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TuesdayAugust 28, 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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“Yo Soy 132” Student Movement Plans to Protest Calderon’s Final Policies in Mexico

“Yo Soy 132” Student Movement Plans to Protest Calderon’s Final Policies in Mexico

Photo: "Yo soy 132" protestor

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Mexico’s “Yo soy 132” student movement plans to stage a march later this week to protest the policies implemented by President Felipe Calderon, who will submit his final state of the nation report to Congress.

The march will end on Saturday in front of Congress, where Yo soy 132 members will read a “counter-report,” the movement said.

Calderon will submit his sixth and final state of the nation report to Congress, which begins its new session on Saturday.

The report, which will be presented to a congressional committee by Government Secretary Alejandro Poire, is expected to tout the Calderon administration’s economic, political and security achievements.

“We will give our point of view with respect to the current administration and will try to dismantle his speech,” Oscar Rodriguez, a member of Yo soy 132’s graduate committee at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, told Efe.

“We want to show that the entire speech with respect to the advances under the current administration during this six-year term is just talk,” Rodriguez said.

The student movement also plans to protest the “imposition” of Enrique Peña Nieto, who won the July 1 presidential election, just days before the federal electoral court renders its verdict on the election.

Peña Nieto, of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, won the presidential election with 38.21 percent of the vote, while leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador took second place with 31.59 percent, according to the final official results released by the Federal Electoral Institute, or IFE.

Lopez Obrador challenged the election results, alleging that the PRI and its allies exceeded campaign spending limits and engaged in vote-buying with funds obtained from illicit sources.

The TEPJF electoral court is expected to issue a ruling in the next few days on the challenge filed by Lopez Obrador’s Progressive Movement coalition, either certifying Peña Nieto the winner or calling for a new vote.

The electoral court is expected to make its ruling by Sept. 6.

The protest movement started on May 11, when Peña Nieto visited the Universidad Iberoamericana and was jeered by students, who accused him of being a candidate “manufactured” by the powerful Televisa network.

Those in Peña Nieto’s inner circle and some media pundits downplayed the incident, accusing the students of being agitators.

The students counterattacked by making a video that was posted on YouTube.

The criticism led to the birth of the “Somos mas de 131” (We Are More Than 131) movement, which took its name from the number of students who appeared in the video and later evolved into the “Yo soy 132” (I Am 132) movement when students from other universities joined the protests.

The movement opposes the return to power of the PRI, which governed Mexico from 1929 to 2000.

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Larry Hernandez to Star in his Own Reality Show “Larrymania”

Larry Hernandez to Star in his Own Reality Show “Larrymania”

Photo: Mexican singer Larry Hernandez

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Popular Mexican singer Larry Hernandez will star in his own reality show, “Larrymania,” which will debut on Oct. 7 on the mun2 cable network.

The weekly program will be broadcast on Sunday evenings and will consist of 10 one-hour episodes that will follow the day-to-day activities of the artist, who was born in Los Angeles and grew up in Culiacan, Mexico.

Hernandez, one of whose numbers is the hit “Arrastrando las patas,” is one of the most popular Latino music artists in the United States and Mexico.

By watching the series, fans of the singer will be able to get a look into his private life and his work.

The series will cover his activities from his sold-out concerts in Phoenix and a visit to a Los Angeles firing range with soap opera star Rafael Amaya to the organization of a surprise party for his mother in Mexico.

Hernandez, who began singing as a child, became known for his interpretations of traditional ballads as he developed his own style, which has garnered him wide acceptance among the Hispanic public, many of whom follow him via the social media. He currently has some 1.2 million fans on Facebook and about 200,000 followers on Twitter.

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Brazilian Army Officer Killed in Peru After Parachuting From Plane During Training

Brazilian Army Officer Killed in Peru After Parachuting From Plane During Training

Photo: Brazilian Army Officer Killed in Peru After Parachuting From Plane During Training

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An officer in the Brazilian army was killed Tuesday in southern Peru’s Ica region when he parachuted from an airplane during training, the Peruvian army said in a communique.

The victim, identified as Maj. Genaro Machado Bekenkamp, was in Peru on a training mission and died at 11:40 a.m. in the Pozo Santo sector at some 250 kilometers (155 miles) south of Lima, the statement said.

The Peruvian army gave no details about the circumstances nor about the cause of the accident.

The high command of the Peruvian army regretted what had happened and expressed its condolences to the Machado family and to Brazil.

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Plans for Airport Near Machu Picchu Revealed for Peru

Plans for Airport Near Machu Picchu Revealed for Peru

Photo: Plans for Airport Near Machu Picchu Revealed for Peru

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Peruvian President Ollanta Humala recently shared plans for a new airport near Machu Picchu.

On Wednesday, President Humala enacted a law allowing land in Chinchera (near Cusco) to be used for the new international airport, stating, “This new airport will not only mean more tourists will be able to come, but it will generate more jobs.” He added the airport will also help surrounding communities by adding to their value.

For those visiting the ancient Inca ruins, Cusco is generally the starting point, which where the airport is intended to go.

The citadel of Machu Picchu was built in the 15th century and rediscovered in 1911. To protect the land, only 2,500 visitors are allowed each day, but with an airport nearby, many are wondering how protected the environment will remain.

The ruins are a world heritage site and Unesco, the UN’s cultural agency, has warned about uncontrolled access and urged conservation be made a priority.

The Peruvian government will invest roughly $460 million to the project, not including compensation to the farming communities whose land will be seized under the law recently enacted expropriation law.

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Brazilian-Born Soccer Player Born Without Feet Invited to FC Barcelona Training Camp (VIDEO)

Brazilian-Born Soccer Player Born Without Feet Invited to FC Barcelona Training Camp (VIDEO)

Photo: Brazilian-Born Soccer Player Born Without Feet Invited to Barcelona Training Camp

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A determined young Brazilian boy is getting the chance of a lifetime.

In September, 11-year-old Gabriel Muniz will head to Spain to be a part of FC Barcelona’s training camp.

While any normal football player would love to be a part of the camp, Muniz is not just any normal player, as Muniz was born without feet.

Even without feet, Muniz still managed to give his parents a run for their money, as he learned to walk before he was one. Still, despite perceived limitations, he did not fall as often as one might expect. Last year, a foot-ankle prosthesis was, but Muniz still prefers to take the field without it.

As for camp, for this wonderkid, heading to Barcelona means he gets to meet his favorite player, Lionel Messi.

This chance to head to Spain came after he appeared on Brazil’s most popular sports show and earned a chance to train at Rio de Janeiro’s camp in Saquarema, hosted by FC Barcelona. Inspired by Muniz, Barcelona’s manager invited the young player, whose friends describe as “skillfull” and “fearless”, to attend the club’s summer training camp.

As for future plans, Muniz says he knows his disability means he’ll never get to play with a professional football, but hopes the sport will one day have a Paralympic 11-a-side football team.


Check out the video below.


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Comedian Amy Poehler Supports Calif. Domestic Workers Bill of Rights (VIDEO)

Comedian Amy Poehler Supports Calif. Domestic Workers Bill of Rights (VIDEO)

Photo: 'Parks and Recreation" Comedian Amy Poehler Supports Calif. Domestic Workers Bill of Rights

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Amy Poehler, formerly of NBC’s long-running Saturday Night Live and currently on Parks and Recreation, has lent herself to the National Domestic Workers Alliance.

The hilarious comedian recently showed her support for the California Domestic Workers Bill of Rights (AB 889). The bill would improve the quality of care for children, families and seniors by expanding basic labor protections for household workers and setting industry-wide standards. It will include housekeepers, childcare providers & caregivers and provide these workers with overtime pay, adequate sleeping conditions for live-in workers, as well as meal and rest breaks.

On June 2, 2011, the California Assembly approved AB 889 and earlier this month, the New York Times endorsed it.

Poehler made a video discussing the important role domestic workers play in her home, and has urged others to support the bill as well.


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Jennifer Lopez’s Former Miami Beach Mansion Once Again for Sale at $40 Million

Jennifer Lopez’s Former Miami Beach Mansion Once Again for Sale at $40 Million

Photo: Jennifer Lopez's Former Miami Beach Mansion Once Again for Sale at $40 Million

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Jennifer Lopez’s former Miami Beach mansion is once again on the market

In 2005, Jenny from the block moved off that block when she sold the mansion for $13.9 million to healthcare entrepreneur Mark Gainor and his wife, Elyse.

After putting more than $11 million of work into the home, the Gainors put the home up for sale in 2010. They were asking for $29 million, however, the home did not sell.

Now the 12,152-square-foot home, with 8 baths, and 3 half baths, has been relisted with a price tag increase of 28 percent at $40 million. The price increase is reportedly a result of rising property values for the area.

The mansion has been listed by Nelson Gonzalez with Esslinger-Wooten-Maxwell Realtors in Miami Beach.

The home has a 6,000-gallon koi pond, palm tree gardens, a swimming pool mere steps from the waterfront. The dining room allows visitors a look into into the courtyard through picture windows. The master suite has a gym, terrace, office, and a closet fit for a queen, which was created by reclaiming three other rooms. The home comes with the furniture currently inside

Taxes are said to be $191,367 per year.


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Photo Project Gives Children Along U.S.-Mexico Border a Chance to Share Their Stories

Photo Project Gives Children Along U.S.-Mexico Border a Chance to Share Their Stories

Photo: Photo Project Gives Children Along U.S.-Mexico Border a Chance to Share Their Stories

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Earlier this year, students on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border began learning how to use a camera lens to tell a story.

A project called 20/20 FOTO: Cross Border Community Action is a youth photography workshop focused on technical, critical, and therapeutic storytelling. Taking place in El Paso, Texas and Juarez, Mexico, 20/20 FOTO is displayed as simultaneous exhibitions on either side of the border.

On the U.S. side of the project is Creative Kids in El Paso, while Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa participates in Juarez. The two groups of are made up of twenty students from communities affected by regional violence.

The project 20/20 FOTO will be one of the first institutional cross-border art programs between the two cities since violence in Juarez exploded.

Along 100 feet of the fence that separates the children is a growing number of photos taken by the children.

The young photographers on both sides of the border were given lessons on by the 20/20 FOTO team. However, the groups themselves are not partnered.

Recently, Pentax helped 20/20 with the donation of 20 cameras for the camera library.

The 20/20 FOTO is 2020FOTO team is Roberto Gomez, Neil Rivas (seen with children below), Claudia Marquez, Heidi Lubin, Maria Nunez

Check out some of the children’s photos below.

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Hispanics Using Spanish Scrabble as Educational Tool

Hispanics Using Spanish Scrabble as Educational Tool

Photo: Scramble in Spanish

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A Hispanic group in Texas is promoting the Spanish-language version of the popular word game Scrabble.

Created in the late 1930s by U.S. architect Alfred Mosher Butts, Scrabble has been sold in more than 120 countries and translated into more than 20 languages including Spanish.

Mexican journalist Norma Garza says Scrabble is an educational tool that encourages learning and trains the mental faculties of people at all ages.

“Thanks to Scrabble I’ve learned a series of words that are perfectly useless for my everyday life but are really interesting all the same. Its use also strengthens your mathematical ability because you have to count all the time, and it boosts your vocabulary enormously,” Garza, who now lives in Austin, Texas, told Efe.

It was specifically in that city where the Texas Scrabble-in-Spanish Club was formed several years ago.

Hector Klie, a computer engineer with a PhD in mathematics, was the one who got the Scrabble craze going in Austin and later widened it to Houston.

“In almost the whole game, you have to play the probabilities of the letters on the Scrabble board, the ones you have on the tile rack and the possible letters left in the bag, and with each letter played you kind of figure out what your opponent might have,” Klie said.

Scrabble is played on a game board of 15 squares by 15, and the object is to spell words that cross each other using tiles stamped each one with a letter and a certain numerical value.

The object of the game is to get the highest possible score, thanks also to the value that certain spaces have on the game board, and to know the greatest possible number of words in Spanish.

“According to Scrabble rules, not knowing the meaning of a word is not penalized, but it’s good to know it because that makes you smarter,” Klie said.

When there’s a doubt about a word in the middle of the game, a judge is consulted who in turn looks it up in the latest edition of the dictionary of the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language, or RAE.

If the word is in the RAE dictionary, it counts.

Javier Guerrero, a Mexican businessman who has been taking part in international Scrabble competitions for 15 years, said that the game has your brain working non-stop.

“It’s an exercise that requires both reasoning and mathematical strategy,” he said.

“Though it’s said that the mind is unable to perform several different functions simultaneously, in this game you’re jumping back and forth from the lingistic to the strategic to the numeric several times in a single play,” he said.

Guerrero, Garza and Klie arrived in Houston along with another 18 players from Latin America and the United States to take part in last weekend’s regional tournament to classify for the world championship, being organized by the International Scrabble-in-Spanish Federation in Barcelona this coming October.

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Colombian President Santos Confirms ‘Exploratory’ Talks with FARC Guerillas

Colombian President Santos Confirms ‘Exploratory’ Talks with FARC Guerillas

Photo: Colombian President Santos and FARC to Talk

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Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos confirmed that “exploratory discussions have been held” with the FARC guerrilla group about coming to the table for peace talks and that he has invited the smaller ELN rebel group to join the dialogue under the same conditions.

The president made a brief statement in which he warned that in contacts with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, errors of the past will be kept in mind “so they are not repeated” and that during the discussions a “military presence” will be maintained everywhere in the country.

However, Santos said, “any process must lead to the end of the conflict, not to its prolongation.”

“In the next few days the results of our conversations with the FARC will be announced,” the president said, adding that since he took office he has attempted to fulfill “the constitutional obligation to seek peace.”

The “approaches” to that guerrilla group and any “that are made in the future” will have to follow these “guiding principles,” Santos said.

The president took the opportunity to send a message to the second-largest guerrilla group in Colombia, the National Liberation Army, or ELN.

“They too could be a part of this effort to end the conflict,” if they agree to follow these basic precepts, Santos said.

The Telesur television network and Colombia’s RCN Radio said before Santos made his speech that representatives of the government and of the FARC agreed Monday in Cuba to launch a process to put an end to the bloody armed conflict that has cast a pall over Colombia for 50 years.

Silence on the subject reigned in Havana all day, both on the part of the Cuban government and of the embassies of Colombia, Norway and Venezuela, the countries that have backed the accord, according to Telesur.

Colombian media reported that the dialogue roundtable will be established on Oct. 5 in Oslo, but that the talks will continue in Havana accompanied by representatives of the Cuban, Venezuelan and Norwegian governments.

The FARC will be represented in the negotiations by its top military commander, Wilson Valderrama Cano; the rebels’ so-called foreign minister, Rodrigo Granda; and Marcos Calarca and Andres Paris, who took part in previous failed talks with the government, media reports said.

Negotiating on behalf of the Colombian government will be presidential security adviser Sergio Jaramillo, Environment Minister Frank Pearl and journalist Enrique Santos Calderon, the president’s brother, Telesur said.

The FARC has battled a succession of Colombian governments since the mid-1960s. The insurgency swelled to nearly 20,000 fighters in the early 2000s, but now numbers around 8,500 combatants.

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‘Avatar’ Border Agents Coming to Arizona-Mexico Border

‘Avatar’ Border Agents Coming to Arizona-Mexico Border

Photo: Avatar Border Agents

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The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is testing an advanced technology whereby an “avatar” agent interviews certain Mexican visitors when they cross the border at one checkpoint in Arizona, a program that - if successful - could be implemented throughout the country.

People who enter the country at the Nogales, Arizona, border crossing point have the chance to be “interviewed” by a virtual multilingual agent with black hair wearing a white shirt and black tie.

The virtual agent interviews people enrolling in the “Trusted Traveler” program, which allows pre-approved, low-risk travelers to be fast-tracked through security.

To become part of this program, applicants must pass a meticulous review of their identity documentation and criminal record.

Those who are accepted can be interviewed by the Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments in Real-Time, or AVATAR, which was designed by scientists and researchers at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

The virtual agent interviews the applicants at a kiosk, very similar to an ATM, and can ask questions in English, Spanish or Russian.

Although not classified as a lie detector, AVATAR can indicate to human authorities if abnormalities exist in the applicants’ answers such as long pauses or changes in tone of voice.

“The avatar does not analyze the responses themselves, but rather how these responses sound, the voice changes,” Mark Grimes, one of researchers at the UA Center for Excellence in Science and Technology working on the project, told Efe.

The idea, he said, is for the virtual agent to undertake approximately 1,000 interviews while it is being tested at the Dennis DeConcini Port in Nogales.

“So far, we’ve had a very positive response. Several agents are working very closely with AVATAR. This technology definitely cannot replace a (live) agent, but it certainly can be of great assistance in doing a more efficient job,” said Grimes.

He added that the applicants who have been interviewed by the virtual agent to date have expressed satisfaction with the procedure, saying that it goes much faster than it otherwise might.

“I think that it’s like an ATM machine. Twenty years ago many people expressed confusion or fear of using one. Now it’s difficult for us to survive without one of them,” said the researcher.

The virtual agent is an authority figure, but it doesn’t seem to intimidate the travelers.

The pilot program will be under way for the next few months in Nogales. When this phase comes to an end, the virtual agent will be taken back to UA, where the information gathered will be analyzed, including what questions people had more trouble answering.

The main aim is for this type of virtual agent to be able to be used in the future at other U.S. border crossing points and airports.

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Guatemala Sees Hotel Bookings Rise Ahead of Mayan “Apocalypse”

Guatemala Sees Hotel Bookings Rise Ahead of Mayan “Apocalypse”

Photo: Guatemala Sees Hotel Bookings Rise Ahead of Mayan "Apocalypse"

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Hotels near the Mayan city of Tikal are headed for “a full sell-out” for the events planned on Dec. 21 to mark the start of a new era for humanity in the Maya cosmology, Guatemalan National Tourism Institute director Pedro Duchez said.

“We have more than 95 percent of the rooms occupied, tours sold, airline seats reserved. The interest keeps rising as we get closer to Dec. 21,” Duchez said.

Lodging in Peten, where Tikal is located, is nearly all booked, the tourism department chief said.

Tourists are flocking to Guatemala because the Mayan calendar ends on Dec. 21, 2012, an event that some people consider an apocalyptic omen.

Tikal, one of the most important cities in the ancient Mayan world, will be the site of the 2012 “New Dawn for Humanity” world summit.

The event, which will take place Dec. 20-21, is being organized by the Guatemalan government as a gathering of “the most creative minds” in the world, drawing distinguished representatives of the world’s different civilizations to welcome the new era predicted by the Mayans.

Canadian singer Neil Young, U.S. rocker Bruce Springsteen, Spanish tenor Placido Domingo, British singer-songwriter Elton John, Irish rock group U2 and the Jackson brothers are among the participants expected at the event.

The Mayan predictions for December 2012 were about the return of the god Bolon Yokte and not about the end of the world, experts say.

The Dec. 21, 2012, date found on Mayan glyphs led to speculation about Maya prophecies of the end of the world, prompting archaeologists and epigraphists to deny them.

The Mayans created a calendar based on 400-year periods, known as “baktuns,” with each era made up of 13 cycles of 400 years that added up to 5,125 years.

The current era, according to their calculations, would end in December 2012, experts say.

In the Mayan cosmology, a cycle of creation was completed at the end of each era and another began.

Bolon Yokote is a god associated with creation and war that participated in the start of the current era, which began on Aug. 13 of 3114 B.C.

The idea that the pre-Hispanic civilization predicted the end of the world in 2012 has been popular in some New Age circles since the 1970s.

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Dominican Business Woman Uses Body Art to Advertise for Her Clients

Dominican Business Woman Uses Body Art to Advertise for Her Clients

Photo: Fernello Designs

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Dominican-born Margarita Dominguez has transformed her body and those of a score of young people who work for her company into advertising billboards with the help of body painting and artist Fernello.

Dominguez, who moved to New York with her parents as a child, two years ago founded World of Margarita, a company that offers advertisers Walking Bill-bods.

“People really like it. They take photos of me. I think it’s a good idea to promote a product,” Dominguez, who goes to the gym two hours a day to keep herself in shape, told Efe.

She told Efe she has never had any problems with her clients “because they see it as (a form of) artistic expression,” but in any case she only goes to places that have security to display her body-painted ads.

Dominguez, a concert pianist who has performed at venues such as Carnegie Hall, got the idea for this type of advertising vehicle when she was participating in a charity event in New York, where she got to know Fernello.

There, she noticed that the models who had their bodies painted got the attention of the public.

“I saw that people were looking and I liked it. That is art, people taking photos and then they upload them to the social networks. So, I thought that that could interest companies,” Dominguez said.

After that, she was one of Fernello’s models for another event and on that occasion she said: “You and I should place ads on my body. I want to do something different. Why don’t we try to get this idea going?”

Thus was born the company that in two years already has 20 young employees who each month do an average of three events, for which they make between $300 and $2,000.

Among the activities that the firm has already carried out is the 22nd birthday party of New York Knicks player Iman Shumpert, for which “they wore” painted-on T-shirts with the team colors, his number and name, but they have also advertised brands of beer and corporate logos.

“After the Knicks’ party, lots of people hired us,” Dominguez said with satisfaction.

Her next project is a video telling women how to keep themselves in shape that she hopes to have ready this month to post on her World of Margarita channel on YouTube.

“I want to teach other women to take care of their bodies. It doesn’t matter how old they are,” Dominguez said.

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TuesdayAugust 28, 2012