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FridaySeptember 28, 2012

Latino Daily News: Bringing You the Latest Hispanic Current Events and News Stories 24/7

To reflect the dynamic interests of our audience, Latino Daily News is an online daily news source and virtual cultural center for and about Latinos. We offer the latest news headlines, as well as innovative and insightful Hispanic current events stories, photos, videos, and commentaries from a Latino perspective, 24/7.

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Chevron Pays $17 Million Fine for Oil Spill in Brazil

Chevron Pays $17 Million Fine for Oil Spill in Brazil

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U.S. oil supermajor Chevron Corp. said it has paid the 35.1 million reais ($17 million) fine imposed by Brazil’s ANP regulator for an oil spill last November.

The company said in a statement Thursday that it made the payment on Sept. 21 without lodging an appeal.

The fine corresponded to 24 of the 25 infractions that the regulator found at the Frade field, where 3,700 barrels of crude were spilled at a spot some 120 kilometers (75 miles) off the coast of the southeastern state of Rio de Janeiro.

The oil seeped through cracks in the ocean floor near Chevron’s drilling operations due to miscalculations by the company, the ANP report said.

The ANP still could levy an additional 2 million reais ($985,000) fine for the last of the 25 infractions, which was related to the well-abandonment process.

Separately, a Rio de Janeiro court ordered Chevron and drilling partner Transocean to abandon all operations in Brazil as a consequence of the spill.

Transocean said Thursday in a statement that it was served notice of the preliminary injunction, which gives the company 30 days to halt operations in Brazil.

The Switzerland-based company, which has nine drilling rigs in Brazil, most at fields operated by Brazilian state oil firm Petrobras, said it was “vigorously pursuing the overturn or suspension of the preliminary injunction.”

Petrobras said last month that it would legally support both companies’ efforts to have the ban overturned.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Colorado Busts Mexican Drug Ring Earning $6 M Per Month

Colorado Busts Mexican Drug Ring Earning $6 M Per Month

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Ten Mexican nationals were arrested on changes of transporting large quantities of cocaine to Colorado for sale in the Denver metropolitan area.

The criminal operation generated around $6 million a month, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said.

Reputed ringleader Simon Diaz Vera and his alleged accomplices face 23 counts, including possession and distribution of drugs and criminal conspiracy.

If convicted, each defendant could be sentenced to as much as 60 years in prison.

“This is an excellent example of how the Colorado law enforcement community bands together to dismantle criminal operations,” Suthers said. “We hope other aspiring international and interstate drug traffickers will take heed.”

The attorney general did not offer details on the ultimate source of the cocaine, nor did he mention any possible connections between the defendants and Mexico’s powerful drug cartels.

The investigation was launched in June by the Denver Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Strike Force and began to bear fruit on Sept. 11, when authorities intercepted 25 kilos of cocaine and seized $150,000 in cash and one of the vehicles used by the ring.

Diaz Vera was arrested three days later at his home in the Denver suburb of Broomfield.

His apprehension resulted in other arrests and the confiscation of additional drugs, vehicles and cash, according to Barbra Roach, special agent in charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Denver Field Division.

A member of the task force, Tim Davis, said the smugglers devised sophisticated mechanisms to conceal the drugs inside the ring’s fleet of specially modified SUVs.

“They’re very creative. In a routine stop,” he said, the drugs “would be difficult to find.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Poll: Latino Voters Put Children’s Issues First

Poll: Latino Voters Put Children’s Issues First

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Three-fourths of Latinos likely to vote in the upcoming general election say the presidential candidates should increase their focus on children’s issues, according to an analysis of a new poll.

The poll also found 75 percent of Latino voters will consider a candidate’s position on federal budget issues affecting children when casting their November ballots.

The poll was commissioned by the bipartisan First Focus Campaign for Children and completed by Public Opinion Strategies (POS), a nationally-recognized opinion research firm that works with Republican campaigns and in corporate and public affairs. POS’ client list includes six Governors, 19 U.S. Senators, and over 60 members of the U.S. House of Representatives. POS is also the Republican half of the bipartisan team that conducts the monthly survey for NBC and the Wall Street Journal.

Additional highlights of the poll include:

    Latino voters believe President Obama is better on children’s issues. 43 percent believe President Obama, if elected, would better handle the problems children are facing in America. 13 percent believe Governor Romney would be better for kids. A large percentage of Latino voters remain in play on children’s issues, as nearly half are undecided between the two.
    Latino voters consistently place a high priority on kids. They believe children should be a higher priority to the federal government than seniors by a 59-13 percent margin. And they believe children should be a higher priority than the military, by a 66-13 percent margin. These margins are dramatically higher than among all voters.
    Latino voters encourage federal investments in children at a higher rate than all likely voters. They support by a 70-25 percent margin increasing investments in America’s kids after learning the federal government spends only $374 billion on children, compared to just 58 percent of all voters.
    Latino voters believe the lives of children have become worse over the last 10 years by a 54-19 percent margin.
    Latino voters are not confident our children’s generation will be better off by a 58-35 percent margin.
    Latino voters oppose cutting existing federal investments in children. They oppose by a 93-7 percent margin any spending cuts to education to help balance the budget, compared to 75 percent of all voters. Similar cuts to the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, are opposed by a 79-9 percent margin. Cuts to student loans and financial aid are opposed by a 79-21 percent margin.

Read more by HS News Staff →

U.S. and Guatemala Extend Agreement to Protect Cultural Heritage of Guatemala

U.S. and Guatemala Extend Agreement to Protect Cultural Heritage of Guatemala

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The U.S. State Department announced the extension and amendment of the “Memorandum of Understanding Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of Guatemala Concerning the Imposition of Import Restrictions on Archaeological Material from the Pre-Columbian Cultures and Ecclesiastical Ethnological Material from the Conquest and Colonial Periods of Guatemala,” effective September 29, 2012 for a period of five years.

This extension represents a continuation of cooperation that began in 1991 with the imposition of emergency U.S. import restrictions to staunch the pillage of Guatemala’s rich archaeological heritage and the illicit trafficking of it.

This Memorandum of Understanding also serves to underscore the U.S recognition of the threat of plunder and despoiling of Guatemala’s ecclesiastical cultural heritage and the U.S. commitment to cultural heritage preservation.

Guatemala requested the original agreement to preserve its Pre-Columbian cultural heritage, as well as that of the Conquest and Colonial periods of the country. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Nobel Prize Winner Jody Williams Stands With Mexico’s “Caravan for Peace”

Nobel Prize Winner Jody Williams Stands With Mexico’s “Caravan for Peace”

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The Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity demanded an end to the drug war in the capital of the nation that launched the war. After setting off from AFL-CIO headquarters where the nation’s largest federation of unions saluted its efforts, the caravan planted itself in front of the White House, then proceeded to Freedom Plaza.

In the Plaza, as the sun set over the Capitol, Xochitl Espinosa of the National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities read a statement of support from Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jody Williams. Below is the statement in its entirety:

As a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, as director of the Nobel Women’s Initiative and as a sister peace activist, I send this message to express my support for the Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity, and to congratulate all the members of the caravan for the sacrifice and commitment that have brought you across the country to share your pain—and your hope—with the U.S. public.

I’m really sorry that I can’t be with you in person today, to welcome the Caravan for Peace to Washington DC, to stand beside you as you deliver your message to stop the drug war that has devastated your country and your families, to support you as you ‘speak truth to power’ here, in the center of power.

I have lived and worked in Mexico and consider that great country not just a neighboring nation, but another home. It has grieved me to see Mexico, and Mexicans, immersed in violence over the past years. As a result of that growing concern, my organization, the Nobel Women’s Initiative along with Just Associates led an international delegation to Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala. We heard hundreds of testimonies from women who are confronting violence. Many of those terrible stories and most of the pain we listened to was caused by the war on drugs.

Our conclusion was that: the war on drugs has become a war on women. We see on this caravan many examples of brave women who have turned their pain into action, who have converted grief into a tireless demand for justice.

And so I send a warm greeting to the Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity.

For there is no other kind of peace. There can be no lasting peace without justice. There can be no peace as a result of militarization, and fighting violence with violence. There can be no peace not founded on respect for human rights and dignity.

It is only through collective, non-violent action—where women are recognized as equal partners and leaders—that we can build peace.

That is why the work of Mexico’s peace movement is so important. That is why your presence here in the United States—a nation that continues to support the war on drugs that has claimed the lives of so many of your loved ones—has such meaning for all of us who work for peace.

Thank you. I wish you much success.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Wisconsin Voter ID Law Not Likely to Apply for November Election

Wisconsin Voter ID Law Not Likely to Apply for November Election

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Wisconsinites this November won’t likely need to show photo identification at the polls. That’s because the state Supreme Court says it won’t immediately consider whether to reinstate a voter ID law blocked in a lower court.

With hopes of enforcing the law for Election Day, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen had asked Wisconsin’s high court to swiftly take up a challenge to two trial court rulings on the 2011 law championed by Governor Scott Walker, one of many GOP-led efforts to tighten voter eligibility requirements in states across the country.

The court denied that request on Thursday (September 27) because several appeal briefs had yet to be filed in a case brought by the NAACP. The decision was cheered by critics of the law who argued its provisions would disenfranchise poor, elderly and minority voters, who are less likely to have photo identification and more likely to vote Democratic.

“It’s a terrific victory for voter rights because it means almost certainly this disenfranchising law will not be in effect for the November election,” Rich Saks, an attorney for two groups that challenged the law, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

In a statement released Thursday, Van Hollen said he was “disappointed” in the decision and its implications for the coming election.

“Despite this setback, I continue to believe that the Voter ID law is constitutional and I will continue the battle to have the law upheld.”

In March, Dane County judges ruled against the law in two separate challenges. In one of those decisions, Judge Richard Niess said the voter ID law “goes beyond mere regulation of elections,” and its provisions “impermissibly eliminate the right of suffrage altogether for certain Constitutionally qualified electors.”

“The defendants’ argument that the fundamental right to vote must yield to legislative fiat turns our constitutional scheme of democratic government squarely on its head,” Niess wrote.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court decision comes as challenges to voting restrictions are winding through the courts in several other states.

Read more at Jim Malewitz for Pew Stateline →

CHECK OUT Christina Aguilera’s New Video for Single Release “Your Body”

Check out Christina Aguilera’s video for her new single release ‘Your Body’.  The singer and ‘The Voice’  judge had released the single from her upcoming ‘Lotus’ album earlier in the month. 

This is the singer’s seventh album, her last album release was ‘Bionic’ in 2010.  The songs lyrics penned by Max Martin, Shellback and Savan Kotechca don’t leave much to the imagination as to what Aguilera wants to do to your body. 

Related Videos

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DEA and Immigration Agents Arrest Members of Puerto Rican Drug Gang Implicated in 20 Murders

DEA and Immigration Agents Arrest Members of Puerto Rican Drug Gang Implicated in 20 Murders

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Puerto Rican and federal authorities arrested 30 people Friday in a crackdown on a drug gang suspected in a score of homicides.

Another 36 suspects are being sought, the FBI special agent in charge in San Juan, Joseph Campbell, told the press.

Most of Friday’s arrests took place at a public housing project in the southern city of Ponce, he said.

The dismantling of the gang gives residents of the housing complex an opportunity to keep their community free of criminals, Campbell said.

Investigators suspect the gang is responsible for a score of homicides, including a triple-murder in February and another killing three weeks ago.

Friday’s raids were carried out by 400 Puerto Rican law enforcement personnel with support from the U.S. Marshals, the Drug Enforcement Administration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latinos Enroll in Record Numbers at USC and Represent the Largest Minority on Campus

Latinos Enroll in Record Numbers at USC and Represent the Largest Minority on Campus

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Latinos make up the largest group of minority students enrolled for the academic term beginning this autumn at the University of Southern California, the school said Thursday.

Out of more than 46,000 applications, 3,021 students were admitted, of whom 21 percent are members of minorities, more than half of them Hispanics.

USC’s dean of admissions, Timothy Brunold, said that about 90 percent of incoming students were in the top 10 percent of their high school classes with an average GPA of 3.70.

The number of Latino students admitted for the 2012-2013 academic year is more than twice the number of African Americans and more than six times the number of Native Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Of this year’s freshman class, 14 percent are the first in their families to go to college, Brunold said.

Of the total number of USC undergraduate students in 2011, about 3,300, or 19 percent, belonged to minorities, the largest percentage among the country’s private research universities.

Regarding financial aid, USC officials said that the school admits applicants without taking into account their ability to pay for college, and about two out of every three undergrads receive some sort of financial aid.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Singer-Songwriter Rodriguez’s Career Sees Resurgence After Documentary (VIDEO)

Singer-Songwriter Rodriguez’s Career Sees Resurgence After Documentary (VIDEO)

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Given new life by the documentary “Searching for Sugar Man,” singer-songwriter Rodriguez is continuing his tour around the United States, where he has not achieved the level of popularity he has enjoyed for decades in South Africa and other distant lands.

Born in 1942 as Sixto Rodriguez to Mexican parents who had migrated to Detroit to work in the auto industry, the artist has been compared to Bob Dylan.

“I’ve gone on tour four times in Australia, four in South Africa, three in Sweden, six in London and once around the world in three weeks starting in Namibia,” Rodriguez told Efe moments before a performance in San Diego.

His fame in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Australia and New Zealand was possible because of bootleg copies of his albums “Cold Fact” (1970) and “Coming From Reality” (1971).

Despite rave reviews, the albums sold only marginally in the United States and Sixto returned to obscurity, unaware of his growing cult following abroad.

“As I understand it, there were soldiers against conscription in South Africa, on the border with Angola and Namibia, mainly Afrikaners, who exchanged and circulated the cassettes with my music,” Rodriguez said.

The musician said that only later did he learn of the parallels between the situation in countries where his music became popular and a United States “where there were also movements against conscription, demonstrations against war or the massacre at Kent State (University) when the Ohio National Guard killed four students protesting the invasion of Cambodia.”

Amid rumors that a despondent Rodriguez had committed suicide, two devoted South African fans, Steven Segerman and Craig Strydom, set out in the late 1990s to find out what happened to their idol.

In 1998, they found Rodriguez living in Detroit and that discovery led to a triumphant concert tour of South Africa.

The story of the South Africans’ quest for Rodriguez is depicted in “Searching for Sugar Man,” by Swedish director Malik Bendjelloul, which has sparked another resurgence in Rodriguez’s career. The musician has been on tour for the past nine months.

This tour will take him to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle, and he will perform in England and Ireland in November and December.

Rodriguez said he had been “pursuing music since I was 16 with the family guitar.”

“You can make music for women, money, fame or the history of rock & roll. However, music is a pleasure, a way of socializing, dancing and singing. It’s difficult to make a profession out of it,” he says.

Watch the “Searching for Sugar Man” trailer here:

Read more by HS News Staff →

El Salvador Says NO to Carlos Slim’s Bid for Mobile Phone Operations

El Salvador Says NO to Carlos Slim’s Bid for Mobile Phone Operations

Photo: No for Carlos Slim's Bid for Digicel

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El Salvador’s telecoms regulator has rejected an offer by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim’s America Movil to acquire the local operation of Irish-owned mobile operator Digicel, calling the deal detrimental to consumers.

The competition authority, known as the SC, said Thursday it decided to deny the merger application submitted by Claro, the brand under which America Movil operates in El Salvador.

A “technical, legal and economic analysis” showed a merger would very likely have an adverse effect on “competition and the welfare of consumers in the fixed and mobile telephony markets,” the SC said in a statement.

The analysis also revealed that, by international standards, fixed and mobile telephony in El Salvador is characterized by excessively high levels of market concentration, the statement said.

The SC on July 4 agreed to review a second request by America Movil to acquire Digicel Group Ltd.‘s El Salvador unit; the Mexico City-based company had earlier backed away from an earlier bid to purchase the operator after the SC had imposed conditions on the deal.

In March 2011, America Movil said it had reached an agreement to purchase Digicel’s operations in El Salvador and Honduras for an unspecified amount, subject to government and regulatory approval.

But on Dec. 9, 2011, America Movil said it would not proceed with the acquisition after the SC demanded it return 20 MHz of spectrum as a condition of the deal.

It subsequently submitted its second application to acquire Digicel’s Salvadoran operations in March.

According to official figures, El Salvador, a country with 6.1 million inhabitants, has 7.4 million active mobile phones and more than 1.1 million residential fixed lines in service.

The country’s wireless market is divided among America Movil, Digicel, Spain’s Telefonica, Tigo of Luxembourg and Intelfon, a Salvadoran company.

Read more by HS News Staff →

10 Days After Mexican Prison Break, 123 Inmates Still Loose

10 Days After Mexican Prison Break, 123 Inmates Still Loose

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All but eight of the 131 inmates who escaped 10 days ago from a prison in the northern border city of Piedras Negras remain on the loose, Mexican authorities said.

Seven of the fugitives have been apprehended, while the eighth died in a confrontation with police, the Coahuila state government said.

Three escapees convicted of federal offenses were apprehended on Wednesday in the southeastern part of Coahuila after being spotted at a gas station.

The Sept. 17 prison break in Piedras Negras, just across the border from Eagle Pass, Texas, was the biggest in Mexico since Dec. 17, 2010, when 141 inmates escaped from a penitentiary in Nuevo Laredo, which sets next to Laredo, Texas.

After initially saying the Piedras Negras escapees left through a tunnel, authorities later acknowledged that the inmates simply walked out the prison gate.

The Los Zetas drug cartel organized the mass breakout, according to officials.

The Zetas, originally a band of army deserters working as hired guns for the Gulf cartel, went into the drug business for themselves several years ago and have become embroiled in vicious turf battles with their former partners and other criminal outfits.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Argentina Seeks Energy Partnership with China

Argentina Seeks Energy Partnership with China

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Argentina’s planning minister sought Thursday to attract Chinese interest in his country’s ambitious energy program, which includes plans to build a large hydroelectric complex in 2013 and two nuclear reactors.

In his first day in Beijing, Julio de Vido tried to woo investors for a hydro project in the southern province of Santa Cruz that will include construction of the Nestor Kirchner and Gobernador Jorge Cepernic dams.

Argentina, which is shifting its focus to emerging economies amid the U.S. economy’s struggles and the European sovereign-debt crisis, sent De Vido on a roadshow to Brazil, China and Russia to promote the project face-to-face.

“Trade between Argentina and China has grown by nearly 500 percent in eight years. It’s a clear sign of the (policy decisions) of each country. We have a lot of expectations,” the minister told a packed conference hall.

De Vido has been well received in Beijing, with a sizable number of investors on hand for his presentation and 10 meetings arranged, although some in attendance expressed frustration with certain technical aspects.

“Argentina is a bit stingy with time. It’s tough for them to only give us until Dec. 12 to present ourselves and fulfill all the legal requirements,” Wang Yifu, adviser to the president of the Sinohydro firm, said, though adding that the company remained interested.

Nuclear power also is on the minister’s agenda in Beijing.

On Friday, De Vido will attempt to form a working group consisting of one or more Chinese partners interested in a project to build nuclear power reactors in Argentina.

De Vido’s roadshow follows initial talks on energy partnerships that began during Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit to the Latin American nation in June.

Negotiations also are ongoing on potential Chinese participation in Argentina’s oil sector.

Earlier this year, Argentina seized a 51 percent stake in oil company YPF from Spain’s Repsol, a move that several analysts say could have been motivated by a plan to bring a Chinese partner on board in Repsol’s place.

YPF boss Miguel Galuccio was scheduled to visit China before the end of this month, but some experts say the trip may have been delayed because of the upcoming political transition in Beijing or due to snags in the talks.

Argentina’s plans for the two dams in Santa Cruz are a response to growing domestic electricity demand. They will have a roughly $5 billion price tag and are to be built over a period of 66 months starting next year.

De Vido stressed the importance of the project, which has already attracted the interest of Brazilian and Chinese firms.

The minister’s visit shows that Argentina is placing no limits on its relationship with China, which has gone from being the workbench of the world to the globe’s banker amid the economic woes in Europe and the United States.

Read more by HS News Staff →

FridaySeptember 28, 2012