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ThursdaySeptember 13, 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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Spanish Economist Receives Espasa Prize for Book on Economic Crisis

Spanish Economist Receives Espasa Prize for Book on Economic Crisis

Photo: Leopoldo Abadia

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Economist Leopoldo Abadia was awarded Spain’s Espasa Prize on Thursday for a book that charts a roadmap out of the nation’s severe economic crisis and describes economic concepts in language accessible to the layperson.

The jury selected Abadia’s “El economista esperanzado. Manual de urgencia para salir de la crisis” (The Hopeful Economist: Urgent Steps for Exiting the Crisis) by unanimous vote, Editorial Espasa said in a statement.

This prize, in its 24th edition this year and accompanied by a cash award of 30,000 euros ($38,600), was known in previous editions as the Espasa Non-Fiction Prize.

This year’s award honored an “optimistic” book that “gets us up-to-date on the latest events and lights the way with a ray of hope,” the publishing house said, noting that Abadia predicts the “end of the crisis is approaching, although probably nothing will be as it was before.”

Abadia told Efe he was “very, very pleased” with this distinction and “hopeful” that Spain can find its way out of its economic woes.

Abadia said Spain is “very much on the right path” and in the good hands of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, of whom the economist is a great admirer.

“I like her so much that I think she should be canonized in her lifetime,” Abadia said.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s administration has adopted a series of German-backed austerity measures in recent months that are aimed at meeting a European Union-mandated budget deficit target.

Rajoy’s government says fulfilling the deficit objective is the first step out of the crisis, which was triggered by the collapse of a massive real-estate bubble in the context of the 2008-2009 global recession.

Those measures, however, have been harshly criticized by unions and sparked large street protests in a country where the overall unemployment rate is nearly 25 percent and more than 50 percent of young people are jobless.

Spain is currently in its second recession in three years.

Four years after publishing “La crisis Ninja” (The Ninja Crisis), a book that explained the origins of the crisis to thousands of Spaniards, Abadia has solidified his status as “the economist of reference” for both the initiated and those with some economic background, Editorial Espasa said.

Previous winners of the Espasa Prize, which dates back to 1984, include Luis Rojas Marcos, Fernando Arrabal, Jon Juaristi, Vicente Verdu and Albert Boadella.

Diego Carcedo won the previous edition of the award for his work “Entre heroes y bestias” (Between Beasts and Heroes).

Read more by HS News Staff →

Las Vegas Prepares for “El Grito” Celebration of Mexican Independence

Las Vegas Prepares for “El Grito” Celebration of Mexican Independence

Photo: "El Grito" in Las Vegas

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Las Vegas on Thursday is beginning one of its most intense seasons of the year to celebrate the 203rd anniversary of “El Grito,” which marked the start of the fight for Mexico’s independence, an event that attracts to the Nevada city thousands of tourists from the United States’ southern neighbor.

For the celebration, the city, hotels and businesses have organized a series of events to extol Mexican culture and with which local authorities are seeking to continue positioning Las Vegas as one of the most attractive U.S. tourist destinations.

After Canadians, Mexicans constitute the largest group of foreign visitors to the entertainment center, Ericka Aviles, the business marketing and management chief for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, or LVCVA, told Efe.

Aviles said that between now and next Sunday 22 daily flights will be added to the 20 regularly scheduled ones that land here each day from Mexico, and direct routes from various places in Mexico will be opened up, to allow thousands of foreign tourists to participate in the “El Grito” activities.

The tourists from the neighboring country, she added, will be welcomed to the sounds of Mexican music at the airport and at different spots around the city, which will have an assortment of entertainment and other offerings specially set up all over for the celebration.

“In Las Vegas, we’re very excited to welcome more than 6,000 Mexicans who will come to celebrate ‘El Grito’ this weekend,” Aviles said.

She added that Las Vegas offers different activities that range from shopping and gastronomy to boxing, concerts and all kinds of shows for the Mexican tourists, who each year - not counting the money they shell out on gaming - spend an average of $1,146 during their stay in the city.

Among the attractions being readied for the celebration are concerts by singer Luis Miguel at Caesars Palace starting Thursday and running through Sept. 15, as well as those offered by singers Marco Antonio Solis, Marc Anthony and Chayanne, who will present their “Gigant3s” show on Friday at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.

In addition, Latino jazz virtuoso Pancho Sanchez and his Latin Jazz Band will perform on Friday and Saturday, while the legendary Arturo Sandoval, one of the most famous jazz trumpet-players in the world, will bring his Cuban-American sound to The Orleans Hotel and Casino on Saturday.

The Mexican band Mana, the winner of multiple Grammy Awards, will perform their greatest hits on Sunday at the MGM Garden Grand Arena.

In the same venue, lovers of boxing on Saturday will be able to see the bout between undefeated Mexican pugilist Canelo Alvarez and Josesito Lopez in the “Knockout Kings” fight series for the World Boxing Council’s Super Welterweight title.

In addition, current champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. that same day will fight Argentina’s Sergio Gabriel Martinez, former WBC and World Boxing Organization middleweight champion, at the Thomas and Mack Center.

On Saturday, the party will move out into the streets of downtown Las Vegas with The Fiesta Las Vegas Latino Parade and Festival, the largest Latino parade and festival in southern Nevada and at which Mexican singer Graciela Beltran will be the parade’s grand marshal.

Also, mariachi music will be offered on Saturday at the International Mariachi Festival, a gathering of the best musicians at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino that will feature Shaila Durcal, Vargas de Tecalitlan, Jose Hernandez’s Mariachi Sol de Mexico group and Mariachi Divas.

According to the LVCVA, Las Vegas welcomes 39 million visitors per year but in 2012 authorities are expecting 40 million. To accommodate and entertain them, the city is working on an intense campaign that seeks to make the destination even more attractive as a tourist and leisure center for the international market.

“El Grito” commemorates the incident on the morning of Sept. 16, 1810, when Priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla issued a call to Mexicans to take up arms against Spain and fight for independence, which was finally achieved in 1821.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Gubernatorial Candidate Garcia Padilla Gets Caught in Altercation

Gubernatorial Candidate Garcia Padilla Gets Caught in Altercation

Photo: Gubernatorial Candidate Garcia Padilla Gets Caught in Altercation

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The opposition Popular Democratic Party, or PPD, candidate for Puerto Rico’s governorship, Alejandro Garcia Padilla, found himself enmeshed Thursday in an altercation at the State Elections Commission in San Juan when he accompanied a group of citizens who were intending to register to vote.

Garcia Padilla, who according to a survey last August is 5 points ahead of Gov. Luis Fortuño among likely voters less than two months prior to the Nov. 6 election, was a witness to a confrontation between followers of his party and those of the governing New Progressive Party, or PNP.

A PNP electoral commissioner who came to the State Elections Commission rebuked followers of the PPD and Garcia Padilla, saying that he could not enter the commission offices, and this resulted in a confrontation that made it necessary to call on the police to intervene.

Garcia Padilla said after the incident at a press conference that the altercation arose because of the violent attitude of PNP supporters and he claimed that it was part of an attempt by the governing party to prevent Puerto Rican citizens from registering to vote prior to the Nov. 6 election.

The leader of the opposition asked the public to register to vote before next Monday, the deadline set by the State Elections Commission.

The incident came less than two months before the gubernatorial election on Nov. 6, the date on which Puerto Ricans will also vote on their political relationship with the United States.

Garcia Padilla’s opposition PPD wants to continue with the island’s current U.S. Commonwealth status, while Gov. Fortuño is pushing to have the island join the United States as the 51st state.

The San Juan daily El Nuevo Dia last August published a survey in which Garcia Padilla obtained the support of 41 percent of the likely voters while Fortuño garnered 36 percent.

The candidate in third place in the pre-election surveys is Puerto Rican Independence Party, PIP, nominee Juan Salmau, who received the support of 4 percent of the likely voters.

Among the minority parties, Rogelio Figueroa, of the Puerto Ricans for Puerto Rico Party, or PPR, was supported by 1 percent of those polled.

Eleven percent of those surveyed said they still had not decided whom to vote for, 4 percent said they would not cast ballots and the remaining 3 percent refused to respond.

The August survey, conducted among a sample of 1,000 people over age 18 in towns all over the island and with an error margin of +/- 3 percent, showed that Fortuño and Garcia Padilla had moved closer together in terms of their support since last May, when the difference between the candidates was 7 percent.

The Nov. 6 balloting follows the referendum on Aug. 19, in which Puerto Ricans were asked about limiting the right to bail in certain murder cases and reducing the size of the island’s Legislative Assembly.

The referendum, promoted by Fortuño, resulted in a rejection of both proposals by a narrow margin, a result that local analysts said could be a harbinger of what will occur on Nov. 6.

Read more by HS News Staff →

“Caravan for Peace” Leader To Take A Break After U.S. Tour

“Caravan for Peace” Leader To Take A Break After U.S. Tour

Photo: Javier Sicilia

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Mexican poet Javier Sicilia, who just wrapped up a tour of the United States with other members of his Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, said he will take a break for a couple of months to return to his academic pursuits and privately mourn the violent death of his son in 2011.

Sicilia told reporters here after an appearance before the U.S. Senate on Wednesday that he will not participate for the time being in the activities of the MPJD, made up of dozens of relatives of victims of drug-related violence in Mexico.

“I’m going away for a couple of months and then I’ll come back, and I’ll be a part of the movement in another way, but I’ll be there,” Sicilia said at the conclusion of his movement’s peace caravan in the United States.

The poet said he is “very tired” after a very difficult year and a half in which he has had to confront the pain caused by the death of his son in March 2011 and the “inefficiency of the Mexican state, which at the end of the day allowed and brought about that death with its policy of war” on drug cartels.

“It’s a moment for me. I also must be with my family and experience my grief. I really haven’t been able to experience the depth of this grief,” the MPJD leader said, adding that he does not fear the movement will lose momentum if he is not at the helm.

“I think it’s time to start thinking about other figures ... movements must be more horizontal, less dependent on one person,” Sicilia said.

The poet, who stopped writing and formed his movement after his son was murdered in the central state of Morelos by suspected drug-gang members, has harshly criticized Mexican President Felipe Calderon for deploying tens of thousands of army soldiers and marines against the drug mobs.

He also says the United States shares the blame for spiraling violence since Calderon took office in late 2006, citing the high demand for illegal drugs there and the north-to-south flow of weapons to Mexican drug cartels.

He wants the United States to stop providing aid to Mexico under the Merida Initiative, a U.S.-funded regional plan to battle drug cartels and other transnational criminal networks.

The activist also supports legalizing narcotics and insists that drugs should be treated as a public-health problem not as a national security issue, a stance that President Barack Obama does not share.

Since Calderon took office in late 2006, organized crime-related violence in Mexico has left some 60,000 dead, 10,000 missing and 120,000 displaced from their homes.

Calderon also has come under heavy criticism by international rights groups for using the military to battle drug gangs.

New York-based Human Rights Watch, for example, said in a report last year that “instead of reducing violence, Mexico’s ‘war on drugs’ has resulted in a dramatic increase in killings, torture, and other appalling abuses by security forces, which only make the climate of lawlessness and fear worse in many parts of the country.”

This summer’s caravan in the United States was the MPJD’s first outside Mexico and the third since the movement was founded.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Hugo Chavez Honors Mexican Singer Vicente Fernandez With Order of the Liberator

Hugo Chavez Honors Mexican Singer Vicente Fernandez With Order of the Liberator

Photo: Hugo Chavez and Vicente Fernandez

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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez welcomed famed Mexican ranchera singer Vicente Fernandez to the Miraflores presidential palace, chatting and singing with the recording artist and honoring him with the Order of the Liberator.

“I’m very pleased ... it’s a great honor to receive a visit from this titan, let’s put it that way. He’s a titan in the deepest sense among our peoples, not only the Mexican people, also the Venezuelan people and the peoples of our America and the world,” Chavez told reporters.

The leftist head of state, who met for nearly an hour on Wednesday with Fernandez along with his foreign minister, Nicolas Maduro, ended the gathering by belting out a few lines from the Mexican artist’s famed tune “Ay Jalisco, no te rajes” (Hey, Jalisco, Don’t Back Down!).

The 72-year-old Fernandez, who announced his impending retirement in February and is bidding farewell to his Venezuelan fans with his “La Despedida” tour, did not speak with reporters after his meeting with Chavez.

The singer gave a concert Saturday at the bull ring in the western city of San Cristobal and will perform Thursday night in Caracas at Simon Bolivar University’s soccer stadium.

Chavez said he bestowed the Order of the Liberator, Venezuela’s highest distinction, on Fernandez and said the singer’s voice resounded throughout the presidential palace.

“He made Office 1 shake. Good thing it’s earthquake-resistant,” the president joked.

Fernandez, an emblematic figure in Mexico’s traditional ranchera music, has recorded more than 100 albums over his 45-year career, received numerous honors and sold more than 65 million records.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Designer Maria Cornejo Shows a Different Side with Spring 2013 Collection

Designer Maria Cornejo Shows a Different Side with Spring 2013 Collection

Photo: Designer Maria Cornejo Shows a Different Side with Spring 2013 Collection

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Chilean-born designer Maria Cornejo made a surprising, yet pleasant, showing at her Zero + Maria Cornejo Pier 57 ready-to-wear Spring 2013 show.

Though known more for her fuller, asymmetric silhouettes, Cornejo sent more structured pieces down the runway this week.

As WWD put it, “Cornejo continued to weave technology, nature and the handmade into her clothes.”

The macramé pieces in the collection were created in collaboration with a women’s co-op in Bolivia, and made of the fine hairs of baby Alpaca.

Below, one can see digital photo prints bring color to the collection’s otherwise, blue, black, gray, and white garments.

The Spring 2013 RTW collection was well-received, reportedly even bringing actor Mark Ruffalo and his wife to his feet as the designer came out for her bow.

Cornejo was born in Chile and moved to England was she was still a child. In 1984, she formed the Richmond-Cornejo label with English designer John Richmond. She went on to develop her own signature collection while working as a creative consultant for major retailers like Jesph, Tehen, and Jigsaw.

In 1996, she moved to New York and in 1997 opened a creative atelier and store. In 2006, Cornejo was honored as winner of the Fashion Prize at the Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt National Design Awards.

Following continued success, in May 2006 Zero + Maria Cornejo opened its second store in New York’s far-West Village neighborhood and has most recently moved its Mott Street store to the home of its new store/showroom/atelier at 33 Bleecker Street, New York.


Read more by HS News Staff →

INFOGRAPHIC: Economic Competitiveness in Latin America

INFOGRAPHIC: Economic Competitiveness in Latin America

Photo: Hispanically Speaking News

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The 2012-2013 Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) covers 144 major and emerging economies.  The report assesses the ability of countries to provide high levels of prosperity to their citizens.  Scoring a variety of indicators out of a possible 7 points, below is a sampling of where LatAm ranked globally.


Read more by HS News Staff →

Dominican Republic Tells Miss Universe “No Dinero” to Host This Year’s Pageant

Dominican Republic Tells Miss Universe “No Dinero” to Host This Year’s Pageant

Photo: 2012 Miss Universe in Dominican Republic?

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The 2012 Miss Universe pageant that is scheduled to be hosted by the Dominican Republic in December, could be in jeopardy since the government informed officials it did not have the required funds to contribute.

Pageant officials were informed by the country’s administrative minister, Jose Ramon Peralta, that due to austerity measures the Dominican did not have the $6 million required to sponsor the event.  The Miss Universe organization remains hopeful that the private sector, that apparently is very interested, will contribute the funds.  The 2011 pageant was held in Sao Paulo, Brazil. 

Since 1996,  Donald Trump has owned the Miss Universe pageant and along with NBC sells television rights to the beauty contest to generate revenue for the organization.

The country is currently negotiating with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a new economic support program.  In 2009 the Dominican Republic received a $1.66 billion aid package from the IMF.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Tourism in Mexico Continues to Grow Thanks to Foreign Tourists

Tourism in Mexico Continues to Grow Thanks to Foreign Tourists

Photo: Tourism in Mexico

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Mexico expects a record number of foreign tourist arrivals this year despite security problems stemming from drug violence, Tourism Secretary Gloria Guevara told Efe.

The number of foreigners who entered Mexico between January and July rose by 6 percent relative to the same period of 2011, and therefore Guevara expects last year’s record of 23.4 million foreign tourists will be eclipsed.

“We’re estimating that we’ll grow between 5 percent and 9 percent” in 2012, Guevara said during an appearance at a tourism conference in Quito.

Crime is a challenge for the industry but, even so, tourism numbers are expected to continue their upward trend, she said.

“We have 2,500 municipalities, according to figures from the government secretary, and the challenges we’re experiencing are concentrated in 80 of them. However, the tourists go to tourist destinations and those are tranquil. They’re at peace,” Guevara said.

Conflict among rival cartels and between the traffickers and the security forces has claimed some 60,000 lives in Mexico since December 2006, when newly inaugurated President Felipe Calderon - whose term ends Nov. 30 - militarized the struggle against the drug trade.

The Tourism Secretariat estimates that in 2012 the number of domestic and international tourists in Mexico will surpass 200 million, up from the previous record of 191 million set last year.

Tourism accounts for 9 percent of Mexico’s gross domestic product and employs 2.5 million people directly and nearly 5 million people indirectly, Guevara said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spanish Celebrity Chef Jose Andres Hired as Consultant on Upcoming NBC Show ‘Hannibal’

Spanish Celebrity Chef Jose Andres Hired as Consultant on Upcoming NBC Show ‘Hannibal’

Photo: Spanish Celebrity Chef Jose Andres Hired as Consultant on Upcoming NBC Show 'Hannibal'

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Spanish chef Jose Andres has been hired as a consultant for an upcoming NBC series based on the iconic character Hannibal Lecter’s life before he was jailed.

In 1981, novelist Thomas Harris introduced us to the brilliant psychiatrist and cannibalistic serial killer, Dr. Hannibal Lector. The film adaptation of Harris’ second Hannibal novel, The Silence of the Lambs introduced movie-goers to the disturbing character in 1991. Anthony Hopkins went on to win an Academy Award for his portrayal, which included the now famous line about human liver being good “with some fava beans a nice chianti.”

As a consultant with the upcoming NBC series Hannibal, Andres will help make Hannibal appear as a man of very refined tastes and a sophisticated pallet.

According to the Washington Post, Andres was tapped by producer and screenwriter Bryan Fuller to “flesh out the character, so to speak, by showing what a culinary sophisticate the cannibalistic psychiatrist was, pre-incarceration.”

‘This is beyond cannibalism,’ Andres told the Post. ‘It’s about people who have dark sides and dark stories.’

Though filming of the show is underway in Toronto, a date for the series premier has not been set.

In 2011, Andrés won the coveted James Beard Foundation’s Outstanding Chef Award, the highest honor a chef in America can achieve. The talented and hilarious chef has also appeared on a number of American television shows such as Ellen and Conan.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Creative New Site Based Out of Argentina, Opens to the World - Explore the World of Mural.ly

Creative New Site Based Out of Argentina, Opens to the World - Explore the World of Mural.ly

Photo: Creative New Site Based Out of Argentina, Opens to the World - Explore the World of Mural.ly

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Earlier this week, Buenos Aires, Argentina-based Mural.ly (Murally) opened up the private beta of there website to the world to allow feedback from more people to “keep improving our experience.”

In March, Tactivos Inc. launched Mural.ly and gave users the opportunity to “collect stuff from the web, move it around freely and find patterns for new ideas.”

Mural.ly works as a virtual corkboard so to speak, by allowing images, videos, notes, and various other things from a number of sources to be put all together is one place like a mural.

Check out this video from Mural.ly’s co-founder and CEO Mariano Suarez Battan.


Read more by HS News Staff →

Greg Garcia, Danielle Sanchez-Witzel, Sell Comedies to CBS

Greg Garcia, Danielle Sanchez-Witzel, Sell Comedies to CBS

Photo: Greg Garcia, Danielle Sanchez-Witzel, Sell Comedies to CBS

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The creator and executive producer of Raising Hope, Greg Garcia, has reportedly sold two new comedies to CBS, one written with Danielle Sanchez-Witzel.

The 42-year-old was behind the hilarious comedies My Name is Earl on NBC, for which he won an Emmy in 2006, and Raising Hope, which is entering its third season on Fox. He was also the co-creator of Yes Dear, which ran on CBS for six year.

The details surrounding one of the shows are limited, though Deadline is reporting it is a single-camera comedy, which he is writing for and producin, and is said to be another one of his quirky comedies revolving around original characters, relatable themes and “a lot of heart.”

Capturing Crazy, which Garcia is working on with Sanchez-Witzel, who he worked with on My Name is Earl, follows “a woman in her mid-20s who turns her documentary camera on her own family to prove once and for all that they’re crazy.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

43 Latin King Members and Associates Charged with Selling Heroin, Coke and Pot Throughout Chicago

43 Latin King Members and Associates Charged with Selling Heroin, Coke and Pot Throughout Chicago

Photo: Major Arrests of Chicago Latin Kings

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Twenty-six alleged members and associates of the Latin Kings street gang are facing federal narcotics charges, most of them for their alleged roles in one of two drug trafficking organizations that supplied and distributed multi-kilogram quantities of heroin, cocaine, and marijuana in Chicago and the south suburbs.

An additional 17 defendants are facing related state charges in Cook and Will counties.  The federal charges, contained in four separate criminal complaints, stem from an investigation of narcotics and firearms trafficking led by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), U.S. Immigration and other local agencies.

Agents yesterday seized an undetermined amount of cash and 13 firearms, including five long-barreled weapons, while arresting 16 of the federal defendants.  Six other federal defendants \were already in custody and four are fugitives.

The overarching investigation made critical use of an undercover agent who successfully infiltrated the Latin Kings for an extended time.

Click here for a list of all those charges. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Children of U.S. Immigrants May Have Academic Advantage

Children of U.S. Immigrants May Have Academic Advantage

Photo: Children of U.S. Immigrants May Have Academic Advantage

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Their mental health is similar to children of native-born Americans, study also finds. Children of immigrants have advantages in academics and school participation, which could help them move toward adulthood more easily than children of people born in the United States, a new study finds.

Their mental health is similar to children of native-born Americans, study also finds.

Children of immigrants have advantages in academics and school participation, which could help them move toward adulthood more easily than children of people born in the United States, a new study finds.

And those who arrive in the country before their teens may be on track for the most success in school.

The study was published in the September/October issue of the journal Child Development.

“Our findings challenge pessimistic views that having immigrant parents places children at a disadvantage at the point of transitioning to adulthood,” study leader Lingxin Hao, a professor of sociology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, said in a journal news release. “Children of immigrants, when compared to children of native-born parents, are actually at an advantage on some key early adult outcomes.”

The study involved more than 10,000 adolescents ranging in age from 13 to 17. Using two databases—on adolescent health and academic achievement—researchers followed their progress to ages 25 to 32 to reach their conclusions.

In terms of mental health, children of immigrants had no difference in depression compared to children of native-born Americans.

More information

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security provides statistics on immigrants in the United States.

Read more by HS News Staff →

STUDY:  Hispanics Facing Higher Risk for Type 2 Diabetes

STUDY:  Hispanics Facing Higher Risk for Type 2 Diabetes

Photo: Latinos More Prone to Get Type 2 Diabetes

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Hispanics are more likely to store fat in their pancreas, but less likely to be able to produce more insulin to compensate for this excess fat, putting them at higher risk for type 2 diabetes, a new study suggests.

Insulin is a hormone that helps regulate metabolism. People with insulin resistance still produce insulin but their bodies don’t use it correctly. It can be a forerunner for type 2 diabetes.

“Not all people who are overweight or obese and who have insulin resistance go on to develop diabetes,” Richard Bergman, director of the Cedars-Sinai Diabetes and Obesity Research Institute in Los Angeles, and study lead author, said in a Cedars-Sinai news release. “If we can determine who is most likely to develop diabetes and why, then we can make strides toward preventing it in those individuals.”

In conducting the study, the researchers used a noninvasive medical imaging technique, known as magnetic resonance spectroscopy, to measure the amount of fat in the organs of white, black and Hispanic participants. All of the people involved in the study were equally overweight and shared many of the symptoms of prediabetes.

Participants also took an oral glucose tolerance test and intravenous glucose tolerance test to determine their insulin resistance.

“One of the reasons some people are at increased risk, we believe, is that fatty pancreas is unable to secrete enough insulin, which results in an individual progressing from impaired glucose tolerance to type 2 diabetes,” Lidia Szczepaniak, director of magnetic resonance spectroscopy at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute and Biomedical Imaging Research Institute, said in the release. “In our study, we found Latinos were especially vulnerable, as they tended to store more fat in the pancreas and their compensatory insulin secretion was entirely suppressed.”

Diabetes affects nearly 26 million Americans and another 79 million are prediabetic, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The disease is the seventh-leading cause of death in the United States and a major cause of heart disease and stroke.

The study was published online Sept. 11 in Diabetes Care.

While the study found an association between ethnicity and insulin resistance, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

Read more at Health Finder →

Latino Blotter:  El Paso Man Sentenced 20-Yrs for Using Unsuspecting Drivers to Smuggle Pot into MX

Latino Blotter:  El Paso Man Sentenced 20-Yrs for Using Unsuspecting Drivers to Smuggle Pot into MX

Photo: Marijuana Smuggler Sentenced

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In El Paso, 38-year-old Jesus Chavez of El Paso was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for his role in a scheme to take advantage of unsuspecting drivers to smuggle an estimated 3,000 kilograms of marijuana from Juarez, Mexico into El Paso.

In addition to the prison term, Chavez was ordered to pay $141,629 restitution to his victims and be placed under supervised release for a period of 10 years after completing his prison term.

Chavez pleaded guilty and admitted that from March 2010 through June 2011, he implemented a scheme to use unsuspecting individuals and their vehicles, who had access to the dedicated commuter lane at the Stanton Bridge Port of Entry, to import marijuana into the United States.

As part of the scheme, members of this trafficking organization identified vehicles in Ciudad Juarez with access to the dedicated commuter lane, obtained copies of keys to those vehicles and then placed duffel bags loaded with marijuana inside the trunks of the vehicles. After the unsuspecting individual drove the vehicle into the United States and parked, members of this organization would retrieve the marijuana using the vehicle keys in their possession.

Chavez’ co-defendant, 30-year-old Carlos Gomez, whom authorities believe is in Mexico, remains a fugitive in this case.

Read more by HS News Staff →

California’s Luther Burbank to Pay $2 Million for Discriminating Against Minority Borrowers

California’s Luther Burbank to Pay $2 Million for Discriminating Against Minority Borrowers

Photo: Luther Bank Savings Settles Discrimination Suit

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The Justice Department announced yesterday that Luther Burbank Savings will invest $2 million in California communities and take other steps as part of a settlement to resolve allegations that it engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination on the basis of race and national origin.

The complaint alleges that from 2006 through 2010, Luther Burbank Savings, a prime lender, originated very few single-family residential mortgage loans to African-American or Hispanic borrowers or in majority-minority tracts throughout California.  In the greater Los Angeles area, for example, only 5.8 percent of Luther’s single-family residential mortgage loans were made to African-American and Hispanic borrowers during this time period, compared to 31.8 percent of such loans made to African-American and Hispanic borrowers by comparable prime lenders.

The complaint alleges that Luther maintained a $400,000 minimum loan amount policy despite its knowledge that it was a key cause of the low level of lending to African-American and Hispanic borrowers.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Hispanics in US- One in Every Four Lives in Poverty

Hispanics in US- One in Every Four Lives in Poverty

Photo: 1 in every 4 Hispanics in Poverty

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The figure of 25.3 percent of U.S. Hispanics living below the poverty line in 2011 represents an improvement from the previous year, but remains well above pre-recession levels, the Census Bureau said Wednesday.

The bureau published figures on poverty, income and health coverage that highlight the slow pace of recovery from the economic crisis among the most disadvantaged, particularly minorities.

A total of 13.24 million Hispanics lived in poverty in 2011, compared with 13.52 million in 2010, when 26.5 percent of Latinos were living below the poverty line.

Only African Americans have worse poverty figures, with 27.6 percent of that group living below the threshold, 0.2 percent more than in 2010.

The Census Bureau has said that a couple with two children earning less than $22,800 per year or a couple with one child earning less than $18,000 are considered “poor.”

Median household income for Hispanics was $38,624 last year, down from $38,818 the year before.

That contrasts with an overall national median household income of $50,054, rising to $52,214 for non-Hispanic whites.

Also, the report says that Hispanics are the most disadvantaged group in health matters, given that 30.1 percent lack health insurance, compared with 15.7 percent of the general population and 19.5 percent of African Americans.

Unemployment, which in 2011 was 11.2 percent for the Latino community, 3 percent higher than the national average, is the main variable affecting the group’s relatively bad income, poverty and medical coverage figures.

The U.S. regions with the highest incidence of poverty are the South with 16 percent and the West with 15.8 percent.

In 2011, the year in which some parts of President Barack Obama’s health care reform began to be implemented, there was a major decline in the number of people without health insurance, with the national figure falling from 16.3 percent to 15.7 percent.

Nevertheless, for those people who are not U.S. citizens the situation is much worse, with 44.2 percent lacking health insurance, equivalent to 9.74 million people.

Poverty in the United States continues at record levels despite the fact that the country has managed to pull out of the recession and is struggling to consolidate the economic recovery, as family incomes continue to decline.

The Census figures published on Wednesday show a fall of 8.1 percent in the average income of U.S. homes compared with 2007, before the financial crisis erupted, and a fall of 8.9 percent from the maximum level, which was reached in 1999.

The roughly 50 million Hispanics living in the United States are being affected particularly negatively by the economic crisis.

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Famed Chef Jose Andres To Teach Course on Spanish Cuisine

Famed Chef Jose Andres To Teach Course on Spanish Cuisine

Photo: Chef Jose Andres (Charles Osmanney)

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Chef Jose Andres intends to revolutionize the way in which Spanish gastronomy is known in the United States and the rest of the world with his Spanish Culinary Art course.

Andres on Wednesday presented the course, which will begin in February at New York’s International Culinary Center, and hopes to enroll thousands of students over the next 10 years.

Spanish gastronomy has “enormous possibilities,” but - to make it better known and be able to export more associated products from Spain - a “critical mass” of restaurants and chefs around the world is needed, Andres told Efe.

“I hope that this becomes a home, here in New York, where everything Spanish can be shared with the students, and that this will be the start of many Spanish cooking schools all over the world,” the Spaniard said.

Andres aspires not only to train chefs but also food writers, people who contribute to promoting demand for Spanish foods and the equipment, utensils and other items associated with catering from that country.

The idea is for the program to become a type of “culinary Cervantes Institute” that “helps create employment in Spain thanks to the quantity of products” that are going to be exported, via “that army that’s going to help sell Spain restaurant to restaurant, as well as promote quality tourism,” he said.

Andres, who came to the United States 23 years ago, is the head chef and owner of 14 restaurants in Washington, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Miami.

In addition, he has published several books on Spanish cooking, was the host and producer of the PBS program “Made in Spain” and in 2012 Time magazine included him on its list of the world’s 100 most influential people.

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Cuban Officials Maintain US Contractor Alan Gross Still in “Normal” Health

Cuban Officials Maintain US Contractor Alan Gross Still in “Normal” Health

Photo: Cuban Officials Maintain US Contractor Alan Gross Still in "Normal" Health

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The health of U.S. contractor Alan Gross, who is serving a 15-year sentence in Cuba for subversion, “continues to be normal,” the island’s Communist government said Wednesday, a day after the prisoner’s wife expressed concern about his well-being.

Gross regularly engages in “intense physical exercise,” the Cuban Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“Cuba reiterates its willingness for dialogue with the United States Government to find a solution to the case of Mr. Gross and continues awaiting a response,” the statement added, noting that Cuban authorities enabled Judy Gross to visit her husband several times last week at a detention center in Havana.

“I am devastated by his appearance,” Judy Gross said in a statement released Tuesday after her return from Cuba.

She said her husband has lost 47.7 kilos (105 pounds) and has developed degenerative arthritis and a mass behind his right shoulder blade.

“While his spirit remains strong, I fear he is not going to survive this terrible ordeal,” Mrs. Gross said, pleading with Cuban President Raul Castro to “put an end to our anguish and let Alan come home.”

Now 63, Gross was arrested in Havana on Dec. 3, 2009, in possession of satellite communications equipment he said he was planning to distribute among Cuba’s Jewish community.

Havana says he was illegally aiding dissidents and inciting subversion on the Communist-ruled island. Last August, Cuba’s highest court upheld the 15-year jail sentence imposed on Gross five months earlier.

Gross was in Cuba as an employee of a Maryland firm contracted by the U.S. Agency for International Development.

The U.S. government insists that Gross is innocent and demands his “immediate and unconditional” release.

Washington has dismissed suggestions that it trade five Cuban intelligence agents convicted of espionage in Florida more than a decade ago for the contractor.

Havana, which has publicly hinted it would be prepared to free Gross in exchange for the return of the “Cuban Five,” acknowledges the men were intelligence agents but says they were spying on Miami’s Cuban exile community, not the U.S. government.

The U.S. State Department has repeatedly asked Cuba to heed Gross’s request to visit his dying mother as a reciprocal measure after Washington allowed one of the Cuban Five - Rene Gonzalez, on probation in Florida after serving 13 years for espionage - to travel to the island in late March for a brief visit with his terminally ill brother.

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Spanish Firm to Open Solar Technology Plant in U.S.

Spanish Firm to Open Solar Technology Plant in U.S.

Photo: Isofoton engineers

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Spanish solar technology firm Isofoton said that in November it will inaugurate its first plant in the United States, a market it expects will lead the photovoltaic, or PV, industry in the coming years.

The solar module assembly plant in Napoleon, Ohio, will create 120 jobs in an initial phase - with a focus on hiring returning military veterans - and directly employ 330 people once it reaches full capacity in three years, Isofoton CEO Angel Luis Serrano told Efe.

The project, which will require an investment outlay of roughly $30 million, will have an initial capacity of 50 megawatts of PV products annually but plans are to expand that output to up to 300 MW per year, Serrano said.

A selective-emitter solar cell production line with a 100 MW capacity will come online at the plant in the 2013-2014 period.

“That plant is already practically finished. We’ve incorporated cutting-edge technology in automatic machinery and it will be a reality starting in November, when the first two modules will begin to be churned out for our American customers,” Serrano said in a phone interview.

Isofoton is “intensely” looking to strengthen ties with universities and has a research and development and economic cooperation agreement in place in Ohio with the University of Toledo, Serrano said.

He noted that that institution has helped the firm establish itself near the city of Toledo and has a “solar technology research team that is sure to greatly assist in developing and improving the efficiency of these types of products.”

“We have developed a sound plan for growth in the U.S., a country that will lead the photovoltaic industry over the next ten years,” Serrano is quoted as saying on Isofoton’s Web site.

“Isofoton North America’s new Ohio manufacturing facility is an example of our commitment to the U.S. market, and benefits from the support of key partners, including Samsung, Mercedes AMG, Posco (and the University of Toledo),” he said.

The company also has a strong presence in Latin America in countries such as the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Chile, Brazil, Mexico and El Salvador.

The company is working in that region on projects totaling more than 1,000 MW, the executive said.

“Latin America is going to play a very important role in Isofoton’s strategy,” Serrano said.

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ThursdaySeptember 13, 2012