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ThursdayAugust 23, 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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Government Denies Pressuring Media to Fire Popular Journalist

Government Denies Pressuring Media to Fire Popular Journalist

Photo: Carmen Aristegui

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Mexico’s government denied pressuring media company MVS Comunicaciones to fire popular news anchor Carmen Aristegui in February 2011 and said the company took the decision on its own before rehiring her days later.

“There was never any pressure from the president’s office to fire her or to prevent her from returning to her news program,” federal government spokeswoman Alejandra Sota said in a press conference Wednesday.

Her remarks were in response to allegations that high-ranking officials, including Sota, threatened MVS with the loss of spectrum in a high-frequency band unless it fired Aristegui, the host of a popular radio news show and a harsh critic of President Felipe Calderon’s administration.

“Neither the Office of the Media and Communications Coordinator that I head, nor the Communications and Transportation Secretariat directly or indirectly requested the dismissal of the Noticias MVS anchor and that is apparent in all the communications” that the company’s CEO, Joaquin Vargas, disclosed Wednesday, Sota said.

On Wednesday morning, Vargas presented evidence of the alleged coercion, revealing e-mail exchanges and communications with Sota and former Labor Secretary Javier Lozano.

He showed one letter supposedly written by Sota that spells out the content of an apology letter Aristegui would need to sign after insisting on air that Calderon answer unsubstantiated rumors of a drinking problem.

Sota denied writing the letter and said she only made “observations” on a text that Vargas presented to her. She said the CEO was solely responsible for the content and the terms of the public apology prepared for Aristegui, who was fired after refusing to sign it.

“With respect to the statements by the CEO of MVS, we deny that the federal government tried to limit the journalist’s freedom of expression,” she said.

“The accusations leveled by (Vargas) are baseless and are aimed at contaminating a technical telecommunications decision related to the 2.5 (GHz) band,” the spokeswoman said.

Communications and Transportation Secretary Dionisio Perez Jacome on Aug. 8 announced the government’s decision to recover existing concessions in that band, citing underuse of the spectrum and its goal of expanding fourth-generation mobile broadband service by bringing in more participants.

The company hardest hit by the move was MVS, the owner of dozens of radio stations and pay TV channels and holder of 42 of the 68 concessions in the 2.5 GHz band.

Vargas slammed the decision as an act of revenge for MVS’s decision to rehire Aristegui and vowed to mount a court challenge.

He also said in a press conference last week in Mexico City that the decision not to renew expiring concessions and recover existing ones in that band was the result of pressure exerted by Mexico’s No. 1 TV broadcaster Televisa and “the manifest antipathy among some figures in the government toward MVS’ management.”

But Sota said Wednesday the root of the issue has nothing to do with freedom of expression but “solely and exclusively with the fact MVS did not want to pay Mexicans what the band costs: 27 billion pesos ($2.06 billion).”

MVS offered to pay no more than 11.16 billion pesos (some $859 million) to hold on to its spectrum in that band, prompting the government’s decision to begin the process of recovering it on grounds of underutilization.

At the same press conference, Perez Jacome said the government had spent “nearly six years” trying to make “good use” of the 2.5 GHz band.

“What we want is to provide Mexico greater competitiveness” and to make better use of spectrum for offering more broadband services, he added.

Meanwhile, the Permanent Committee, which assumes legislative duties when Congress is in recess, has requested that the executive branch submit an urgent report explaining the reasons for the spectrum recovery.

The government’s announcement has “generated multiple interpretations and great uncertainty over the underlying reasons for taking this step, especially when there are just a few months remaining in the current administration,” lawmaker Jose Luis Jaime Correa said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Body of Labor Union Leader Found in Well in Honduras

Body of Labor Union Leader Found in Well in Honduras

Photo: Juan de Dios Saenz

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The body of the president of the union at the National Autonomous University of Honduras was found in a well in the eastern city of Juticalpa, relatives said.

Juan de Dios Saenz’s body was discovered Wednesday in a 70-meter (230-foot) well at his house in Juticalpa, which is in Olancho province, the labor leader’s sister, Marta Saenz, said.

The university union president, who lived in Tegucigalpa, traveled to Juticalpa last weekend with his son, she said.

Juan de Dios Saenz was trying to “control” his son, who “has drug addiction problems,” she said.

Johan Saenz, the labor leader’s son, was arrested by police a few hours after his father’s body was found and is the “main suspect” in the case, media reports said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico City Sewer Diver Covers Over 6000 Miles of Pipework- In the Dark

Mexico City Sewer Diver Covers Over 6000 Miles of Pipework- In the Dark

Photo: Mexico City Sewer Diver

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Julio Cesar Cu Camara has turned his diving hobby into an extreme job, keeping Mexico City’s vast sewerage system flowing for 29 years.

“I’m the only diver in the world who goes into black water,” Cu Camara, chief diver for the Federal District’s sewerage system, said in an interview with Efe that also featured a demonstration of his technique.

The sewers are Cu Camara’s workplace, a world of hundreds of kilometers of pipes and pumps that handle wastewater and must be maintained.

“Our job is the maintenance and recovery of motor parts that come loose. Sometimes the propellers (rotors) on the pumps get clogged and taking them out is a 15-day job that a diver can do in one or two (days),” Cu Camara said.

The 52-year-old Cu Camara has done an average of four dives a month in his 29-year career, totaling some 1,390 missions and making him a solid candidate for a Guinness record for diving into waters full of human waste, chemicals and solid waste.

Cu Camara began diving as a boy and developed a love for the occupation after completing several courses.

He has learned all about the waters under Mexico City, as well as getting experience in the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.

Cu Camara, who is the only diver left from the original team, is training two young men who he hopes to someday hand his special diving suit and unique workplace to.

“These are totally black waters, the waste from millions of people, from plants that dump their polluted water,” the diver said.

“These waters have everything: chemical, human, animal waste,” reducing visibility and making it hard to work, Cu Camara said.

It is nearly impossible to see in the sewers and divers must “take a course to learn how to work blindly” because not even the most powerful light in the world can penetrate the wastewater, Cu Camara said.

The job must be performed manually, exposing divers to the risk of cuts in polluted water, Cu Camara said, adding that he did not take his work home with him.

His wife and two sons know what he does for a living, Cu Camara said, but they have never watched him work because he prefers not to expose them to the “foul odors” at dive sites.

A “hermetically sealed” dive suit is used, preventing divers from smelling what is around them, Cu Camara said.

The sewers hold many surprises, such as human bodies and the remains of animals, Cu Camara said, adding that he had not created a museum of the horrors of the underground world.

“There is more death than life under there, there are dead animals. We’ve even found horses, pigs. We don’t know where they come from,” the diver said, noting that he had also found firearms in the wastewater.

Mexico City has an extensive and complex sewerage system that takes in wastewater from residential and industrial areas, as well as rainwater.

The system has 10,240 kilometers (6,362 miles) of secondary pipes and 2,087 kilometers (1,296 miles) of primary pipes, plus 144 kilometers (89 miles) of marginal pipes, allowing wastewater and rainwater to be moved out of the Valley of Mexico’s basin.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Half of Guatemala’s Maize Crop for 2012 Lost to Drought

Half of Guatemala’s Maize Crop for 2012 Lost to Drought

Photo: Half of Guatemala's Maize Crop for 2012 Lost to Drought

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The drought that has affected most of Guatemala in 2012 ruined half of this year’s crops of the two main staples, maize and beans, the agriculture ministry said in a report released Thursday.

All but four of Guatemala’s 22 provinces are suffering from a lack of rainfall, the ministry said.

Maize is the country’s leading crop, with an average annual harvest of 1.67 million tons, while Guatemalan farmers produce nearly 200,000 tons of beans in a normal year.

More than 34,000 families make their living by cultivating maize or beans, according to the agriculture ministry, which quantified the economic cost of the destruction of the crops at 52 million quetzales ($6.6 million).

The government, with help from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, plans to assist rural families affected by the drought, Agriculture Minister Efrain Medina said.

Drought caused widespread food shortages in Guatemala in 2009-2010. The country has the region’s highest rate of chronic malnutrition among children.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Poor Quality Water Responsible for 550 Suspected Cases of Cholera in Dominican Republic

Poor Quality Water Responsible for 550 Suspected Cases of Cholera in Dominican Republic

Photo: Potable water

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Suspected cases of cholera continue to increase at hospitals in the northern Dominican province of Santiago, where at least 550 people have been treated in the past nine days for acute diarrhea.

Residents of the city of Tamboril, where the greatest number of cases have occurred, are complaining that the supposedly potable water they have been receiving is of terrible quality.

The director of the Union Medica clinic, Maria de Leon, called the situation worrisome given that of 33 patients the hospital treated in less than two weeks, seven tested positive for cholera.

“The cases of suspected cholera have increased enormously in the hospital and all of them are from Tamboril and are coming (on an emergency basis),” De Leon said.

The situation in Tamboril on Wednesday spurred Public Health Minister Freddy Nuñez Hidalgo to come there and visit the public hospital.

He told reporters the Public Health Ministry will remain abreast of the situation.

Health authorities in Tamboril have confirmed that, apparently, the outbreak of diarrhea was caused by contamination of the drinking water.

The Dominican Republic shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, where a cholera epidemic that began nearly two years ago has claimed almost 7,600 lives.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico Establishes New Award for Literary Translation

Mexico Establishes New Award for Literary Translation

Photo: Tomas Segovia

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A new award bearing the name of Spanish-born Mexican author, translator and poet Tomas Segovia (1927-2011) has been created to honor outstanding work in literary translation, Mexican cultural officials said.

The prize recognizes translations that “bring the Hispanic literary tradition to other languages,” National Culture and Arts Council, or Conaculta, president Consuelo Saizar said in a press conference Wednesday in this western Mexican city.

The honor carries a cash prize of $100,000 and is financed by Conaculta in partnership with Fondo de Cultura Economica - Mexico’s leading publishing house - and the Guadalajara International Book Fair, where this year’s award ceremony will take place in November.

In alternating years, the award will honor the work of professionals who translate from Spanish into another language and those who translate from other languages into Spanish, Saizar said.

According to Mexican financial daily El Economista, the first edition of the prize will honor professionals whose target language is Spanish.

In addition to having their acceptance speech published, award recipients will have the chance to bring their translated works to other book fairs, the president of the Guadalajara International Book Fair, Raul Padilla, said.

This “new and necessary” literary translation prize honors the work of Segovia, who brought universal works such as Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” and Victor Hugo’s religious epic “Dieu” (God) to readers of Spanish, Padilla said.

Born in Valencia in 1927, Segovia’s childhood was interrupted by the 1936-1939 Spanish Civil War, which forced his family to flee Spain and resettle in Mexico in 1940.

In addition to translation and text correction, he also dedicated part of his professional life to cinema, radio and cultural promotion in Mexico, where he spent most of his life.

Candidates in the first edition of the Tomas Segovia prize may be nominated by cultural or educational institutions, associations or publishing groups by Oct. 29.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Kidnapper Turns Self in to Border Officials, Hours Later Victim is Found Crossing into US

Kidnapper Turns Self in to Border Officials, Hours Later Victim is Found Crossing into US

Photo: Kidnapper Turns Self in to Border Officials, Hours Later Victim is Found Crossing into US

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U.S. Customs and Border Protections officers assigned to the San Luis Port arrested a woman with an outstanding warrant and intercepted a missing Phoenix teen attempting to cross into the United States.

Tuesday, Rita Aguirre, 44, turned herself into CBP officers informing them she had an outstanding warrant for kidnapping. The officers took her into custody after they confirmed the warrant which was served July 2011 in New Mexico.

A couple of hours later, a 17-year-old male attempted to enter the United States through a pedestrian lane at the port. When a routine records check was run, an outstanding warrant for the missing juvenile was discovered and he was taken into custody.

Both were turned over to the San Luis, Ariz. Police Department for processing.

The Office of Field Operations is the primary organization within Customs and Border Protection tasked with an anti-terrorism mission at our nation’s ports. CBP officers screen all people, vehicles and goods entering the United States while facilitating the flow of legitimate trade and travel. Their mission also includes carrying out border-related duties, including narcotics interdiction, enforcing immigration and trade laws, and protecting the nation’s food supply and agriculture industry from pests and diseases.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spainish Firm Inaugurates $82 M Wind Firm in Puerto Rico

Spainish Firm Inaugurates $82 M Wind Firm in Puerto Rico

Photo: Punta Lima wind farm

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Spain’s Gestamp Wind has inaugurated the $82 million Punta Lima wind farm in Naguabo, a city on Puerto Rico’s east coast, company executives said.

The wind farm will start providing electricity to residents of the Caribbean island in October, Gestamp Wind North America president and CEO Javier Mateache said.

“Gestamp will continue investing and creating jobs and wealth on the island, participating in the change needed to produce cheaper, cleaner and inexhaustible energy for the people of Puerto Rico,” Mateache said during the wind farm’s inauguration on Wednesday.

The Gestamp executive was joined at the event by Puerto Rican Gov. Luis Fortuño.

The wind farm, which has five of the 13 planned turbines in place, will generate enough power to meet the annual needs of 9,000 houses.

Puerto Rico’s government has enacted legislation that sets the goal of generating 12 percent of the island’s electricity from renewable sources by 2015, with the targets rising to 15 percent in 2020 and 20 percent in 2035, Fortuño said.

Puerto Rico was not generating any electricity from renewable sources before 2009, the governor said.

Gestamp, which employs 21,000 people at 100 plants in 25 countries, has annual revenues of about $6.8 billion.

The company has constructed wind farms with total generating capacity of 460 MW in a number of countries, including Spain, Brazil and the United States, among others.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Peru is Now Top Manufacturer of Counterfeit Currency Found in the U.S.

Peru is Now Top Manufacturer of Counterfeit Currency Found in the U.S.

Photo: Peru is Now Top Manufacturer of Counterfeit Currency Found in the U.S.

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According to a U.S. Secret Service representative, Peru is now the largest producer of counterfeit dollars in the world.

Specifically, Peru’s counterfeits account for 17 percent of the fakes in the U.S.

Counterfeits from Colombia once held that title, but with a dramatic increase coming those from Peru, the Andean country has taken the top spot.

Raul Salazar, Director of the Peruvian National Police, says the Quispe Rodriguez family is behind much of the counterfeiting in Peru. Despite one of the family’s main counterfeiters being arrested last year, authorities believe that his younger brother has taken over operations.

On August 2, Peruvian police seized $2 million in counterfeit money during a raid in Lima. The Quispe Rodriguez was said to be behind the money’s manufacturing.

The fake currency had been hidden in double-lined notebooks and covered in carbon paper in an attempt to avoid being seen by X-ray scanners.

Earlier this month, Peru authorities arrested a Mexican man at Lima’s international airport as he attempted to transport $520,000 in fake currency. A possible connection to Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel is still being investigated.

Read more by HS News Staff →

INFOGRAPHIC: Education Rates for U.S. Latinos on the Rise

INFOGRAPHIC: Education Rates for U.S. Latinos on the Rise

Photo: Hispanically Speaking News

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The Pew Hispanic Center recently reported that Hispanics are now the largest minority group on college campuses as well as in public schools.  Colleges have seen a 20% increase in Hispanic students enrolling between 2010 and 11.  Check out HS News’ infographic to see the rising education rates of U.S. Latinos.

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Read more by HS News Staff →

Immigration Agents Sue Obama: “Let Us Do Our Job and Deport”

Immigration Agents Sue Obama: “Let Us Do Our Job and Deport”

Photo: Thousands Line Up for Deferred Action

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10 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents have sued President Obama’s administration asking that they be able to do their job and deport undocumented aliens. 

These agents are stating that their oath of office mandates that they ask for proof of legal status from anyone they suspect is in the country illegally even those that can now benefit from ‘Deferred Action’.  The lawsuit aims to end the Presidents recently enacted ‘Deferred Action’ whereby qualified applicants can stay in the country ‘legally’ for two years and obtain work permits. 

It is estimated that 1.3 million people could be eligible for Deferred Action.  During the ‘deferrment’ the qualified individual cannot be deported.

The agents are being represented by one of America’s highest profile anti-immigration advocates, Kris Kobach.  It was Kobach who helped author SB1070, Arizona’s controversial immigration law.  Kobach also helped the Republican Party create their immigration platform for the upcoming convention starting on August 27th.

Read more at Washington Times →

SPLC Alleges Spanish-Speaking Parents Discriminated Against in Certain Louisiana Schools, File Suit

SPLC Alleges Spanish-Speaking Parents Discriminated Against in Certain Louisiana Schools, File Suit

Photo: Jefferson Parish School District Lawsuit

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The Southern Law Poverty Center (SPLC) has filed a federal complaint against the public school system in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana on behalf of Spanish-speaking parents.  The complaint was filed with the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Education.

The civil rights complaint, filed yesterday on behalf of 16 students, alleges the public school district does not provide interpreters for these Spanish-speaking parents, which puts the student at a disadvantage.  The parents are not able to communicate with school teachers, respond to disciplinary notices or engage with their child’s education in any meaningful way without these interpreters.

In addition the law suit alleges Latino students in the district exist in a ‘hostile environment’ because they are harassed by school employees about their immigration/citizenship status.

“Jefferson Parish public schools must end these discriminatory practices and recognize that these students have the same rights as English-speaking families,” said Jennifer Coco, a staff attorney for the SPLC’s Louisiana office. “This is about ensuring every student in the district has an opportunity to succeed and that all parents have a meaningful opportunity to participate in their child’s education.”

 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican Studio Recreates Chef René Redpezi’s Face in Uniquie Way (VIDEO)

Mexican Studio Recreates Chef René Redpezi’s Face in Uniquie Way (VIDEO)

Photo: Mexican Studio Recreates Chef René Redpezi's Face in Uniquie Way

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For the August issue of Clase Premier magazine, Mexico’s Golpeavisa studio was told to make a portrait of internationally renowned chef René Redzepi, they set out to do something different and more challenging than their usual digital drawings.

On their blog, Golpeavisa said, ‘We chose to push our luck a little bit further, and we decided to do the illustration photographically, by shooting a bunch of cuisine and kitchen related elements in perspective in such a way that we would get a silhouette of Redzepi’s face.”

Check out the “making of” video below as well as the final cover image.
(All artwork is that of Golpeavisa.)

Clase Premier August 2012 Cover from Clase Premier on Vimeo.


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Read more by HS News Staff →

Oscar de la Renta Revamps Home Collection to Incorporate His Beloved Dominican Republic

Oscar de la Renta Revamps Home Collection to  Incorporate His Beloved Dominican Republic

Photo: Oscar de la Renta Home Collection

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The iconic fashion designer Oscar de la Renta is revamping his home design line with colors and images native to his home country the Dominican Republic.  The line will include dinnerware, lamps, games, frames and other home décor items reflecting the designer’s life on the island.

For example, a favorite Latin American pastime, dominoes will be featured in the collection finished in leather.

The 80-year-old designer was born to a Dominican mother and Puerto Rican father in Santo Domingo.  De la Renta maintains an estate on the Punta Cana Beach luxury resort and for prior decades entertained a Who’s Who in his Casa de Campo residence. 

The home collection is expected to produce sales of $10 million over the next several years and will be produced in-house.  The line compliments Oscar de la Renta’s furniture and fabric line.  The Dominican designer has been designing for over 45 years and his clothing fashions remain the mainstay of his design empire.

Read more by HS News Staff →

SPAIN: Hospital Workers Confuse Patient with Roommate, Subject her to Unnecessary Treatment

SPAIN: Hospital Workers Confuse Patient with Roommate, Subject her to Unnecessary Treatment

Photo: SPAIN: Hospital Workers Confuse Patient with Roommate, Subject her to Unnecessary Treatment

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In November, a woman staying at hospital in Spain recently won a lawsuit in which she claimed workers confused her with her roommate and subjected her to unnecessary treatment.

The woman, whose name was not released, was staying at Spain’s Hospital Virgen de los Lirios in Alcoi in November 2011 when hospital workers attempted to fit her with a catheter through her main artery after undergoing surgery for an intestinal problem. The attempt was unsuccessful, and only after she says she was left with serious nerve damage to her left shoulder did workers realize the procedure was meant for her roommate.

Two days later, hospital staff once again confused her with her roommate and a nurse attempted to give her an enema. The patient refused, saying the procedure seemed “illogical” given that surgery had removed a large portion of her intestine.

After she was released from the facility, the patient sued the hospital.

Earlier this week she was compensated $37,287.

Read more by HS News Staff →

733 Pounds of Pot Found in John Deere Tractors Coming into U.S. from Mexico

733 Pounds of Pot Found in John Deere Tractors Coming into U.S. from Mexico

Photo: Pot Found Inside John Deere Tractors

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at the Santa Teresa, New Mexico port of entry seized 733 pounds of marijuana last week. The drugs were concealed in five John Deere tractors which were being transported from Mexico to the U.S.

“This was an unusual concealment method and smugglers went to considerable lengths to avoid detection,” said Joanne Thale-Lembo, CBP Santat Teresa port director.

The seizure was made late Thursday morning when a 2004 Freightliner pulling a flatbed trailer loaded with five older John Deere model tractors entered the facility from Mexico. CBP officers working in the cargo lot selected the shipment for an extensive exam. CBP drug sniffing dog “Mosco” searched the conveyance and alerted to drugs.

CBP officers initiated an exam of the tractors and located marijuana bundles hidden within the rear differential unit of each tractor. CBP officers removed 204 marijuana-filled bundles from the shipment.

No arrests were made and the investigation continues.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latinas on Forbes “100 Most Powerful Women” in 2012- Rousseff Takes the Cover

Latinas on Forbes “100 Most Powerful Women” in 2012- Rousseff Takes the Cover

Photo: Latinas on Forbes "100 Most Powerful Women" in 2012- Rousseff Takes the Cover

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Forbes has released their 9th annual list of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women, with a number of Latinas making the list.

Nabbing both the cover and the No. 3 spot on the list is President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil.

Other Latinas who made the list, which was topped by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, include:

No. 16- President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner of Argentina
No. 20- Maria das Gracas Silva Foster, oil CEO of Petrobras-Petroleo Brasil
No. 38- Jennifer Lopez, Puerto Rican/American entertainer and entrepreneur
No. 40- Shakira (Mebarak), Colombian singer and philanthropist
No. 54- Rosalia Mera, billionaire philanthropist out of Spain
No. 75- Sofia Vergara, Colombian actress (Modern Family) and entrepreneur
No. 83- Gisele Bündchen, Brazillian super model, ambassador, UN Environmental Program Goodwill Ambassador

ImageMembers of the 2012 ranking represent women in technology (a new category this year), politics, business, media, entertainment,  non-profits, as well as billionaires – all ranked by money, media presence and impact. The 25 CEOs alone oversee companies with $984 billion in revenues.  The women represent 28 countries, have an average age of 55, and a combined 90 million Twitter followers. 

“This year’s Power Women exert influence in very different ways, and to very different ends, and all with very different impacts on the global community,” said Moira Forbes, President & Publisher, ForbesWoman. “Whether leading multi-billion-dollar companies, governing countries, shaping the cultural fabric of our lives, or spearheading humanitarian initiatives, collectively these women are changing the planet in profoundly powerful and dynamic ways.” 

Sixteen women join the list for the first time, including: Brazilian CEO Maria das Gracas Silva Foster of Petrobras (No. 20); Entertainer Jennifer Lopez (No. 38); Billionaire Philanthropist Laurene Powell Jobs (No. 49); and WikiMedia Foundation Executive Director Sue Gardner (No. 70).  Twenty-one women dropped off list this year, including Sallie Krawcheck, Carol Bartz and Michele Bachmann.

Entertainer Lady Gaga (No. 14) is the youngest on the list, at age 26; Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II (No. 26) is the oldest at 86.  In her most recent sit-down interview with the media, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano (No. 9), is interviewed by Moira Forbes about her career, culture, what keeps her up at night, and much more.  This and more video interviews are available on Forbes.com.

Read more by HS News Staff →

$18 Million in Fake Contact Lenses and Other Goods Seized in Puerto Rico

$18 Million in Fake Contact Lenses and Other Goods Seized in Puerto Rico

Photo: Millions in Fake Contact Lenses

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Special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD), and other law enforcement seized more than $18 million in counterfeit contact lenses and merchandise during the execution of several search warrants in eight different municipalities of Puerto Rico.

When federal search warrants at stores were executed, they seized 4,000 counterfeit Fresh Look contact lenses by Novartis, with an estimated manufacturer’s retail price (MSRP) of $200,000, along with 200,000 pieces of counterfeit merchandise from companies like Coach, Gucci, Ray Ban, Michael Kors, Rolex, Bulgari, Hublot, Nautica, Tous, Tiffany & Co., and Nike, among others. Agents also seized 25,000 counterfeit watches with an approximate MSRP of more than $3 million and 200 pairs of sneakers with an approximate MSRP of $32,000.

The total MSRP of seized merchandise was approximately $18 million.

“The illegal importation and sale of counterfeit goods is a significant problem that affects our economy, impacts American jobs and innovation, puts the public’s health and safety at risk and at times threatens our national security,” said Angel Melendez, acting special agent in charge for HSI San Juan. “Consumers should know that if they buy pirated and unlicensed products, they are hurting legitimate businesses and they may also be facilitating criminal activity.”

 

Read more by HS News Staff →

MTV Adds LatAm Series “El Ultimo Año” to Lineup

MTV Adds LatAm Series “El Ultimo Año” to Lineup

Photo: "El ultimo año" cast

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Psychological suspense, romance and intrigue are coming to the small screen on Sept. 3 with the youth series “El ultimo año,” MTV Latinoamerica’s third soap opera.

The soap opera, which is currently being filmed in Mexico City, will premiere on that date in Latin America, broadcast by MTV Latinoamerica, and later in the United States via “Tr3s: MTV Musica y Mas.”

The story revolves around Martin, a good boy who is studying at an elite school where he shares rooms with another student, Benjamin. The situation gets complicated when both young men fall in love with the same girl.

Amid the intense drama, the series - which stars Martin Barba (as Benjamin), Mauricio Henao (as Martin) and Kendra Santa Cruz (as Celeste) - will explore issues affecting young people today including sexual health, birth control, HIV/AIDS and cyber bullying, among others.

According to Fernando Gaston, MTV’s senior vice president for production, programming and strategy, the aim of the show is to both inform and entertain young people.

“We’re combining elements that capture the audience, with new (elements) and different situations to what is normally seen on soaps. At the same time, it will be loaded with intrigue, lies, flirtation, romance and music,” he said.

Written by Chile’s Josefina Fernandez and scriptwriters Claudia Bono, Francisca Bernardi and Hugo Morales, the soap was inspired by the saga of the central character in the novel “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” by English author Patricia Highsmith, as well as the film “Catch Me If You Can,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

“It’s a story that mixes the intensity of young people with suspense really well,” said Fernandez, the creator and scriptwriter for the second season of the Chilean television series “Los archivos del Cardenal,” the winner of the Altazor 2012 award.

For Fernandez, as well as for Gaston, sending a positive and constructive message is a fundamental part of their commitment to young people.

“I believe that film and television are very powerful media for presenting the reality we experience and that carries with it a great responsibility,” Fernandez said.

Beyond the television screen, the program will use multiple platforms - like blogs, the social networks and other extensions - to stimulate debate among the audience about the issues that the program deals with.

Read more by HS News Staff →

UN:  Chile Continues to Face Challenges with ‘Involuntary’ Disappearances

UN:  Chile Continues to Face Challenges with ‘Involuntary’ Disappearances

Photo: Chile's Forced Disappearance

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While progress has been made investigating and prosecuting enforced disappearances in Chile, challenges remain to ensure perpetrators serve their sentences, a group of United Nations independent experts said.

“Very few of the convicted perpetrators are effectively serving a sentence, due to the low penalties imposed or other benefits granted,” said the experts of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances at the end of their mission in the South American country.

In a news release, the group of experts praised the progress made by the Chilean authorities since the country began its democratic transition in 1990, ending the dictatorship that had followed a military coup in 1973.

“Other important challenges that Chile needs to overcome are the slowness of judicial proceedings, the application of military justice to current cases of human rights violations, the absence of an autonomous crime of enforced disappearance and the lack of a national plan to search for disappeared persons,” the experts noted.

The Working Group is scheduled to present a report to the Human Rights Council in March next year based on the information they gathered during and prior to their mission.

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POLL: Obama Has Huge Lead Among Hispanics

POLL: Obama Has Huge Lead Among Hispanics

Photo: POLL: Obama Has Huge Lead Among Hispanics

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Barack Obama and his vice president and running mate, Joe Biden, would receive the support of a robust 63 percent of Hispanic voters compared with 28 percent who would vote for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan if the election were held today, according to a survey released on Wednesday.

Despite the notable difference, the Democratic candidate over the past month dropped 4 points in support among Latino voters, while the Republican increased by 5 points, according to the poll conducted by The Wall Street Journal, along with Telemundo and NBC News.

Obama is maintaining his popularity among the Hispanic community, which represents 11 percent of the country’s registered voters, while Romney has seen both the percentage of his supporters as well as his detractors grow during the past month.

Sixty-seven percent of those surveyed hold a positive opinion of Obama and 19 percent view him negatively, while Romney is viewed positively by 31 percent and negatively by 48 percent of Hispanic voters.

The Republican vice presidential candidate, Ryan, is not well-known among Hispanics, with 27 percent not knowing who he is, and those who do know who he is are split almost evenly in their view of him.

After Romney presented him on Aug. 11 as his running mate, Ryan was found to be liked by 26 percent of Latino voters and disliked by 27 percent.

His Democratic counterpart, Biden, enjoys a favorable opinion among 43 percent of Hispanic voters and is unfavorably viewed by 23 percent.

There is no political area in which Hispanics believe that Romney would be a better choice than Obama.

A comfortable majority of Hispanics feel that Obama is a politician who is concerned about the well-being of regular people (64 percent), who is in favor of transparency (60 percent), who has presidential qualities (59 percent) and who deals with crises well (58 percent).

Although he trails Obama, Romney does best regarding his ability to improve the economy (31 percent), his organizational skills (30 percent) and the possibility that he will reform the way politicians work in the U.S. capital (27 percent).

Fifty-seven percent of those surveyed said that they feel the economy, which is pointed to as a key issue in the election campaign, is recovering.

Specifically, 44 percent believe that the economy will improve over the next 12 months, 38 percent think it will stay the same and 15 percent believe it will worsen.

Regarding the performance in office by Obama and his administration, six out of 10 people surveyed approve of the president’s efforts in economic matters and foreign policy.

The presidential race this year interests Latinos less than the 2008 race, the survey found.

Forty-two percent of Hispanics say they are very interested in the campaign, 7 percent below the figure for July and 25 percent below the figure four years ago.

Despite being one of the segments of the population that is being courted most heavily by the parties, just three out of 10 Hispanics have received personalized election messages from the Republicans and four out of 10 from the Democrats.

Four percent of those surveyed said they had received messages from the Romney campaign on the social networks and 8 percent said they had gotten messages of that kind from the Obama campaign.

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Nearly 11 Million Birds Slaughtered To Prevent Spread of Flu in Mexico

Nearly 11 Million Birds Slaughtered To Prevent Spread of Flu in Mexico

Photo: Mexican bird flu virus

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The second phase of the bird flu vaccination campaign has started in Mexico, where nearly 11 million birds have been slaughtered to prevent the spread of the AH7N3 avian flu virus, the National Food Health, Safety and Quality Service, or Senasica, said.

The vaccination campaign’s second phase is being launched at poultry farms in the Los Altos region of the western state of Jalisco, the Senasica said.

Some 90 million doses of the vaccine will be used in the second phase of the campaign, whose first phase resulted in the use of 88.3 million doses of the vaccine, the federal agency said.

Officials are keeping 53 million doses of the vaccine and viral samples in reserve so production can be boosted if needed, Senasica director Enrique Sanchez said.

The distribution of hens will resume this month, with some 5 million birds being shipped monthly to the farms that were cleared by inspectors, Sanchez said.

These moves should allow egg production to slowly return to pre-outbreak levels soon, Sanchez said.

A total of 10.9 million birds were slaughtered between June 19 and Aug. 20 to prevent the spread of avian flu.

Samples have been taken at 438 farms in 45 cities in the Los Altos region, with only 43 farms - all commercial operations - testing positive for AH7N3, Sanchez said.

The monitoring program has been expanded, leading to tests at farms in 22 of Mexico’s 31 states and the Federal District, with all the results negative, the federal official said.

The outbreak of AH7N3 has been limited for now to the Los Altos region of Jalisco, Sanchez said.

Avian flu does not pose a danger to people consuming meat or eggs, and the measures being taken are designed to protect poultry production, officials said.

Mexican health officials said in late June that the presence of the avian influenza virus had been detected in Jalisco and took emergency measures to prevent its spread.

The vaccine is being produced by the National Veterinary Biological Production Agency, or Pronabive, with assistance from three private pharmaceutical companies.

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

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ThursdayAugust 23, 2012