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WednesdayAugust 22, 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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Former Top Cuban Officials Sentenced to Jail for Corruption

Three former deputy industry ministers were among 13 people sentenced to prison for “offenses associated with corruption,” Cuban Communist Party daily Granma said Tuesday.

The defendants were convicted by a court in the eastern city of Holguin for misconduct surrounding the expansion of a nickel- and cobalt-processing complex.

The crimes were committed at every stage of the project at the Pedro Soto Alba facility in Holguin province, Granma said.

Alfredo Rafael Zayas Lopez, Ricardo Gonzalez Sanchez and Antonio Orizon de los Reyes Bermudez - all of whom occupied the post of deputy minister of Basic Industries at various times between 1980 and 2010 - were sentenced to 12, 10 and eight years, respectively.

A former executive of state-owned Cubaniquel, Cristobal de la Caridad Saavedra Montero, received a six-year sentence.

Prison terms ranging from four to eight years were handed down to nine other erstwhile officials, Granma said, insisting that all 13 defendants were provided with due process.

Cuba has seen a number of high-profile corruption trials in the past few years amid a push by President Raul Castro to make state-owned enterprises both more efficient and more transparent.

Among those convicted in 2011 were a former food industry minister and executives of state civil aviation and biotech companies.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Puerto Rican Ex-Cop Arrested for Murdering Girl Friend

Puerto Rican Ex-Cop Arrested for Murdering Girl Friend

Photo: Yexeira Torres

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Former police officer Roberto Quiñones was charged formally on Tuesday with the death of dancer Yexeira Torres, who has been missing for almost a year, Puerto Rico’s attorney general said.

Guillermo Somoza announced at a press conference that Judge Ana Dinora Suarez found probable cause for the arrest of Quiñones for first-degree murder and destruction of evidence related to the death of his ex-girlfriend.

The case goes back to October 2011, when Torres’ mother, Iris Pacheco, reported her missing.

Quiñones, always the prime suspect in the dancer’s disappearance, was expelled from the police force in 2003 and has been a fugitive from justice since last November after being convicted of using false documentation and illegal possession of a bulletproof vest.

Torres on Oct. 24 asked her father for a loan to pay for car repairs, and that was the day she told him that she was going to go out with her boyfriend, who the press said was booted off the police force after complaints of domestic violence and drug trafficking.

Quiñones was named a suspect after his automobile was inspected by police forensic experts, who detected blood stains that someone had attempted to wash away inside the vehicle.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico Human Rights Commission Looks into Violence in Religious Community

Mexico Human Rights Commission Looks into Violence in Religious Community

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Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission, or CNDH, has opened a probe into recent violence in a religious community in the western state of Michoacan, where disturbances prevented the start of the 2012-2013 school year.

Staffers are being sent to La Nueva Jerusalen to compile information for a report, the CNDH, Mexico’s equivalent of an ombud’s office, said.

The rights body called on Michoacan Gov. Fausto Vallejo to take the steps needed to ensure the safety of all the residents of La Nueva Jerusalen, especially teachers and students.

It also urged him to explore “all possible avenues of dialogue and negotiation for peacefully resolving the conflict” pitting two rival factions in that community, located in Turicato, a municipality about 126 kilometers (78 miles) from the state capital of Morelia.

Finally, the CNDH demanded the state government ensure that education is provided in La Nueva Jerusalen under adequate security conditions and guarantee that teachers and students can safely make their way to and from the classrooms until the conflict is resolved.

The rival factions vying to run the community resorted to violence on July 5, when seven classrooms were destroyed by followers of a priest who calls himself “Saint Martin of Tours” and controls the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary.

The priest inherited power from the late Nabor Cardenas, a former Catholic priest and founder of La Nueva Jerusalen.

He has ordered more than 500 of his followers to prevent the start of the 2012-2013 school year, which was supposed to start on Monday in the houses of some of the parents of the community’s more than 280 schoolchildren.

The order set off clashes between the priest’s followers and dissidents who want the schools open, prompting Michoacan Gov. Fausto Vallejo to issue an ultimatum on Monday.

“I am asking the people who guide that community spiritually to take action to pacify the situation. If they do not do that, with all respect, we will have to take action against them,” the governor said.

Mexico’s public education secretary, Jose Angel Cordova Villalobos, on Wednesday issued a call for prudence amid the “fanaticism” surrounding the dispute in La Nueva Jerusalen, saying there was a “risk of a high level of violence and accidents.”

“We’re already in contact with federal authorities at the Government Secretariat level and with the local (authorities), but it’s a local problem of fanaticism, radicalism, that will have to be channeled through dialogue,” Cordova told reporters.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican Investigators Exhume Bodies Searching for Missing Migrants

Mexican Investigators Exhume Bodies Searching for Missing Migrants

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Investigators have started exhuming unidentified bodies at two burial grounds in the southern state of Chiapas in an effort to determine if they are those of migrants who disappeared in Mexico while trying to reach the United States, the State Human Rights Council, or CEDH, said.

The cases of 429 migrants from different countries who disappeared in Mexico have been documented, the CEDH said.

The exhumations, which started on Monday and will continue until Sept. 16, are being done at the Tapachula and Ciudad Hidalgo cemeteries near the border with Guatemala, the council said.

The Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team, a non-governmental scientific organization, is assisting in the process, the CEDH said.

The exhumations are being done under an agreement signed in February by several human rights groups, state officials and the Argentine specialists to establish a forensic database for missing migrants, the CEDH said.

The project’s goal is to try to find Central American migrants who disappeared near the Tapachula and Ciudad Hidalgo border crossings in southern Mexico.

Dental, genetic and anthropological information gathered from the unidentified bodies will be compared by the Argentine specialists to information about missing migrants from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.

The forensic databases were created recently as part of the Frontera Project, whose goal is to establish a regional agency to improve the search for people, especially migrants, reported missing in Central America, Mexico and the United States, the council said.

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 National Migration Institute, or INM, said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Texas Couple Arrested For Aiding Mexican Cartels

Texas Couple Arrested For Aiding Mexican Cartels

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Federal authorities arrested a couple who own a firearms store in Laredo, Texas, for allegedly selling large quantities ammunition that were destined for Mexican drug cartels.

The special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in San Antonio, Jerry Robinette, said that the arrests were part of the commitment of U.S. authorities to halt the illegal flow of weapons and ammunition to organized criminal groups in Mexico.

Robert Jacaman Sr. and his wife, Veronica Jacaman, are accused of selling ammunition to undocumented immigrants, among other charges.

The couple are facing 11 federal charges for crimes related to weapons and ammunition trafficking, said Robinette, who added that the prosecution will ask the judge to deny bail.

The charges against the couple include conspiring to provide ammunition and ammo clips to undocumented immigrants, as well as ammunition and an assault rifle to convicted criminals.

The text of the accusation says that from January to July 2012 the couple conspired to sell large amounts of ammunition to an immigrant who was in the country illegally.

The pair are also facing charges for selling a CMMG, Model 4SA semiautomatic rifle to a convicted felon, as well as illegally exporting ammunition for assault weapons to Mexico.

The cartridges, weapons and ammunition were intercepted by the authorities before they reached Mexico.

The investigation was conducted by HSI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Laredo Police Department.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Rare Bolivian Gray Titi Monkey Born at Chicago Zoo - Baby is Monkey Couple’s 9th Child (VIDEO)

Rare Bolivian Gray Titi Monkey Born at Chicago Zoo - Baby is Monkey Couple’s 9th Child (VIDEO)

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Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo welcomed a new baby this weekend.

On August 18, a pair of Bolivian gray titi monkeys added a new member to their family, according to zoo officials.

The new arrival, who only ways a few ounces, is the ninth offspring for father Ocala, 15, and mother Delasol, 21, who is the oldest female in an accredited North America zoo to have successfully given birth. The parents and baby live together in the treetops with four older siblings: Suriqui, Madeira, Matzah and the youngest, Ocho, who was born last October.

Delasol is reportedly the oldest titi monkey to give birth in a North American zoo.

The baby’s gender remains unknown, as it spends most of its time attached to its mother’s back. Soon, other members of the family will begin sharing the load, carrying the little one up trees and over branches.

The little one’s arrival is a big deal, as the species’ population in the wild is on the decline. He/she is one of only about 50 of the species in U.S. zoos.


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Read more by HS News Staff →

Cuba’s First Cholera Outbreak in More than a Century

Cuba’s First Cholera Outbreak in More than a Century

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The Cuban Ministry of Health has confirmed the first cholera outbreak in Cuba in more than a century.

As of July 31, 2012, 236 confirmed cases and 3 deaths have been reported in the cities of Manzanillo, Bayamo, Yara, and Campechuela Niquero in Granma Province. Currently, cases are limited to Granma Province, mostly in Manzanillo.

According to the Cuban Ministry of Public Health, control measures have been implemented, including public awareness campaigns and efforts to ensure safe drinking water and to improve environmental sanitation.

All cases have been treated at medical clinics, polyclinics, or the Manzanillo General Hospital and Pediatric Hospital. The health facilities have the capacity to attend the cases rapidly and there has been no overcrowding; there has been no impact on health services.

The outbreak has remained confined to the initial area and no extension or dissemination has occurred in the rest of the country. 

Cholera is a bacterial disease that can cause diarrhea and dehydration. Cholera is most often spread through eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water. Water may be contaminated by the feces of an infected person or by untreated sewage. Food may be contaminated by water containing cholera bacteria or by being handled by a person ill with cholera.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Nickelodeon Actress Maria Gabriela de Faria To Make Big Screen Debut

Nickelodeon Actress Maria Gabriela de Faria To Make Big Screen Debut

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This is the time of Venezuelan actress Maria Gabriela de Faria’s life - not only is she nominated for the Kids’ Choice Awards Mexico but she’s out to conquer the world of movies and music.

The 19-year-old De Faria, who plays the evil witch Mia in the popular Nickelodeon teen series “Grachi,” will play the part of the rebellious daughter of John Leguizamo and Karen Martinez in the Spanish-language film “El Paseo 2” that has just finished filming in Colombia.

“I never did movies, and this has been a wonderful chance with two great actors. I’m so excited!” said the Caracas native who began her career at the age of 5 in television commercials and telenovelas like “Ser Bonita No Basta” (Being Pretty Isn’t Enough) and the children’s series “Tukiti, Creci de Una” (Tukiti, I Grew From One).

Later Maria Gabriela soared to international fame with the Nickelodeon series “Isa TKM” and “Isa TK+.”

“I always loved acting. It’s really interesting work because you have to understand everything about human nature, both in its bright side and its dark side,” she said.

“Right now I’m working on my album, but I can’t say much about it yet in the way of details. I can only say that my disc will be very youthful and very much like me,” said the fan of Pink and Beyonce, to whom she looks for inspiration when it’s time to create.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Boxer Johnny Tapia Died of Heart Failure Says His Wife

Boxer Johnny Tapia Died of Heart Failure Says His Wife

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Today, Mexican-American five-time world boxing champion, Johnny Tapia’s wife disclosed that the boxer died from heart disease back in May of this year.

Teresa Tapia, according to KOAT, said her husband’s heart simply stopped beating on May 27, 2012 causing the 45-year-old’s death.  No drugs were found in his system.  Tapia was found dead by a family member at his home in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Tapia won five championships in three weight classes, winning the WBA bantamweight title, the IBF and WBO junior bantamweight titles and the IBF featherweight belt.

But his career also was marked by cocaine addiction, alcohol, depression and run-ins with the law. He was hospitalized for three days in 2007 after an apparent cocaine overdose.

Tapia last fought Mauricio Pastrana in an eight-round decision in June of 2011. He finished with a 59-5-2 record.

Read more by HS News Staff →

What Does Juarez’s Lower Murder Rate Really Mean?

What Does Juarez’s Lower Murder Rate Really Mean?

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For too long, the mere mention of Juarez elicited comments about murder and an overall lack of safety, but things in the murderous Mexican city may finally be changing.

According to El Diario newspaper, last month, there were just 48 homicides. While that may seem high when compared to many U.S. cities, it is significantly fewer than previous months.

In 2010, when homicides were at a peak, each month was averaging more than 300 deaths each month, resulting in more than 3100 aggravated murders for the year.

Most of the violence in recent years has stemmed from drug cartels battling each other for control of northern Mexico smuggling routes. While the drop in violence is a positive change, the reasoning behind it may be far less positive.

Many in Mexico are now speculating that the war is over – with a clear winner emerging.

It appears Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s Sinaloa Cartel may have won the war of the cartels and seized control of the northern routes.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Jessica Alba, Cash Warren to Host Democratic National Convention Closing Concert -Pitbull to Perform

Jessica Alba, Cash Warren to Host Democratic National Convention Closing Concert -Pitbull to Perform

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The Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC this year will go out with a bang on September 6.

Following President Barack Obama’s speech, the invitation-only late-night celebration, the Super-O-Rama Concert, will be hosted by Jessica Alba and her husband Cash Warren.

Listed performers for the night include Cuban-American rapper Pitbull and the wild and talented Scissor Sisters. Evan Longoria is expected to make an appearance as well, as she recently became a co-chair for the President’s national campaign.

The event will take place at The Filmore in Charlotte and is scheduled to go from 10:30 p.m. Thursday night to 2 a.m. Friday morning.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Oakland Pitcher Bartolo Colon Given 50 Game Suspension, Tests Positive for Banned Substance

Oakland Pitcher Bartolo Colon Given 50 Game Suspension, Tests Positive for Banned Substance

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Oakland Athletics pitcher Bartolo Colon has been given a 50 game suspension, that may carry into next season for testing positive for testosterone, a banned performance-enhancing substance.

The suspension is effective immediately and will take the 2005 American League Cy Young Award winner out for the rest of the season and into play-off season if the A’s make it.  The team is close to being a wild card for the American League. 

The 39-year-old player was born in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic and came to the U.S.  as an amateur free agent in 1993 for the Cleveland Indians. 

He currently enjoying a 10-9 season with a 3.43 ERA.  His suspension comes on the heals of Giants outfielder’s Melky Cabrera’s 50-game suspension on August 15th for testing positive also for testosterone.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Massachusetts Man Lifts SUV to Save Neighbor Who Became Trapped When it Fell

Massachusetts Man Lifts SUV to Save Neighbor Who Became Trapped When it Fell

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There is a new hero in one Massachusetts town, and his name is Carlos Castro.

The 48-year-old man recently saved a man’s life by pulling an SUV off of him..

While changing a tire at a Brockton, Mass. home Rob Brown became trapped when the jack holding the SUV up slipped out from under the vehicle and pinned him to the ground at the chest.

As Brown called for help, Castro, who had been there to help change the tire, quickly lifted the SUV by the hitch and freed his friend.

Like most who experience that life-saving adrenaline rush, this slight grandfather would not likely be able to lift that kind of weight under normal circumstances. Luckily however, he was able to do it once and once was all that was needed to save a life.

‘I would have been too late if I tried to grab the jack and fix it,’ Castro told Enterprise News, ‘So I just grabbed the back of the car and pulled it up. I don’t know how I did it.’

Castro, who lives nearby, called it “just something that I did,” Adding that it’s something someone would have tried to do for him.

Brown was taken to Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital by ambulance. Remarkably, he escaped any serious injury.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Children of US-Born Latinas at Greater Risk for Retina Cancer Than Those Born to MX-Born Mothers

Children of US-Born Latinas at Greater Risk for Retina Cancer Than Those Born to MX-Born Mothers

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In a large epidemiologic study, researchers at UCLA’s Jonsson Cancer Center found that the children of U.S.-born Latina women are at higher risk of having retinoblastoma, a malignant tumor of the retina which typically occurs in children under six.

The study, which focused on babies born in California, also found that offspring of older fathers were at greater risk for retinoblastoma, as were children born to women with sexually transmitted diseases and those born in multiple births, which may indicate an increased risk from in vitro fertilization. Those findings confirmed the results of several smaller studies.

The research team used data from the California Cancer Registry and examined all retinoblastoma cases reported from 1988 to 2007, said Julia Heck, the study’s first author and an assistant researcher in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. Using California data allowed the researchers to cull information from a large and diverse population that included many Latinas.

The study appears in the early online edition of the journal Cancer Causes & Control. You can access it here.

“One of the most interesting things we found in this study that hasn’t been reported is the differences among Latina mothers and the risk being lower among mothers born in Mexico,” Heck said. “We believe this is because women born in Mexico who come to the United States and have children have very healthy behaviors in the perinatal period, immediately before and after giving birth.”

Study senior author Dr. Beate Ritz, a Jonsson Cancer Center researcher and professor and chair of epidemiology and professor of environmental health sciences in the Fielding School, said Latinas born in the U.S. are less likely to exhibit the healthy pregnancy behaviors found in foreign-born Latinas. For example, they have poorer diets and are more likely to smoke and drink during pregnancy, which could contribute to the risks of retinoblastoma.

“Compared to U.S.-born Latinas, immigrant women born in rural Mexico often have even less education and lower socioeconomic status, but they retain healthier diets and perinatal habits, which may be correlated to lower risk of disease in their children,” Ritz said.

The team chose to study retinoblastoma because its causes remain poorly understood. They sought to examine associations between perinatal factors and cancer risk in California children. They identified 609 retinoblastoma cases, 420 that occurred in one eye (unilateral) and 187 that occurred in both eyes (bilateral). They randomly selected more than 200,000 control children without cancer from the California birth rolls. The source of most of the risk factor data in this study was information from birth certificates, Ritz said.

Retinoblastoma is the result of the loss or mutation of both alleles of the RB1 tumor suppressor gene. About 40 percent of cases are considered hereditary, and most of these present as bilateral disease.

“In conclusion, we observed risk of retinoblastoma to be related to several risk factors,” the study states. “Bilateral disease risk was higher among children of older fathers, and among children of multiple birth pregnancies. We observed a higher risk of unilateral disease among children of U.S.-born Latina women. Further research should be done to confirm this finding and to examine the unique risks experienced in this population.”

Read more at UCLA Jonsson Cancer Center →

National Hispanic Media 2012 Agenda: Combat Hate Speech and Expand Broadband

National Hispanic Media 2012 Agenda: Combat Hate Speech and Expand Broadband

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Today, the National Hispanic Media Coalition (“NHMC”) joined other leaders of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (“NHLA”) to release NHLA’s “2012 Hispanic Public Policy Agenda” at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The document, which is presented to policymakers every four years, is the result of months of deliberations among Latino leaders to identify key policy goals that would advance the status of the Latino community in the United States.

In the document that was released today, a number of NHMC’s policy recommendations that relate to promoting broadband access and adoption, combatting hate speech, and promoting media ownership diversity were included.

Concerning broadband, the Agenda recommends that policymakers:

*  Support modification of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Lifeline Program - which currently subsidizes low-income Americans’ telephone service - to also cover broadband services. 

*  Encourage enhancement of the FCC’s E-Rate Program, which currently subsidizes broadband access in schools and libraries. 

*  Promote competition in the broadband and mobile phone markets to promote lower prices. 

*  Protect consumers from predatory billing and privacy practices.

Concerning hate speech and media ownership, the Agenda recommends that policymakers support NHMC’s 2009 Petition for Inquiry at the FCC among other things. Specifically, policymakers are urged to:

*  Encourage a comprehensive Federal Communications Commission (FCC) inquiry into the extent and effects of hate speech in media, and/or an update to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) 1993 report to Congress, The Role of Telecommunications in Hate Crimes. 

*  Support FCC policies to expand and promote media ownership diversity. 

*  Oppose media consolidation as a race-neutral way to open doors for diverse owners to enter the media marketplace. 
 
*  Ensure that the FCC is collecting thorough data on diversity of media ownership and employment and providing this data to the public in a transparent and easily-searchable format that breaks the numbers down by race and ethnicity. 

*  Increase the number of Latinos working at all levels at the FCC. Currently only 3 percent of FCC staff is Latino, and no Latinos are in leading or decision-making roles.

 

Read more by HS News Staff →

National Tequila Party to Protest at GOP Convention and Sheriff Arpaio’s Speech

National Tequila Party to Protest at GOP Convention and Sheriff Arpaio’s Speech

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The National Tequila Party Movement is set to leave Phoenix, Arizona, this Sunday, August 26, 2012, via the Freedom Riders for Immigrants. 

According to KTAR, Arpaio is to speak at the Republican National Convention, and the group will be protesting the “corrupt Sheriff Joe Arpaio” and the Republican National Convention.  The organization noted:  “The GOP has become the face of Pete Wilson, ousted Senator Russell Pearce (who welcomed Operation Wetback), Arpaio and Kris Kobach who has advised candidate Mitt Romney—all who have become stars of the anti-immigrant movement.”

Lead co-President and Civil Rights lawyer, Shirl Mora James, will be be joining the group when they arrive in Tampa, Florida. 

In closing the organization said: 

“Too often we are told that undocumented immigrants are ignored because they cannot vote, therefore,  those of us who were born in our Country and have fought for this Nation honorably will be the voice via our vote for the voiceless immigrants and DREAM Act youth.  Indeed we do support a human immigration legal plan, and we look forward to accepting Florida Senator Bill Nelson’s invitation to meet with him since he is running against an anti-immigrant Tea Party politician.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Man Attempted to Board Plane With a Grenade in his Bag in Colombia

A man was arrested when a grenade was found in his carry-on luggage as he tried to board a commercial flight in the southwestern Colombian city of Guapi, authorities said.

The incident remains under investigation, police sources told Efe.

Authorities have yet to determine whether the suspect is part of an armed group, where he obtained the grenade or what he intended to do with it, the sources said.

The man was trying to board a flight to Cali, Colombia’s third-largest city, Caracol Television said.

Guapi is located on the Pacific coast at the mouth of the Guapi River. The city is six hours by boat from Buenaventura, the country’s leading Pacific port.

Leftist guerrillas, right-wing militias and drug gangs operate in the area around Guapi.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican Singer-Actress Anahi Makes U.S. Debut as Shoe Designer

Mexican Singer-Actress Anahi Makes U.S. Debut as Shoe Designer

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Mexican actress and singer Anahi is making her U.S. debut as a designer and businesswoman with her own line of shoes oriented toward Latino women.

“I’m super happy to launch in the U.S. the sale of shoes by catalog where Latino women can select from among a great variety and according to their tastes,” Anahi told Efe.

The publicity campaign by Los Zapatos Fabulosos de Anahi in the United States begins on Tuesday and the artist is offering her footwear designs via the online store aviesta.com.

Image“I make suggestions with drawings of the shoes’ designs so that Latino women see them as pretty, like the ones the celebrities use on the red carpets, but at prices accessible to everybody,” she said.

“Four years ago we began to offer my shoe designs in Mexico, but via the Facebook page and other social networks the girls in the U.S. have been asking me when I was going to expand the service ... here,” the artist added.

Born on May 14, 1983, in Mexico City, Anahi Giovanna Puente Portilla made her acting debut at the age of 2 in the children’s television series “Chiquilladas” before going on to appear in eight films and 11 soap operas.

Anahi was later part of the musical group RBD, formed with other members of the artistic cast of the soap operas for young people, which was nominated for a Latino Grammy.

This year Maxim magazine dubbed her “the sexiest woman in the world.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Disturbances Return to Small Religious Community in Mexico

Disturbances Return to Small Religious Community in Mexico

Photo: La Nueva Jerusalen (Alan Ortega)

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Outbreaks of violence have been reported once again in La Nueva Jerusalen, a religious community in the western Mexican state of Michoacan, leading the governor to threaten to use force to restore order.

The rival factions vying to run the community resorted to violence on July 5, when seven classrooms were destroyed by followers of a priest who calls himself “Saint Martin of Tours” and controls the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary.

The priest inherited power from the late Nabor Cardenas, a former Catholic priest and founder of La Nueva Jerusalen.

He has ordered more than 500 of his followers to prevent the start of the 2012-2013 school year, which was supposed to start on Monday, with classes being held in the houses of some of the parents of the community’s more than 280 schoolchildren.

The order set off clashes between followers of the priest and dissidents who want the schools open, prompting Michoacan Gov. Fausto Vallejo to issue an ultimatum on Monday.

“I am asking the people who guide that community spiritually to take action to pacify the situation. If they do not do that, with all respect, we will have to take action against them,” the governor said.

La Nueva Jerusalen is in Turicato, a city about 126 kilometers (78 miles) from Morelia, the capital of Michoacan.

Construction of the community, according to a book published by La Nueva Jerusalen’s religious leaders, started on June 13, 1973.

Our Lady of the Rosary supposedly appeared on that date at a place called El Callejon, where the shrine is now located, to a woman named Gabina Sanchez.

Sanchez took a message from Our Lady to Cardenas, who was a bishop in the Archdiocese of Tacambaro, which oversees churches in Turicato.

Cardenas disavowed the Catholic Church and founded La Nueva Jerusalen under the slogan “El mundo esta perdido y se va a perder” (The World Is Lost and It Will Be Lost).

The Vatican excommunicated Cardenas, who became known locally as “Pope Nabor,” while Sanchez began calling herself “Mama Salome” and became a mystic and oracle of Our Lady.

Cardenas and Sanchez ordered the community’s 9,000 residents, the majority of them poor people from across Mexico, to pray in groups for the world’s salvation.

Gabina Sanchez was replaced as the oracle of Our Lady in 1982 by a nun who calls herself “Mama Maria de Jesus” and left a convent with 200 followers to join La Nueva Jerusalen.

The fights for control of La Nueva Jerusalen threatened Cardenas’s hold on power and led to the expulsion that same year of 4,000 of the community’s 9,000 residents, who prayed 24 hours a day.

Residents told state officials in the late 1990s that the community had become home to the Gavilla de los 30, an erstwhile gang of hitmen, robbers and drug traffickers.

Agapito Gomez Aguilar, one of the gang’s members, later joined the community and became an oracle. Gomez Aguilar died on Sept. 27, 2008, at the age of 76.

Cardenas, who died at the age of 95 in February 2008, was forgiven by Catholic Bishop Luis Castro before his death.

He named his successor before dying, putting the man who calls himself Saint Martin of Tours in charge of La Nueva Jerusalen.

Bartolo Eugenio Cruz, who joined other residents in telling police about Gomez Aguilar’s alleged involvement in stockpiling firearms, drug trafficking, kidnappings and rapes, was gunned down on May 15, 2005, as he left the shrine.

Federal and state police officers took more than 24 hours to enter the community, giving those involved in criminal activities time to get arms, drugs and even a small plane out of the community, Cruz’s family said.

Read more by HS News Staff →



WednesdayAugust 22, 2012