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SundayAugust 19, 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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Olympic Flag Arrives in Brazil in Preparation for First Olympics Games in Latin America

Olympic Flag Arrives in Brazil in Preparation for First Olympics Games in Latin America

Photo: Olympic Flag Comes to Brazil

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The Olympic flag on Sunday was brought to the huge Christ the Redeemer statue on Corcovado Hill, the iconic symbol of Rio de Janeiro, in an ecumenical ceremony attended by municipal and religious authorities and representatives of civil society.

The flag, which this week has traveled through Brasilia and Rio’s Complexo do Alemao “favela” or shantytown, arrived Sunday at the famous white statue of Christ that, with open arms, looks down over the teeming city of Rio, which is scheduled to host the 2016 Summer Olympics.

There, authorities held a religious ceremony that was attended by Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes.

Located in the heart of the Tijuca Nature Park, the 38-meter (125-foot) Christ statue rises above Corcovado Hill, which itself is 710 meters (2,308 feet) high and is considered to be a pilgrimage site as well as a major tourism draw.

The flag, which last Monday arrived in Rio from London, where this year’s Summer Games recently concluded, was presented last Tuesday to Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.

The Olympic banner will remain on display at the City Palace, one of the seats of the city government, until the end of this year.

The Rio Games will be the first Olympics held in South America.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spanish Construction Company Claims Dominican Government Seized Assets

Spanish Construction Company Claims Dominican Government Seized Assets

Photo: San Pedro de Macoris-La Romana highway in DR

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A Spanish construction company accused the Dominican government of seizing its assets and not complying with an international arbitration ruling requiring it to pay $45 million in compensation.

Concesionaria Dominicana de Autopistas y Carreteras, or Codaxa, which also has U.S. and Dominican shareholders, accuses the Caribbean country’s “recent governments” of “systematically” failing to comply with the terms of a 2001 concession contract for the construction, maintenance and operation of the San Pedro de Macoris-La Romana highway.

CEO Roberto Garcia told Efe Friday that a representative of the Public Works Ministry - escorted by a group of soldiers - expelled the company’s staff from the highway last Saturday.

That action followed a ruling by the Paris-based International Chamber of Commerce establishing the amount of compensation owed to the firm.

In that arbitration award, handed down in late May, the ICC said the Dominican government had failed to comply with “the main contractual clauses and that the Public Works Ministry’s accusations were “reckless,” Garcia said.

The Spanish firm said the contract required the Dominican government to provide it with guarantees against exchange rate risk - necessary because currency fluctuations could affect repayment of a loan taken out to finance the project - but that it failed to comply with that obligation.

The government also failed to meet its obligation to create a “shadow toll” to make up for what the company was prohibited from charging users in the form of direct payments, paralyzed construction of two toll stations and did not comply with a plan to expropriate land for the construction of the highway, Garcia told Efe.

According to the executive, former Public Works Minister Victor Diaz Rua, who stepped down from his post on Thursday, had pressured the company since 2008 to sell the highway to other companies.

Codaxa took the matter to an international arbitration panel, which issued a ruling ordering the Dominican government to pay compensation by a July 31 deadline and the company to return the highway.

Garcia said it has tried to meet with government representatives since the arbitration ruling was announced but has received no response.

These circumstances have forced the firm to begin the process of firing its more than 200 workers, all of them Dominican, he added.

Asked about the dispute, the former public works minister said the company had pledged to build the San Pedro de Macoris-La Romana highway but only completed one stretch of the road with state funding.

“They didn’t complete anything, they’re a bunch of swindlers,” Diaz Rua said in remarks to local media.

Responding to those accusations, Garcia said Diaz Rua “lies in everything he says” and recalled that the company invested $7 million in expectation that the government would keep its promises.

Garcia said that the company has the support of the Spanish Embassy and that it hopes that under the administration of new President Danilo Medina, who was sworn in Thursday, “the illegal behavior of the outgoing government will be corrected.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

77 Kidnapped Migrants Rescued by Mexican Soldiers

Army troops rescued 77 illegal immigrants who were being held captive at a house in Reynosa, a border city in the northeastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas, and arrested two people for violating federal laws, the press reported.

Soldiers on patrol Saturday in Reynosa, located across the border from McAllen, Texas, spotted two suspicious individuals in a vehicle that did not have a tag, the press reported, citing information provided by the Tamaulipas bureau of the federal Attorney General’s Office.

The soldiers followed the vehicle to a house, where they found the migrants, who were turned over to the National Migration Institute, or INM, for processing.

The two individuals suspected of being guards at the house were arrested and turned over to federal prosecutors.

An estimated 300,000 Central Americans undertake the hazardous journey across Mexico each year on their way to the United States.

The trek is a dangerous one, with criminals and corrupt Mexican officials preying on the migrants.

Gangs kidnap, exploit and murder migrants, who are often targeted in extortion schemes, Mexican officials say.

Central American migrants follow a long route that first takes them into Chiapas state, which is on the border with Guatemala, walking part of the way or riding aboard freight trains, buses and cargo trucks.

The flow of migrants has increased markedly in the northern and northeastern parts of Mexico since U.S. officials increased security along the border in the northwestern part of the country.

A total of 46,716 Central Americans were deported from Mexico between Jan. 1 and Nov. 30, 2011, the INM said in a report released earlier this year.

The majority of the migrants - 41,215 - were men and nearly half, some 23,560, were from Guatemala, the INM said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Violence in Mexico Escalates, 22 Die this Weekend

Violence in Mexico Escalates, 22 Die this Weekend

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At least 22 people, including six women, died in violent incidents across Mexico this weekend, officials said.

The bodies of four women were found in Morelos, a state in central Mexico, state prosecutors said.

The partially clothed and bound bodies of three women, all of whom had been shot, were discovered on the Mexico City-Acapulco highway near Cuernavaca, the Morelos Attorney General’s Office said.

The body of a woman who had been shot in the head was found in the city of Tepoztlan, the AG’s office said.

Seven women have been murdered in Morelos in the space of a week, officials said.

Two other women were murdered in Sinaloa, a state in northwestern Mexico.

The body of a woman who had been shot in the head was found at a motel, while the battered body of another woman was dumped on the Quila-Oso Viejo highway, police said.

The bodies of eight men, all of whom appear to be the victims of a settling of scores between rival drug gangs, were discovered in the western state of Michoacan, prosecutors said.

Five of the bodies were discovered in San Gregorio, a community outside the city of Venustiano Carranza, with four of the victims found in a burning SUV that had been reported stolen, the Michoacan Attorney General’s Office said.

The fifth man was dismembered and his remains were dumped in several trash bags near the burning vehicle, the AG’s office said.

Three other men were murdered about one kilometer (0.62 miles) from where the five bodies were found.

The victims have not been identified, the AG’s office said.

The bodies of three men were found in Nezahualcoyotl, a city in Mexico state, and a message signed by the La Familia Michoacana drug cartel was left with the bodies, media reports said.

Three other people were murdered in separate incidents in the area, unconfirmed media reports said.

The bullet-riddled bodies of two men were found in the city of Ecatepec, Mexico state Attorney General’s Office spokesmen told Efe.

Mexico state surrounds the Federal District and forms part of the Mexico City metropolitan area.

More than 50,000 people, according to official figures, have died in drug-related violence in Mexico since late 2006.

The Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, which was founded by human rights activist and poet Javier Sicilia, puts the death toll from Mexico’s drug war at 70,000.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Cholera Symptoms Send 300 Dominicans to the Hospital

At least 300 people have been hospitalized in the past few days with cholera symptoms in the city of Tamboril and Santiago, a province in the northern Dominican Republic, health officials said.

The outbreak of diarrhea may have been caused by the poor quality of drinking water consumed by residents, Santiago province public health director Ramon Martinez Henriquez said.

The majority of patients experienced diarrhea, while others also suffered from vomiting and abdominal pain.

The cases cannot be certified as cholera even though health officials are looking at the possibility, Martinez Henriquez said.

Many of the patients have been tested and samples sent to laboratories for analysis, Tamboril Public Hospital epidemiologist Dr. Felix Ramon Martinez said.

Tests on some of the samples indicate that the patients were suffering from bacterial infections, such as salmonellosis, parasitosis and other illnesses, but health officials have not ruled out the possibility that other patients may test positive for cholera, Martinez said.

The diarrhea cases were caused by drinking contaminated water, Martinez said.

A diarrhea outbreak in mid-June killed at least nine people in the Dominican Republic, but public health officials were only able to confirm that four of the deaths were caused by cholera.

A total of 315 people were treated for diarrhea in Tamboril and Santiago during the wave of illness earlier this summer.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Colombia Invests in Radar Systems to Combat Drug, Arms Traffickers

Colombia Invests in Radar Systems to Combat Drug, Arms Traffickers

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Colombia has purchased 11 radar systems that will be used to improve coastal defense and prevent the smuggling of arms, drugs and other contraband into the country, Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon said.

“This will allow us to bring Colombia’s coasts under a radar system in the next two years that will permit us to locate any irregular movements on the high seas and on the coasts,” Pinzon said during an appearance Saturday at the coast guard base in Coveñas, a city in the Caribbean province of Sucre.

The defense minister, however, did not say when the radar systems were acquired or how much they cost.

The new equipment will also permit Colombia to “strengthen civilian navigation because the radar systems function the same as those for air control, allowing for the identification of navigation routes and the ships that are sailing,” the defense minister said.

The primary purpose for acquiring the systems, however, is to battle “drug traffickers and criminals,” Pinzon said.

The government also purchased three new patrol boats and two Midnight-class speedboats to bolster coastal security, the defense minister said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Poll Shows Hugo Chavez Has Slight Lead Over Opponent Henrique Capriles

Poll Shows Hugo Chavez Has Slight Lead Over Opponent Henrique Capriles

Photo: Hugo Chavez and Henrique Capriles

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The Venezuelan research firm Varianzas reported, at a month and a half from the Oct. 7 presidential election, a virtual tie between President Hugo Chavez and the united opposition candidate Henrique Capriles.

According to the pollster’s projections, if the election were held this Sunday, the leftist head of state would obtain 49.3 percent of the vote compared with 47.5 percent for Capriles, with 3.5 percent undecided.

The gap of a scant 2.1 percentage points is less that the firm’s last figure in June when it stood at 4.3 points, with Chavez leading Capriles by 50.3 percent to 46 percent.

The survey, based on 2,000 interviews between Aug. 2-15 with a 2.16 percent margin of error, is far from the advantage most polls have given Chavez in recent months, repeatedly showing the president leading Capriles by 15 to 20 points.

On Thursday the Hinterlaces firm presented its latest study, which found that 48 percent of voters would back Chavez and 30 percent Capriles if the election were held Sunday, while 4 percent said neither of the two and 18 percent gave no answer, all of which maintains the status quo of recent months.

On Oct. 7, Venezuelans will elect their president for the 2013-2019 term from among seven candidates led by Chavez, in power since 1999, and Capriles, the 40-year-old ex-governor and attorney.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Help Your Kids with Their Homework With These Tips

Help Your Kids with Their Homework With These Tips

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There are many things you can do to help your kids start the school year on the right track, like replacing an old backpack or getting them the school supplies they need. But there’s something more meaningful you can do that may not cost money: help them with their homework.

Students who do their homework consistently tend to have better grades. It’s not always easy to get them to do their homework, especially after a busy day, but these tips can help:

    Talk to your children about their homework. It’s important that your kids understand why it’s important to do their homework and the positive impact it has on grades. Homework helps them practice what they’ve learned as well as prepare them for upcoming classes. Plus, by doing their homework they develop the discipline and skills they need to be successful throughout their school years.
    Talk to the teachers. Different teachers might expect different things from parents, so be sure to talk to them to figure out your role. For example, some teachers prefer parents review their kids’ homework; others prefer parents make sure kids do their homework. Teachers can also tell you how much time your child should spend doing homework and what to do if the homework is too easy or too difficult.
    Select a fixed time to do homework. The best time to do homework is the one that works best for your child and you. It can be before or after playing, watching television or dinnertime. What’s important is that homework time is consistent. Avoid leaving it for the end of the day, when your child is tired and sleepy.
    Pick a quiet area and eliminate distractions. To help your children focus on homework, pick a place in the house where there’s plenty of light and no distractions. It doesn’t have to be fancy. It can be the kitchen table or a desk. Make sure the TV is off and put away electronic devices, unless they’re essential to doing homework.
    Get them the resources they need. You don’t have to be an expert in all subjects to help your kids with homework. However, you need to make sure they have the tools they need to succeed. If you need expert help, you can always take them to the library or help them with their search online. You can also visit kids.gov to find information on homework topics. The Department of Education also has several resources to help your child with homework in different areas, including math, reading and writing.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Artifacts from the Tomb of 13th Century Priestess Exhibited in Peru

Artifacts from the Tomb of 13th Century Priestess Exhibited in Peru

Photo: The Priestess's tomb

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The Chornancap priestess, the woman of the greatest hierarchy yet discovered in the Lambayeque culture, has the vestiges of her ancient power on show in Lima at an exhibition of grave goods found surrounding her remains near the northern Peruvian coastal city of Chiclayo.

The exhibit was inaugurated by the Culture Ministry at the Museum of the Nation to give visitors a view of 62 pieces recovered from her tomb at the archaeological complex of Chotuna-Chornancap.

The artifacts were previously preserved at the Brüning National Archaeological Museum and bear witness to the woman’s elite religious status between the 12th and 13th centuries A.D. in Lambayeque society, whose best-known personage is the Lord of Sipan, who ruled the region during the third century A.D.

The exhibition includes such items as her ceremonial scepter, earrings and crown, all made of gold, as well as metal urns, bracelets, necklaces, shell pendants and a large variety of ceramics in the Lambayeque and Cajamarca style, testifying to the close ties between those societies.

The Chornancap priestess was discovered in October 2011 but not until April of this year was it discerned that the remains were those of a woman, who was interred “with the highest honors and accompanied by eight other people,” the director of the Chotuna-Chornancap dig, Carlos Wester La Torre, told Efe last April.

The archaeologist compared the priestess’s preeminence as a religious authority in the area with the role exercised by the Lady of Cao in the Mochica culture during the fourth century A.D., the most powerful woman yet known to have existed in Peru’s pre-Inca societies, a ruler who was also believed to have supernatural powers.

Wester also noted the “fine quality” of the goldwork now on view at the exhibit that was found buried with the priestess, because in his opinion “it shows that goldsmiths of the Lambayeque culture mastered the art as well as their predecessors of the Mochica culture.”

He particularly valued her golden necklaces with anthropomorphic pendants, bracelets with contrasting gold and silver elements, and above all the details engraved in the very elaborate ornamentation.

“This has revolutionized our thinking,” Wester told Current World Archaeology as reported in its online edition world-archaeology.com. “It shows wealth and power were not a male privilege in this culture; this is categorical evidence of women involved in the political and ideological apparatus of the time. Her youth indicates the post was hereditary, and her grave goods suggest she performed rituals such as sacrifices, receiving offerings, and celebrating changes of the seasons, the moon, and tides.”

The team of archaeologists from Chotuna-Chornancap last week unveiled another tomb found beneath that of the priestess and her grave goods, and which held the remains of another leading figure from the region, buried with similar objects but with the oddity that this grave was constructed so it could be flooded with water.

According to Wester, the time lapse between the Chornancap priestess and the newly found human remains, whose sex has not yet been determined, was very short and indicates a connection between the two, though he would not speculate on whether the link might be “familial, matrimonial or religious.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

9 Venezuela Police, 1 Security Agent Arrested in Connection to Drug-Running Airplane

9 Venezuela Police, 1 Security Agent Arrested in Connection to Drug-Running Airplane

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A court in the central Venezuelan state of Carabobo ordered 18 people jailed provisionally, including nine Bolivarian National Guard (GNB) agents and a member of the Sebin intelligence service, in the case of a drug-running aircraft that was nabbed in Spain.

The federal Attorney General’s Office said in a communique on Saturday that 18 people remain in jail of the 24 detained after the unauthorized takeoff last weekend of a private plane, which was subsequently impounded on the Spanish island of Gran Canaria along with the 1,588 kilos (1 3/4 tons) of very pure cocaine it was carrying.

Venezuelan Interior Minister Tareck el Aissami said that the plane took off in the wee hours of Aug. 13 from Arturo Michelena International Airport in the central city of Valencia without authorization and with the runway lights turned off, and that Venezuelan authorities quickly notified Interpol and several European countries including Spain.

The AG’s office said that those implicated are accused of drug trafficking and illicit association, and that among those in custody, besides the Bolivarian National Guard agents, are an air traffic controller, two officials of Civil Aviation, or INAC, an airport guard and four people associated with a naval services company.

Also accused, but only required to report in periodically, are airport President Freddy Rodriguez, General Manager Jaime Palacios, and the director of airport operations, Anibal Jose Rojas, all suspected accomplices of a drug trafficking operation.

Also accused under those conditions are another two National Guard agents.

Venezuelan authorities said during the week that the aircraft, a Bombardier BD-7000 with the Maltese registration 9HFED, had landed in Venezuela last Saturday night on a flight from Trinidad and Tobago, though its flight plan said it came from Grenada.

The flight plan also indicated that the plane was scheduled to fly the next day to Brazil, but instead took off Sunday at 2:26 a.m. local time (0700 GMT) with the airport closed, and was headed east at the time Interpol was notified.

The head of the Spanish police, Ignacio Cosido, said Wednesday that the seizure of 1 3/4 tons of cocaine from the aircraft on Gran Canaria would mean “a powerful blow” to drug trafficking rings operating in Venezuela.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Tropical Depression Helene Causes Landfall in Northern Mexico

Tropical Depression Helene Causes Landfall in Northern Mexico

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Helene weakened to a tropical depression upon making landfall Saturday in northeastern Mexico, prompting authorities to cancel an earlier alert.

In its 10:00 a.m. bulletin, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said Helene had been downgraded and had maximum sustained winds of 55 kilometers (35 miles) per hour.

The system, which on Friday had strengthened to become the eighth tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, was moving toward the northwest at 15 kilometers (nine miles) per hour, the NHC said.

Mexico’s government responded to the downgrade by canceling the alert it had issued for the coastal zone between Barra de Nautla, Veracruz state, and La Cruz, Tamaulipas.

NHC meteorologists said Helene is expected to continue moving in the same direction and the same speed as it further debilitates overland and could dissipate by early Monday.

Even so, it is forecast to drop up to 14 centimeters (5.5 inches) of rain in northern Veracruz state, the southern portion of Tamaulipas and the eastern region of San Luis Potosi state, and could trigger dangerous flooding and mudslides, the NHC said.

Helene made landfall a week after Ernesto battered southeastern Mexico as a Category 1 hurricane and a strong tropical storm, causing 12 deaths.

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Colombian Salsa Marathon Opens With Eddie Palmieri, El Gran Combo

Colombian Salsa Marathon Opens With Eddie Palmieri, El Gran Combo

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Pianist and composer Eddie Palmieri and the legendary El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico opened the Salsa in the Park Festival in Bogota, a three-day marathon of music and dance in public spaces around the Colombian capital.

The 15th edition of the festival began around noon Friday in downtown Bolivar Plaza with local groups and the National Police band making the music.

But it was with El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico, which this year celebrates its 50th anniversary, that the excitement grew, crowds poured in and people danced and sang along with numbers like “Brujeria” (Witchcraft) and “No Hago Mas Na’” (I’m Not Doing Anything More).

Salsa fans cheered Palmieri’s arrival onstage as he kicked off his repertoire with “Muñeca” (Doll), showing that even in salsa, experience is a plus.

On Saturday the festival moves to the outdoor area of La Media Torta on the city’s west side, where music lovers and salsa fanatics started gathering around 10 a.m.

Coming up were the local bands Son Callejero and La Charanga New York, as well as a tribute to Miguel Granados Arjona, known as “Old Mike,” an announcer from the Caribbean city of Barranquilla who is said to have ignited Bogota’s salsa explosion in the 1970s.

The festival returns to La Media Torta on Sunday for its final concert, with more Bogota groups and a gathering of salsa dancers.

Running in parallel to the concerts are academic activities and meetings on the capital’s circuit of salsa bars.

In previous years, according to figures from Bogota City Hall, a total of 490,000 people danced during Salsa in the Park to the music of 192 bands.

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Single-Engine Planes Collide in Brazil, Killing 4

Single-Engine Planes Collide in Brazil, Killing 4

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At least four people died Saturday in a collision between two small, single-engine airplanes in Sao Paulo state, officials said.

The accident occurred when the two planes crashed in flight, burst into flames and went down in the municipality of Santa Barbara D’Oeste, some 140 kilometers (85 miles) from Sao Paulo, according to a Military Police official cited by the state news service Agencia Brasil.

A spokesman for the Brazilian air force high command confirmed the accident to Efe, though he was unable to provide any information about the victims.

He said that a total of four people were aboard the two planes that crashed and authorities are currently at the scene of the crash to investigate the cause of the collision.

The planes went down on a sugar-cane plantation, one of many in an area whose economy depends on the sugar and ethanol industries.

Several units of the Fire Department rushed to the scene of the accident and put out the fire.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Adventurer Follows in the Footsteps of Spanish Explorers on his Motorcycle

Adventurer Follows in the Footsteps of Spanish Explorers on his Motorcycle

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Adventure traveler Miquel Silvestre has wrapped up a 13-month globetrotting journey aboard his motorcycle “Atrevida” (Audacious), a trek aimed at shedding light on the underappreciated feats of Spanish explorers.

“When I would explain that Spaniard Juan Sebastian Elcano’s expedition was the first to circumnavigate the globe, people had no idea and that made me mad, so I set out to rescue these explorers from oblivion with an epic motorcycle journey,” Silvestre told Efe in an interview here Friday.

The experienced traveler, who has visited more than 90 countries by motorcycle over the past four years and documented his experiences in books, articles and videos, said he is “exasperated” by the fact that Spain is exclusively associated around the world with Real Madrid and FC Barcelona.

“We Spaniards have been much more than two soccer teams, and that’s why I embarked on this journey,” said the 44-year-old native of the eastern city of Denia, who worked as a property registrar before hitting the road full time.

“I didn’t like that life. I could no longer find inspiration for my novels. I had no family obligations, so why not? I started saving up money so I could do it,” he said.

Silvestre traversed four continents starting in July 2011, retracing the paths of an emissary of ninth-century emir Abd ar-Rahman II in the Viking lands of Norway and of Jesuit missionaries Pedro Paez, who discovered the spring of the Blue Nile in Ethiopia, and Francis Xavier, who led a mission into Goa, India and other parts of Asia.

His journey began on the coasts of Ireland - where Francisco de Cuellar, a sea captain who sailed with the Spanish Armada, survived a harrowing experience after a shipwreck - and ended in the Alaska towns of Cordova and Valdez, founded by Salvador Fidalgo and the northernmost point reached in the Spanish explorations of the Pacific Northwest.

The Spaniard covered that 45,000-kilometer (27,960-mile) distance on board “Atrevida,” a BMW R1200GS named in honor of a like-named Spanish navy exploration and scientific research vessel built for use in the 1788 Malaspina Expedition.

One of the highlights of the trek was his visit to the Philippines to honor Ferdinand Magellan’s discovery of those islands in 1521 and Spain’s “presence there for 350 years,” Silvestre said.

The task was arduous because there was no road map to the former Spanish colony and Silvestre had to rely on advice he received from a German man he met in Nairobi, Kenya, who had covered the route in the opposite direction.

After traveling in the islands of Borneo, Java and Sumatra, he made his way to his destination on board a boat Malaysian authorities used to deport illegal immigrants back to the Philippines, meaning that he arrived on the archipelago in the company of 70 erstwhile prisoners.

Once there, Silvestre experienced the most “moving” moment of his journey when he found himself face-to-face with Magellan’s tomb.

He also paid tribute to Spanish mountaineers Iñaki Ochoa de Olza and Tolo Calafat, who died in recent years while attempting to scale Mt. Annapurna in the Himalayas, the world’s 10th-tallest mountain.

Silvestre honored their memory with a motorcycle journey through Nepal, where his 74-year-old mother accompanied him on the stretch through the capital city of Kathmandu.

The Spaniard said he experienced some “isolated” moments of danger on the trip, citing one instance when his motorcycle broke down while he and journalist Alicia Sornosa were riding along the border between Kenya and Ethiopia.

“I told her everything was fine, but I was scared because I knew the area and I knew that if night fell there was a chance we would disappear and no one would know what happened to us, but finally a Chinese engineer who was building a road there and called himself Mr. Yellow helped us,” Silvestre recalled.

The Spaniard said the journey, which cost him “some 30,000 euros” (about $36,900), left him with an “optimistic” outlook on the world, adding that he found the people he encountered to be “by and large good, or at least decent.”

He also said the new technologies greatly facilitated his travels, joking that by comparison with the ancient explorers his globetrotting feat only “reached the heights of the pygmies.”

After covering much of the planet with three suitcases and a tent - “all you need to live and be happy” - Silvestre is looking ahead to his next motorcycle adventure and has his sights set on South America, always with the goal of telling people “how (the world) is and how it was” and following the historic trail blazed by Spanish explorers.

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Fatalities of Deadly Mexican Bus Crash Increase to 12

Fatalities of Deadly Mexican Bus Crash Increase to 12

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The death toll from a bus crash in the northwestern Mexican state of Durango has risen to 12, officials said.

The accident occurred Friday at a spot known as The Devil’s Spine on the highway linking Durango city with the Pacific resort of Mazatlan, the mayor of that municipality, Alejandro Higuera Osuna, told the media.

Another 22 people injured in the crash, in which the vehicle ran off the road and fell more than 100 meters (328 feet), were taken to several area hospitals.

Red Cross members, firefighters and emergency management and military personnel took part in the rescue operation.

Mexico averages around 24,000 traffic fatalities a year.

Sixteen people were killed and four others injured Aug. 6 in a collision between a van and a tractor-trailer in the northern state of Sonora, while an April 20 bus-truck crash in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz left 43 people dead and 27 injured.

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SundayAugust 19, 2012