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FridayOctober 5, 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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Mexican Author Lydia Cacho Believes Death Threats Came From Cartel-linked Police

Mexican Author Lydia Cacho Believes Death Threats Came From Cartel-linked Police

Photo: Lydia Cacho

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Mexican muckraking author and journalist Lydia Cacho said it is becoming increasingly clear that death threats leveled against her came from police linked to the once-powerful Gulf drug cartel.

Two months after fleeing the country because of threats communicated over her home’s security system, Cacho was in Mexico City for the presentation of a report on violence against female journalists in 2010-2011.

“We have clearer signs of where the threats may have come from” and that they involve Mexican police with links to organized crime, Cacho said at the event, where she was protected by a strong security presence.

The author of books that have exposed pedophile rings in Mexico operating under the protection of politicians and business leaders, Cacho said she will identify who is behind the threats once that information is known.

“It makes no difference if they belong to the state or organized crime,” she said.

The journalist, who will remain outside the country as long as her life is at risk, said security experts recommended she flee her home in the resort city of Cancun because the threats were made using specialized equipment that only the navy or criminal gangs such as the Gulf cartel possess.

Cacho told Efe in early August, shortly after fleeing Mexico, that she grew even more alarmed when her security consultants said the source of the threatening broadcast was probably within 5 kilometers (3 miles) of her home.

The author said Thursday that the Gulf cartel has regained strength thanks to impunity in the southeastern state of Quintana Roo for both drug smuggling and the sex-trafficking networks that run from Belize.

According to Cacho, her books on people trafficking - especially her reports on the sexual exploitation of women, who are taken to other part of Mexico and other countries - have raised the ire of criminal gangs.

She said President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, will inherit “the remains” of President Felipe Calderon’s justice system, including a federal Attorney General’s Office “filled with corruption and incapable of following up on most of the cases.”

The 49-year-old author said Mexican reporters have “six difficult years ahead of them” and that the return of the PRI, which ruled Mexico uninterruptedly from 1929 to 2000, is “a tragedy for this country.”

“I grew up with the PRI, which destroyed and left this country in tatters,” she said, adding that Calderon’s conservative National Action Party was no better.

Cacho on Friday went to Mexico’s special prosecutor’s office for crimes against journalists to ratify her complaint and demand an investigation.

The author, whose latest book “Slavery, Inc.” explores international sex trafficking networks, said she will continue her investigative journalism and that she and her advisors are working on a strategy to return to Mexico.

“It’s disgraceful that you have to leave your home and the ties with the people you love,” she added.

Cacho has been the target of threats since 2005, when she published a book, “Los demonios del Eden” (The Demons of Eden), that exposed pedophile rings in Mexico operating under the protection of politicians and business leaders.

For revealing the crimes of Lebanese-born Mexican businessman Jean Succar Kuri and others, Cacho was also the victim of psychological torture and police abuses, which she revealed in another book titled “Memorias de una infamia” (Memoirs of an Infamy).

Mexico, where nearly 80 journalists have been murdered since 2000, is considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world for members of the media.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Reggaeton Artist Daddy Yankee Taken to Doctor After Drop in Blood Sugar

Reggaeton Artist Daddy Yankee Taken to Doctor After Drop in Blood Sugar

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Puerto Rican reggaeton singer Daddy Yankee had to receive medical attention at a Santo Domingo clinic because of a severe drop in his blood sugar level, he said Friday in a statement.

The reggaeton star, who was in the Dominican capital to promote his latest disc, “Prestige,” was struck by the illness on Thursday during a session of interviews, after he had already spoken with close to a score of media outlets.

“I had one of the strongest attacks of hypoglycemia that I’ve had yet. My blood pressure went up and I felt bad. That happens to me when I’m working a lot and don’t eat enough. But now I feel fine,” said the artist, who was scheduled to return to Puerto Rico on Friday.

Daddy Yankee, who last week topped the Billboard Latin Albums chart with “Prestige,” thanked Dr. Hernan Gonzalez and his staff for the attention he received, as well as the media for their understanding when his illness kept him from meeting with them.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican Students Protest Labor Law, Seize 33 Vehicles Including Coca-Cola Truck

Mexican Students Protest Labor Law, Seize 33 Vehicles Including Coca-Cola Truck

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Students in the western state of Michoacan seized 15 buses and 18 delivery trucks belonging to firms such as Coca-Cola and baking giant Bimbo as part of protests against a proposed overhaul of Mexican labor law.

The bill, which would facilitate outsourcing and make it easier for firms to hire and fire workers, was approved last weekend by the lower house and is now before the Senate

Sources in the state government said the delivery trucks were commandeered by students at the Rural Normal School in Cheran, a settlement of Purepecha Indians.

Besides the labor overhaul, the students were protesting changes to the curriculum at Mexico’s normal schools, which prepare young people for careers in teaching.

Common in both Europe and the Americas during the 19th century, normal schools faded into obsolescence in most advanced nations as the job of teacher training was taken over by colleges and universities.

The new curriculum for Mexican normal schools includes compulsory English-language courses.

The Cheran students took the hijacked delivery trucks back to their school, authorities said.

Students from the Rural Normal School in Arteaga seized five buses at a toll plaza on the Siglo XXI highway, which links Michoacan’s capital, Morelia, with the Pacific coast.

Ten other buses were commandeered by students from Vasco de Quiroga Rural Normal School, just outside Morelia.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Anthropologists Believe Mayan Ballgame had Astronomical Function

Anthropologists Believe Mayan Ballgame had Astronomical Function

Photo: Ancient ballcourt in Chichen Itza (INAH)

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Restoration works at Chichen Itza have confirmed the hypothesis that the ballgame played in that ancient Mayan city in southeastern Mexico had an astronomical function, the National Anthropology and History Institute, or INAH, said.

After almost two years of restoration and preservation work, the Great Ballcourt at Chichen Itza, at 120 meters (130 yards) long the largest in Mesoamerica, is gradually recovering its original appearance with the reincorporation of different elements, including the five “passages” that the ancient Mayas built on the site.

The passages are structures that, according to recent studies, were used to observe the path of the sun during the equinoxes and solstices, INAH said in a communique.

Archaeologist Jose Huchim, coordinator of the Chichen Itza comprehensive conservation project, said that observers were possibly stationed in those structures to follow the game and see if the ball went through the vertical stone ring and make sure players hit the ball according to the rules of the ritual.

Huchim said that 25 years ago, when he was studying archaeology, he observed the site with his then-professor Victor Segovia, a pioneer in the study of pre-Colombian astronomy, because both were convinced that the passages were oriented to the equinoxes and solstices.

“We found that the central passage did have an orientation that permitted a view of the equinoxes - that’s why we thought it important to restore all five to determine whether all of them were built in line with the extreme (nearest and farthest) distances of the sun from the equator,” he said.

Last year, as part of the comprehensive restoration project of the ballcourt, which dates back to 864 A.D., “we returned the five passages to 90 percent of their original form,” the INAH researcher said.

“I began making astronomical observations and could prove that one of them marks the winter solstice, while the central passages marked the equinoxes, and those toward the north, the summer solstice,” he said.

He recalled that for pre-Colombian Mayas, the sun was a vital element in their rituals for marking the change of seasons and to begin preparing the land for growing maize - the ball is an analogy of the sun and the movements of the game are an analogy of the sun’s trajectory.

“The arc of the sun, which rises in the east, reaches its zenith and disappears in the west, at a certain moment was reproduced with the movement of the ball during the ritual,” Huchim said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Frida Kahlo’s Clothing to Go on Display in Mexican Museum

Frida Kahlo’s Clothing to Go on Display in Mexican Museum

Photo: Frida Kahlo's Clothing to Go on Display in Mexican Museum

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Famed artist Frida Kahlo was known, in part, for you colorful dresses. Those very dresses will soon be on display in Mexico thanks to the curators of the Kahlo’s “Blue House” in Mexico City.

In November, multiple items hidden until 2004 will go on display and make it clear why she once graced the cover of Voguemagazine (1937).

Carlos Phillips, head of the museums that exhibit Kahlo and Rivera’s work, recently spoke with Reuters:

We must remember that Frida - like Diego - wanted the colors, the dress, the culture of Mexican women to be public and known.”

Though her clothing was beautiful and bold, it also served to hide physical deformities caused by childhood polio and a 1925 bus accident that broke her spine in three places, an accident that resulted in multiple surgeries, scars and constant pain.

In 1954, at the age of 47, Kahlo died leaving behind a tragic, yet somehow beautiful, legacy. Following her death, her husband, muralist Diego Rivera, ordered Kahlo’s clothes be locked away for 15 years.

The clothing exhibition is being sponsored by Vogue Mexico and can be seen at the Frida Kahlo Museum in Mexico City.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Norway Confirms Peace Talks Between Colombia and FARC WIll Begin Oct. 17

Norway Confirms Peace Talks Between Colombia and FARC WIll Begin Oct. 17

Photo: President Juan Manuel Santos

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Peace talks between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, guerrilla group will officially begin on Oct. 17 in Oslo, a spokeswoman for the Norwegian foreign ministry said Thursday.

Veslemøy Lothe Salvesen provided that precise date, which is slightly later than ones mentioned by the FARC in September, in remarks to Bogota’s RCN Radio.

The Colombian government thus far has given no exact date for the start of the formal peace negotiations, although President Juan Manuel Santos has said on different occasions that the process would get underway in mid-October.

Norway will participate in the peace process as a guarantor and a host country, along with Cuba, while Venezuela and Chile also will “accompany” the talks.

Santos publicly announced the selection of those four countries when announcing in late August that a deal to hold talks had been reached.

The accord establishing a framework for the peace process was signed on Aug. 26 in Havana after six months of secret exploratory discussions on the communist-ruled island under the auspices of the Cuban and Norwegian governments.

The Colombian government and the FARC have held formal peace talks aimed at ending a decades-old armed conflict on two other occasions.

The most recent negotiations, during the 1998-2002 government of President Andres Pastrana, took place in a demilitarized area of southern Colombia - dubbed “Farclandia” - and collapsed amid mutual recriminations.

The new process differs from the earlier failed attempts, according to the president, in that it will unfold outside Colombia.

Santos said in early September that the forthcoming negotiations will focus on rural development and improved access to land; security guarantees for the political opposition and activists; an end to armed conflict and the full demobilization of the guerrillas; the problem of drug trafficking; and the rights of victims of both the rebels and the security forces.

Santos’ decision to talk peace with the FARC has boosted his approval ratings and is supported by 60 percent of Colombians, according to a Gallup poll released in early September, while the smaller ELN insurgency has expressed an interest in joining the process.

The loudest criticism of the venture has come from Santos’ hardline predecessor, Alvaro Uribe, who called the peace process “a slap in the face to democracy.”

The FARC has battled a succession of Colombian governments since 1964. The Marxist insurgency swelled to nearly 20,000 fighters in the early 2000s, but now numbers around 8,500 combatants.

Colombia’s armed forces, bolstered by billions of dollars of aid from the United States, have scored dramatic successes against the FARC in recent years, but the rebels remain capable of inflicting significant damage on the military and on vulnerable infrastructure.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Salma Hayek Covers Harper’s Bazaar UK Novermber Issue - “I Must be the Luckiest Girl in the World”

Salma Hayek Covers Harper’s Bazaar UK Novermber Issue - “I Must be the Luckiest Girl in the World”

Photo: Salma Hayek Covers Harper's Bazaar UK Novermber Issue - "I Must be the Luckiest Girl in the World"

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Mexican beauty Salma Hayek graces the November issue of Harper’s Bazaar UK, but also opened up about her body, her career, and why she doesn’t need Botox.

In the featured interview, the 46-year-old actress/model shared why she is so grateful to still be relevant in Hollywood.

“The worst thing you can be in Hollywood is a woman and over 40,” Hayek tells Bazaar UK. “On top of that, I have an accent, am dyslexic, short and chubby. You name it I have it, but I am here. I must be the luckiest girl in the world to be working.”

Though no one of sound mind would dare call Hayek fat, she is well aware that she does not look like the typical Hollywood starlet.

“I am on the limit of chubbiness because I love my food and my wine. It’s not the best for fashion, but it’s good for my mood.”

She adds that she’s happy because she eats and says this is why she’ll never need Botox.

“I don’t need to do it because I eat! I eat the fat, I eat the vegetables, I eat everything,” she said. She also added that all that food has been good for her skin. “If you don’t eat carbs, you slow your metabolism down. And you know what? You look miserable.”

Possibly the best quote from the interview comes from a woman who seems to have really accepted not only her role in Hollywood, but also herself.

“The truth is I just don’t have the drive to be the prettiest and the thinnest. I can be happy for other people for their beauty. Learn to be happy for others and you can never run out of happiness.”

Though she may embrace her curvy self, it seems someone does not. Judging by the cover photo, could it be this beauty is another victim of a dreaded Photoshop-happy magazine?

To read the full interview, grab a copy of the magazine, which went on sale October 4, or head over to http://www.harpersbazaar.co.uk.

Read more by HS News Staff →

New York Giants Victor Cruz’s Popularity Rises

New York Giants Victor Cruz’s Popularity Rises

Photo: Victor Cruz' Popularity on the Rise

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New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz has the 9th best selling jersey in the NFL, according to ESPN Sports Business Reporter Darren Rovell.

It’s an amazing feat for Cruz considering he was barley known one year ago at this time.

Cruz was born in Paterson, New Jersey and his mother is Puerto Rican. He played college football at UMass and wasn’t selected in the 2010 draft. He was given a chance by the Giants as a free agent, but didn’t contribute much in the 2010 season.

Cruz made the most of his opportunities in 2011. With injuries to key receivers, the quarterback Eli Manning trusted Cruz to make big plays in week 3 at Philadelphia. Cruz scored two touchdowns, which jump-started his season. He finished the regular season with 82 catches for 1,536 yards and nine touchdowns.

Cruz helped the Giants make the playoffs and then was a key contributor in the postseason. Cruz caught 10 passes for 142 yards in the NFC Championship game against San Francisco and scored a touchdown in the Super Bowl win over New England.

Cruz is off to a great statistical year in 2012. He has 388 yards and two touchdowns in the first four games. His counterpart Hakeem Nicks has been out for two games this season so Cruz has been the weapon that opposing defenses game plan for.

Cruz became a pop culture figure because of his salsa dance that he does every time he scores a touchdown. The dance is so popular that when he scored on Sunday night, NBC played salsa music while he celebrated his touchdown.

Off the field, Cruz has written a book about his life called “Out of the Blue”, and has made an appearance at a FIFA Soccer 13 Launch Party in New York City.

Story Written by HS News Sports Writer:  Nate Jacobson

Read more by HS News Staff →

WATCH Jorge Ramos Discuss Latino Voters, Mitt Romney on ‘The Colbert Report’ (VIDEO)

WATCH Jorge Ramos Discuss Latino Voters, Mitt Romney on ‘The Colbert Report’ (VIDEO)

Photo: WATCH Jorge Ramos Discuss Latino Voters, Mitt Romney on 'The Colbert Report'

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“I will begin all by questions with an upside-down question mark.” - Colbert

Noticiero Univision‘s anchor Jorge Ramos recently stopped by The Colbert Report, and while the show is satirical in nature, Ramos got serious about the today’s election issues.

In response to Mitt Romney saying all states should follow Arizona’s lead in regards to immigration policies/laws:

“I think self-deportation is not a solution, it’s a really, really bad idea. America is not about that. America is about welcoming immigrants, not about throwing them out.”

Watch more of the hilarious, yet insightful interview below, or watch the full episode here.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latino Blotter:  Child Killer Edward Salas Apprehended in Mexico after 2008 Prison Escape

Latino Blotter:  Child Killer Edward Salas Apprehended in Mexico after 2008 Prison Escape

Photo: Child Killer Edward Salas Apprehended in Mexico

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U.S. Marshals Service 15 Most Wanted fugitive Edward Salas was arrested today in Chihuahua City, Chihuahua, Mexico, by the Policia Federal Ministerial in coordination with the U.S. Marshals Service.

Salas was added to the Marshals 15 Most Wanted fugitive list in December 2011. A convicted child killer, Salas escaped from the Curry County Detention Center in Clovis, New Mexico, in August 2008, and had been on the lam ever since. At the time of his escape, he was serving a life sentence plus 56 years for his role in the murder of 10-year-old Carlos Perez.

On Sept. 15, 2005, Salas, along with his brothers Orlando Salas and Demetrio Salas and two other individuals, planned to murder Ruben Perez during the night, reportedly in retaliation for an argument that occurred earlier that day at the Clovis High School. Instead they killed his brother, Carlos, who was sleeping in the same bedroom. The child died just one day before his 11th birthday.

After his escape nearly three years into his prison term, Salas made his way to Friona, Texas, where he stayed under the radar until Nov. 27, 2008, when he was spooked from his hideout by law enforcement activity in the area.

Salas is the second 15 Most Wanted fugitive apprehended in Mexico in the past three months. In July, Vincent Legrend Walters was apprehended in Cancun, Mexico, after being on the Marshals most wanted list for nearly 24 years.

Another international fugitive, Noe Torres, was also arrested in Mexico earlier this year in Mexico. Torres is also charged with the same 2005 murder of 10-year-old Carlos Perez as Salas. In 2005, Torres fled Clovis prior to prosecution and remained on the run for nearly six years. Torres was taken into custody in Chihuahua, Mexico, outside of a religious compound in the first week of January and extradited to the United States in July.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Los Angeles Police Chief:  The LAPD is Changing Its Policy of Detaining Undocumented for ICE

Los Angeles Police Chief:  The LAPD is Changing Its Policy of Detaining Undocumented for ICE

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During a press conference Thursday, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck announced proposed changes to the way the Los Angeles Police Department handles Immigration and Customs Enforcement detentions of some undocumented immigrant arrests.

Chief Beck stated:

In the spirit of keeping with the intended purpose of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Secure Communities program signed into law by the President of the United States September 30 2008, in which “ICE prioritizes the removal of criminal aliens, those who pose a threat to public safety, and repeat immigration violators,”  the LAPD is proposing to no longer grant an ICE Detainer Request without first reviewing the seriousness of the offense for which the person is being held as well as their prior arrest history and gang involvement.

The LAPD, the second largest police department in the U.S., is said to be developing the list of criminal offenses which do not meet the intended purpose of Secure Communities, including low-grade misdemeanor offenses and public nuisance charges.

Under this new proposal, those arrested for one of these lesser crimes with not be subject to longer detention intended for those to be turned over to ICE. However, the LAPD will still honor detention requests on all felony and high-grade misdemeanor arrests.

Chief Beck stated the LAPD hopes to implement the new protocols by January 1, 2013.

It is believed the new policy will affect approximately 400 people each year.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Dissident Blogger Yoani Sánchez Arrested in Cuba

Dissident Blogger Yoani Sánchez Arrested in Cuba

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Well-known blogger Cuban dissident Yoani Sanchez, 37, was arrested Thursday as she and her husband were on their way to a trial.

A pro-government blogger later stated Sanchez and her husband, Reinaldo Escobar, also a writer, were stopped on their way to the courtroom because they planned a “provocation” and “media show” that could possibly interfere with the credibility of the trial.

The trial Sanchez and her husband were traveling for was that of a Spaniard Angel Carromero, the man allegedly responsibly for the July death of Sanchez’s friend and fellow oppositionist, Oswaldo Paya.

Paya and another dissident, Harold Cepero were passengers in a car being driven by Carromero when the vehicle went off the road and hit a tree. As a result,  Cepero and Paya were killed.

The communist island’s government has accused Sanchez of manipulating the truth. Friends of Paya have stated they believe the vehicle was forced off the road, that the incident was not an accident.

Despite Cuba’s censorship, Sanchez’s blog, Generación Y, is made possible because she e-mails her entries to friends outside the country for them to publish online. Generación Y, is translated into 17 languages.

Four years ago, Time magazine named Sanchez one of the world’s most influential people.

In 2009, President Barack Obama said Sanchez’s blog “provides the world a unique window into the realities of daily life in Cuba,” adding that she helps “empower fellow Cubans to express themselves through the use of technology.”

Despite her criticism of the current Cuban government, Sanchez has stated she strives to maintain a “respectful tone” and has asked her supporters anf those who comment on her entries to do so as well.

An interview published in Poder360:

refuse to use incendiary language, defamation, or harangues, because that only exacerbates the cycle of intolerance that is an obstacle to reasoned debate. Cuba is a very diverse country. You walk out into the street, and you not only find diversity of races but also of opinions. The official press spends all its time trying to make us believe that this is a very monolithic country, that we all think the same, and it does so with a dose of revolutionary violence and ideological aggressiveness that is paralyzing. We have to find a way to put a stop to this never-ending cycle, to this spiral of aggression that is very characteristic of Cuban journalism

Since she was reportedly arrested on Thursday, Sanchez has not updated her Twitter account and according to the BBC, their Havana correspondent has said Sanchez’s cell phone was “unreachable and appeared to have been cut-off.


Read more by HS News Staff →

Civil Rights Icon Cesar Chavez to be Honored with National Monument in California

Civil Rights Icon Cesar Chavez to be Honored with National Monument in California

Photo: Cesar Chavez National Monument to be Unveiled

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On October 8th, 2012, President Obama will travel to Keene, California to announce the establishment of the César E. Chávez National Monument.  The monument Act will be established on the property known as Nuestra Señora Reina de la Paz (Our Lady Queen of Peace), or La Paz.

The La Paz property is recognized worldwide for its historic link to civil rights icon César Estrada Chávez and the farm worker movement. The site served as the national headquarters of the United Farm Workers (UFW) as well as the home and workplace of César Chávez and his family from the early 1970’s until Chávez’ death in 1993, and includes his grave site which will also be part of the monument.

César Chávez gave a voice to poor and disenfranchised workers everywhere,” said President Obama. “La Paz was at the center of some of the most significant civil rights moments in our nation’s history, and by designating it a national monument, Chávez’ legacy will be preserved and shared to inspire generations to come.”

The César E. Chávez National Monument will encompass property that includes a Visitors’ Center containing César Chávez’s office as well as the UFW legal aid offices, the home of César and Helen Chávez, the Chávez Memorial Garden containing Chavez’s grave site, and additional buildings and structures at the La Paz campus.

The monument, which will be managed by the National Park Service in consultation with the National Chávez Center and the César Chávez Foundation, will be the fourth National Monument designated by President Obama. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latino Blotter:  Customs Agent Paulo Morales Sentenced for Groping Women at Miami Airport

Latino Blotter:  Customs Agent Paulo Morales Sentenced for Groping Women at Miami Airport

Photo: Customs Agent Paulo Morales Sentenced for Groping

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Paulo Morales, 48, of Miami, was sentenced to 33 months in prison along with one year supervised release, the Justice Department announced.  In July, Morales, a former Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer, pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor counts of deprivation of rights under color of law.

Morales admitted that on various dates while working as an officer with CBP at the Miami International Airport, he groped the breasts of three separate women without their consent and while they were in custody.

“This officer abandoned his commitment to legitimate law enforcement and used his power to abuse women in his custody,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico Eradicates Illegal Logging at Monarch Butterfly Reserve

Mexico Eradicates Illegal Logging at Monarch Butterfly Reserve

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Mexican authorities and peasants have stamped out illegal logging at a Monarch butterfly reserve in the mountains of the western state of Michoacan, the federal environment secretary said.

“Mexico has achieved its goal of eradicating illegal logging in the core area for the Monarch, which is an important achievement that guarantees the presence” of this species in Mexico, Juan Rafael Elvira Quesada.

He made his remarks during the presentation at this capital’s Papalote Children’s Museum of the documentary “The Flight of the Monarch,” which narrates the migration route of those butterflies in Canada, the United States and Mexico and documents the species’ natural history and ecosystem and conservation efforts.

Coordinated efforts by the federal government, civil society organizations and local communities have succeeded in preserving the natural richness of the Monarch reserve and preventing its deterioration, the secretary said.

He noted that Mexican authorities have taken very concrete measures to conserve the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, citing efforts by federal environmental regulators to permanently and intensively inspect and monitor those wintering grounds.

The Zero Tolerance for Illegal Logging program also has been applied at the reserve with the backing of federal and state security agencies and local communities, which have formed vigilance committees.

According to official reports, no pine-oak forest mass has been lost at the Monarch reserve over the past two years.

Elvira Quesada said the National Forestry Commission has made nearly 6,000 conditional cash transfers to peasant communities in that conservation area to protect forest resources.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Unemployment Rate Goes Below 8% to 7.8%, Lowest Rate in Nearly 4 Years

Unemployment Rate Goes Below 8% to 7.8%, Lowest Rate in Nearly 4 Years

Photo: Latino Unemployment September

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The September jobless rate according to the Bureau for Labor Statistics dipped down to 7.8 percent from 8.1 percent in August.

This is the first time since January, 2009 that the unemployment rate went below 8 percent and the lowest rate since President Barrack Obama took office.  Economists were anticipating the jobless rate to creep up to 8.2%.

The number of unemployed people now stands at 12.1 million decreasing by 456,000 last month. Forty percent of the unemployed have been unemployed for at least six months or more. 

New job growth for September was 114,000, with jobs creation numbers for July and August revised upwards. Employment increased in health care and in transportation and warehousing but changed little in most other major industries.  Most of the new jobs added were in part-time and self-employed positions. 

The Hispanic unemployment rate dropped to 9.9 from 10.2 percent in August, while the 18-29 year old Hispanic unemployment rate dropped to 12.1 percent from came 13.7 percent in the same month.

Read more by HS News Staff →

U.S. Supreme Court:  Affirmative Action Gets a Hearing

U.S. Supreme Court:  Affirmative Action Gets a Hearing

Photo: Affirmative Action Case to Supreme Court

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Abigail Fisher was one of the more than 17,000 high-school seniors from around the country who were rejected when they applied to the University of Texas in 2008. In an argument to be heard next week by the U.S. Supreme Court, Fisher argues the university turned her down because she is white.

If the Supreme Court agrees with Fisher, it could spell the end to affirmative action programs across the country that provide some advantage to applicants from underrepresented minorities. At issue is whether Fisher’s “equal protection” under the 14th amendment was violated by the university’s consideration of the race of some of its applicants. Courts so far have found that it wasn’t, as both the 5th Circuit district and appeals courts ruled in favor of the University of Texas.

The majority of students at Texas’s flagship university got in through the state’s top 10 percent plan, under which students are automatically admitted, irrespective of race, if they graduate in the top 10 percent of their high school class. The policy has diversified the university because many Texas high schools are mostly black or Hispanic, but the university says that relying solely on high school academic rank is too restrictive. 

“The students who are not automatically admitted bring tremendous talents, they can be somebody who’s student body president, stumbled a little bit academically sophomore year, but won the state math contest.” says Bill Powers, the university’s president. “We want that group of students to be ethnically diverse, as well.” 

Fisher, from a wealthy Houston suburb, did not rank in the top tenth of her class but sought admission through the university’s “holistic review” process, which considers academic and personal characteristics, one of which is race, in determining admissions for the rest of the class.

The Supreme Court last ruled on affirmative action in 2003.  In Grutter v. Bollinger, the court upheld the admissions policies of the University of Michigan Law School, approved “narrowly tailored use of race in admissions decisions to further a compelling interest in obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body.”

Read more at Ben Wieder by Pew Stateline →

Texas Judge Named “Border Hero” by Advocacy Center

Texas Judge Named “Border Hero” by Advocacy Center

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Texas jurist Maria Salas-Mendoza’s efforts on behalf of women and children in the El Paso area has earned her a place among the Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center’s “Border Heroes.”

Salas-Mendoza, a district court judge and president of the El Paso Bar Association, has created programs to help kids placed in foster homes to excel academically and professionally.

“These children should know that the disadvantage which life has placed them at is not a reason to give up their dreams, but the opposite: it should drive them to demonstrate they are capable of achieving their goals,” she tells Efe.

The judge, an alumna of Radcliffe College and UCLA law school, says she identifies with the Latino children and teens she encounters in the course of her work.

One of Salas-Mendoza’s initiatives is an El Paso County program that provides employment for foster kids who lack role models or a support system.

Participating youngsters work in county administrative offices and are assigned attorneys to act as mentors.

The support and advice extends beyond the duration of the job, Salas-Mendoza said, and the participants can rely on it “whenever they need it in the future.”

The judge, who often speaks at El Paso schools, said she never misses an opportunity to talk to young people about their futures, “because it’s important to push them to be good people, to be successful professionals.”

Salas-Mendoza and the other 2012 “Border Hero,” activist West Paul Cosgrove, were selected by a consensus of representatives of community organizations, Los Americas executive director Katie Hudak said.

Both honorees, Hudak said, “have dedicated their lives to making our border a more just and humane place.”

The Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center 2012 Border Heroes Awards Dinner is set for Oct. 20 at Temple Mt. Sinai in El Paso.

The event will also raise funds to support the center’s work of providing low-cost legal service to immigrants seeking political asylum or U visas, which are granted to crime victims.

In an average year, the Las Americas Center helps around 300 immigrants obtain legal permanent residence in the United States.

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Mexican Cops Involved in Attack on U.S. Embassy SUV Remain in Custody

Mexican Cops Involved in Attack on U.S. Embassy SUV Remain in Custody

Photo: Scene of the shooting

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A judge has ordered that 12 Mexican Federal Police officers implicated in a shooting attack on a U.S. Embassy vehicle be held for another 40 days, Attorney General Marisela Morales said.

The suspects are being held under a measure known as “arraigo” (preventative detention), a controversial instrument under which Mexican authorities can hold people linked to serious crimes for up to 80 days without formal charges.

There has been progress in the investigation, Morales told reporters after signing an agreement Wednesday with the Mexico United Against Crime civic organization to promote a “culture of legality.”

Asked about U.S. media reports Tuesday in which a senior U.S. official was quoted as saying the police involved in the shooting had organized crime links, Morales said “we’re continuing to pursue all the lines of investigation and nothing’s been ruled out yet.”

“The ‘arraigo’ has been extended for another 40 days and that’s going to allow us to delve into and exhaust each line of investigation. We’ve made significant progress, but to preserve the secrecy of the investigation, we can’t reveal any information,” she added.

On Aug. 24, two U.S. Embassy officials - both security experts - were shot and wounded by Mexican Federal Police while traveling in an armored SUV with diplomatic plates on a road in the central state of Morelos.

The officers involved in the shooting were investigating the kidnapping of a federal official, the Public Safety Secretariat said, while the U.S. Embassy in Mexico initially described the incident as an “ambush.”

A judge initially ordered the 12 police held under “arraigo” for 40 days while they are investigated for alleged “abuse of authority” and other crimes, but Morales said Tuesday the preventative detention order had been extended to the maximum allowed by law.

The attorney general, meanwhile, refused to comment on other U.S. media reports indicating that guns that entered Mexico as part of an alleged federal gun-running probe known as “Fast and Furious” have been used by organized crime gangs to carry out massacres.

“We’re exchanging all the information with them (the U.S. authorities) that could help solve some isolated cases we have and that we’ve detected. But as for the rest, it’s still not the time to reveal anything,” Morales said.

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U.S., Spain to Enter into Missile-Defense Pact

U.S., Spain to Enter into Missile-Defense Pact

Photo: Missiles

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The Spanish government authorized Friday the signing of a pact with the United States that will allow elements of the NATO anti-missile shield to be deployed at the Rota naval base in southern Spain.

The authorization was approved at the Council of Ministers’ weekly meeting and comes a year after Spain announced it would take part in the project.

It was then-Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero who offered Spain’s participation during a meeting in Brussels in October 2011.

As a result, Spain had to adjust its existing defense agreement with the United States, which is why the government on Friday approved the signing of an amendment to the bilateral pact.

The pact is scheduled to be signed next week in Brussels by Spanish Defense Minister Pedro Morenes and U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, since at that time both will be attending a NATO meeting in the Belgian capital.

The accord will allow the deployment of four U.S. Navy ships at the Rota naval base as part of the NATO anti-missile shield, Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said.

The amended pact will open the way for some 1,100 U.S. military personnel and the four ships to be stationed at Rota beginning in 2013.

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FridayOctober 5, 2012