Gold Medalist With Replica of Simon Bolivar’s Sword

Chavez Honors Gold Medalist With Replica of Simon Bolivar’s Sword

Photo: Ruben Limardo

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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez bestowed the Order of the Liberators on the country’s Olympic fencing champion, Ruben Limardo, and presented him with a replica of the sword of South American liberator Simon Bolivar.

“It’s an honor for me to have decorated in the name of all the Venezuelan people our Olympic champion Ruben Limardo with the Order of the Liberators of Venezuela,” said Chavez at a public ceremony in the Teresa Carreño Theater.

Chavez emphasized that Bolivar was a “great fencer who fought with the left and the right (hand).”

“There is nobody more worthy to receive this replica, the gold sword of Bolivar, than the gold medalist, this champion of the sword. From the sword of Bolivar to the gold sword of Ruben Limardo,” said the Venezuelan president when he revealed that he had already signed a decree declaring Limardo a “national hero.”

Limardo, who won Venezuela’s first gold Olympic medal in 44 years at the London Games, received with great emotion the recognition accompanied by his uncle and coach Ruperto, his father Francisco, two siblings, his grandmother and his girlfriend.

“I really feel very proud to be Venezuelan. I have said it since I was very small, this medal is worth 20 years of work, of sacrifice and effort,” said the 26-year-old sportsman.

“One must acknowledge that ... this is due to the support that the president has given to the sport and, truthfully, one must be grateful for this because it was made possible for me thanks to him,” Limardo emphasized.

The fencer said that he will place the replica of the liberator’s sword, which he brandished playfully but briefly before those present, in Bolivar’s house in the southern state of his birth, Bolivar, “because there is where it deserves to be.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Police, Protesters Clash at March for Underfunded Education System in Chile

Police, Protesters Clash at March for Underfunded Education System in Chile

Photo: Protests in Chile

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A march in Santiago Wednesday by high school students demanding improvements to Chile’s underfunded public education system ended with three buses set ablaze and dozens arrested.

The protest was convened by the ACES high school students association, with support from the groups that represent Chile’s collegians.

Demonstrations also took place in the seaside resort of Viña del Mar, where 11 people were arrested and a pharmacy and supermarket destroyed, the northern town of La Serena and the southern city of Valdivia.

The Santiago regional government refused to issue ACES a permit to march on the city’s main thoroughfare, the Alameda, but the students rejected the two alternative routes proposed by authorities.

Determined to protest on the Alameda, some 5,000 students - according to Santiago Mayor Pablo Zalaquett - gathered at 10:00 a.m. in Plaza Italia square, occupying the sidewalks and forcing traffic to a crawl.

As soon as the students began to move toward the Alameda, Efe saw them met by tear gas, water cannon and truncheon-wielding mounted police.

The protesters responded by hurling rocks and other projectiles as the cops, vandalizing public property and trying to erect barricades on the surrounding streets.

Some in the crowd also destroyed private vehicles and damaged an insurance company office and an auto dealership.

Three public buses were burned and witnesses said hooded militants had previously ordered the passengers off the vehicles.

The students, however, said the buses were traveling empty and accused authorities of staging a set-up.

The disturbances went on for at least five hours, resulting in dozens of arrests and leaving six police injured, official sources told Efe.

Wednesday’s events “have nothing to do with the problems of education,” government spokesman Andres Chadwick told reporters, insisting that “no one is above the law” or can claim “the right to convene illegal marches.”

“Minister Chadwick, we don’t feel we are above the law. Those who have been above the law are those who have profited at the cost of our dreams,” the leader of the University of Chile student organization, Gabriel Boric, replied on Twitter.

Chilean student took to the streets in large numbers more than 40 times in 2011 to denounce a highly stratified education system that funnels state subsidies to private institutions even as public schools in poor areas struggle.

Chile’s public schools and universities were neglected by the 1973-1990 dictatorship of the late Gen. Augusto Pinochet, who embraced doctrinaire free market policies.

Private schools mushroomed under the military regime and the trend continued after democracy was restored, even during the 1990-2010 tenure of the center-left Concertacion coalition.

President Sebastian Piñera, a right-wing billionaire who thrived during the Pinochet era, has taken some steps to make college more affordable for low-income students and is now asking Congress to pass a tax reform bill that would generate as much as $1 billion in additional education funding.

Critics dismiss that figure as woefully inadequate.

“The tax burden today is 20 percent of GDP in total. Now there’s a violent fight about whether it grows from 20 percent to 20.3 percent,” the president of the Education 2020 Foundation, Mario Waissbluth, told Efe.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Authorities at Texas-Mexico Border Testing Surveillance Balloons

Authorities at Texas-Mexico Border Testing Surveillance Balloons

Photo: Authorities and Texas-Mexico Border Testing Surveillance Balloons

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In partnership with the Department of Defense (DoD), CBP will begin to test and evaluate whether equipment no longer being used by DoD can be re-purposed for CBP border security efforts in the United States.

This week in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, CBP will evaluate “aerostats,” large, balloon-like devices that would allow CBP personnel to view activity along the border. Additional equipment will be evaluated in the coming months.

CBP detects, identifies, monitors and responds to threats to our Nation’s borders. The evaluation of former DoD equipment and technology will support CBP’s ongoing efforts to leverage and maximize resources effectively and efficiently.

Read more by HS News Staff →

OLYMPICS: Argentina Takes Out Brazil, Advancing to the Semifinals

OLYMPICS: Argentina Takes Out Brazil, Advancing to the Semifinals

Photo: Argentina vs Brazil

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Argentina advanced to the semifinals of the Olympic men’s basketball tournament with an 82-77 victory here Wednesday over Brazil at the North Greenwich Arena.

The two South American rivals played in their typical up-tempo style and it was reflected in the scoreboard, as Brazil took a 26-23 lead at the end of the first quarter before Argentina rallied to go on top 46-40 at halftime.

Brazil relied in the early going on the scoring punch of Marcelinho Huertas, who put in 17 points in the first half, while Argentina was red hot from the field.

The teams came out in an offensive rut at the start of the second half, with the two teams taking nearly two minutes to get on the scoreboard.

But then the Argentines, led by NBA players Luis Scola, Carlos Delfino and Manu Ginobili took charge and seized control of the game, first going up 10 and then stretching that lead to 61-46 with two and a half minutes remaining in the third quarter.

Brazil’s coach, Argentine Ruben Magnano, looked to his bench for for some relief and that helped shave a few points off the lead, but his team still faced a 64-54 deficit with just one quarter to play.

With point guard Pablo Prigioni taking charge, Argentina stiffened up its defense and continued to score enough baskets to maintain a comfortable edge on the scoreboard.

But Brazil, which was making its first appearance in men’s basketball since 1996, refused to quit and battled to within two points with four and a half minutes to play.

They would get no closer though, as the Argentines responded immediately to go up 74-68 and Brazil’s shaky play down the stretch sealed its defeat and Argentina’s spot in the semifinals.

For the game, Brazil was led by the scoring duo of Huertas and Leandro Barbosa, a member of the NBA Indiana Pacers, while Scola scored 17 and Ginobili and Delfino 16 apiece for Argentina.

Barring a monumental upset, Argentina’s opponent in Friday’s semifinals will be the United States, which was leading Australia in the second half of Wednesday’s last quarterfinal.

Spain and Russia will square off in Friday’s other semifinal.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Another Look at Jason deCaires Taylor’s Amazing Underwater Coral-Friendly Sculpture Park

Another Look at Jason deCaires Taylor’s Amazing Underwater Coral-Friendly Sculpture Park

Photo: Another Look at Jason deCaires Taylor's Amazing Underwater Coral-Friendly Sculpture Park

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In 2006, artist Jason deCaires Taylor founded and created the world’s first underwater sculpture park in the West Indies. Situated off the coast of Grenada in the West Indies it is now listed as one of the Top 25 Wonders of the World by National Geographic. His latest creation is MUSA (Museo Subaquatico de Arte), a monumental museum with a collection of over 450 public sculptural works, submerged off the coast of Cancun, Mexico; described by Forbes as one of the world’s most unique travel destinations. Both these ambitious, permanent public works have a practical, functional aspect, facilitating positive interactions between people and fragile underwater habitats while at the same relieving pressure on natural resources.

The sculptures are more than just a stunning and unique attraction, they serve an environmental preservation purpose as well.

Taylor’s beautiful cement figures provide a new habitat for coral and various other marine life. Also, by creating these must-see works of art, snorkelers and divers are diverted from fragile coral reefs.

The artist is currently based in Cancun, Mexico, where he is the founder and Artistic Director of the Museo Subaquatico de Arte (MUSA).

Check out more of his impressive work below, or better yet, go see it up close!

Read more by HS News Staff →

Cameron Diaz Set to Release Fitness Book in 2013

Cameron Diaz Set to Release Fitness Book in 2013

Photo: Cameron Diaz Set to Release Fitness Book in 2013

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According to publisher HarperCollins, former Charlie’s angel, Cameron Diaz, is working on a fitness book.

At almost 40, Diaz has been a shining example of health with her age-defying body and looks, so it shouldn’t be a big a surprise the lovely Latina has some tips on being and staying healthy.

HarperCollins recently told the Associated Press Diaz’s book will offer advice to young women about health, fitness, nutrition, just general well-being advice. Adding she hopes to “engage and empower” women.

Diaz, who turns 40 later this month, has been known to share her fitness tips. She talked about it with Oprah, Shape magazine, Elle,

, Harper’s Bazaar, and Cosmopolitan.

She once told Harper’s Bazaar that for her exercise is not a chore because she’s made it part of her routine.

‘Exercise for me is like eating, sleeping, and breathing. I’m consistent, and when I’m not consistent, it shows up on my body.”

As for how she keeps her youthful appearance, Diaz told Vogue that if she had pinpoint the things that keep her looking the way she does: ‘exercise, healthy diet, lots of water, lots of laughter, lots of sex - yes, sex, we need that as human beings. It’s healthy, it’s natural, it’s what we are here to do!’

Her currently untitled book is scheduled for a fall 2013 release.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Leader of a Mormon Church in Utah Bites Penis of Man Trying to Protect Sister, Mother

Leader of a Mormon Church in Utah Bites Penis of Man Trying to Protect Sister, Mother

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The 46-year-old leader of a Spanish-speaking Mormon church located just outside Salt Lake City, Utah is accused of not only fondling a teenaged girl, but assaulting her mother and biting the penis of the son/brother who tried to protect his family.

Efrey Antonio Guzman reportedly used his status as a church leader to get close to the family of a 13-year-old girl. In May, the family says Guzman entered the family’s home, grabbed the girl tightly and kissed and fondled her buttocks. He let go and left when the girl’s 20-year-old brother walked into the room. Because he was a leader in their Mormon church, the family says they did not report the incident. However, when he came back, the family would not let him in their home.

Guzman once again arrived at the Midvale home of the teenage girl last week, but was met at the door by her mother who told him he was not allowed in. Angry, Guzman allegedly began to punch and shove his way past the mother. He managed to get inside the home and ripped the woman’s shirt and grabbed her exposed breast. The mother called for help and the 20-year-old son ran in.

When the son tried to pull Guzman off his mother, Guzman spun around, pulled the son’s penis out of his boxers and bit down on it.

The young man wound up needing surgery to repair the damage Guzman did to his genitals.

Guzman has been charged with aggravated sexual assault, sexual abuse of a child, aggravated burglary, and forcible sexual abuse. He has also been removed from his post as a Mormon church branch leader and faces additional discipline within the church.

A spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints told The Salt Lake Tribune, ‘The church has zero tolerance for abuse of any kind. Mr. Guzman has been released from his church duties effective immediately and faces further church discipline following the legal process.’

Guzman was being held at the Salt Lake County jail on a $300,000 bond, with his initial court appearance scheduled for Friday, August 10.

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: Angry Wife Tries to Run Over Husband, Injures Little Girl

LATINO BLOTTER: Angry Wife Tries to Run Over Husband, Injures Little Girl

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After an argument with her husband, Texas wife attempted to run him over but instead severely injured a young girl.

Police say a very intoxicated Martina Cooper Hernandez, 44, drove over to her husband’s office in Odessa where the two began arguing, Tuesday night. In her Toyota Highlander SUV, Hernandez began to drive off after causing a scene at the office. Before she left however, she decided she was going to run over her husband.

Hernandez wound up missing her husband and instead hit 7-year-old Tasia Pryor. Pryor had been getting into a Chevy Impala when Hernandez first hit a GMC Yukon then continued driving and hit the Impala, pushing Pryor and the vehicle into a wall. Police say Hernandez attempted to flee the scene on foot, but was stopped by a witness. Pryor’s mother was near the Impala but managed to avoid injury.

The girl was flown to Covenant Medical Center with serious life-threatening injuries. She had emergency surgery and was in the ICU.

An account has been set up for Pryor at Chase Bank. You can ask to donate to the Tasia Pryor account or by using the account number 107501970. You can donate at any Chase Bank.

Hernandez now faces several felony charges, including failure to stop and render aid, intoxication assault, and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Border Agents Rescue Undocumented Migrant Trapped on Near-Vertical Cliff with Blackhawk Helicopter

Border Agents Rescue Undocumented Migrant Trapped on Near-Vertical Cliff with Blackhawk Helicopter

Photo: Blackhawk Helicopter Rescue of Migrant in Distress

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A man stuck on a near-vertical cliff within the Cerro Colorado Mountains near Arivaca, Ariz., was rescued in a Customs and Border Protection joint operation earlier this week.

The subject, a Mexican national in the U.S. illegally, called 911 twice Monday stating he was lost and stuck on a ledge. The dispatcher was unable to obtain his exact location but a helicopter crew from Customs and Border Protection’s Office spotted the man around 10 p.m.

After the air crew determined the man needed help getting down the mountain, Tucson Sector Border Patrol’s Search, Trauma and Rescue team (known as BORSTAR) was called in. The rescue mission was evaluated and rescuers decided it would be safer to delay the operation until daybreak.

BORSTAR agents remained on scene throughout the night. By 5 a.m. and with enough daylight to safely begin, rescuers started their ascent toward the subject using a Technical Rope Rescue system. By 9 a.m., a BORSTAR agent climbed to within 30 feet of the man but had to stop due to his position on the cliff and a lack of anchor points for the rope.

It was determined the individual would have to be extracted from the air.

A Blackhawk helicopter crew from the Tucson Air Branch then responded and extracted the subject using a Helicopter Rope Suspension Technique.

Air agents fast roped to the stranded man and prepared him for extraction. Once he was airlifted to a safe area, he was lowered to BORSTAR agents on the ground. He then was medically evaluated and treated for mild dehydration and will be processed as an illegal border crosser.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Illinois Boy is the New Face of Mexican ‘Corrido’ Genre

Illinois Boy is the New Face of Mexican ‘Corrido’ Genre

Photo: Adolfo Aguayo Jr.

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A 9-year-old Illinois boy has become the new sensation in the Mexican musical genre known as the “corrido” after performing at festivals, rodeos and other public gatherings in the Midwest and attracting the attention of well-known artists like Gerardo Ortiz.

Ironically, Adolfo Aguayo Jr. performs under the name El Viejon (The Old Man).

In an interview with Efe after a performance at La Herradura in Joliet, the U.S.-born son of Mexican parents said that “I’ve wanted to be really famous for some time” and he’s on the way to achieving his dream, having performed with artists such as Ortiz, Larry Hernandez and Rogelio Martinez.

Originally from Chicago, the youngster began singing when he was 3 or 4 and accompanied his father to work. While riding in the pickup truck he turned on the radio and sang along.

But it wasn’t until last year that he made the jump to the stage, at the request of his mother who wanted to hear him sing “Arboles de la barranca” with a local band during a rodeo in Joliet.

“I never imagined that I’d get here, to the place I am,” Adolfo said, referring to his regular performances with local bands.

Young Adolfo said he was very happy to have had the chance to sing and spend time with stars of the Mexican regional music scene, especially those who “don’t talk bad.”

“It makes me angry that they speak badly all the time, that they are saying bad words when I’m here with them,” said the boy.

Last month, the group Calibre 50 asked El Viejon to accompany them on the number “El buen ejemplo,” a song that requires the voice of a boy, during their gigs in Illinois.

Aguayo Jr. said that the mini-tour was “fun,” although he had to go to bed later than a boy of his age normally does.

The young singer, who also has performed in Wisconsin and Indiana, said that his singing does not affect his schoolwork, since right now he’s on summer vacation and during the school year he only participates in weekend events.

His mother, Georgina Diaz, told Efe that her son gets excellent grades, although his teacher complains that Adolfo Jr. sings in class.

The “corridos” are definitely El Viejon’s favorite musical style and the boy even dares to improvise on them, altering the lyrics of the songs and he also sings little refrains he makes up for his mother and sisters.

Aguayo Jr. said that his passion is the accordion and that he is practicing with the instrument he bought with the money he had earned from singing.

The young musician also said that his short-term goal is to record an album, but that would mean having his own group.

Regarding his goal of becoming famous, the youngster is well positioned to fulfill it, since wherever he goes people ask for his autograph and want to have their pictures taken with him.

Adolfo cordially agrees to those requests, since he knows that being onstage requires a person to be “good with people so that they support me.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

STUDY:  Two Languages Better Than One for Kids’ Brain

STUDY:  Two Languages Better Than One for Kids’ Brain

Photo: Benefits of Binlingualism

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Children who speak more than one language seem to have a learning advantage: Being bilingual can improve children’s problem-solving skills and creative thinking, a new study suggests.

The mental sharpness needed to switch between two languages may develop skills that boost other types of thinking, explained researchers from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland.

“Bilingualism is now largely seen as being beneficial to children but there remains a view that it can be confusing, and so potentially detrimental to them,” study leader Fraser Lauchlan, a lecturer at the University of Strathclyde’s School of Psychological Sciences & Health, said in a university news release. “Our study has found that it can have demonstrable benefits, not only in language but in arithmetic, problem-solving and enabling children to think creatively.”

The study involved 121 children roughly 9 years old in Scotland and Sardinia who spoke English or Italian. Of these children, 62 were bilingual and also spoke Gaelic or Sardinian. The children were given set tasks in English or Italian. Specifically, they were asked to reproduce patterns of colored blocks, orally repeat a series of numbers, define words and solve mental math problems.

The bilingual children performed much better on the tasks than those who spoke only one language, the investigators found.

“We also assessed the children’s vocabulary, not so much for their knowledge of words as their understanding of them. Again, there was a marked difference in the level of detail and richness in description from the bilingual pupils,” said Lauchlan, who is also a visiting professor at the University of Cagliari in Sardinia.

“We also found they had an aptitude for selective attention—the ability to identify and focus on information which is important, while filtering out what is not—which could come from the ‘code-switching’ of thinking in two different languages,” Lauchlan added.

The study authors pointed out that the bilingual children who spoke Gaelic performed better than those who spoke Sardinian. They suggested the Gaelic-speaking children may have benefitted from the formal teaching of the language and its extensive literature. In contrast, Sardinian has a largely oral tradition with no standardized form of the language.

The study was released online in advance of print publication in the International Journal of Bilingualism.

Read more at Health Finder →

Hispanic Media Coalition Succeeds in Removing Controversial Talk Show Jose Luis Sin Censura

Hispanic Media Coalition Succeeds in Removing Controversial Talk Show Jose Luis Sin Censura

Photo: Jose Luis Sin Censura Cancelled

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The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) today announced that “José Luis Sin Censura,” produced and broadcast by Liberman Broadcasting, Inc. (LBI) on the EstrellaTV network, has been permanently removed from the broadcast schedule.

The removal of the show comes after a campaign that included 18 months of sustained effort from GLAAD and NHMC, during which dozens of organizations and thousands of individuals were mobilized, many via a petition at Change.org. At the outset of the campaign, GLAAD and NHMC filed a nearly 200-page formal complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and contacted dozens of major advertisers whose ads appeared during the program.

Recent episodes featured audiences chanting “puta” (“Whore! Whore! Whore!”) at a female guest. In addition, audience members were allowed to chant “puto! puto! puto!” (or “f*ggot”) at a man they thought to be gay. In the past, the show often included the words “pinche” (“f*cking” in English) and “culero” (“assf*cker”), anti-gay language, including epithets such as “puto,” “maricón,” “joto” and “puñal” (or “f*ggot”), anti-Latino slurs, such as “mojado” (“wetback”), and anti-female terms such as “piruja” and “puta” (“whore”).

“Content that appeared on this show fueled violence against our community, which is growing and impacting so many families. Thanks to thousands of LGBT, Latino Americans and allies, LBI took action,” said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. “The company should now join so many other Spanish-language broadcasters in presenting stories that inspire and create change, not fuel a climate of intolerance and violence.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

OLYMPICS 2012: No Medal for Mexico’s Paola Espinosa in 10m Platform Diving

OLYMPICS 2012: No Medal for Mexico’s Paola Espinosa in 10m Platform Diving

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Mexico’s Paola Espinosa fell out of medal contention with her final dive here Thursday in the women’s 10-meter platform event at the 2012 London Olympics, finishing sixth.

Ruolin Chen of China took gold with a score of 422.30 points, followed by Australian Brittany Broben and Malaysia’s Pandelela Rinong Pamg.

After struggling in the qualifiers and the semifinals, the 26-year-old Mexican was much improved on Thursday and had the bronze medal in sight as she prepared for her fourth dive, but delivered a flawed performance.

Espinosa, a 2011 world champion who won the silver medal in women’s 10-meter synchronized diving with compatriot Alejandra Orozco on the fourth day of competition in London, is still looking for her first individual Olympic medal.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Organization Protests Carlos Slim at New York’s Saks’ Fifth Avenue

Organization Protests Carlos Slim at New York’s Saks’ Fifth Avenue

Photo: Protests in NY (@allisonkilkenny)

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A group of activists demonstrated in New York against Mexican magnate Carlos Slim, who is accused of using his dominant position in Mexico’s telecommunications market to impose exorbitant rates.

Members of the “Dos Paises, Una Voz” (Two Countries, One Voice) organization marched to Saks’ flagship store on Fifth Avenue Tuesday to alert New Yorkers of Slim’s business practices and call for a boycott against the retailer, in which Slim - the world’s richest person - holds a 16 percent stake.

“We want Mexico to know that we’re raising our voice here to urge Slim to act with greater social responsibility even though there’s no law to force him to,” Juan Jose Gutierrez, an activist and spokesman for the group, which is backed by Occupy Wall Street and Latino politicians in the Big Apple, told Efe.

The mobilization, which says on its Twitter account that it is a movement of “unified voices across the U.S. and LatAm to hold Carlos Slim accountable for his monopolistic actions,” also includes individual members of Mexico’s Yo soy 132 student movement.

Nearly a score of the roughly 100 demonstrators gradually trickled into the store and, once assembled, shouted “Attention shoppers! We’re part of the 99 percent!” referring to the slogan of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

After 10 minutes, they left the establishment without incident.

Gutierrez also told Efe that the activists plan to request a meeting with Saks executives to discuss “the monopolistic practices of Slim” and his America Movil company, whose subsidiaries have a roughly 70 percent share of Mexico’s wireless market and 80 percent of the country’s land-line subscribers.

The activist said it is regrettable that Slim, “who has the reputation of a philanthropist, has not considered it prudent to invest in Hispanic organizations in the United States” to spur community development.

In late January, the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development released a study saying the lack of competition in Mexico’s telecoms sector has resulted in overcharging to the tune of $25.8 billion annually, as well as low penetration rates in services and infrastructure.

“The welfare loss attributed to the dysfunctional Mexican telecommunication sector is estimated at $129.2 billion between 2005 and 2009,” or 1.8 percent of gross domestic product annually, the OECD said.

The study also said the monopolistic practices of Slim’s fixed-line company Telmex and wireless firm Telcel - units of regional telecoms giant America Movil - have caused the take-up of new services to be slowed and scared off foreign investment.

Slim discredited the study by saying it was a “rehashing of many things” and that a serious report should use information updated to 2011 rather than figures from 2007 and 2008.

“I don’t know what model was used but it’s totally false to say telecommunications cost the country that sum ($25.8 billion per year). That’s a fantasy, craziness, a totally exaggerated figure because Telmex and Telcel combined sell a total of $17.5 billion annually,” Slim said.

He also said the fact the study had been commissioned by Mexico’s telecoms regulator Cofetel cast doubt on its validity.

But the OECD defended its figure and said the estimate “represents the opportunity cost of the lack of competition in Mexico” not the profits or sales of any company in particular.

Read more by HS News Staff →



FridayAugust 10, 2012