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SaturdayOctober 27, 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 Film Industry Wins At Spanish Film Festival

Three Mexican movies by directors Luis Mandoki, Kenya Marquez and Everaldo Gonzalez were awarded prizes Saturday by the jury of Valladolid’s 57th International Film Week, or Seminci.

Greisy Mena took the prize as Best Actress for her role in “La Vida Precoz y Breve de Sabina Rivas” (The Short, Precocious Life of Sabina Rivas), by Mexican director Luis Mandoki, who in the film reproduces the state of affairs in his country of origin.

The feature-length documentary “Cuates de Australia” (Australian Buddies), by Everaldo Gonzalez, took second place in the Moment in History category thanks to his tale about life among some villagers in the northeastern Mexican state of Coahuila.

Moviemaker Kenya Marquez won an honorary mention for her film “Fecha de Caducidad” (Expiration Date), which competed in Seminci’s Meeting Point category.

Marquez told Efe that the award honors not only her but also the film industry of her country, where making movies can be very difficult.

The director also believes that the honorable mention awarded her film by the jury “opens a door” for the movie’s possible distribution in Spain.

The president of the international jury, Mexican director Jorge Fons, noted for his part the quality of the three prizewinning films and said that cinema in Mexico “is having a good moment.”

Fons urged the directors of his country to stay on the path of making “more and better films.”

Mexico was the guest-of-honor country at the 57th International Film Week of Valladolid, where a retrospective exhibition will be shown featuring Mexican films by directors from different generations.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Leon Beats Jaguares 4-1 in Mexican soccer

Leon Beats Jaguares 4-1 in Mexican soccer

Photo: Leon players celebrating

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Colombian Hernan Dario Burbano scored a goal and assisted on another to lead Leon to a 4-1 victory over Jaguares de Chiapas in late-season play in the Mexican soccer league.

Leon opened the scoring in the sixth minute of Friday night’s match when Uruguay’s Sebastian Maz took advantage of a mistake by Argentine defenseman Miguel Martinez and found his countryman, Matias Britos, who netted a left-footed strike.

Jaguares, however, tied the match in the 27th minute when Colombia’s Luis Gabriel Rey converted a penalty kick after a foul in the area for his seventh goal of the season.

Luis Montes got Leon back on top just two minutes later, finding the back of the net with a left-footed strike after being fed by Burbano.

In the second half, Burbano took advantage of a blunder by Jaguares’ goalkeeper to score in the 52nd minute and Carlos Peña tacked on an insurance goal at the 79-minute mark.

The match was an especially physical contest that resulted in two players - Martinez and Leon’s Jose Juan Vazquez - being sent off.

With the win, Leon improved its record to eight wins, three draws and four losses for a tally of 27 points. That puts the club in third place, two points behind leaders Toluca and Tijuana.

Jaguares remains in ninth place with 19 points but could fall several spots depending on this weekend’s results.

On Saturday, Toluca will visit Cruz Azul, while Sunday will feature two of the most-anticipated matches of the season: Pumas versus America and Guadalajara versus Atlas.

The top eight teams at season’s end will advance to the playoffs.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Cuba Has Performed 20 Sex-Change Operations for Transexuals

Cuba Has Performed 20 Sex-Change Operations for Transexuals

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The number of Cuban transsexuals who have had sex-change surgery has risen to 20, according to figures released by Mariela Castro, director of the National Center for Sex Education, or Cenesex.

Mariela Castro, daughter of Cuban President Raul Castro, said that of the 37 people identified as transsexuals in the country, “20 have benefited from genital adaptation surgery,” according to a note posted Friday on the official Cenesex Web site.

Castro announced the figures during the 3rd Transidentity, Gender and Culture Symposium in Havana, with the participation of Cuba, France and Argentina.

In 2008 the Cuban government passed a ministerial decree permitting sex-change operations in Cuba, which had only one precedent, a man-to-woman surgery in 1988.

That same year it was announced that some 30 transsexuals could benefit from the procedure for free if they wanted it, which launched on the island the practice of masculinization and feminization surgeries before sex-change operations, provided by a team counseled by Belgian specialists.

The latest figures released by Cenesex to the press in 2010 said that about 15 surgeries had been performed, following an express policy not to reveal the costs nor the exact number of people operated until the goal of 30 is reached.

In May, Mariela Castro said the surgery program will continue with the operation in 2012 of a group of “men who identify themselves as women,” whose number she did not specify.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Celebrate the Day of the Dead With This Mushroom Quesadillas Recipe

Celebrate the Day of the Dead With This Mushroom Quesadillas Recipe

Photo: Mushroom Quesadillas

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The Day of the Dead (El Dia de los Muertos) is a traditional Mexican celebration in which families celebrate and remember their loved ones who have passed away. Unlike other cultures, Mexican families come together and prepare their loved ones favorite dishes. V&V Supremo shares recipes for you to celebrate !a la Mexicana!

Mushroom Quesadillas


2 cups Chihuahua Cheese, shredded
1 1/2 lbs. white mushrooms (stems removed), sliced
1/2 large onion, diced
6 large cloves garlic, minced
1/3 of stick unsalted butter
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 fresh ground black pepper
1/3 cup chopped epazote
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
8 flour tortillas


    1. Place large skillet over medium heat for one minute. Add butter. When melted, add onions. Cook, stirring for 5 minutes. Add garlic. Cook, stirring for 2-3 minutes.
    2. Add mushrooms. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring. Add salt and pepper.
    3. Remove from heat and add epazote, and lime juice.
    4. On a griddle or skillet, warm tortillas; add the cheese over each tortilla. Add mushrooms fold the tortilla and wait until the cheese has melted. Cook until golden brown on both sides, turning when necessary. Repeat with all tortillas.

Yields 8 servings

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Texas Couple Sentenced to 5 Years for Conspiring to Bribe a Border Patrol Agent

Texas Couple Sentenced to 5 Years for Conspiring to Bribe a Border Patrol Agent

Photo: Debbie Ayala and David Rogelio Leyva

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A federal judge in Las Cruces, New Mexico sentenced Debbie Ayala, 26, of San Elizardo, Texas, and David Rogelio Leyva, 27, of Socorro, Texas, to five-year prison terms for conspiring to bribe a public official, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales. Ayala and Leyva will be on supervised release for three years after they complete their prison sentences.

Ayala and Leyva were arrested on November 18, 2011, in Horizon City, Texas, based on a two-count indictment charging them with conspiracy and bribery of a public official. The indictment charged that, between January 10, 2010 and March 1, 2010, the defendants conspired illegally to smuggle Ayala’s cousin and 10 kilograms of cocaine from Mexico into the United States by offering money to a U.S. Border Patrol agent, who refused the defendants’ offer.

It further charged that, on January 26, 2010, an undercover officer met with Ayala and Leyva and discussed payment and the logistics of smuggling Ayala’s cousin into the United States. During this meeting, Ayala, Leyva, and the undercover officer agreed that the undercover officer would smuggle 10 kilograms of cocaine into the United States for a fee of $500 per kilogram of cocaine.

On June 5, 2012, Ayala entered a guilty plea to the conspiracy count of the indictment. In entering her guilty plea, Ayala admitted that on January 10, 2010, she approached a U.S. Border Patrol agent with whom she had gone to school and asked the agent to smuggle her cousin in exchange for compensation. Although the U.S. Border Patrol agent declined to assist Ayala, the agent agreed to introduce Ayala to another U.S. Border Patrol agent who was willing to help Ayala.

Ayala admitted that, on January 26, 2010, Leyva and she met with a U.S. Border Patrol agent, who unbeknownst to Ayala was actually an undercover FBI agent, to discuss the price to be paid for smuggling the cousin into the United States. During that conversation, Ayala and Leyva asked the undercover FBI agent if he also could assist with smuggling cocaine into the United States in exchange for a fee of $500 per kilogram.

On June 19, 2012, Leyva also entered a guilty plea to the conspiracy count of the indictment. During his plea hearing, Leyva admitted his participation in the conspiracy to bribe a U.S. Border Patrol in exchange for smuggling Ayala’s cousin into the United States and also to smuggle cocaine into the country.

Count two of the indictment, charging Ayala and Leyva with bribery of a public official, was dismissed after the two defendants were sentenced.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Jessica Alba, Robert Rodriguez, will.i.am Fighting Voter Intimidation in PSAs

Jessica Alba, Robert Rodriguez, will.i.am Fighting Voter Intimidation in PSAs

Photo: Jessica Alba (Advancement Project)

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“We all have an equal voice in the voting booth. That’s what makes America great,” says actress Jessica Alba in one of the new public service announcements (PSAs) produced with civil and voting rights group Advancement Project.

Some of the spots will air on USA Network, MSNBC, Cloo and UniHD and a number of local television affiliates. Radio versions of the PSAs will also be aired on stations around the country.

The PSAs are designed to encourage people to take part in democracy and help combat the fear and confusion created in some voters by unprecedented attempts to make it harder to vote. With Alba, the videos feature television personality Star Jones, film director Robert Rodriguez (“Sin City,” “Machete,” “Spy Kids,” “Desperado”) and musician will.i.am. Additional public service announcements starring some of hip-hop’s influential voices, including recording artists Kandi Burruss and Toya Wright, 2 Chainz, DJ Scream, and chart-topping producer Sean Garrett, will air on BET Network.

“To vote gives our discussion and debate purpose. It defines us as Americans,”says Robert Rodriguez in one of the spots.
The PSAs point viewers to www.apvote.org, a website full of information to prepare people for Election Day, including state-by-state voting rules, a tool for finding the correct polling place, and what voters should do if they encounter problems at their polling place.

Watch the first PSA below, for the other videos go to the Advancement Project’s webiste.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latino Group Claims Federal Agency Neglecting to Provide Record of Serving Latino Families

Latino Group Claims Federal Agency Neglecting to Provide Record of Serving Latino Families

Photo: Administration for Children and Families

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At the conclusion of National Hispanic Heritage Month, members of the National Alliance for Hispanic Families (NAHF) are calling on leaders of the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) to quantify the work the agency has undertaken in the last year to better serve Latinos. 

In spite of its good-faith attempt, the agency’s focus on evidence-based efforts seems to have fallen short of providing the necessary details to support a theme of strong progress toward serving the needs of Latino families and children.

Exactly a year ago, NAHF leaders provided ACF with budget-neutral recommendations that would have a tangible impact on the Agency’s service to Latino children and families.  While highlighting a few anecdotal examples, the Agency has not provided quantifiable information to measure progress across numerous key indicators, including those that ensure a fair and focused allocation of resources to meet the core needs of underserved communities.  These indicators include:

    1.  Lack of baseline data from which to measure progress and ensure that organizations that have a history of serving Latino populations have applied and been awarded any of ACF’s $16 Billion in grants.
    2.  No method for capturing the percentage of reviewers or review panels for all of ACF grant programs that were Hispanic during grant reviews in the 2011-2012 cycle, much less for any baseline period.
    3.  No method for capturing increases in, if any, the number and dollars of investments for research specific to Hispanic populations.  Again, no information on baseline period or relative comparison data.
    4.  No quantifiable data on how the Hispanic Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood Initiative is being strengthened, how many dollars are allocated to serve the initiative, how many dollars have been awarded to organizations who have evidence of successfully serving Hispanic populations, or what the baseline is to conclude the program has been “strengthened.”
    5.  There is no clarity about the meaningful changes and improvements in ACF’s policies and investment in Hispanic families that have been generated as a result of the Administration’s commitment to the Latino community.
    6.  No information on how many jobs have been filled in the agency and what percentage of those has been filled with Hispanics.  No ability to compare this rate to previous periods.
    7.  No data that reflects the improvements ACF has made to identify and alleviate the impact of restrictive immigration laws on public benefit programs and social services.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Hurricane Sandy’s Death Toll Rises to 38

Hurricane Sandy’s Death Toll Rises to 38

Photo: Hurricane Sandy

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Hurricane Sandy caused 38 deaths and forced tens of thousands of people to evacuate their homes in a wide swath of the Caribbean.

Sandy, which was a Category 2 hurricane at its peak intensity earlier this week, killed 11 people in Cuba, 26 in Haiti and one in Jamaica and now threatens the northeastern United States, prompting the states of New York and Virginia to declare a state of emergency.

The Miami-based National Hurricane Center said in its latest public advisory at 8:00 a.m. Saturday that Sandy currently is a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 120 kilometers (75 miles) per hour. It had been downgraded to a tropical storm earlier Saturday morning.

The NHC said the hurricane will move parallel to the southeast coast of the United states during the weekend.

Sandy made landfall in Cuba in the wee hours of Thursday as a Category 2 storm, lashing the eastern part of the country for five hours with torrential rains and maximum sustained winds of 175 kilometers (109 miles) per hour.

The hurricane especially battered the provinces of Santiago de Cuba and Holguin, where the official media described the material damage as “terrible.”

Heavy rains from Sandy’s outer bands triggered deadly flooding in vulnerable Haiti.

In addition to the 26 deaths, four people are reported missing and 17,742 people are being housed in shelters due to flooding and mudslides in that destitute Caribbean country.

In Cuba, powerful winds and torrential rains associated with Sandy destroyed or damaged thousands of homes, stores, warehouses and plantations, mainly in Santiago de Cuba and Holguin.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Arizona Campaign Builds Against “America’s Toughest Sheriff”

Arizona Campaign Builds Against “America’s Toughest Sheriff”

Photo: Mericopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio

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A movement to oust Joe Arpaio, America’s self-proclaimed “toughest sheriff,” from office continues to gain momentum in Arizona. Actions range from a Latino voter mobilization to an infusion of support from out-of-state groups helping run anti-Joe Arpaio radio ads on Spanish radio.

Maricopa County Sheriff Arpaio, 80, known nationally for his immigration sweeps is facing his toughest race in 20 years. But he remains a popular politician.

America’s Voice, a national group that supports comprehensive immigration reform, is investing part of an $80,000 advertising fund in anti-Arpaio ads scheduled to start running this Monday.

Leading in Polls

The popular and brash Arpaio—despite facing several legal actions for his conduct and management of the sheriff’s office—was trailing his nearest challenger, Democrat Paul Penzone, by from six to14 points in recent polls.

Penzone’s supporters are concerned that Independent candidate Mike Stauffer, who has about three-percent support in most polls, could split the anti-Arpaio vote.

Arpaio has a campaign war chest much larger than his opponents and has received over $8 million in donations during this campaign cycle. As of the end of September he still had about half of that amount. Most of the contributions he’s received come from out-of-state contributors, the majority of them in California.

So far his campaign has spent over $700,000 for television ads. Some have focused on Arpaio’s character and his signature as the “toughest” sheriff in America.” One ad featuring Arpaio wrapping his arm around an inmate and holding pets. But the most recent ads attack Penzone, his strongest opponent.

The Arpaio campaign’s new spot focuses on a nine-year-old police report accusing Penzone of domestic violence after he had an argument with his former wife. Both parties had minor injuries, and Penzone was listed as the victim by the Glendale Police Department. No charges were filed.

Arpaio is facing growing opposition on the home front from a number of grassroots campaigns to oust him. Under the banner of “Adios, Arpaio” (“Goodbye, Arpaio”), Campaign for Arizona Future, has added over 34,000 new Latino voters to the rolls.

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Presidential Race: It’s All About the Latino Ground Game

Presidential Race: It’s All About the Latino Ground Game

Photo: NewsTaco

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By Victor Landa, NewsTaco

I mentioned in polite company a couple of times that Latinos are a fourth quarter political people. And even in polite company the idea hasn’t been that well received. But I insist, now that we’re in the fourth quarter of this presidential campaign, it’s our, Latino, time.

Think of it this way: the first quarter was the primary season; the second was the convention time; the third was the debate week; and now comes the end game,the fourth quarter voter mobilization time. That’s all that’s left in this presidential game – getting voters to the polls, now that early voting has begun in many states, now that all that needed to be said has been said, now that the race is down to a handful of undecided voters in 7 swing states.Image

My theory is that now is when the majority of Latinos usually begin to pay attention because they’ve been busy raising kids and going to work, and work, and in many cases work again. The caveat is that Latinos can’t vote if they haven’t registered, but that part of the game was taken care of in the first three quarters – you don’t have to pay attention to the candidates in order to register. And even though this has been a though voter registration season, given the obstacles deliberately placed in the way of the Latino community in the guise of preventing voter fraud, there has been a notable surge in Latino voter registration (not what we’d like to see, but enough to make a difference).

Proof of the fourth quarter theory was provided by our partners at Latino Decisions who tell us that 45% of Latino voters have actively tried to persuade friends or family on their election decision.  It should come as no surprise; even in polite conversation there are some Latinos among us who are bringing up politics and the presidential election.

So all that’s left now is getting Latinos to the polls, especially in states where the experts tell us it matters the most: Colorado, Ohio, Virginia, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Florida… It’s all about the ground game, and at this point the game is played beyond the reach of the campaigns. This is the part of the game where any and all of us can take part – convincing Latinos to vote, taking them to the polls, giving people correct information.

It’s less than two weeks and now is the time when it matters the most.

This article was first published in NewsTaco.

NewsTaco provides you with innovative and insightful news, critique, analysis and opinion from a Latino perspective in a 24-hour world.

Read more at NewsTaco →

INFOGRAPHIC: The History of Hispanics in Hollywood

INFOGRAPHIC: The History of Hispanics in Hollywood

Photo: Hispanically Speaking News

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Hispanics have had a long history in Hollywood.  Latino actors range from Rita Hayworth to Javier Bardem and have had roles in silent films to 3D.  Even though Hispanic actors have been acting since the 1920s, only recently have they had more prominent roles.

Regardless, Hispanics have earned over 20 Academy Awards and are seen as some of the top actors in Hollywood.

Check out Hispanically Speaking News’ infographic that depicts the history of Hispanics in Hollywood.


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Lawsuit Demands Transparency Between GA Law Enforcement and ICE

Lawsuit Demands Transparency Between GA Law Enforcement and ICE

Photo: Georgia Immigration Laws

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This week the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR) and the ACLU of Georgia filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The suit seeks public records documenting the effects of Georgia’s increasing involvement in immigration enforcement, including information that will shed light on increasing reports of racial profiling and police abuse.

The two organizations requested the records over six months ago. With representation by the ACLU of Georgia, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, and the NYU Immigrant Rights Clinic, the lawsuit alleges that DHS and ICE have failed to comply with the Freedom of Information Act, and demands the release of the requested records.

Azadeh Shahshahani, counsel for the ACLU of Georgia commented, “Transparency is integral to a democratic society.  Yet by withholding the records, ICE is preventing the shining of much needed light on the extent of the collaboration between this agency and local police in Georgia.”

The impact of Georgia’s experiment with immigration enforcement—through 287(g) agreements, the Secure Communities program, and HB 87—is largely unstudied. The records sought in the lawsuit will reveal who is being targeted for immigration enforcement, and how increased immigration enforcement by police is impacting public safety and civil rights.

Adelina Nicholls, Executive Director of GLAHR explained, “Immigrant communities have felt the aggression inside their own local neighborhoods since the implementation of 287(g) and the Secure Communities Program. HB87 increased the anti-immigrant climate and now overwhelming amounts of family members in our communities have been detained under minor traffic violations, as many of them are being arrested without a ‘probable cause.’ 

Throughout the state of Georgia we are organizing to keep racial profiling out of our communities and we want to be informed about the programs that we see contributing to it. We shouldn’t have to sue for transparency but if the Department of Homeland Security and ICE refuse to honor the law, we will do what it takes to shine a light on what is happening in Georgia.”

The Full complaint can be viewed here:

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Accident at Fireworks Factory in Central Mexico Kills 4, Injures 3

Accident at Fireworks Factory in Central Mexico Kills 4, Injures 3

Photo: Fireworks stand

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Four people died and three were injured in an explosion at a fireworks factory in the central Mexican town of Ejidos de Santa Maria y San Agustin, officials said.

The Public Safety Secretariat in the state of Mexico said in a communique that the number of dead and injured could change.

The agency said that a first explosion occurred at the factory on Thursday when workers were making fireworks, but later there was a second blast that encompassed the gunpowder storeroom and warehouse.

Authorities said that two people were killed at the scene of the accident, another succumbed when taken to hospital for treatment, while a third died Thursday night of the injuries suffered.

Another three people were badly burned.

“The causes of the explosions are still unknown and it will be up to the corresponding ministry authority to report on any progress made in the investigation into the incident,” the communique said.

It added that this factory was officially registered with the Defense Secretariat.

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Unemployment Rate Tops 25 Percent in Spain

Unemployment Rate Tops 25 Percent in Spain

Photo: Unemployment Rate Tops 25 Percent in Spain

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The ranks of Spain’s unemployed climbed by 85,000 in the third quarter to more than 5.75 million, pushing the jobless rate to a record 25.02 percent, the National Statistics Institute, or INE, said Friday.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s government forecast in July that Spain would end the year with an unemployment rate of 24.6 percent.

The figures released Friday come from the INE’s workforce survey, which also shows the number of people with jobs down by 96,900 to 17.3 million.

The INE survey found that the number of Spanish households in which nobody is employed stands at 1.7 million, another record.

Construction, which was hammered by the collapse of a decade-long real estate boom, was the only sector not to see increases in unemployment over the 12 months ending Sept. 30, the INE said.

Spain has the highest jobless rate in the 27-member European Union.

The Iberian nation’s economy contracted 0.4 percent in the third quarter and continues to face strong headwinds, the central bank said earlier this week.

Median annual household income in Spain fell 1.9 percent this year to 24,609 euros ($32,109), according to the latest national survey on living conditions.

With Spain mired in recession for the second time in four years, 12.7 percent of families said they struggle to make their money last until the end of the month, compared with 9.8 percent last year.

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EU Signs Off on Future Spanish “Bad Bank”

EU Signs Off on Future Spanish “Bad Bank”

Photo: Spain and the Euro

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The European Commission and the European Central Bank said in a joint statement Friday that a deal has been struck with Spain on key aspects of a future “bad bank” that will take on other Spanish lenders’ toxic property assets, noting that that entity will be up and running on Dec. 1.

The statement said a delegation of experts who just returned from Madrid “reached agreement with the Spanish authorities on important aspects of the design and functioning of the future Asset Management Company, including on its overall size and governance.”

It noted that the delegation of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the European Stability Mechanism undertook from Oct. 15-26 the first review mission of the financial-assistance program for Spain.

According to Brussels, the bad bank will be a “cornerstone” of that program, which is aimed at guaranteeing the stability of Spain’s financial sector.

The International Monetary Fund said in a separate statement that “key design features and the general legal framework of the AMC have now been defined,” but it noted that “strong efforts” must be made to have the bad bank fully operational by the end of November.

The IMF stressed the importance of ensuring the “right incentive structures,” especially to guarantee the independence of the new entity and the effective management of the transferred assets.

The creation of the bad bank was a key element of a memorandum of understanding that Spanish authorities reached this summer with their European partners and which outlined the conditions for a loan of up to 100 billion euros ($129 billion) to recapitalize the Iberian nation’s struggling financial institutions.

That bad bank could house between 85 billion euros and 90 billion euros of soured real-estate assets.

Spain’s banks became saddled with too many non-performing loans amid the collapse of a long-building real-estate bubble. The financial crisis has had a devastating effect on Spain’s overall economy, in recession for the second time in four years.

The country’s unemployment rate climbed to a record high 25.02 percent in the third quarter, the National Statistics Institute said Friday.

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Fidel Castro’s Friend Turned Dissident Passes Away in Cuba

Fidel Castro’s Friend Turned Dissident Passes Away in Cuba

Photo: Eloy Gutierrez Menoyo

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Eloy Gutierrez Menoyo, a comandante of the Cuban Revolution who later turned against Fidel Castro, died Friday in Havana, sources close to the dissident told Efe. He was 77.

Gutierrez Menoyo, who was born in Spain, had been living in Havana for years and suffered from an aneurysm, the sources said, recalling that he was very ill for some time.

With the rank of comandante he was one of the faces of the Cuban Revolution, but in January 1961, by then opposed to the policies of Fidel Castro, he left Cuba on a raft to Florida and joined the Alpha 66 anti-Castro movement.

In late 1964 he returned secretly to the island to organize an armed movement against the Communist government but was captured, accused of espionage and subversion and was condemned to death, but his sentence was commuted to 30 years in prison.

He was freed in December 1986 following the intervention of then-Spanish Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez and, once in Miami, founded in 1993 the moderate opposition group Cambio Cubano.

After several visits to the island since 1995, where he even met up with Fidel Castro at a seminar on participative democracy, he decided to take up residence in Havana in 2003.

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Nearly 53 Million Brazilians Hit by Blackout

Electric equipment that caught fire between two substations caused a blackout in nine states of northeastern Brazil as well as in the capital city of Brasilia and numerous municipalities of two northern states, officials said Friday.

The power outage affected close to 53 million inhabitants in the nine northeastern states, a region that is home to almost a fourth of the Brazilian population.

The problem extended to the Federal District of Brasilia and to certain municipalities in the states of Para and Tocantins.

It was the second time in the last 35 days that the same regions have been hit by a power outage, and the authorities, who as yet have not completely determined the causes of the power cut on Sept. 22, quickly blamed the latest blackout on a fire.

Spokespersons of the National Electric System Operator, or ONS, said that the outage before dawn Friday was caused by an electrical equipment fire between the substations of Colinas, in Tocantins state, and Imperatriz, in the state of Maranhao.

These two electrical substations are strategic points in the system that interconnects the electric grids of Brazil’s northern and northeastern regions, where most of the country’s electricity is generated.

According to ONS, the fire occurred shortly before midnight Thursday and the problem was fixed by about 1:30 a.m. Friday, when technicians were able to reestablish current over the principal power lines where service had been cut off.

This latest blackout comes less than two years before the country hosts the 2014 soccer World Cup and less than four years before Rio de Janeiro welcomes athletes from around the world for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

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SaturdayOctober 27, 2012