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TuesdayOctober 30, 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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Michael Phelps Teaches Young Brazilians to Swim in Rio

Michael Phelps Teaches Young Brazilians to Swim in Rio

Photo: Michael Phelps

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U.S. Olympian Michael Phelps gave a swimming class Tuesday to Brazilian tots and teens in a rough Rio de Janeiro neighborhood that until two years ago was occupied by drug-trafficking gangs.

Phelps, winner of 22 Olympic medals, visited the Olympic Center in Complexo do Alemão, a group of shantytowns seized in November 2010 from drug traffickers in a vast operation of soldiers and police.

The Olympic champion showed some 20 youths a series of warming-up exercises during a half-hour sesson sponsored by a credit-card company.

Phelps has a foundation in the United States that promotes swimming as well as healthy living habits in general.

The champion later gave a press conference, in which he did not discount the idea that his foundation might open an office in Brazil, since his “philosophy” is to spread it beyond the borders of the United States.

Phelps, on his first visit to Rio de Janeiro, said he was “impressed” with the city, which is to host the 2016 Olympics.

The swimmer, who announced his retirement from competition after the London Games, joked about the possibility of taking part in the Rio Games as a golfer.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Halloween Brings Ghosts, Zombies, & Vampires to Spain

Halloween Brings Ghosts, Zombies, & Vampires to Spain

Photo: Ghosts, Zombies in Spain

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Halloween, an Anglo tradition, is becoming more and more popular in Spain, as seen by the growing number of activities and sales of articles for its celebration.

Businesses are jumping on the Halloween bandwagon, promoting “terror” with a wide choice of products.

Masks, costumes, candies, makeup, parties, trips and theme menus are being offered these days to all kinds of customers.

“This is probably the only celebration on a upward cycle” despite the economic situation, Vicente Pizcueta, spokesman for the Noche Madrid association of nighttime pleasure and entertainment concerns, told Efe.

Halloween has burst powerfully into the Spanish holiday calendar, and in recent years “the theme of terror” has taken its place in the recreation sector with some ever more extravagant ideas.

Restaurants made into cemeteries, menus and cocktails dripping with blood, and hotels with all the spooky atmosphere of a haunted house all add to the excitement.

Ghosts, zombies, vampires and other scary figures of movies and television will take to the streets of Spanish cities on the last night of October.

Experts identify the origin of Halloween with an ancient Celtic feast in commemoration of their ancestors.

In the mid-18th century, Irish emigrants took the tradition with them to North America and some time later the “reworked” festival found its way back to Europe.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Tape Reveals Former Colombian VP Met with Militia Chiefs

Tape Reveals Former Colombian VP Met with Militia Chiefs

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Francisco Santos, who was Colombia’s vice president from 2002-2010, met with leaders of the AUC rightist militia federation on three occasions in the 1990s, paramilitary chiefs are heard to say in an audio broadcast Tuesday by Caracol Radio.

The recording is of a conversation among former AUC military commander Salvatore Mancuso, two other senior militia leaders, an unnamed attorney and an Argentine adviser to the paramilitaries, Caracol said.

The meetings with Santos took place in 1996-1997 in Bogota and in the northern provinces of Cesar and Cordoba, both then AUC strongholds, the voices on the tape say.

Present for the talks with Santos was Carlos Castaño, the AUC’s founder, who was slain in 2004 by a rival faction within the group, which ostensibly demobilized in 2006 as part of a peace process with the government of President Alvaro Uribe.

In one encounter, according to Mancuso, Santos urged the AUC to kill “all those SOBs that are taking this country,” referring to leftist rebels.

But he asked the militias not to “disappear” their targets, as that could become a problem for the foundation Santos created to battle kidnapping and aid victims’ families.

At the time of his discussions with the AUC, Francisco “Paco” Santos was editor-in-chief of Colombia’s leading newspaper, El Tiempo.

Paco Santos, the cousin of current Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, has acknowledged having met twice with Castaño and once with Mancuso, to ask them to address El Tiempo reporters about the conflict.

Mancuso and 12 other former AUC commanders were extradited to the United States in 2008 to face drug and money-laundering charges.

AUC fighters killed more than 250,000 people over the course of two decades, according to a U.S. State Department cable disseminated by WikiLeaks.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Texas Judge Calls Defendant Maricelda Marie Aguilar “Worthless” Storms from Courtroom

Texas Judge Calls Defendant Maricelda Marie Aguilar “Worthless” Storms from Courtroom

Photo: Texas Judge Calls Defendant Maricelda Marie Aguilar "Worthless" Storms from Courtroom

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Defendant Maricelda Marie Aguilar was not Texas Judge Lonnie Cox’s favorite person, but his recent outburst left many stunned.

At an October 5th hearing, District Judge Cox learned that 22-year-old Aguilar had missed a number of probation meetings regarding a drug conviction.

According to the Houston Chronicle, Aguilar, who is 7 months pregnant was asking to be moved after she developed a bacterial infection while in the Montgomery County jail. She and her lawyer, Wesley Clements,  asked that she be transferred to a rehabilitation center until she gave birth.

At the October 5th hearing, Judge Cox reportedly looked over papers and saw Aguilar had missed probation appointments and became visible angered. That it when witnesses say the judge lost his cool and while looking at plea bargain papers for the Aguilar case, yelled, “This is sh*t. This kind of bullsh*t is not what the drug court should be doing and it is just costing the taxpayers money.”

Clements said Judge Cox went on to call Aguilar “worthless” and said she was “not worth the paper and ink that the plea agreement was written on.”

After the verbal smackdown, Judge Cox is said to have ripped up the plea agreement and stormed out of the courtroom.

Clements have filed a motion asking that Cox be removed from the probation violation’s plea hearing.

Cox has since filed an order refusing to recuse himself and had referred the recusal decision to Montgomery County District Judge Olen Underwood.

Read more at Houston Chronicle →

Bolivian Radio Presenter Fernando Vidal Set On Fire While on the Air

Bolivian Radio Presenter Fernando Vidal Set On Fire While on the Air

Photo: Bolivian Radio Presenter Fernando Vidal Set On Fire While on the Air

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Anyone listening to radio presenter Fernando Vidal on Bolivia’s Radio Popular station on Monday may have heard the gruesome attack against him.

Vidal, 78, and studio technician Karen Anza are both recovering from injuries incurred when four men stormed into the radio studio. The unidentified men poured gasoline on Vidal and set him on fire with some witnesses saying they also threw Molotov cocktails.

The radio presenter is a vocal critic of provincial government and was reporting on smuggling at the Bolivia-Argentina border, particularly smuggling of liquid petroleum gas. He was speaking on the topic when the attack began.

The attack took place in Yacuiba, which is less than two miles north of the Argentina border.

Vidal’s son-in-law, Esteban Farfan, says the radio host suffered burns to his face, arms, and chest.

Farfan says he and other believe the attack to be politically motivated though police have yet to comment on a motive.

The interior ministry of Bolivia has said there will be an “accelerated and rigorous investigation.”

So far, three people have been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the attack.

“This chilling attack is one of the worst instances of violence against journalists in Bolivia in recent years,” said Javier Zúñiga, Special Adviser to Amnesty International.

“The Bolivian authorities’ investigation into the incident must be independent and impartial and those responsible must be brought to justice without delay.”

“The recent Plurinational Constitutional Court decision to strike contempt from the country’s Criminal Code is a positive step, but yesterday’s attack show that freedom of expression – including freedom of the press – remains under attack in Bolivia.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: Father Pours Rum into 2-Month-Old’s Feeding Tube at Hospital

LATINO BLOTTER: Father Pours Rum into 2-Month-Old’s Feeding Tube at Hospital

Photo: LATINO BLOTTER: Father Pours Rum into 2-Month-Old's Feeding Tube at Hospital

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Just days before a two-month-old Lucas Ruiz was scheduled for surgery he began having seizures and police believe his own father is to blame.

On October 16, the son of Cesar Ruiz, 19, and Erika Wigstrom was admitted to Ochsner Hospital in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana because he was having trouble breathing.

Lucas was diagnosed with an unnamed illness and scheduled for surgery on October 31. Saturday night, the parents went home to shower and grab a few things, and that’s when police say Ruiz grabbed the bottle of rum that was in the freezer. Wigstrom later told police that while they were home,  she went to grab something from the freezer and remembered seeing the bottle, but when she went back a bit later, the bottle was gone.

The parents returned to the hospital Sunday morning and some time later, Lucas began having seizures. Tests revealed the child’s blood-alcohol content (BAC) was .289. Doctors say the brain is still growing until the a person reaches their 20s, so alcohol can have permanent negative effects on a child’s brain.

The hospital called police who then spoke with Wigstrom who told them about the rum that had been in the freezer. Detectives then spoke with Ruiz who initially claimed he had no idea what happened to the rum nor did he have any explanation for his son’s BAC.

Some time later, Ruiz confessed, saying he waited until Wigstrom left the baby’s room before pouring the rum directly into Lucas’ feeding tube.

Ruiz claims he was trying to relieve his son’s suffering, but did not intend to kill him.

Lucas is said to be in stable condition and Ruiz has been charged with attempted first-degree murder.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Man Has Leg Amputated, Sues New York Church After Crucifix Falls on Him

Man Has Leg Amputated, Sues New York Church After Crucifix Falls on Him

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After a crucifix fell and caused him serious injury, a New York man is suing the church at which he worshipped.

When David Jimenez’s wife, Delia, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer he went to New York’s Church of St. Patrick in Newburgh to pray to at a large stone cross outside. In 2010, his wife went into remission and the 45-year-old was so grateful he wanted to repay the church in some way.

On Memorial Day of 2010, after getting special permission from a priest to clean the 600-pound statue, Jimenez began cleaning it. What he was not told however, was that the heavy marble statue was only held up by one screw and had long been neglected. While cleaning it, the statute came loose and fell on top of Jimenez when both he and the statue fell to the parking lot below. The crucifix crushed his leg.

The damage to his right leg was so severe it had to be amputated below the knee.

Though the congregation collected food and approximately $7,000 in cash donations for Jimenez and his family, his lawyer, Kevin Kitson has said the diocese’s insurance company has made it difficult to collect additional money.

Kitson has since filed a lawsuit claiming the church was negligent in allowing Jimenez to clean the statue.

Jury selection for the case is scheduled to begin on Wednesday, however, due to Hurricane Sandy, it may be postponed.

Jimenez truly believed his prayers at the statue saved his wife, but he had no idea the very statue he prayed to would leave him praying for a favorable outcome against the church.

Read more by HS News Staff →

PHOTOS from Hurricane Sandy on the East Coast

Satellite view of Sandy on October 29 at 8:15 a.m.
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“7PM Plymouth St & lower park areas flooded, water now breaching carousel,” - doorsixteen on Instagram.
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“This is 20th Street and Avenue C in Manhattan,” - Gunz on Twitter.
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New Jersey - Image from @dustinwtff on Twitter.
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Read more by HS News Staff →

Hurricane Sandy East Coast Death Count at 35, Expected to Climb

Hurricane Sandy East Coast Death Count at 35, Expected to Climb

Photo: Sandy Storm by NASA's Earinegl

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Hurricane Sandy killed at least 35 people and left millions of others without electricity on the East Coast of the United States, officials said Tuesday.

President Barack Obama signed disaster declarations overnight for the states of New York and New Jersey, which have been affected by storm surge and flooding.

More than 6.5 million people woke up Tuesday without electricity in 13 states battered by the storm, which continues to pound the Northeast with heavy rains and powerful winds.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said 2.4 million customers had lost electric service in his state and the power was out in 95 percent of the city of Newark.

The storm surge and flooding damaged the grid in New York City, leaving nearly 2 million residents in the dark and forcing the financial markets to close for a second day, marking the first time the stock exchanges have been shuttered on consecutive days for weather-related reasons in more than a century.

Sandy has left millions of people without electricity from Maine to North Carolina, forcing airlines to cancel more than 13,000 flights out of over a dozen airports in the East, and paralyzing government operations.

The storm has also forced both Obama and his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, to cancel campaign events a week away from Election Day.

Sandy was moving through southern Pennsylvania at about 24 kph (15 mph) and was about 24 kilometers (15 miles) east of York and 145 kilometers (90 miles) west of Philadelphia, with maximum sustained winds of 105 kph (65 mph) at 0900 GMT, the National Weather Service said.

The storm made landfall Monday night near Atlantic City, New Jersey, packing maximum sustained winds of 125 kph (77 mph), sending a powerful storm surge into coastal areas in New Jersey and New York.

The rains from Sandy have caused flooding in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania.

At least seven people have died in New York and three others in New Jersey, with the total death toll in the United States now at 15, while one person was reported killed in Canada.

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO DECISIONS:  Solid Support for Obama in Florida Amongst Latino Voters

LATINO DECISIONS:  Solid Support for Obama in Florida Amongst Latino Voters

Photo: Latino Voter Support for Obama Strong in Florida

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With the election less than two weeks away there has been a great deal of speculation about the Latino community’s support for President Obama, particularly in Florida.

Most recently, an Interactive Voice Response survey, or “robo-poll,” conducted on October 10-11 by Florida International University showed that 50.7% of Latinos in Florida who identified themselves as likely voters would vote for President Obama, with 44.2% supporting Governor Romney. With a margin of error of 3.65%, this puts the race at dead even in Florida.

These figures are probably not accurate for two reasons (hat-tip to Marc Caputo of the Miami Herald). One is that the FIU poll did not include cell phones. There is a growing consensus that omitting cell phones biases polling results in favor of the Republican Party. Latino Decisions surveys include cell phone only households in their samples.

Another issue is that the FIU figures do not accurately account for the political attitudes of Cuban Americans. For a variety of reasons, antipathy for leftist politics arguably at the top of the list, Cuban Americans are unique among Latinos because they are generally supportive of the Republican Party.

Read more at Latino Decisions →

Nearly 400 lbs of Pot Founds on Commercial Buses Coming In from Mexico

Nearly 400 lbs of Pot Founds on Commercial Buses Coming In from Mexico

Photo: Marijuana Found in Commercial Buses

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the San Ysidro port of entry discovered approximately 399 pounds of marijuana hidden in two commercial buses after they entered the port from Mexico yesterday morning.

On Wednesday morning, at about 8 a.m., CBP officers encountered a 43-year-old male citizen of Mexico, driving a commercial bus as he waited in line for inspection. A CBP officer and his canine were screening vehicles when the dog alerted to the undercarriage of the bus. The driver and conveyance were pulled aside for a more in-depth investigation.

A CBP officer searched the bus and found marijuana packages inside the air conditioning unit. Officers subsequently extracted a total of 95 packages, weighing about 343 pounds with a street value of $514,000.

CBP officers seized the bus and marijuana. The driver was arrested and transported to the Metropolitan Correctional Center.

About a half hour earlier, CBP officers encountered the 38-year-old male driver of another bus after he entered the port for inspection. A CBP officer and his canine screened the conveyance and the detector dog alerted to the undercarriage of the bus.

CBP officers examined the undercarriage of the bus and found marijuana packages wedged in the undercarriage. A total of nine packages, weighing 56 pounds, were found with a street value of $84,000.

CBP officers seized the bus and marijuana. The driver, a Mexican citizen, was arrested and transported to the San Diego County Jail.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Northeast Mexico: Marines Rescue 14 Migrants, Arrest 2 Suspected Kidnappers

Northeast Mexico: Marines Rescue 14 Migrants, Arrest 2 Suspected Kidnappers

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Marines rescued 14 Central American migrants being held captive in the northeastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas and arrested two suspected kidnappers, the Navy Secretariat said Monday.

The migrants were found on Saturday at a house in the city of Altamira after a citizen notified authorities that several people had been kidnapped, the secretariat said in a statement.

Marines arrested two individuals who “were guarding the property” and found the migrants, who said they were abducted in different places in Tampico, Madero and Altamira, the secretariat said.

The suspects were handed over to the special prosecutor’s office that handles kidnapping cases in Tampico.

An investigation has been opened and officials will determine the immigration status of the Central Americans, the secretariat said.

Migrants headed for the United States are often targeted by Mexican criminal organizations, which kidnap them or try to forcibly recruit them to join their gangs.

Gunmen on the payroll of the Los Zetas drug cartel murdered 72 migrants from Central and South America at a ranch outside San Fernando, a city in Tamaulipas, in August 2010.

Mexican marines found the bodies of the 58 men and 14 women after a shootout with gunmen at the ranch that left a marine and three criminals dead.

A caravan of Central American mothers whose children disappeared on the journey to the United States is traveling around Mexico to demand that officials take action to protect migrants.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Salvador Allende’s Granddaughter Elected Mayor in Chile

Salvador Allende’s Granddaughter Elected Mayor in Chile

Photo: Maya Fernandez Elected Mayor in Chile

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A granddaughter of slain Chilean President Salvador Allende was elected mayor of the capital district of Ñuñoa, electoral authorities said Monday.

Maya Fernandez Allende, running on the Socialist Party ticket, defeated rightist Pedro Sabat in Sunday’s election by a mere 92 votes.

“I will always be willing to help her,” Sabat said of his victorious opponent.

Fernandez Allende, 41, is the offspring of the president’s daughter Beatriz Allende and Cuban diplomat Luis Fernandez Oña and spent nearly half her life in Cuba.

Beatriz Allende killed herself in 1977, four years after her father took his own life as troops sent by coup leader Gen. Augusto Pinochet stormed the Chilean presidential palace.

Another notable result on Sunday was the victory of Carolina Toha, government spokesperson under President Michelle Bachelet, who left office in 2010, in the race for mayor of the Santiago Centro district.

Her father, Jose Toha, was a minister in Salvador Allende’s Cabinet who died in the custody of the Pinochet regime.

The winner in the Huechuraba district was the grandson of another of Pinochet’s victims, Gen. Carlos Prats, a former army commander killed by the Chilean secret police in 1974 while living in exile in Argentina.

Read more by HS News Staff →



TuesdayOctober 30, 2012