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ThursdaySeptember 20, 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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Bolivian Police Kill 2 Men Guarding Cocaine Lab in Clash

Two men guarding a cocaine lab in the eastern Bolivian province of Santa Cruz died in a confrontation with police, official news agency ABI said.

The incident took place early Wednesday in the village of Nuevo Horizonte when officers moved in to shut down the lab, ABI reported, citing the regional police commander, Col. Fernando Amurrio.

The police “were attacked by armed narco-traffickers” guarding the cocaine lab and two of the criminals were killed in the ensuing shootout, Amurrio said.

Three police officers were wounded, the colonel said, adding that residents of Nuevo Horizonte subsequently abducted several cops on patrol.

Police destroyed 230 drug labs last year in the area around Nuevo Horizonte, which lies near Bolivia’s borders with Brazil and Paraguay, and shut down another 249 cocaine-producing operations in June of this year.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Death Toll at Pemex Gas Plant Blast Rises to 29

Death Toll at Pemex Gas Plant Blast Rises to 29

Photo: Blast at Pemex plant

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State-owned Petroleos Mexicanos said Wednesday that 29 people perished in an explosion and subsequent fire at a gas plant in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, three more than the company reported earlier.

Pemex employees accounted for four of the dead, while the other 25 were contractors, the state oil monopoly said in a statement.

Six people injured in the accident are being treated at the Pemex regional hospital in Tamaulipas and another worker was taken to a specialized medical facility in Mexico City.

The explosion occurred around 10:45 a.m. Tuesday at the gas facility near Reynosa, a city just across the border from McAllen, Texas.

Pemex CEO Juan Jose Suarez Coppel said he asked the Mexican Attorney General’s Office to launch an investigation of the accident, the company’s worst since Oct. 23, 2007, when 22 workers died on an offshore oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico.

The federal AG’s office, in coordination with authorities in Tamaulipas, has already assembled a team of more than 20 technical experts to carry out the probe.

Investigators are at the scene collecting evidence and talking to witnesses, the AG’s office said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Indigenous Zoque-Ayapaneco Language Will Live on in Film When last 2 Speakers Die ( VIDEO)

Indigenous Zoque-Ayapaneco Language Will Live on in Film When last 2 Speakers Die ( VIDEO)

Photo: Indigenous Zoque-Ayapaneco Language

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A Mexican documentary will continue to preserve aspects of the indigenous Zoque-Ayapaneco language, whose universe of ideas, beliefs and culture are on the point of vanishing when the last two native speakers, both in their 70s, pass away.

“We’re beginning to investigate and we’re discovering that it is the language that is vanishing most rapidly in Mexico and worldwide. It’s the one with the fewest speakers, just two, and they’re elderly. When they die, it will practically cease to exist,” said director Denisse Quintero, 28, in an interview with Efe.

Zoque-Ayapaneco heads the list of roughly 400 languages worldwide that are in the so-called “rapid disappearance phase,” according to U.N. figures cited by Quintero.

Given this situation, the film project, entitled “Lengua Muerta” (Dead Language), is aiming to document what could be the last vestiges of one of the 364 indigenous languages that still survive in Mexico.

“It’s not a rescue, but rather it consists of creating an audiovisual registry, a memory, so that other generations can have access to it, given that it’s very difficult to rescue the language,” added Laura Berron, the producer of the documentary.

In addition to creating a linguistic registry, the members of the project want to have it shown in traditional circles where the public can become aware of the problem, such as in Indian communities and rural focal points where the local culture is not preserved and is undervalued due to a deeply rooted discrimination among its own peoples.

“The people don’t want to learn the language of their ancestors out of fear of discrimination of their children, who don’t understand Spanish well and remain between these two cultures,” Berron said.

Isidro Velazquez, 70, and Manuel Segovia, 77, currently preserve the last traces of Zoque-Ayapaneco.

“When this language is spoken many people make fun of it or give it nicknames, or they even tell you that only Indians speak that language, and here the word Indian for some people is an insult, a symbol of humiliation,” Segovia’s 30-year-old son told Efe in a telephone interview.

The son, also named Manuel, is the last hope for Zoque-Ayapaneco, given that five years ago he began to devote several hours a day to studying it with the aim of one day becoming a teacher and keeping it alive.

It makes him sad, he said, not to have started learning it sooner, since now he finds that absorbing it is very difficult and slow, something that, nevertheless, does not discourage him from continuing.

The younger Segovia said proudly that for decades his father dedicated himself to teaching the ancestral tongue to the community, a task that he always performed with “enthusiasm,” despite the scanty interest among his neighbors.

Fewer than half of Mexico’s roughly 16 million Indians speak an indigenous language.


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Mexico: State Officials Killed in Nuevo Laredo

Mexico: State Officials Killed in Nuevo Laredo

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Three public safety officials were found murdered in northern Mexico, the Tamaulipas state Attorney General’s Office said Thursday.

The bodies were discovered shortly after 11:00 p.m. Wednesday inside a bullet-riddled vehicle abandoned in the city of Nuevo Laredo, just across the border from Laredo, Texas,

The victims were identified as three senior employees of the Tamaulipas state Public Safety Office: director of police strategy Jose Luis Orozco, armory superintendent Arturo Alvarado and chief analyst Guillermo Hernandez.

Violence has flared in Tamaulipas after the recent arrests of two top leaders of the Gulf drug cartel, Jorge Eduardo Costilla Sanchez and Mario Cardenas Guillen.

Sixteen men were found slain last Friday, including nine whose bodies were left dangling from a bridge in Nuevo Laredo.

Authorities suspect all 16 were working for Los Zetas, a gang founded by army deserters who started off working as hired guns for the Gulf cartel before going into the drug business on their own account.

Since parting ways in 2010, the Zetas and the Gulf outfit have waged a fierce battle with each other for control of U.S.-bound smuggling routes in Tamaulipas.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico Uncovers 1,000 Year Old Tomb in Michoacan

Mexico Uncovers 1,000 Year Old Tomb in Michoacan

Photo: Michoacan tomb (INAH)

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Archaeologists have discovered a tomb more than 1,000 years old in the western state of Michoacan, Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History, or INAH, announced.

The find of the funeral chamber, in which are buried the remains of an unidentified person along with 19,000 beads of green stone and shell, is one of the most outstanding results of the Michoacan Special Project for archaeological research and preservation, INAH said in a communique.

INAH is carrying out the project in the archaeological zones of Tzintzuntzan, Ihuatzio, Tres Cerritos, Huandacareo and Tingambato, and it was in the latter that the tomb was found in July 2011.

According to INAH experts, the complexity of the chamber’s architecture and the wealth interred within it, all of which date from the Classical period from 200 to 900 A.D., indicate that it contains the remains of a high-ranking personage.

Archaeologist Melchor Cruz, the coordinator of the dig, said that the characteristics of so-called Tomb 2 and the items within it show that the large city nearby must have had greater importance in the pre-Columbian history of the region than has been recognized to date.

“It could be a government center from the Mesoamerican Classical period in the central region of what today is Michoacan,” he said.

In 1979, another such tomb - called Tomb 1 - was discovered by archaeologist Roman Piña Chan in Tingambato.

Cruz said that the number of shell beads in the burial chamber indicates the possible relationships among the ancient inhabitants with the peoples of the coast, and therefore it can be inferred that this was a strategic point along a trade route to the Cuenca de Patzcuaro area.

According to expert studies, the tombs were built before the leveling of the land to construct the great Tingambato platform, which dates from about 450 A.D. If this hypothesis is confirmed, “the site would be more ancient that what has been proposed so far; its occupation could have begun in 200 A.D.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

U.S. Attorney General Did Not Know of Operation Fast and Furious, Says Report

U.S. Attorney General Did Not Know of Operation Fast and Furious, Says Report

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A U.S. Justice Department investigation released Wednesday said that Attorney General Eric Holder did not know about Operation Fast and Furious, a federal undercover sting that allegedly allowed some 2,000 weapons to be smuggled into Mexico.

The much-awaited report documented mistakes by several officials, but found “no evidence that Attorney General Eric Holder knew of the botched effort to trace the flow of guns to Mexico’s drug cartels prior to its unraveling in January 2011.”

Holder said the report confirms what he and other officials in his agency had been saying for many months: that top Justice Department officials were not aware of and did not authorize the strategy behind Fast and Furious.

A U.S. congressional committee filed a civil suit last month against Holder demanding that he hand over additional documents concerning Fast and Furious.

The chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), filed the suit asking the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to require Holder to turn over the documents subpoenaed by the congressional panel in October 2011.

The committee earlier voted to hold Holder in contempt for his refusal to deliver the documents.

Fast and Furious was launched in 2009 by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ Phoenix office and shut down in late 2010 after guns traced to the program were linked to the killing in Arizona of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.

“Our review of Operation Fast and Furious and related matters revealed a series of misguided strategies, tactics, errors in judgment, and management failures that permeated ATF Headquarters and the Phoenix Field Division, as well as the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona,” the inspector general’s office said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Pandora Celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month With New Music Categories, Genres

Pandora Celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month With New Music Categories, Genres

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Pandora the leading internet radio service, today announced the expansion of its Latin music category with a new Mexican genre and a revamped Latin genre in honor of this year’s National Hispanic Heritage Month. One of every six Pandora listeners identifies as Hispanic and the new genres enhance Pandora’s music collection for them and all Latin music fans.

The 28 new radio stations within these two genres allow listeners to experience and discover the rich musical cultures of the Latin and Mexican worlds. With more than 70,000 Hispanic songs in the Pandora collection, these stations offer listeners a breadth of music to enjoy, from the rhythmic flamenco guitar sounds of Spain to the traditional Mariachi songs of Western Mexico to the music of the Argentinian Tango ballroom dance. The stations are available via http://www.pandora.com/music/latin and http://www.pandora.com/music/mexican.

Pandora is also debuting a specific station within the Mexican genre to commemorate the 202nd anniversary of Mexican Independence Day, which occurred on September 16, 2012. The station features a curated combination of all Mexican styles, from classic Mexican folk songs to today’s hottest Mexican artists. All of Pandora’s genre stations are also available on the Pandora app, enabling the more than 80 percent of Pandora’s Hispanic listeners that tune in on their mobile devices to enjoy their music on the go.

For more information about all of Pandora’s Latin and Mexican genre stations, see our recent blog post, “From the Curators: Your Pandora Guide to Mexican Independence Day” at http://bit.ly/PandoraBlog_MexicanIndependence.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Brazilian-Born Oscar Scores Twice in Champions League Full Debut (VIDEO)

Brazilian-Born Oscar Scores Twice in Champions League Full Debut (VIDEO)

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Just 30 minutes into his Champions League debut, Chelsea’s newest Brazilian addition Oscar showed us why he was added to the roster.

On Thursday’s match against Juventus, Oscar scored two goals, one of which was rather impressive.

Check out the 21-year-old’s top-corner, perfectly arced shot against Juventus goalkeeper, Gianluigi Buffon, who later said, “Oscar turned on a sixpence and put his shot under the bar.”

“I will not say it’s nice to concede a goal but it’s nice to be part of a great goal like that, compliments to him.”

In the end, the match ended in a 2-2 draw.


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Immigration Rates Decrease, Proportion of Latinos Among Immigrants Drops in 2011

Immigration Rates Decrease, Proportion of Latinos Among Immigrants Drops in 2011

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Immigration to the United States last year had its smallest increase in a decade, and the proportion of Latin Americans among immigrants fell, according to calculations published Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The calculations show that last year in the United States the number of foreign-born residents totaled 40.4 million, equivalent to 13 percent of the total population.

But the increase of 400,000 immigrants was the smallest number in a decade and the proportion of Latin Americans within that group fell from 54 percent of immigrants in 2010 to 52.6 percent last year, at the same time that the proportion of immigrants from Asia and Africa rose.

A recent study by the Pew Hispanic Center found that the largest immigration flow in history from a single country - Mexico - to the United States has ended and the flow of Mexicans may well have reversed.

The pause in northbound migration is the result of different factors including the crisis in the U.S. construction sector, greater vigilance on the border, the increase in deportations and the long-term decline in birthrates in Mexico, according to study.

The new figures from the Census Bureau show the U.S. poverty index rose from 15.3 percent of the population in 2010 to 15.9 percent in 2011.

This means that last year some 48.5 million people living in the United States had an income below the poverty level. The annual average household income fell by 1.3 percent, from $51,144 to $50,502.

A record 13 percent of U.S. homes received food stamps, meaning that one in every eight families ate decently because they were subsidized by the government to some degree.

But the distribution of poverty was not equal: among the 52.28 million Hispanics, 13.24 were below the poverty line, or 25.3 percent.

Hispanic families are more prone to suffer from hunger and poverty than any other group, according to the non-profit group Bread for the World.

Poor Latino families live with the lack of food security. That is to say, “at some time of the day, the week or the month they do not have enough to eat,” Ricardo Moreno, the organization’s spokesman, told Efe.

Moreno said that “the interesting thing is that the figure has remained at the same levels despite the economic crisis, in part thanks to the federal nutrition programs” like SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and WIC (Women, Infants and Children).

“The big problem that we have is that due to the fiscal and budget crisis the government is considering making serious cuts in these programs,” he said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Secret Deodorant Announces ‘X Factor’ Judge Demi Lovato as Anti-Bullying Ambassador

Secret Deodorant Announces ‘X Factor’ Judge Demi Lovato as Anti-Bullying Ambassador

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It’s officially ‘back to school’ for thousands of students across the country and Secret Deodorant is committing to make this year ‘drama free’ with the second year of its Mean Stinks anti-bullying movement. In the second year of their program, Secret is stepping up its efforts by teaming up with musical artist, Demi Lovato as the new Mean Stinks ambassador, to inspire girls to “Gang Up for Good.” Girls can join Demi in the movement to help bring an end to mean behavior by taking the Mean Stinks pinky swear, by painting their pinky nails blue in a show of peace and solidarity to keep bullying out of their group of friends.

Kicking off a ‘drama free school year’ today, Demi surprised students at The Young Women’s Leadership School (TYWLS), a college preparatory all-girls public school founded by Ann Tisch in 1996, of East Harlem, New York. The surprise took place during a special anti-bullying assembly hosted by Secret Mean Stinks partner, girls’ relationship expert and longtime TYWLS supporter, Rachel Simmons.

Beginning in October, girls nationwide can join this year’s Mean Stinks program by participating in a number of activities designed to educate about, and stand up to, bullying in fun ways. Beginning in October, National Bullying Prevention Month, a downloadable Mean Stinks “Gang Up For Good” Kit will be available featuring lessons and a detailed assembly plan for girls, schools and parents. For more information on obtaining a kit, visit facebook.com/meanstinks.

Throughout this school year, @MeanStinks will Tweet fun #GangUpforGood challenges to inspire girls with ways to wipe-out mean and spread more nice, and create a national movement of more gangs of good, starting within their circle of friends.

“Secret Mean Stinks stands against all mean behavior, and Demi Lovato, as someone who has personally overcome bullying, truly embodies Secret’s fearless spirit, making her the perfect Mean Stinks ambassador,” says John Sebastian, Associate Marketing Director, P&G Personal Care. “We know she will serve as an inspiration to girls across the country to join forces to ‘Gang Up for Good.’

The most recent U.S. Department of Justice report shows 30% of female students grades 6 – 12 were bullied at school or cyber bullied during the 2009 – 2010 school year. “Girls can be just as aggressive as boys, but they act out in much more subtle ways – often resulting in ‘hidden aggression’ that devastates millions of young girls while often going unnoticed by parents,” says Rachel Simmons. “Because girls don’t feel they can show their anger directly, it often is expressed in more secretive ways. By arming them with the proper tools to guide their conversations with friends and peers, they can learn to assert their feelings and resolve conflicts directly.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Daddy Yankee Jumps into Alcohol Industry with El Cartel Tequila

Daddy Yankee Jumps into Alcohol Industry with El Cartel Tequila

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Reggaeton artist Daddy Yankee, born Ramón Luis Ayala Rodriguez, is now trying his hand at the alcohol industry with El Cartel Tequila.

The tequila is described as being an ultra premium,” luxury spirit of choice with true Tequila enthusiasts.”

El Cartel is made with 100 percent Weber Blue agave from Jalisco, Mexico, which is matured for at least nine years.

Two kinds of El Cartel are currently available: Silver and Blanco. A third is said to be “coming soon” and will be called Ultra Anejo.

According to the website:

El Cartel Tequila is known for the suspended, patented, edible gold flakes. We have acquired the exclusive licensing rights to El Cartel’s unique suspension matrix. This ultra premium tequila with our luxurious gold flakes allows us to secure immediate shelf presence and marketing allure.

The Puerto Rican-born artist is currently promoting the Tequila brand via Twitter and scheduled meet-and-greets.

Daddy Yankee is also promoting his 6th studio album, Prestige, which was released on September 11. So far, three of the album’s tracks have down well on the Billboard Latin Charts.

In 2004, Daddy Yankee became a worldwide sensation with his song “Gasolina” off the album Barri Fino.

Read more by HS News Staff →

‘Innocence of Muslims’ Actress Cindy Lee Garcia Sues to Have Controversial Film Removed from YouTube

‘Innocence of Muslims’ Actress Cindy Lee Garcia Sues to Have Controversial Film Removed from YouTube

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One of the actors in the controversial, low-budget film Innocence of Muslims, has sued the film’s producer for misleading her and other members of the cast in order to get them to appear in what she called a “vile a reprehensible” film.

On Wednesday, actress Cindy Lee Garcia filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against the film’s producer, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula – aka Sam Bacile. Garcia claimed she was led to believe the film was a “historically Arabian Desert adventure film.” Instead, when the trailer was released, it was clear Nakoula/Bacile was in fact creating an anti-Islamic film.

The lawsuit also states, Garcia’s voice was dubbed to make it seem she was insulted the sacred Muslim prophet, Muhammed. Words she says she never would have said.

Garcia and the film’s others actors have reportedly received a number of death threats and forced her into hiding. Her lawsuit was also asking the courts to require YouTube, which is owned by Google, to take the trailer down and remove it from their servers.

Unfortunately for Garcia, on Thursday, Judge Luis Lavin denied Garcia’s request to have the film taken down, saying there was “not a sufficient showing of evidence.”

On September 8, an excerpt of the YouTube video was broadcast on an Egyptian Islamist television station. Demonstrations and violent protests against the film broke out on September 11 in Egypt and Libya, with protests spreading to Yemen and other Arab and Muslim nations. The attacks ultimately spread to U.S. consulates and embassies.

On September 11, an armed attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya that resulted in the murder of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

The consulate attack may not have been related to the protest of the film, however, as there is evidence the terrorist attack was planned in advance.

Read more by HS News Staff →

World’s Worst Art Restorer Demanding Royalties from Spanish Church Collection Box

World’s Worst Art Restorer Demanding Royalties from Spanish Church Collection Box

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You would think Cecilia Gimenez would be hiding after being crowned the ‘World’s Worse Art Restorer’ but she is not.  The 80-year-old Spaniard is enjoying the infamy of her disastrous restoration of Jesus Christ’s face in the “Ecce Homo” painting inside her church.

The 19-th century relatively unknown fresco was on the walls of the Borja Church in Zaragoza, Spain deteriorating.  The well-intentioned self-anointed art restorer volunteered her services and created an image far from the original.  The fresco is now world famous.  Well she wants royalties from that image El Correo is reporting.

The tiny Spanish church had placed a collection box alongside the painting, which is becoming a popular tourist stop and Gimenez wants some of that loot.  She also wants to copyright the image she created which looks like monkey-man meets Jesus. 

Basically she wants lemonade from the lemon she created and has lawyers working with her to make sure that happens.  Gimenez will have to literally fight city hall because the city trademarked ‘Ecce Homo’ and all its variants hoping to cash in on the “creative restoration” as well. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: Ernest Gonzales Pulls Gun on People For Seeing Him Have Sex While Driving

LATINO BLOTTER: Ernest Gonzales Pulls Gun on People For Seeing Him Have Sex While Driving

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As Louis Carr, 24 and his family drove north on Florida’s I-95 Sunday afternoon, they came across something unusual in another car.

Near the Carr’s vehicle was another car being driven by Ernest Felix Gonzales, 27. At second glance, the Carr family realized a naked woman was face down in Gonzales’ lap, apparently performing oral sex. The woman then began to move herself onto Gonzales’ lap.

When Gonzales realized they were being watched, he informed the woman, identified at Suzanne Welker, 31. However, the odd behavior in the car did not stop there. The naked Welker jumped up in the seat and mooned the Carr family with her bare butt against the window.

Gonzales then slowed down, moved behind Carr’s vehicle and tailed him, often trying to run the driver off the road and even into a guardrail.

After about 10 miles, the Carrs had pulled off the interstate and into the parking lot of a restaurant and bar owned by their family in Yulee, Fla.

Gonzales arrived in the parking lot moments later. He and Welker exited the vehicle, a semiautomatic weapon in Welker’s hands. Witnesses say Gonzales was making threatening gestures and approached Carr, claiming the family had taken pictures of the two having sex in the car.

When witnesses said they were calling police, however, Gonzales and Welker got back into their vehicle and drove off.

The two were later arrested at their Fernandina Beach home and charged with indecent exposure and aggravated assault.

Their vehicle and the handgun found in the glove compartment were seized by the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office.

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MX Government Continues to Provide Matching Funds on Remittances for Community Projects

MX Government Continues to Provide Matching Funds on Remittances for Community Projects

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The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approved a second loan for $21 million to strengthen the 3x1 Program for Migrants of the Government of Mexico, which aims to develop the communities that have sent Mexican migrants abroad by leveraging the investments they make through their community organizations.

Under the program started in 2002, for every Mexican peso provided by migrants, the federal, state and municipal governments contribute an additional peso. Migrants participate through clubs or federations duly registered at Mexican consulates in the United States, and pool their remittances generated by philanthropic activities.

The proceeds of this loan will help finance new electrification and waterworks, street paving, drainage and sewerage infrastructure, as well as equipment for health, education and sports facilities, among others.

The first operation funded 329 social infrastructure projects and provided economic and technical assistance to 629 productive projects. Between 2007 and 2011 around 580 municipalities that suffered from poor infrastructure and basic services benefitted from the program annually.

Over the past three years, collective migrant remittances averaged $36 million per year, with the government contributing an additional $100 million per year in of additional funds.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Sharon Stone Keeping Company with Much Younger Argentinian Hottie

Sharon Stone Keeping Company with Much Younger Argentinian Hottie

Photo: Argentine Model Martin Mica dating Sharon Stone

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RadarOnline is reporting that 54-year-old actress Sharon Stone is keeping company in Venice, Italy with her much younger, attractive “Argentinian hunk” Martin Mica.  Some gossipistas reported on the May-December romance as early as May when the duo was spotted in Sao Paolo, Brazil together at the Vogue Brazil party.

Mica is 27-years-old (yes do the math he is half of Stone’s age) tall, dark, handsome and a professional model.  Mica who hails from Buenos Aires has been featured in the pages of Vogue and Vanity Fair. 

The duo has definitely been jet-setting spotted in Bucharest last month, where Stone is filming ‘What About Love’. 

Neither has publicly admitted the romance but with so many public displays of affection like those captured in Venice this week it isn’t necessary. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Pennsylvania Voter ID Sponsor:  Only “Lazy” People Would Lose Chance to Vote

Pennsylvania Voter ID Sponsor:  Only “Lazy” People Would Lose Chance to Vote

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The sponsor of Pennsylvania’s voter identification law says only “lazy” people would be disenfranchised this November by requirements to show photo identification at the polls.

Speaking to Pittsburgh radio station KDKA Wednesday (September 19), Daryl Metcalfe, a House Republican, said no “legitimate voter that actually wants to exercise that right and takes on the according responsibility,” would be disenfranchised by the law. But critics argue the law would suppress turnout among thousands of poor, elderly and minority voters — a population less likely to own a photo ID and more likely to vote Democratic.

“As Mitt Romney said, 47 percent of the people that are living off the public dole, living off their neighbors’ hard work, and we have a lot of people out there that are too lazy to get up and get out there and get the ID they need. If individuals are too lazy, the state can’t fix that,” Metcalfe told a radio host, referring to the GOP presidential candidate’s secretly recorded remarks, which have caused his campaign to backtrack this week.

Pennsylvania Democrats are circulating Metcalf’s interview, trying to make the case that Republican backers of the law, which remains tied up in court, lack sympathy for those who don’t have easy access to required IDs. 

On Tuesday, the state Supreme Court sent the case back to the Commonwealth Court, where a judge last month signed off on the law, saying he was “not convinced that any of the individual Petitioners or other witnesses will not have their votes counted in the general election.”

The Supreme Court instructed the lower court to more fully consider whether the law is ready for its test in November.

Read more at Jim Malewitz for Pew Stateline →

Puerto Rico Had Highest Number of Corruption Cases in the U.S. in 2011

Puerto Rico Had Highest Number of Corruption Cases in the U.S. in 2011

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The U.S. Attorney’s Office brought 130 prosecutions for official corruption in 2011, more than any one of the country’s 92 other judicial districts, according to a report from the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section.

Going back to 2002, Puerto Rico has seen 396 public corruption cases, second only to New Jersey, with 429.

“It is our obligation to prosecute corrupt conduct that reduces public trust (in government),” the U.S. attorney for Puerto Rico, Rosa Emilia Rodriguez Velez, said in a statement.

“When that trust is broken, it is the responsibility of the Department of Justice to bring those who corrupt the system before the courts,” she said.

The Public Integrity Section is legally required to report to Congress every year on the Justice Department’s efforts against official corruption.

Entrenched corruption is a major problem in Puerto Rico, according to the FBI field office in San Juan, which two years ago arrested more than 100 Puerto Rican law enforcement officers and other public servants on charges of colluding with drug traffickers.

Legislators from the island’s two main political parties have also been caught up in corruption scandals.

Puerto Rico came under Washington’s sway in 1898 and island residents were granted U.S. citizenship in 1917, yet they cannot vote in presidential elections, though Puerto Ricans living in the continental United States can.

Since 1952, the island has been a self-governing, unincorporated territory of the United States with broad internal autonomy, but without the right to conduct its own foreign policy.

Though residents of Puerto Rico are not subject to federal income tax, the island receives substantial sums from Washington.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Immigrants Concerned About Arizona’s “Show Me Your Papers” Law, Moving to Other States

Immigrants Concerned About Arizona’s “Show Me Your Papers” Law, Moving to Other States

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The entry into force of Arizona’s “show me your papers” regulation could spur more immigrant families to leave the state even as activists and organizations prepare to fight the measure.

“Regrettably, this is already occurring, since people began to hear that Subsection 2(b) was going to be implemented we’ve known of people who are already making their preparations with their consulates to return to their countries or who are thinking of (moving) to other states more favorable for immigrants,” Lydia Guzman, with the Respect/Respeto group, told Efe.

The organization set up a telephone hotline to take complaints and questions from the Hispanic community in Arizona.

“There are families who are thinking of moving to states like Utah, New Mexico, to places like Michigan,” Guzman said.

When SB1070, the first state law to criminalize the presence of undocumented immigrants, became law in 2010 dozens of immigrant families left Arizona out of fear of being deported.

After a legal battle lasting more than two years, SB1070’s Subsection 2(b) entered into force on Tuesday after U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton lifted an injunction she imposed in 2010.

Bolton had little choice but to lift the injunction after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in June upholding the show me your papers provision of the Arizona law.

Subsection 2(b) requires state and local law enforcement officers to verify the immigration status of anyone they suspect is in the country illegally.

Various Arizona law enforcement agencies said that when the law enters into force they will not use racial profiling, but activists fear that Hispanics will be discriminated against without regard for their immigration status.

Guzman said that they are aware that there are some police departments that are ready to stop people and ask them if they have their immigration papers in order.

“Regrettably, you know that there are some departments that are more willing than others to do it. Here is where we see case after case of racial profiling. We don’t know how far this can go,” she emphasized.

Organizations are preparing a series of community forums in Arizona cities to inform the public about their rights and the options they have if they are detained or arrested by a police officer.

Lawyers and human rights defense groups recommend that people who are not legally in the United States keep silent when they are asked about their immigration status and ask to be provided with a lawyer.

Meanwhile, Tucson police chief Roberto Villaseñor told Efe that Subsection 2(b) will be enforced on a “case by case” basis, but he admitted that if a person does not have an Arizona driver’s license or an official identification document, that could be “reasonable cause” for officers to question his or her immigration status.

Undocumented immigrants cannot legally obtain driver’s licenses or official state-issued I.D. documents in Arizona.

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Mexico Eyes European Travelers for Continued Tourism Growth

Mexico Eyes European Travelers for Continued Tourism Growth

Photo: Mexico Tourism board

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Mexico’s comprehensive tourism plan has laid the basis for spurring the growth of a sector that is increasing by about 4 percent each year, the country’s tourism secretary told Efe here on Wednesday.

“We already have the bases our country needed to detonate growth” in the sector, Gloria Guevara said at the end of a brief visit to Europe that took her to Amsterdam and Paris, the scene this week of the Top Resa tourism trade show.

Guevara had the chance to meet with French officials as well as with tour operators and airlines like Air France, which will once again open up the Paris-Cancun route next year and is planning to increase the frequency of flights between France and Mexico, she said.

The diplomatic controversy France and Mexico experienced last year has been left behind, when the case of a Frenchwoman sentenced to 60 years in a Mexican prison led to the suspension of the Year of Mexico activities in France.

“Unfortunately, the Year of Mexico could not be held in France, but we’re continuing independently with promotional activities,” such as the Mexico Today campaign, Guevara said.

The result has been an annual increase of 10 percent in the number of French citizens who visited Mexico in 2011, which can be added to “an increase of 28.3 percent in the number of reservations in France for Mexico with an eye toward next winter,” she said.

The aim of Mexico, currently 10th worldwide in the number of foreign visitors, by 2018 is to work its way into the top five.

The problems of public safety that affect some places in Mexico are not hindering the flow of visitors, Guevara added, since the tourist areas are not among the hotspots for violence.

“Mexico has a challenge. We know that it’s an important challenge, just like many other nations, but also it’s a country that is very large,” she said, noting that the crime problem is concentrated in just 80 of the country’s almost 2,500 municipalities.

The tourism sector represents about 9 percent of Mexico’s gross domestic product and generates some 7.5 million jobs. International arrivals increased 3.9 percent in the first quarter of 2012.

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ThursdaySeptember 20, 2012