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TuesdayOctober 16, 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 Pageant Queen Hopes to Launch Beauty Products Line

Mexican Pageant Queen Hopes to Launch Beauty Products Line

Photo: Carmen Isabel Hernandez Chavez

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The Mexican Carmen Isabel Hernandez Chavez, winner in 2011 of the tenth Miss Princess of the World contest, dreams of her line of beauty products being sold all over Mexico - and about being a mom.

“My dream, the plan I have for my life, is to have a successful business, to manage my own company and see my products in stores all over Mexico, and then start exporting,” the 22-year-old beauty queen told Efe in Prague during her third visit to the Czech Republic.

Hernandez, who eight months ago established a beauty salon in San Luis de Potosi and is developing her own formulas for a line of beauty products, sees her enterprise shaping up as “a successful, well-known company.”

Once she achieves that, she would like to “start a family” in order to be “a complete woman,” said the “princess” of beauty, a role she confessed might not be that easy to keep up “year after year.”

The Miss Princess of the World contest, created 10 years ago by a group of Czech businessmen, is a pageant honoring beauty and the gifts of communication, charm and ingenuity, for girls from 16 to 26.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Remarks from Sec. of State Hillary Clinton’s Meeting with Peru’s President Humala

Remarks from Sec. of State Hillary Clinton’s Meeting with Peru’s President Humala

Photo: Sec. Hillary Clinton Meets with Peru's Humala

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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Peru’s President Ollanta Humala while visiting Parque Canepa along with the First Lady of Peru Nadine Heredia.  The Secretary is in Peru to participate in a women’s empowerment conference. 

The following are remarks from Secretary Clinton on her visit with President Humala:

Well, thank you very much, Mr. President, for the warm welcome. I’m delighted to be back here in Lima.

I have been looking forward to tomorrow’s conference as we discuss ways to tap the potential of women and further social inclusion and economic progress here in Peru. I think it is very fitting that you are hosting this conference during Social Inclusion Week, because there is no doubt that providing more opportunities for people who historically have been left out of progress in our hemisphere will benefit all of us.

We applaud your government establishing the new Ministry of Development and Social Inclusion, and we want to work with you to give every child – every young boy and every young girl – the chance to fulfill his or her God-given potential. As you said, Mr. President, the United States and Peru work together on many shared challenges and priorities. We are working together to promote citizen security and to work against the drug traffickers. We are working to support you in your ongoing efforts against the terrorists who have for too long brought violence to too many people throughout Peru. We are working to protect Peru’s magnificent environment and cultural treasures. And we are working to support your efforts to spur broad-based development that is as important in the cities as it is in the rural areas.

To give one example, Peru and the United States are committed to preserving the Amazon Basin. So we are jointly developing a new regional initiative to maintain strong economic growth while also preventing deforestation and reducing carbon emissions. We believe it’s important to preserve our resources for future generations and to help more people move from poverty to self-sufficiency; to help families feel safe in their communities and children have the chance to get a good education; to improve all services, such as health care, and to benefit everyone from strong, inclusive democratic institutions that respect human rights and freedom of expression.

Because of Peru’s strong economic growth and your commitment to social inclusion, more people around the world are paying attention to what is happening right here in your country. And I want you to know, Mr. President, that the United States will be committed to building our partnership and friendship not only between our governments, but between our people.

So thank you again. I am sorry that my visit is so short, but I could not miss coming for this week of activities, and particularly for the conference tomorrow. But I will have to get back in time to see the second debate in our presidential election, Mr. President.

Read more by HS News Staff →

1,452 Pounds of Cocaine Worth $16.5 Million Seized Off Waters of Puerto Rico

1,452 Pounds of Cocaine Worth $16.5 Million Seized Off Waters of Puerto Rico

Photo: Large Cocaine Seizure in Puerto Rican Waters

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Federal law enforcement authorities arrested two smugglers, seized a go-fast vessel and a 22-bale of cocaine shipment, totaling 660 kilos (1,452 pounds) in waters south of Puerto Rico Tuesday morning.

The estimated value of the contraband is over $16.5 million.

Near midnight Monday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents on a routine patrol detected two men aboard a suspicious 30-foot go-fast vessel with two outboard engines adrift and multiple bales of suspected contraband onboard, approximately 55 nautical miles south of the town of Salinas, in the southern coast of Puerto Rico.

Law enforcement interdicted the go-fast vessel that had become adrift after running out of fuel.

The two suspects, Alexander Urrutia, a U.S. Citizen from Puerto Rico and Dioni Rijo a citizen of the Dominican Republic, were arrested and face federal drug smuggling charges.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Bruno Mars Jams Retro-Style in “Locked Out of Heaven” Video: Watch It Here

Bruno Mars Jams Retro-Style in “Locked Out of Heaven” Video: Watch It Here

Photo: Bruno Mars- Locked Out of Heaven

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The much anticipated premiere of his new single” Locked Out of Heaven” arrived Monday . It is the lead single off his sophomore LP Unorthodox Jukebox”. Hawaii-born crooner Bruno Mars releases the funky track “Locked Out Of Heaven” as the lead single from his sophomore album “Unorthodox Jukebox”, due in stores on December 11 via Atlantic Records! Produced by Mark Ronson, and co-written by The Smeezington, “Locked Out Of Heaven” is a groovy upbeat tune that certainly reminds you of The Police in a way, like some reviewers pointed out. Bruno’s vocals are amazing, the melody is good, and the chorus is ‘in the money’ baby!

“Locked Out Of Heaven” by Bruno Mars is currently (week 41, 2012) in the HOT100 Billboard charts at position 34. Locked Out Of Heaven lyrics by Bruno Mars.


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South Carolina Mexican Restaurants Agree to Pay Employees Nearly $500,000 in Back Wages

South Carolina Mexican Restaurants Agree to Pay Employees Nearly $500,000 in Back Wages

Photo: South Carolina Mexican Restaurant Wage Crackdown

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Pancho’s Inc. — doing business as Pancho’s Mexican Restaurant I, II and III – and Papa’s and Beer Mexican Restaurant have agreed to pay 85 employees a total of $485,913 in back wages.

The back wages are owed due to violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime, minimum wage and record-keeping provisions, which were uncovered at all four restaurant locations during investigations by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.

The investigations were conducted under a multiyear enforcement initiative focused on the restaurant industry in South Carolina, where widespread noncompliance with the FLSA has been found. Since the start of fiscal year 2009, the division’s Columbia District Office has concluded more than 300 investigations under the initiative, resulting in more than $2.5 million in back wages recovered for more than 2,500 workers.

At Pancho’s Mexican Restaurant I, II and III, investigators found that employees were not properly compensated for all work hours. By reviewing payroll records and conducting employee interviews, investigators determined that tip-earning employees such as servers were made to rely primarily on tips for pay and consequently earned wages that fell below $2.13 per hour in violation of the FLSA’s minimum wage provision. Additionally, other employees such as kitchen staff were paid flat salaries each month — without regard to hours worked — that did not satisfy minimum wage or overtime pay requirements.

The Papa’s and Beer Mexican Restaurant investigation revealed that the employer made impermissible deductions for uniforms and other expenses from the wages of tip-earning employees, causing their hourly wages to fall below the federal minimum wage. Additionally, other employees such as kitchen staff were paid flat salaries each month — without regard to hours worked — that did not satisfy minimum wage or overtime pay requirements. The employer also failed to record the hours worked by kitchen staff.

The restaurant industry employs some of the country’s lowest-paid workers who, due to a lack of knowledge of the law or unwillingness to exercise their rights, are vulnerable to disparate treatment and labor violations.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Puerto Rico’s Historic Condado Vanderbilt Hotel Reopens After 15 Years

Puerto Rico’s Historic Condado Vanderbilt Hotel Reopens After 15 Years

Photo: Puerto Rico's Historic Condado Vanderbilt Hotel Reopens After 15 Years

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The historic Condado Vanderbilt Hotel in San Juan reopened its doors on Tuesday after 15 years thanks to an investment of $270 million that will provide employment to 250 people.

The owner of the almost 100-year-old hotel, U.S. citizen Hugh Andrews, stressed before a group of invited guests including Puerto Rican first lady Luce Vela “the reopening of the well-known establishment, one of Puerto Rico’s finest hotels.”

The Condado Vanderbilt Hotel was commissioned in 1917 by Frederick William Vanderbilt, a member of one of New York’s most prominent families, and inaugurated on Oct. 16, 1919.

The building was designed by the Warren & Wetmore architectural firm, which is also responsible for the artistic work at the New York Yacht Club, New York’s Grand Central Station and other buildings.

However, due to the Great Depression during the 1930s, the hotel was bought by Manuel Gonzalez, who changed its name to the Condado Hotel, although two decades later it began to be called the Condado Beach Hotel and was known in that way until it closed in 1997.

The remodeling of the hotel was handled by Andrews and Jorge Rossello, the latter - through his company - having remodeled a number of other hotels, including the historic El Convento Hotel in Old San Juan and the La Concha Hotel, which is next door to the Condado Vanderbilt.

Meanwhile, Jose Suarez, the president of International Hospitality Enterprises, the company that owns the old hotel, emphasized Andrews’ work saying that “he was given the task of rescuing” the emblematic building and “presenting it as a luxury product unique in its class.”

“We’re hoping that for spring of next year, approximately between March and April, the rooms in the main building will be available to receive guests,” Suarez said.

The Condado Vanderbilt will have a total of 323 rooms and 131 suites, divided between the main building and the two towers of newer construction located to either side of the central structure.

In addition, the executive director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, Luis Rivera Marin, told reporters that the hotel will become a “symbol of an era of elegance that is reemerging as San Juan’s newest luxury property.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Cuba Eases Travel Restrictions for Its Citizens, Exit Visa Eliminated

Cuba Eases Travel Restrictions for Its Citizens, Exit Visa Eliminated

Photo: Cuban Exit Visa Eliminated

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Cuba announced Tuesday the elimination of exit permits for taking trips abroad and will annul the requirement for a letter of invitation as part of the longed-for and long-awaited travel reform that will take effect Jan. 14, 2013.

The official Web site Cubadebate and the online edition of the daily Granma reported this Tuesday the reform of existing travel policy in order to “adjust it to present conditions and those of the foreseeable future.”

“The Cuban government, in exercising its sovereignty, has decided to eliminate the procedure of exit-permit applications for trips abroad and to annul the requirement for a letter of invitation,” the note published by the online media said.

This means that beginning Jan. 14, 2013, “all that will be required is the presentation of a valid and duly renewed passport and the visa of the destination country.”

The note said that “eligible for said passport will be Cuban citizens who fulfill the requirements established in the (newly reformed) Migration Law.”

Cuba’s travel reform also allows island residents going abroad for personal reasons to remain outside the country for up to 24 months from the time of departure.

With this decision, the Raul Castro government expands its reforms and further eliminates prohibitions that have been in force for decades.

Travel reform has long been desired by Cubans who for years have been affected by a combination of restrictive regulations and tedious, costly processes to be able to visit other countries.

The new easing of travel restrictions and red tape is subject to certain exceptions, however.

Special treatment will be maintained for trips abroad by top officials, health and education professionals and athletes who are “vital” to the country, since each of these will require specific authorization.

Nor will a passport be issued to Cubans who must still complete their military service, nor in cases where “reasons of defense and national security advise against it.”

At the same time, the daily Granma said in an editorial Tuesday that Cuba is obliged to maintain measures to defend itself from a “brain drain.”

Meanwhile the Cuban blogger and critic Yoani Sanchez said excitedly on Tuesday that if she manages to leave Cuba once the migration reform goes into effect, she will certainly return.

“Starting Jan. 14, 2013 the exit permit will be eliminated. The island’s barred doors will be opened? Hurraaaaaaa!!!! grin” is how the famed author of the “Generacion Y” blog greeted the news about travel reform on the social network Twitter.

At the same time she insisted that her interest was in leaving and then returning: “don’t even think you’re going to be rid of my questions, my tweets, my opinions from #Cuba,” she warned.

Cuba’s official gazette published this Tuesday the decree of the Council of State that reforms the current Migration Law.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Teen Girl Uses Jalapeño Pepper Spray in Attack

Teen Girl Uses Jalapeño Pepper Spray in Attack

Photo: Elsie Manneh (pictured) was attacked by former friend's homemade jalapeño pepper spray

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A New York teen girl being dubbed the “Pepper Spray Princess” used jalapeño peppers to make a homemade pepper spray, according to police.

Authorities say Princess Hall, 16, of Staten Island, admitted to concocting her own kind of pepper spray ahead of an attack on a fellow teen, Elsie Manneh.

On Wednesday morning, not far from New Dorp High School, Hall threw a spray bottle full of her own pepper spray at her classmate’s eyes and pulled her hair. The burn was so bad, the victim was taken to Staten Island University Hospital. After having her eyes flushed out, Manneh was able to be released, but she was reportedly incapacitated for two days.

Manneh was left with a swollen face and a small bald spot on her head.

Police have not said why Hall attacked her classmate.

Hall was charged with assault and harassment, and court records show she has a court summons earlier this year for disorderly conduct for an unrelated incident.

Manneh says she and Hall had been friends prior to the attack and said she now feels “backstabbed.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

EXTREME TRAFFICKING:  Nearly 3 Pounds of Meth Found inside Woman’s Girdle at Border Crossing

EXTREME TRAFFICKING:  Nearly 3 Pounds of Meth Found inside Woman’s Girdle at Border Crossing

Photo: Girdle Hides Woman's Meth Stash

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the El Paso, Texas port of entry seized almost three pounds of methamphetamine Thursday night. The drugs were hidden on the body of a 47-year-old New Mexico woman.

The seizure was made shortly after 6 p.m. when the woman entered the Ysleta international crossing as a pedestrian. CBP officers selected the traveler for a secondary examination. During the exam CBP officers located a suspicious package under her clothing. CBP officers found two methamphetamine-filled bundles hidden between her thighs held in place by an elastic girdle. The drugs weighed 2.86 pounds.

CBP officers took custody of the female, 47-year-old Irma Estela Herrera De Nunez of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. She was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special Agents to face charges in connection with the failed smuggling attempt.

She is currently detained at the El Paso County Jail being held without bond.

Read more by HS News Staff →

‘American Idol’ Runner-up Jessica Sanchez Prepares for ‘Glee’ Role

‘American Idol’ Runner-up Jessica Sanchez Prepares for ‘Glee’ Role

Photo: 'American Idol' Runner-up Jessica Sanchez Prepares for 'Glee' Role

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According to TVLine, last season’s runner-up on American Idol, Jessica Sanchez, has signed on for a recurring role on Fox’s musical dramedy Glee.

With her big voice, Sanchez, who was only 16 while competing (she is now 17), proved time and time again she had the voice to make it big. In the end, the little girl with the largest than life voice fell just shy of becoming season 11’s American Idol, losing to Phillip Phillips.

In September Sanchez performed at the 2012 Democratic National Convention alongside fellow artists singing Marvin Gaye’s “You’re All I Need to Get By”.

Though not much is known about her possible role on Glee, rumor has it that she may be a new love interest for Cory Monteith’s character Finn.

The role has yet to be formally announced, but speculation of her joining the cast has continued since June.

It is said Sanchez will join the Glee kids halfway through the current season (season four) once her duties on the Idol summer tour have been fulfilled.

Since coming in second on Idol, Sanchez has signed with Interscope Records and she has said she will be releasing her debut album in November.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Salma Hayek to Produce TV Series ‘The Cisco Kid’

Salma Hayek to Produce TV Series ‘The Cisco Kid’

Photo: Salma Hayek to Produce TV Series 'The Cisco Kid'

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CBS is reportedly developing a television series based on iconic Latino character The Cisco Kid, with Salma Hayek already attached to executive produce.

Along with Hayek will be executive producer Lauren Shuler Donner (X-Men). The series, written by Diego Gutierrez of The Shield fame, will “It follows Cisco as he returns to Los Angeles after serving several tours as a Marine in Afghanistan,” according to Deadline. “After witnessing the murder of his father, Cisco and his best friend/fellow Marine, Sam, team up to solve the case and subsequently find themselves doing what the authorities can’t — defending the city’s oppressed and disenfranchised.”

The character, the Cisco Kid, was a fictional Western character created by O. Henry in his 1907 short story “The Caballero’s Way”. Though originally depicted as a ruthless outlaw, the Cisco Kid went on to be portrayed a Mexican caballero hero.

He has been played by many actors on the radio, stage, and movie lot, which one of the most recent being the 1994 television film The Cisco Kid, in which Jimmy Smits played the lead, Cheech Marin played sidekick Pancho, and Bruce Payne and Ron Perlman (Hell Boy) played French villains. The movie was written by Michael Kane and directed by Luis Valdez.

The developing CBS show will be written by Gutierrez who will also be executive producing, has worked on Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the series), Without a Trrace, and Warehouse 13.

Hayek and Jose Tamez of their Ventanarosa production company have worked on the ABC series Ugly Betty and are looking to make The Cisco Kid the latest in their attempt to bring Latino characters and themes to Hollywood both on the big and small screen.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico’s Top Math Student Survives by Living Off of a Dump

Mexico’s Top Math Student Survives by Living Off of a Dump

Photo: Mexico's Top Math Student Survives by Living Off of a Dump

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An 11-year-old from Matamoros, Tamaulipas has earned the title of Mexico’s top math student according to the country’s national academic achievement test.

Paloma Noyola Martínez, a student at José Urbina López Elementary School, was named the best math student after scoring 921 points on her ENLACE test.

Being the top match student is impressive enough, but given where she lives, Paloma’s achievement is even more impressive.

Paloma and her family live the Matamoros neighborhood known for it scavengers, the people who are forced to rummage through trash in a dump located across the Rio Grande from Brownsville, Texas.

This bright 11-year-old is one of nine children, and her mother, Guadalupe Martínez, has asked the Tamaulipas’ education secretary to help Paloma continue her education. Martinez has been a widow for six months and cannot afford to send Paloma on to middle school without help. Should she continue her education, Paloma could be the first of her siblings to advance on to high school.

Currently, one of Paloma’s older sister’s is helping their mother with expenses, but Martinez fears that without a scholarship it will be “very difficult” for Paloma to continue studying.

Wanting to help the bright young student, her school principal arranged for her to have a laptop computer. However, the problem of charging it still remains.

“I am happy and very proud and I am going to continue to study,” Paloma told reporters.

Read more by HS News Staff →

TRAGEDY: Jose Melena Cooked to Death in Oven at Bumble Bee Tuna Plant

TRAGEDY: Jose Melena Cooked to Death in Oven at Bumble Bee Tuna Plant

Photo: TRAGEDY: Jose Melena Cooked to Death in Oven at Bumble Bee Tuna Plant

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In what plant officials are calling an accident, a six-year veteran of a tuna processing plant was cooked to death by an industrial steam oven on Thursday.

Jose Melena, 62, was said to have been a skilled and knowledgeable employee of the Bumble Bee tuna plant, and it remains unclear how he could have become trapped in the oven.

Melena’s work duties included putting baskets of sealed cans of tuna into a pressure cooker to sterilize the tuna, before it is cooled, dried, and inspected before being shipped out to stores.

When police and the fire department arrived at the plant, which is about 18 miles outside of downtown Los Angeles, Melena was pronounced dead at the scene. Not many details have been made available at this time, but Erika Monterroza, a spokeswoman for the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health stated it usually takes about three to four months to complete worker fatality investigations.

In a statement to KTLA News, a spokesperson for the Bumble Bee Foods plant said, “The entire Bumble Bee Foods family is saddened by the tragic loss of our colleague, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Melena family.”

Melena was a married father of six, and grandfather to eight. He and his wife Sara came to the U.S. in 1971 from Urequio, Michoacan, Mexico with their then 1-year-old daughter Emma.

“I believe he is with God,” his daughter Sara said. “I can’t say, `God, why us?’ I just think everything has a purpose. God is not going to leave us alone.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Check Out Rosie Perez on Mitt Romney as a Latino:  “Easier as a Latino?”  (VIDEO)

Check out actress Rosie Perez video on Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney hoping to be a Latino to win the election - it’s quite insightful.  In the first video of the Actually… series Rosie Perez explains why it will take more than being Latino for Mitt to win the election.


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Supreme Court to Hear AZ Voter Registration, Proof of Citizenship Case

Supreme Court to Hear AZ Voter Registration, Proof of Citizenship Case

Photo: Supreme Court to Hire AZ Voter Registration Case

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The U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether states may require a would-be voter to first prove citizenship — a case likely to answer larger questions about the sometimes conflicting roles of state and federal governments in regulating elections.

On Monday (October 15) the high court accepted an appeal from the State of Arizona, whose citizenship requirement was blocked by a federal appeals court, which said it conflicted with federal law.

The Arizona law, still winding through the legal system after passing as a ballot initiative in 2004, requires would-be voters to prove citizenship by presenting any one of a variety of documents during registration, including a driver’s license, passport, birth certificate or naturalization documents.

The state says the measure is needed to prevent noncitizens from voting. Minority and voting rights advocates have challenged the law, saying such fraud is rare and that the law puts undue burden on potential voters.

In April the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco blocked the law, saying it conflicted with the 1993 National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), which established a form that asks “Are you a citizen of the United States?” Voters check yes or no and sign the form.

The federal law “does not give states room to add their own requirements,” the split court ruled in the majority opinion.

Arizona, backed by several states, argues otherwise.

“The Arizona law does not interfere with Congress’s objectives in enacting the NVRA because requiring evidence of citizenship imposes a minimal burden on a limited number of persons and furthers the federal government’s and the States’ broad interest in protecting integrity of its election process,” Arizona argues in its petition.

In an amicus brief filed by Alabama, Georgia, Kansas and Texas, the states say they hold the constitutional authority to regulate voter registration and determine qualification.

Read more at Jim Malewitz for Pew Stateline →

Mutli-Vehicle Accident in Rio de Janeiro Leaves 61 Injured

Mutli-Vehicle Accident in Rio de Janeiro Leaves 61 Injured

Photo: Road Accidents in Rio de Janeiro

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A crash involving two buses and a pick-up truck injured 61 people Tuesday in the populous western section of Rio de Janeiro, Brazilian emergency services officials said.

The accident tied up traffic in the area, fire department spokesmen said.

Five ambulances were sent to the accident scene, but only one of the people injured in the crash is listed in serious condition.

The injured, the majority of them suffering from minor bruises, were taken to three nearby hospitals and released after being treated.

One of the bus drivers was seriously injured and had to be removed from the wreckage using special equipment.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spanish Citizen Jailed for Drug Trafficking Dies in Peru Prison

Spanish Citizen Jailed for Drug Trafficking Dies in Peru Prison

Photo: Spanish Dies in Peru Prison

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A Spanish citizen serving a sentence for drug trafficking died in a women’s prison in Lima, Peru’s Inpe penitentiary service said.

An official communique said that the Spaniard, identified only by the initials T.I.F., was found unconscious in her cell around 1:00 p.m. Sunday by guards during a routine check.

The guards tried to help her and took her immediately to a Lima hospital where she was pronounced dead, according to the statement.

RPP radio cited an unnamed inmate as saying that T.I.F. committed suicide after stricter prison conditions were enforced two weeks ago.

Inpe said the body would undergo an autopsy and that the Spanish Consulate has been notified of the fatality.

The consulate confirmed to Efe the decease of the Spanish citizen and said that it hopes the autopsy results will reveal the cause of death.

Inpe said it has launched an investigation of the case “to determine possible responsibilities” and expressed its “most sincere condolences to the inmate’s family.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Crackdown at Student Protest in Mexico Leaves 60 Injured

Crackdown at Student Protest in Mexico Leaves 60 Injured

Photo: Crackdown at Student Protest in Mexico Leaves 60 Injured

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Around 60 people were hurt and more than 100 arrested Monday when Mexican federal police stormed three schools in the western state of Michoacan where students were holding dozens of commandeered vehicles, authorities said.

While state interior minister Jesus Reyna Garcia told reporters that 120 students were taken into custody, unofficial accounts put the figure at more than 300.

The injured include both police and students, paramedics said.

Launched in the pre-dawn hours, the police operation was aimed at recovering the more than 50 buses and delivery trucks seized on Oct. 4 and taken to three normal schools in an area of Michoacan populated by Purepecha Indians.

Students took the vehicles as part of protests against changes to the curriculum at Mexico’s normal schools. Those institutions - once common in both Europe and the Americas - prepare young people for careers in teaching.

The nearly simultaneous raids came a day before Mexico’s outgoing president, Felipe Calderon, is expected to visit several towns in his native Michoacan, including Cheran, the site of one of the school involved in the protest.

Police were supported up by U.S.-supplied Black Hawk helicopters, fire trucks and ambulances.

Patrol cars were among several vehicles set on fire during Monday’s confrontations. In Cheran, parents of the protesting students and other Purepecha residents retained control of the school and seized additional buses to force authorities to release the young detainees.

Students at the normal school in Arteaga reached an agreement with police to hand over the facility and the commandeered vehicles.

The union representing most of Michoacan’s teachers, the CNTE, denounced Monday’s police operation and shut down the state’s public primary and middle schools.

Union members also blocked the road linking Cheran with Morelia, the state capital.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Romney Cutting into Obama’s Lead Amongst Florida Latinos

Romney Cutting into Obama’s Lead Amongst Florida Latinos

Photo: Romney Cutting into Obama Florida Lead with Latinos

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The big advantage that President Barack Obama had enjoyed over his Republican challenger among Florida Hispanics has been reduced to 6.5 percentage points, according to a survey released Monday.

The survey headed by Florida International University professor Eduardo Gamarra and Miami-based consultants Newlink Group shows that Obama has the support of 50.7 percent of Latino voters in Florida, compared to the 44.2 percent who say they support former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

Even so, the Democratic incumbent retains an overwhelming 66 percent to 31 percent lead among Latinos nationwide, according to the poll conducted Oct. 10- 11 among 1,000 Hispanic likely voters across the country and 720 in Florida.

Around half of the approximately 21 million Latinos eligible to vote said they will go to the polls and if they do, according to Gamarra, “they could have significant influence on the outcome of the election.”

In a briefing for reporters in Miami, Gamarra highlighted the “remarkable” demographic divide among Hispanics in Florida.

“Puerto Rican and Dominican and other Hispanic voters trust Obama. Cubans just don’t,” Gamarra said.

Projections indicate the president will not win a majority among Latinos in South Florida, FIU professor Jose Miguel Cruz said during the presentation.

Excluding Cubans, Obama has an advantage among Florida Hispanic voters of 64 to 33 percent, according to the survey, which has an error margin of plus/minus 3.6 percent.

The poll, conducted after the Oct. 3 televised presidential debate, in which Romney clearly bested the president, at least in stage presence, found that almost 5 percent of Hispanic votes in Florida are still undecided whom to vote for.

Fifty-four percent say that their situation is not better than it was four years ago, compared with 46 percent who believe their situation has improved, and 51 percent feel that Obama has not fulfilled the 2008 campaign promises he directed at the Hispanic community.

The new survey reflects discontent among Hispanics about Florida’s jobless rate, which is above the national average, but Obama is ahead of Romney by 51 percent to 48 percent with regard to what people think about his management of the economy.

University of Puerto Rico demographer Jorge Duany praised the methodology and rigor of the poll and analyzed why Cuban-Americans are more favorable to Romney.

Duany attributes that “overwhelming support” for Romney, among other things, to U.S. foreign policy toward Cuba and to the fact that this group has values that are “more conservative than other Hispanic groups on issues such as abortion or gay marriage.”

Read more by HS News Staff →



TuesdayOctober 16, 2012