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ThursdaySeptember 6, 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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Regardless of Oil Spill, Chevron Will Remain in Brazil

Regardless of Oil Spill, Chevron Will Remain in Brazil

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U.S. supermajor Chevron Corp. will not leave Brazil and is working to restart its projects in the South American country, where a court had given the energy company until the end of August to halt its operations, Chevron’s chief of Latin American operations, Don Stelling, said.

The San Ramon, California-based oil company has three projects in Brazil, Stelling said at an oil industry conference on Wednesday.

Chevron does not plan to change its strategy and will continue moving forward, Stelling said, adding that the company would work “project by project.”

On Aug. 1, a Brazilian court gave Chevron and drilling contractor Transocean 30 days to halt oil drilling and transportation operations because of the oil spill last year at the Frade field.

The two companies are the subjects of legal proceedings over a spill of 3,700 barrels of crude last November off the coast of Rio de Janeiro state.

Chevron sealed and abandoned the well last November, but it continued offshore operations until March, when it announced a voluntary halt to all activities in the area following another smaller spill.

The National Petroleum Agency, or ANP, found that Chevron was 96 percent responsible for the spill.

Some 3,700 barrels of crude leaked from the Frade field, located 120 kilometers (75 miles) off the coast of Rio de Janeiro state, the ANP said.

The San Ramon, California-based multinational is the operator of the field with a 51.74 percent stake, while Petrobras and Japan’s Frade Japao Petroleo have 30 percent and 18.26 percent interests, respectively.

Frade lies in the Campos basin, where nearly 90 percent of Brazil’s oil and gas is produced.

Last month, state-controlled oil giant Petrobras said it would provide Chevron and Transocean with assistance from its legal department to help the companies continue to operate in Brazil.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Audi Plans to Build Plant in Mexico, Creating 20,000 Jobs

German luxury automaker Audi plans to build a $1.3 billion plant in the Mexican state of Puebla that will be the company’s first production facility in the Americas, Mexican President Felipe Calderon said.

Some 20,000 jobs will be created during the plant’s construction, which will start in 2013.

The plant in the city of San Jose Chiapa is expected to create 9,800 direct and indirect permanent jobs once it starts operating, Calderon said during a ceremony Wednesday at the Los Pinos presidential residence.

The plant, which will commence operations in 2016, will produce 150,000 units annually “for the entire world” of the successor to the Audi Q5 SUV, a model that has done well and is a leader in sales in its segment, Calderon said.

The decision by Audi, the luxury division of Volkswagen, to build the plant is an “additional boost for the growth of our economy and the creation of more and better jobs,” Calderon said.

Mexico, the world’s fourth-largest automobile exporter, has managed to continue attracting investment despite the “recessionary global environment” because of its competitiveness, infrastructure and skilled workers, Calderon said.

The plant’s construction marks “a milestone in Audi’s growth strategy,” Audi Mexico chief Walter Hanek said.

The San Jose Chiapa plant “will be the most modern in Audi’s production network in terms of efficiency of resources and manufacturing process,” and it will operate with the highest quality standards, Hanek said.

One of Volkswagen’s largest plants is in Puebla and has a production capacity of 500,000 units annually, manufacturing Beetle, Nuevo Jetta, Golf Variant and Volkswagen Clasico automobiles.

The auto plants operating in Mexico exported 1.17 million vehicles during the first six months of this year, a figure that was up 15.1 percent from the same period in 2011, the Mexican Automotive Industry Association, or AMIA, said.

The automotive industry is the most important manufacturing sector in Mexico, which is home to the world’s leading automakers and serves as an export platform for General Motors, Volkswagen, Ford, Chrysler and Toyota.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Colombia Controller General Quits After Receiving Death Threats

Colombia Controller General Quits After Receiving Death Threats

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Colombia’s controller general said Thursday from Spain that she will leave her country after a series of death threats.

The last straw was the arrival of a coffin at her office in Bogota, Sandra Morelli told Bogota’s Blu Radio.

She said she decided to accept a job outside Colombia to avoid further exposure “to that kind of aggression.” Morelli said those responsible for the threats “are clearly identified,” but she provided no details.

The controller general denounced what she described as “acts of aggression and fabrication” aimed at discrediting her and the work of her office.

Morelli traveled to Madrid on official business, Colombia’s police commander told a press conference in Madrid.

“She left for Spain to complete coordination with Spanish authorities ... on the creation of anti-corruption units,” Gen. Roberto Jose Leon said.

Police created a special team to investigate the threats against Morelli and to offer the controller general “security measures so she can carry out her job,” the general said.

Morelli, an attorney by training, was appointed in August 2010 to a four-year term as controller general.

Read more by HS News Staff →

DREAMer Benita Veliz Addresses 2012 Democratic Convention

DREAMer Benita Veliz Addresses 2012 Democratic Convention

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Benita Veliz made history by becoming the first undocumented immigrant to appear before a party convention, offering the Democratic delegates in Charlotte a strong defense of the long-stalled DREAM Act, which would help hundreds of thousands of people in her situation.

“Like so many Americans of all races and backgrounds, I was brought here as a child,” the 27-year-old Texas resident told the convention. “I feel just as American as any of my friends or neighbors.”

“President Obama fought for the DREAM Act to help people like me. And when Congress refused to pass it, he didn’t give up. Instead, he took action so that people like me can apply to stay in our country and contribute,” Veliz said.

She was referring to the Obama administration’s Deferred Action program to allow qualified undocumented youth to avoid deportation.

In a telephone interview with Efe a few hours before giving her speech, Veliz said that it was an honor to represent the voices of the “DREAMers” and to tell her story, which was not unique, but that of thousands of young people.

“I admire the courage of the DREAMers in going out on the streets and fighting for the approval of the DREAM Act, and I tell them to keep going until this legislation and comprehensive immigration reform passes,” she said.

In her speech, Veliz said that she graduated from high school at 16 and from college four years later.

She received an academic scholarship from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, where she lives now.

However, when she mistakenly ran a stop sign in 2009, she was arrested by a policeman for not having a driver’s license and her irregular immigration situation was discovered, triggering the deportation process to send her back to her native Mexico.

Veliz’s story became public last year when she became one of the first undocumented immigrants to benefit from the policy of giving priority to the deportation of criminals.

The deportation case against Veliz was administratively closed last November and she is still waiting for a ruling on her application for Deferred Action. And she still does not have a work permit.

Those that qualify for Deferred Action “will keep fighting for reform, but while we do, we are able to work, study and pursue the American dream,” Veliz said at the Democratic Convention.

In a communique, the America’s Voice organization characterized Veliz’s presence at the Democratic convention as a sign of the “political power of the DREAMers.”

“This is a victory for the DREAMers movement. We’re going out on the streets to make our situation known and this (Veliz’s primetime convention speech) is a unique opportunity for the American public to understand what we’re fighting for,” activist Gaby Pancheco said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Nearly a Third of Peruvians Rely on Firewood Due to Lack of Electricity

Nearly a Third of Peruvians Rely on Firewood Due to Lack of Electricity

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Some 3 million people in Peru’s rural areas still lack electricity and nearly a third of the population is using firewood as cooking fuel, the Energy, Development and Life, or EnDev, project, said.

According to EnDev’s national coordinator, nearly 500,000 rural families must use battery-operated lights, candles and cigarette lighters to see at night and spend more than 40 soles (about $15) a month for low-quality power service.

A large portion of the rural population currently is not connected to the electricity grid, Ana Moreno told Efe.

Those figures were based on the Energy and Mines Ministry’s Rural Electrification Plan, published in December 2011.

That document indicated that electricity coverage has been extended to 63.7 percent of the rural population of Peru, a country whose total population amounts to 29 million inhabitants, according to the EnDev coordinator.

“That means there’s nearly 37 percent of the rural population that, to satisfy its basic electricity needs, is using open fires for cooking and candles or cigarette lighters for lighting, which emit contaminating smoke and obviously result in a greater number of acute respiratory illnesses,” Moreno said.

Still, “it should be noted that the country has made quite an extensive effort over the past decade to improve the rural population’s access to electrical energy,” she added.

The 1993 census indicated that just 7.7 percent of Peru’s rural population had access to electricity. By 2007, that figure had risen to 29.5 percent and the Energy and Mines Ministry’s latest report shows the proportion now stands at 63 percent, Moreno said.

“So there’s been progress. However, there’s a segment of the population that still doesn’t have access and for whom solutions need to be sought out, technologies adapted because generally these are very remote, isolated populations,” she said.

The topic will be addressed on Thursday in Lima during the Energy and Equity Symposium, where economical and viable technological proposals will be presented for bringing electricity to the country’s most remote areas, including a low-cost and high-quality solar energy system.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Scorned Former NYU Professor Suing James Franco for Defamation

Scorned Former NYU Professor Suing James Franco for Defamation

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Last year, José Angel Santana filed a lawsuit against New York University for allegedly firing him for giving actor James Franco a “D”.

After Santana gave his side of the story to various media outlets, Franco finally spoke up, telling the New York Post the NYU professor simply was an “awful” teacher.

Franco took Santana’s course in pursuit of his masters in fine arts degree and said he skipped12 of Santana’s 14 directing classes because ‘I didn’t feel like I needed to waste my time with a bad teacher.’

Regarding the wrongful termination lawsuit Santana filed against NYU last year, Franco stated, ‘No teacher will ever be fired from NYU for giving a student a ‘D.’ He wasn’t fired, he was asked not to come back after three years because they didn’t think he was a good teacher.’

Now Franco himself is on the receiving end of a Santana lawsuit, as the former professor is claiming the 127 Hours star made “disparaging and inaccurate public statements” about him.

The lawsuit was filed in Manhattan Supreme Court on Tuesday. Santana is seeking unspecified damages.

As for the lawsuit against the university, Franco once said of Santana, ‘He’s not going to win the lawsuit and he’s not going to be hired at another institution.’


Read more by HS News Staff →

Oscar de la Renta’s Career Honored By Fashion World in NY

Oscar de la Renta’s Career Honored By Fashion World in NY

Photo: Oscar de La Renta and Sarah Jessica Parker

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The career of Dominican designer Oscar de la Renta was recognized Wednesday by the Couture Council at an event to kick off New York’s Fashion Week.

“For me, it’s an honor to receive an award, above all for something that I love doing. For me, fashion is a passion, something I’ve been involved with for many years,” the designer told Efe before receiving the lifetime achievement award from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg at a heavily attended event at Lincoln Center.

De la Renta told Efe that despite his five decades in fashion, he is still “learning, there’s still a new challenge” for him in pursuing his successful career during which he has created a fashion empire.

In addition, De la Renta is one of the preferred designers of women from first ladies to stars like Sarah Jessica Parker, who attended the event in a summer ankle-length dress with red and white checks.

The 80-year-old fashion icon - whose empire also includes underclothing for both men and women, perfumes and accessories, articles for the home, collections for children, shoes and jewelry - recalled that his muse has always been his wife, whom he has been designing for since 1965 when he created his firm in New York.

De la Renta, who attended the event accompanied by his wife Annette, added with satisfaction that during the last four decades his wife went from being a housewife to a woman “involved in all sorts of social activities ... and a great contributor to current society.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Steak and Politics: Eva Longoria Opening Women’s Steakhouse, Speaking at Democratic Convention

Steak and Politics: Eva Longoria Opening Women’s Steakhouse, Speaking at Democratic Convention

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Following the closing of the Vegas steakhouse she was a 30 percent stakeholder in, Eva Longoria is now reorganizing to open a 1920s era dining and nightlife steakhouse complete with fashion shows, aimed at women.

While “SHe Restaurant” is aimed at female steakhouse lovers, it will not be a women-only establishment.

SHe will be located in the same spot as the “Desperate Housewives” alum’s recently closed restaurant Beso and nightclub Eve. It will reportedly have “boutique steakhouse dishes” and other smaller portions, hopefully appealing to women.

The new restaurant is scheduled to open in time for New Year’s Eve.

While she prepares for the new venture, Longoria has more immediate preparations to make, as he will be speaking at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday ahead of President Obama’s speech.

In 2008, Longoria was a vocal supporter of the President and is currently co-chair of the President’s re-election campaign. She is a staunch opponent of Arizona’s immigration law known as SB 1070, having called in unconstitutional.

During an appearance on the “Today” show Thursday, Longoria assured she would not be going the way of fellow Hollywood star Clint Eastwood, promising “no empty chairs.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Lawsuits, Sex Tape, and a Baby with Pique? Shakira Hit With It All

Lawsuits, Sex Tape, and a Baby with Pique? Shakira Hit With It All

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Colombian bombshell Shakira is being hit with some whoppers.

While the Colombian singer is facing a possible sex tape scandal, she is now also being sued by a former boyfriend. And did we mention she may be pregnant?

According to multiple Spanish and Latin American sources, someone allegedly in possession of a Shakira-Pique sex tape is looking to sell it.

Talent agents at Spain’s Intervieu magazine recently stated, “The video lasts about 15 minutes….it’s filmed with a cell phone, which I guess, belonged to Shakira’s employee who was at the helm of the boat that night. The images are not steady and it’s out of focus.”

News of the video follows a recent lawsuit filed against the singer by former employees who claim they were fired for not making food for the singer in the middle of the night.

On top of that lawsuit and the newest sex tape news, Shakira is also being sued by her ex-boyfriend for a massive $250 million.

Argentinean Antonio de la Rúa, with whom Shakira had an eleven-year relationship, has reportedly filed a lawsuit claiming he is owed millions, as he was her business manager with they dated and is entitled to monetary compensation.

De la Rúa, who is the son on former Argentine President Fernando de la Rúa, is looking for 18 percent of the profits Shakira earned through her deal with Live Nation, the world’s largest entertainment company. The contract was worth roughly $100 million.

Also listed in the lawsuit are a number of properties the coupe purchased while together, including a New York apartment and a large home in Uruguay.

The eleven-year relationship ended in August of 2010, though the split did not go public until the following January.

Since then, the 35-year-old “Hips Don’t Lie” singer has begun dating Barcelona defender Gerard Piqué, 25.

According to a Huffington Post – Voces exclusive, Shakira and Pique are allegedly expecting a baby. The news outlet says the little one is due in January. However, the couple have yet to confirm there is indeed a bun en el horno.

Read more by HS News Staff →

CHECK OUT:  Journey on Undocubus Now Parked at DNC (VIDEO)

CHECK OUT:  Journey on Undocubus Now Parked at DNC (VIDEO)

Photo: Undocubus by Colorlines

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Check out this video produced by our friends over at Colorlines that do a great job keeping us focused on diversity battles everywhere.  One of their reporters boarded the Undocubus last week in Tennessee to join undocumented students, immigrants and laborers to get the message on immigration out.

The Undocubus started in Arizona in July and is now in Charlotte, North Carolina at the Democratic National Convention.  Aura Bogado of Colorlines calls this “a modern-day ride for freedom and justice.”

Related Videos

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: Boy, 6, Killed While Trying to Protect Sister from Intruder

LATINO BLOTTER: Boy, 6, Killed While Trying to Protect Sister from Intruder

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A little boy is being called a hero after he risked and lost his life trying to protect his sister from an intruder.

On Sunday, high on a drug combination called “wet” – a mix of PCP and marijuana – Osvaldo Rivera, 31, broke into the Camden, New Jersey home where a 6-year-old boy and his sister were sleeping.

The children were being watched by a 14-year-old babysitter while their mother was in the hospital recovering from a recent surgery.

According to reports, the 6-year-old boy’s throat was slashed when he tried to protect his 12-year-old sister from Rivera. The girl told police Rivera also raped her.

Though it has been released, HS-News has chosen not to share the name of the young boy in order to protect the identity of the girl, who is considered a sexual assault victim.

The girl, whose throat was also slashed, was able to help police identify Rivera and after discovering someone fitting the description recently spent a few nights at a nearby apartment, officers went looking for him.

Rivera was found hiding between a mattress and a wall in one of the nearby apartment’s bedrooms. Prints from his blood-stained shoes were matched with those found at the children’s home.

During his interrogation, Rivera reportedly asked, “How bad did I hurt them.?

He has been charged with murder and attempted murder and likely faces additional charges. His bail was set $5 million.

The girl’s windpipe was slashed in the attack, but she is said to be recovering, her condition upgraded to stable. She was able to run from the home when her brother intervened and ran for help.

Though “wet” is known to cause hallucinations and “non-specific aggressive behavior”, doctors say extreme violence is rare, and the aggressive behavior is mostly in the form of “vocal aggression”.

Dr. Al Sacchetti, chief of emergency services at our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden, told the Huffington Post cases like this are unusual as “usually people hallucinate, but they’re not that focused. You have to be very focused to…find someone and slit their throat.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Jimmy Fallon Parodies Mayor Julian Castro’s DNC Speech (VIDEO)

Jimmy Fallon Parodies Mayor Julian Castro’s DNC Speech (VIDEO)

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Twitter has been abuzz with people pointing out the similarities between a late night talks how host and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro.

On Tuesday, Castro delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC. Though he does have a twin brother, that’s not who the Twittersphere said he could be mistaken for.

Comedian Michael Ian Black even tweeted Tuesday night, “Julian Castro looks like a Latino Jimmy Fallon,” to which one of his followers responded, “Oh, thank you for not making me the only one who thought that.”

Always one to go for the joke, the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon host kept things going with an impression of Mayor Castro Wednesday night.

We have just one request:

Please, oh please, have Julian (and maybe his brother Joaquin) on your show, Jimmy!

Check out the clip below.


Read more by HS News Staff →

STUDY: Diagnosis Often Missed for Hispanic Children with Autism or Developmental Delays

STUDY: Diagnosis Often Missed for Hispanic Children with Autism or Developmental Delays

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Hispanic children often have undiagnosed developmental delays and large numbers of both Hispanic and non-Hispanic children who first were thought to have developmental delay actually had autism, researchers affiliated with the UC Davis MIND Institute have found.

The study, one of the largest to date to compare development in Hispanic and non-Hispanic children, is published in the journal Autism. The results lead the study authors to recommend increased public health efforts to improve awareness, especially among Hispanics, about the indicators of developmental delay and autism.

Developmental delay is diagnosed in children who lag behind others in reaching important mental or physical milestones, while autism is characterized by deficits in social interactions and communication behaviors. The symptoms of both disorders can be improved with targeted interventions, with the greatest improvements seen when interventions begin early in life.

In conducting the study, the researchers used data from the Childhood Autism Risk from Genetics and the Environment (CHARGE) Study, a population-based study of factors that increase risk for autism or developmental delay. The current study included 1,061 children living in California who were between 24 and 60 months of age. They were divided into three groups: children with autism, children with developmental delay but not autism, and children with typical development. All diagnoses were confirmed or changed based on evaluations by MIND Institute clinicians.

The evaluations of Hispanic children were conducted by bicultural and bilingual clinicians in Spanish or English, depending on the primary language used at home. The results for children with at least one Hispanic parent of any race were compared to the results for children of non-Hispanic white parents.

When the outcomes for Hispanic children were compared to non-Hispanic children, the results revealed more similarities than differences in terms of autism profiles, including diagnostic scores, language function, whether or not children lost acquired skills and overall intellectual, social and physical functioning.

A striking outcome, however, was that 6.3 percent of Hispanic children enrolled in the study who were selected randomly out of the general population met criteria for developmental delay, compared with only 2.4 percent of non-Hispanic participants, which is the expected percentage. This raised concerns among the researchers that many Hispanic children with developmental delays may not be getting the services they need.

Read more at UC David Health System →

Andy Roddick Finishes Tennis Career with a Defeat by Argentina’s Del Potro

Andy Roddick Finishes Tennis Career with a Defeat by Argentina’s Del Potro

Photo: Juan del Potro Defeats Andy Roddick, Now Retires

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Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro advanced to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open with a 6-7 (1-7), 7-6 (7-4), 6-2, 6-4 win here Wednesday over Andy Roddick, a victory that sent the American into retirement.

The match-up of U.S. Open champions began Tuesday but was suspended by rain and resumed Wednesday with Roddick leading 1-0 in the first-set tiebreaker, which the American went on to win 7-1 against a lethargic Del Potro.

The two players had exchanged breaks of serve in the first set, but neither player managed even a break point in the second set, and Del Potro found himself faced with a must-win tiebreaker to avoid a two-set hole.

But the Argentine came alive with some strong returning when he needed it most to win that tiebreaker 7-4 and alter the momentum of the match.

He then proceeded to break Roddick’s serve at the start of the third set en route to an easy 6-2 win and the writing was on the wall for the 30-year-old American, who had announced prior to his second-round match on Friday that this tournament would be his last.

Roddick went down a break in the fourth set and faced a match point when serving at 3-5, prompting the crowd to erupt with cheers for their favorite.

The American, known as one of the great servers in the history of tennis, managed to dig himself out of that hole with the help of his best weapon but that only delayed the inevitable as Del Potro served the match out one game later.

“It was really tough moment for me and for him, also. Last point of his life. The crowd was amazing for both players. I really enjoyed in that way, but it wasn’t easy for me to play,” the Argentine said in the post-match press conference.

“I played better than my last match. I was really high intensity during all the match, and Andy played really well.”

The charismatic American, meanwhile, gave an emotional farewell speech afterward in which he soaked in the admiration of the large crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

“Since I was a kid, I’ve been coming to this tournament and I felt lucky just to sit where all of you are sitting today and to watch this game and to see the champions that have come and gone,” Roddick said.

“I’ve loved every minute of it,” the American former world No. 1, who captured his one and only Grand Slam event in New York in 2003, said to rousing applause.

Roddick retired while still able to go toe-to-toe with the world’s best players, but he explained last week that he is suffering from a series of nagging physical ailments and no longer has the physical ability or motivation to train day-in and day-out.

Del Potro, who won the 2009 U.S. Open, will next take on Serbian world No. 2 and defending champion Novak Djokovic, who advanced to the quarterfinals when his opponent, Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka, retired with an injury with Djokovic leading 6-4, 6-1, 3-1.

Djokovic holds a 5-2 advantage in the head-to-head matchup and won their last encounter at a U.S. Open tune-up event last month at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, a tournament that - like the U.S. Open - is played on hard courts.

Del Potro, however, defeated the Serb in the men’s singles bronze medal match at the London Olympics.

Those two will square off on Thursday, while the other quarterfinal in the bottom half of the draw will pit Serbia’s Janko Tipsarevic against Spain’s David Ferrer.

In the top half of the draw, Scotland’s Andy Murray advanced to the semifinals with a four-set win Wednesday over Croatia’s Marin Cilic, while No. 1 Roger Federer will square off in the night quarterfinal match against Czech Tomas Berdych.

The U.S. Open is the last of the four Grand Slam events, the biggest tournaments on the tennis calendar.

Read more by HS News Staff →

OPINION:  “Papers, Please” Upheld Endangering Women Immigrants’ Civil Rights

OPINION:  “Papers, Please” Upheld Endangering Women Immigrants’ Civil Rights

Photo: Opinion on Show Me Your Papers Ruling

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The National Coalition for Immigrant Women’s Rights has issued the following opinion on the recent ruling on “Show Me Your Papers” provision of Arizona’s SB1070 immigration law.

On September 5, U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton issued an opinion that upheld the controversial “papers, please” provision of the harsh Arizona immigration law SB 1070, threatening the civil rights of women immigrants across the country.

“Civil rights and immigration experts have clearly stated that the ‘papers, please’ provision of SB 1070 encourages racial profiling and promotes stigma and bias against immigrants, and yet a U.S. district judge chose to ignore those warnings,” said Jessica González-Rojas, executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH), one of the two organizations that lead the National Coalition for Immigrant Women’s Rights (NCIWR). “

“The ‘papers, please’ component of this law threatens to create a dangerous level of mistrust between law enforcement officials and women immigrants who fear detention,” said Miriam Yeung, executive director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF).

This decision reinforces how Arizona continues to lead the nation in troubling immigration policy. Last week, Governor Jan Brewer issued an executive order outlining the state’s refusal to comply with the federal immigration policy that gives young immigrants without documents the opportunity to work legally in the United States for the first time. Instead, Brewer has ordered state workers not to issue driver’s licenses or other public benefits to undocumented immigrants, further limiting the options of these young people.

Read more by HS News Staff →

60 Million Mexicans Will Live Below the Poverty Line by 2013

60 Million Mexicans Will Live Below the Poverty Line by 2013

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Underemployment, inflation and other factors have eroded the income level of some 31 million Mexicans, and by the end of this year there will be more than 60 million people living below the poverty line, economist Jose Luis de la Cruz told Efe.

Although Mexico’s macroeconomic figures are positive, growth has not resulted in a reduction in the conditions of poverty, according to De la Cruz, director of the Center for Research on the Economy and Business at the Mexico state campus of Monterrey Tech.

He said that from 2006 to 2010, some 12.2 million people fell below the poverty line, adding that in the last two years another 2.5 million people had joined them, bringing the total number of people below the poverty line to some 60 million.

He also said that the number of people in extreme poverty grew 44.2 percent between 2006 and 2010 and that the prices of staple foods is one of the areas most affected by the high inflation level over the past year.

De la Cruz said that up through July double-digit increases had been registered in prices for corn, 16.6 percent; rice, 11.4 percent; beef, 16.2 percent; eggs, 19.3 percent; tomatoes, 26 percent; and beans, up by a whopping 56 percent.

“This means that more people cannot acquire a basic food basket,” the economist said.

While Mexico’s official jobless rate is fairly low, 4.3 million workers are classified as underemployed, while 14.2 million others work in the underground economy.

Just 16.9 million Mexican workers have benefits such as health insurance.

“The labor market situation is precarious. There are 31 million Mexicans in a precarious situation, 15 million don’t have an employment contract, some 11 million work for themselves, among them those who work as street vendors,” De la Cruz said.

He added that between 10 million and 15 million workers making between three and four times the minimum wage find themselves in a shaky situation and are likely to slide into poverty in the event of an economic slowdown.

He also said that the problem is that Mexico is not a poor country, but rather a country of poor people, where substantial inequality in the distribution of wealth exists, along with monopolies and oligopolies and an economic policy without a social objective.

Read more by HS News Staff →

First Lady Michelle Obama Notes, Praises Latino Community’s “Critical Role”

First Lady Michelle Obama Notes, Praises Latino Community’s “Critical Role”

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First lady Michelle Obama on Wednesday praised the “critical role” of the Latino community in helping achieve her husband’s vision for the country and she promised to fight for approval of the DREAM Act, which would provide a path to legalization for qualified undocumented young people.

“So we don’t have a single minute to waste,” she said in a meeting with the Hispanic Caucus at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, where President Barack Obama will be formally nominated to seek a second term.

She called on Hispanic delegates to keep doing “that hard work on the ground” to encourage all possible voters to go to the polls on Nov. 6.

The Hispanic vote represented about 9 percent of the national total in the 2008 election and it is expected that it could amount to 11 percent this year.

About 800 of the 6,000 delegates at the Democratic Convention are Hispanics.

The first lady urged all Hispanics to take part in the democratic process and said that she is “so proud” of the enthusiasm that Democratic supporters are displaying in this campaign.

“My husband has been working hard to build a ladder to the middle class for all Americans,” she said, describing Barack Obama as “an extraordinary president.”

She promised that a second Obama administration would continue fighting for approval of the DREAM Act.

In addition, the said that this election is going to be more hard-fought than the contest in 2008 and she asked Americans who live in traditionally Democratic states to go to vote as if they lived in toss-up states like Florida, Ohio or Virginia.

Mrs. Obama, whose popularity rating is above that of her husband, wrapped up her remarks by saying “Si se puede” (in effect, “Yes, we can”) in Spanish and she kissed and hugged a number of people attending the caucus.

Support for the president among the Latino community “is very strong. They know that he’s been working a lot and every day,” said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who was among those attending the caucus.

“President Obama’s (personal) story puts him in a position where he can understand the Latino community,” he noted.

In his judgment, the future of more than 50 million Latinos “will be determined” during Obama’s next term, if he wins reelection.

Rep. Xavier Becerra, who was also present at the event, said that Obama “is not going to wait for the Republicans to do something” to approve comprehensive immigration reform if he wins a second term.

The U.S. Latino community is important “not only because we’re growing,” but also because “the values we have and learned are the values of this country,” Becerra said.

If he wins the election, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney “is going to do everything possible to eliminate all the benefits that we people of advanced age have,” warned Blanca Paniagua, a convention delegate from Puerto Rico.

“We’re more enthusiastic now, we’re going to mobilize ourselves” for Obama, she said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Venezuela Begins Oil Exploration off of Cuba

Venezuela Begins Oil Exploration off of Cuba

Photo: PDVSA off of the coast of Cuba

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State-owned oil giant Petroleos de Venezuela, or PDVSA, has started exploring for oil in deepwater areas off Cuba, Oil and Mining Minister Rafael Ramirez said.

“It started and when we have the results, we’ll tell the country,” Ramirez said, without providing further details.

State-owned Cubapetroleo, or CUPET, said in early August that PDVSA would continue drilling in deepwater areas despite the fact that other foreign oil companies hit two dry holes.

Malaysia’s PC Gulf and Russia’s Gazpromneft found an “active petroleum system” during their turns at operating the Scarabeo 9 rig, making the discovery at a depth of 4,666 meters (15,298 feet) but failing to come up with significant ammounts of gas and petroleum in Cuba’s Exclusive Economic Zone in the Gulf of Mexico, CUPET said.

Scarabeo 9 will be turned over “in the next few days” to PDVSA “so it can start drilling the Cabo de San Antonio 1 exploratory well” in the zone, Ramirez said.

Spain’s Repsol failed to find oil while using the rig in May.

Cuba’s Exclusive Economic Zone in the Gulf of Mexico is divided into 59 blocks, of which 22 are under contract to foreign oil companies.

The Cuban government estimates that the zone may hold 20 billion barrels of petroleum, while other estimates range from 5 billion barrels to 9 billion barrels.

Read more by HS News Staff →

ThursdaySeptember 6, 2012