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WednesdayOctober 31, 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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Mexico Investigating Link Between 3 Mining Companies, Los Zetas Cartel

Mexico Investigating Link Between 3 Mining Companies, Los Zetas Cartel

Photo: Coal mining in Mexico

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Mexican authorities are investigating three coal mining firms for their alleged links to drug traffickers, a Mexico City daily reported Wednesday.

Citing unidentified officials, the Reforma newspaper said the Los Zetas drug cartel, regarded as Mexico’s most violent, was the gang allegedly involved in this business in the northern state of Coahuila.

The article was published a week after former Coahuila Gov. Humberto Moreira said groups of “narco-miners” were extracting coal in that state and selling it to intermediaries.

Moreira, former chairman of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which will take power on Dec. 1 after a 12-year hiatus, made the remarks last Thursday after his son, Jose Eduardo Moreira Rodriguez, was killed by Zetas gunmen.

In subsequent statements, Moreira said that in the coming days he would provide details on these and other allegations.

According to Reforma, illegal mining generates at least 6 million pesos (some $460,000) in weekly income for organized crime gangs, which later launder those proceeds through legally incorporated entities.

According to the daily, the firms Impulsora JBN, Perforaciones Tecnicas Industriales and Minera La Mision are under investigation “for their alleged role in these illegal businesses.”

The mineral resources are sold to state-owned electric company CFE, the daily said.

The sources told Reforma that the Zetas’ point man for this business is Jose Reynol Bermea, who runs several coal mines in Coahuila.

Efe was unable to reach the CFE for comment.

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Colombian Rapper “El Duke” Murdered in Medellin

Colombian Rapper “El Duke” Murdered in Medellin

Photo: Rapper Elider Varela aka "El Duke"

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Rapper Elider Varela, known as “El Duke,” was murdered in the northwestern Colombian metropolis of Medellin, reminding people of the violence that continues to plague poor areas of many of the nation’s cities, grassroots and cultural groups and local artists say.

Varela, leader and founder of the La Kamada Hip Hop School and the rap group Comando Elite de Ataque, was killed by gunmen Tuesday in a sector of the violence-ridden Comuna 13 district of Colombia’s second city.

A statement issued by more than a dozen local organizations lamented that “pain and powerlessness again intrude on the social and community processes in Medellin,” adding that “death hovers once again over the inhabitants of Comuna 13.”

Varela, “a father, husband, cultural and hip-hop promoter in Comuna 13, a lover of life ... has been killed in the El Saldo neighborhood by those who fear art and under the indifferent gaze of those meant to protect us,” the groups said.

The rapper is the seventh hip-hop singer to be killed in Medellin since 2010, in what appears to be a violent campaign against artists who promote peace.

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Mexico Restores Sixteenth Century Santo Domingo Convent

Mexico Restores Sixteenth Century Santo Domingo Convent

Photo: Santo Domingo Convent's inauguration (INAH)

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The old Santo Domingo Convent in San Cristobal de Las Casas, a city in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, is being inaugurated on Wednesday after undergoing extensive restoration in one of the most ambitious projects undertaken by the National Anthropology and History Institute, or INAH.

Restoration of the building, which was constructed in 1580 by the Dominican order, took two years and cost more than 60 million pesos ($4.5 million).

The building, which was opened to reporters for a tour on Tuesday, houses the Los Altos de Chiapas Museum and the Maya World Textile Center.

The museum will have a permanent exhibit of 210 archaeological, colonial and 19th century pieces that tell the history of Chiapas, INAH national museums and exhibitions coordinator Miguel Baez said.

One of the pieces dates back to 3,000 B.C. and was found in a dig in the area.

The museum will also have arrowheads that are between 8,000 and 12,000 years old on display.

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Massive Blackout Hits Venezuela

Massive Blackout Hits Venezuela

Photo: Venezuelan Blackout

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A large power outage on Wednesday affected two northwestern Venezuelan states, Electrical Energy Minister Hector Navarro said.

The blackout, the cause of which is not yet known, “is a significant failure” that reduced by 1 gigawatt the supply of electricity on the interconnected national power grid and affected the states of Lara and Yaracuy, Navarro told state-run TV channel VTV.

He also said that “it would be irresponsible” to speculate about the cause of the outage at this time.

Venezuela, according to Electrical Energy Ministry figures, currently has a power production capacity of about 25 gigawatts.

“In the case of such an important failure as this one, the investigation” that will be conducted will “establish responsibilities, ... whether there was any intention (to cause the blackout) or insufficiency in the mechanisms of supervision, control and maintenance,” the minister said.

The blackout in Lara lasted around six hours, a police spokesman told Efe.

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Minnesota Timberwolves Keep Ricky Rubio on for 2013-14 Season

Minnesota Timberwolves Keep Ricky Rubio on for 2013-14 Season

Photo: Minnesota Timberwolves Keep Ricky Rubio on for 2013-14 Season

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The Minnesota Timberwolves have exercised an option on the contract of point guard Ricky Rubio, meaning the Spaniard will continue to play for the team through the end of the 2013-2014 season.

The club made the move before the NBA’s Oct. 31 deadline for teams to pick up third-year options on rookies selected in the draft.

Rubio, who is currently recovering from a serious knee injury and is expected to return to the court in December, finished runner-up in last season’s Rookie of the Year voting behind Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving.

Prior to his injury, Rubio played in 41 games and averaged 10.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 8.2 assists. He ranked first in assists last season among rookies and sixth overall.

The Timberwolves, led by head coach Rick Adelman, also confirmed they picked up the third-year option on the contract for forward Derrick Williams, the No. 2 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.

That means Williams also will remain with the team through the end of the 2013-2014 season.

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President Calderon Inaugurates New Metro Line in Mexico City

President Calderon Inaugurates New Metro Line in Mexico City

Photo: New Metro trains in Mexico City

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The Mexican capital is operating a new 25.1-kilometer (15.5-mile) Metro line that cost nearly $1.7 billion and uses Spanish-made trains.

The line, which was inaugurated on Tuesday, is expected to carry between 400,000 and 500,000 people a day.

Mexico City’s Metro system now covers 226 kilometers (140 miles) with 12 lines and 195 stations, serving about 4.5 million people per day.

The Gold Line was built by Mexico’s ICA and Grupo Carso.

Spain’s Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles, S.A., or CAF, will be responsible for managing the line and overseeing maintenance for the 38 trains plying the route, the longest and first totally automated one on the Mexico City Metro.

The new rail line “competes with the best in the world” and will “revolutionize transportation and mobility” in southern Mexico City, President Felipe Calderon said at the inauguration ceremony.

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Voting Not Open to Hispanic Veterans Fighting Deportations in Colorado

Voting Not Open to Hispanic Veterans Fighting Deportations in Colorado

Photo: 2012 Vote

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Two Hispanic brothers in Colorado, both Vietnam War veterans, will not be able to vote in the upcoming election after they were dropped from the voter rolls due to official doubts about their citizenship, one of them, Jesus Valenzuela, told Efe on Wednesday.

“We’ve come to this. They no longer see us as citizens of the United States,” said Jesus, who since 2005 - along with his brother Valente - has been seeking to prove that they are citizens.

The brothers were born in Chihuahua, Mexico, to a U.S. mother born in New Mexico and a Mexican father who was a naturalized American.

Except for a few years when they were very young, the brothers have always lived in the United States and they say they were always certain they were U.S. citizens.

However, after some “minor problems” with the law seven years ago, federal authorities informed them that they had never been properly registered as U.S. citizens.

The Valenzuela brothers say that the situation is “just a misunderstanding” that arose because their birth certificates list their names one way but the Social Security files list them in another way, despite the fact that the different names pertain to the same people.

Recently, however, the brothers received a letter from the office of the administrator of El Paso County, the county in the Denver area where they live, telling them that - according to the confirmation sent by the Department of Homeland Security to the Colorado Secretary of State - they are not U.S. citizens.

Therefore, Jesus Valenzuela was eliminated from the voter rolls, although Valente refused to provide details about his situation. Neither of the pair said whether or not they had voted in the past or if this would have been their first time to do so.

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Fernanda Viegas and Martin Wattenburg Team Up to Create “Wind Map”

Fernanda Viegas and Martin Wattenburg Team Up to Create “Wind Map”

Photo: Fernanda Viegas and Martin Wattenburg Team Up to Create "Wind Map"

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Described as a “living portrait of the wind currents over the U.S.,” Wind Map is a project between artists Fernanda Viegas and Martin Wattenberg using data from the National Digital Forecast Database.

Wattenberg:

An invisible, ancient source of energy surrounds us—energy that powered the first explorations of the world, and that may be a key to the future. The wind map shows the delicate tracery of wind flowing over the US.

Fernanda Viégas and I created the wind map in the cold winter months when wind was much on our minds. It conveys the movement of the air in the most basic way: with visual motion. As an artwork that reflects the real-world, its emotional meaning changes from day to day. On calm days it can be a soothing meditation on the environment; during hurricanes it can become ominous and frightening.

Viegas and Wattenberg’s project expressed the wind patterns of Hurricane Sandy (later down graded to ‘post-tropical cyclone) via real-time wind map patterns.

Below is a shot of the Wind Map during Sandy, and you can click here to see the real-time Wind Map.

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Fernanda B. Viégas is a computational designer bron in Brazil whose work focuses on the social, collaborative, and artistic aspects of information visualization. She is a is a co-leader, with Martin Wattenberg, of Google’s “Big Picture” data visualization group in Cambridge, MA.

Martin Wattenberg is a computer scientist and artist. He is a co-leader, with Viégas and is known for his visualization-based artwork, which has been exhibited in venues such as the London Institute of Contemporary Arts, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the New York Museum of Modern Art.

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Victor Cruz Close to Extending His Contract with NY Giants

Victor Cruz Close to Extending His Contract with NY Giants

Photo: Victor Cruz (@jerseymike7)

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New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz says he is on track to signing a contract extension with the reigning Super Bowl champions.

“From what I hear, they’ve just agreed on the structure right now,” the 25-year-old Cruz, whose mother is Puerto Rican, told WFAN radio on Tuesday.

“And that’s all I’m at liberty to say ... Hopefully this leads to the right track and we’ll get it done sooner than later ... I’m happy so far, so I can just relax and play some football,” the star wide receiver said.

Cruz, who is in the final year of a $540,000, three-year rookie contract, said last week he hoped a new deal could be reached before the end of the season, when he would otherwise become a restricted free agent.

Known for celebrating his touchdowns with a salsa dance, Cruz caught 82 passes for a franchise-record 1,536 yards and scored nine touchdowns during the 2011 regular season.

The speedy receiver also caught a touchdown pass in the Giants’ Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots in early February.

Cruz is putting up similar numbers this season, having made 52 receptions for 650 yards and scored seven touchdowns through eight games for the Giants, who lead the NFC East with a record of 6-2.

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Juarez Police Charged with Sexual Assault Against Men in Custody

Police officers in Mexico’s border town of Juarez have been charged with sexually assaulting two men in their custody.

According to the Chihuahua Attorney General’s Office, four officers working in Juarez - Abraham Lopez Lujan, David González Martinez, Rodolfo Santiago Castellanos, and Saul Valencia Lopez—were charged with torture, aggravated rape, and misuse of authority on Sunday for abusing two men who had been arrested of suspicion of possession of a stolen weapons and a vehicle.

The abuse of the men was reported on October 19th, with the men saying that when he and his alleged accomplice were arrested, the officers shot one of them in the ankle and calf. After they were apprehended, the men say the four officers raped and sexual abused them.

In a statement from Juarez Mayor Hector Murguia to the El Paso Times he said his administration will not cover up for any official or public servant who misuses authority.

The men claiming abuse against them were identified as 20-year-old Cesar Olivas Romero and 22-year-old Jose Ramiro Gurrola Sosa.

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Eva Longoria’s Matchmaking Series “Ready for Love” Gets Premiere Date

Eva Longoria’s Matchmaking Series “Ready for Love” Gets Premiere Date

Photo: NBC Getting Ready to Premiere Eva Longoria's Matchmaking Series "Ready for Love"

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Actress-turned-producer Eva Longoria’s matchmaking reality show “Ready for Love”.

The show follows matchmakers as they scour the country to find matches for three bachelors.

The matchmakers include professional dating coach Matthew Hussey and relationship expert Tracy McMillan. Amber Kelleher-Andrews is the third matchmaker, and she is the CEO of Kelleher International, a firm credited with matching up members of the British royal family, as well as Fortune 500 CEOs and A-list celebs.

Longoria’s show will be hosted by Bill and Giuliana Rancic.

“Ready for Love” will premiere on NBC on Sunday, March 31 at 8 p.m.

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First-Time Mom: Brazilian Woman Gives Birth to Twins at Age 61

First-Time Mom: Brazilian Woman Gives Birth to Twins at Age 61

Photo: First-Time Mom: Brazilian Woman Gives Birth to Twins at Age 61

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At 61, a Brazilian woman recently became a mother for the first time to not just one, but two children.

Last week, Antonia Leticia Rovati Asti gave birth to twins Sofia and Roberto at Sao Lucas Hospital in Santos, which is near Sao Paulo, Brazil. The twins

The pregnancy was made possible by assisted reproduction specialist Dr. Orlando de Castro Neto who has said the stigma of the mother’s age did not affect his decision to help her.

ImageThe eggs used were approaching their “use-by” date, having been stored since 2002 when Asti and her husband had tried in-vitro fertilization.

In 1992, Asti first met with Dr. Neto after being unable to get pregnant. After more failed attempts, Asti decided to adopt. Unfortunately, the couple were rejected due to their age.

Twenty years after meeting Dr. Neto, Asti gave birth to her first and likely only children via Caesarean section just one week after her 61st birthday.

When the twins turn 30, their mother will be 90 years old.

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US Border Prepares for Mexican Ghosts, Witches and Princesses as They Come Over to Trick and Treat

US Border Prepares for Mexican Ghosts, Witches and Princesses as They Come Over to Trick and Treat

Photo: Halloween

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Customs inspectors on the U.S. southern border are preparing for Halloween night, when - by tradition - there will be an increase in vehicular traffic to ferry witches, mummies, princesses and other characters across the U.S. border to cities such as El Paso.

The spokesman for Customs and Border Protection here, Roger Maier, said that although there are no statistics available on the increase in northbound traffic on Halloween, there is certainly an rise in the number of people seeking to cross from Ciudad Juarez to El Paso.

On that day, the CBP personnel at the ports of entry will undertake to verify the identity of the ghosts, monsters and other characters who this year will cross the border to get together with El Paso residents to go trick or treating.

The border community has been asked to make sure that children who cross the border to go trick or treating remove their masks and not wear makeup that would make their identification more difficult, Maier said.

This requirement applies both to children as well as adults, he said.

According to border residents, despite the fact that in Mexico Halloween is celebrated with costume parties, the custom of trick or treating has not spread there.

Therefore, El Paso neighborhoods each year have traffic tie-ups on Halloween, many of the vehicles bearing Mexican license plates because of the large number of people from the neighboring country who come to the Texas city for the holiday.

Another custom that has spread along the border is that of the Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebration, and in cities like El Paso altars are set up in markets and schools to commemorate deceased famous personalities and loved ones.

In contrast to Halloween, on the Day of the Dead, which is celebrated on Nov. 2, it is the southbound traffic that increases, given that many El Paso residents have family members still living in Mexican territory.

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Ray Villafane: The Amazing Pumpkin Carver

Ray Villafane: The Amazing Pumpkin Carver

Photo: Ray Villafane: The Amazing Pumpkin Carver

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A special “Thank you” to Bored Panda for once again compiling the work of American sculptor Ray Villafane just in time for Halloween.

Former art teacher Villafane began his amazing pumpkin work after being given one to carve while working at a Bellaire, a school in Michigan.

Using carving tools often used in carving clay, Villafane began creating amazing pumpkin art. Over the years, photos of Villafane’s impressive pumpkin carvings have gone viral though many had no idea who the credit belonged to. Check out some of his work below and be sure to take a look at all the amazing work at Villafane Studios.


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Spanish Writer Fernando Diaz-Plaja, 94, Dies in Uruguay

Spanish Writer Fernando Diaz-Plaja, 94, Dies in Uruguay

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Spanish writer and historian Fernando Diaz-Plaja died Wednesday of pneumonia in Uruguay, where he had lived for the past decade, doctors told Efe. He was 94.

Diaz-Plaja died at the Hogar Español for the elderly in Montevideo, where he had been admitted two months ago due to “various physical complications,” the doctors said.

He had moved in 2002 to Punta del Este, Uruguay’s main tourist center, and last June he broke a hip for the second time in several months, a circumstance that resulted in a marked deterioration in his health.

An essayist, story-teller, historian, Diaz-Plaja was the author of more than 150 books, among which “El español y los siete pecados capitales” (1966) stands out with almost a million copies sold.

Born in Barcelona in 1918, he graduated with a doctorate in history from Madrid’s Universidad Complutense and was a professor of history and Spanish culture at different universities around the world.

Among his best-known essays are “Historia universal de la cultura” (1946), “La vida española en el siglo XIX” (1952) and “El amor en las letras españolas” (1963).

In 1989 he wrote “Cuando perdi la guerra,” which was a finalist for Spain’s Premio Espejo.

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Mexico Offers Solidarity and Support for Communities Hit by Hurricane Sandy

Mexico Offers Solidarity and Support for Communities Hit by Hurricane Sandy

Photo: Mexico Offers Support for Hurricane Sandy Victims

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The Mexican government expressed its solidarity with all the communities hammered by Hurricane Sandy in the United States and said it was offering “consular protection to all the Mexicans who require it.”

“Different assistance and consular protection measures are being taken for Mexicans living in the areas affected by the storm, which killed between 40 and 55 people in the United States, according to different estimates, and left 6.2 million people without electricity, the Foreign Relations Secretariat said in a statement.

Two people from Latin America - a Guatemalan who died in a traffic accident in Lynn, Massachusetts, and a Chilean man whose car was crushed by a falling tree in New York - died in the storm.

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

President Felipe Calderon expressed his “condolences over the loss of life caused by Hurricane Sandy” in a Twitter posting and offered his support to the United States, Canada and Caribbean countries affected by the storm.

President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto said in a Twitter posting that he regretted the deaths caused by the storm and hoped that Sandy would “not cause more damage.”

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Killer of Journalist Regina Martinez Arrested, She was Beaten & Strangled at Home

Killer of Journalist Regina Martinez Arrested, She was Beaten & Strangled at Home

Photo: Killer of Regina Martinez Arrested

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A suspect has been arrested in connection with the murder of journalist Regina Martinez last April in the Mexican Gulf state of Veracruz, state prosecutors said.

Jorge Antonio Hernandez Silva was arrested on Monday for the killing of Martinez, who worked as a correspondent for the weekly Proceso, Veracruz Attorney General Amadeo Flores Espinosa said.

Hernandez Silva confessed to the killing and said the motive was robbery, the AG said.

Evidence gathered during the investigation and statements from witnesses confirm Hernandez Silva’s version of events, Flores said.

A second person involved in the murder, identified as Jose Adrian Hernandez Dominguez, is being sought by police, Flores said.

Assistance has been requested from the federal Attorney General’s Office in finding the second suspect, Flores said.

Regina Martinez’s body was found on April 28 at her house in Xalapa, the capital of Veracruz, where she was beaten and strangled.

Nine journalists have been murdered in Veracruz since December 2010, when Javier Duarte, of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, became governor.

Photojournalists Gabriel Huge, Esteban Rodriguez and Guillermo Luna were killed on May 3 in the port city of Veracruz.

Journalists Noel Lopez Olguin, Yolanda Ordaz de la Cruz, Miguel Angel Lopez Velasco and Misael Lopez Solana were murdered in 2011.

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Hurricane Sandy’s Death Toll Rises to 46 in U.S.

Hurricane Sandy’s Death Toll Rises to 46 in U.S.

Photo: Mayor Bloomberg in Breezy Point, NY (nycmayorsoffice)

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Hurricane Sandy killed at least 46 people and left 8 million without electricity on the East Coast of the United States, while risk analysts said Tuesday that damage from the “super storm” could run as high as $20 billion.

Eighteen of the fatalities were in New York.

California-based EQECAT Inc estimated insured losses from Sandy of around $5 billion and economic losses of $10 billion, less than what the risk-modeling firm originally forecast.

If the $10 billion figure turns out to be correct, it would place the economic impact from Sandy on a par with that from Hurricane Irene, which battered the Northeast in August 2011.

A much more pessimistic appraisal was offered by Jan Vermeren of Maryland’s Kinetic Analysis, who told EFE the economic losses from Sandy could climb to $25 billion.

Though Sandy interrupted production at oil refineries in New Jersey, the diminished demand for fuel due to restricted travel should prevent any sharp increases in prices at the pump, he said.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is confident the $3.6 billion it has on hand for disaster response will be enough to handle the challenges arising from Sandy, FEMA sources told The Wall Street Journal.

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.

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LATINO BLOTTER: Puerto Rican Mother Faces Murder Trial for Death of 4-Year-Old

LATINO BLOTTER: Puerto Rican Mother Faces Murder Trial for Death of 4-Year-Old

Photo: LATINO BLOTTER: Puerto Rican Mother Faces Murder Trial for Death of 4-Year-Old

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A mother faces prosecution on charges of murder and intentional mistreatment for letting her 4-year-old son die of malnutrition, Puerto Rico’s Justice Department said Tuesday.

The mother, identified as Luz Dianne Gonzalez, faces charges for the death from malnutrition of her son Edgardo Edriel Gonzalez on Nov. 20, 2011, the department said in a press release.

Prosecutors filed charges under Article 106 of the 2004 Penal Code for first-degree murder and three more for intentional malnutrition under Article 75 of the 2003 Childhood Well-being and Comprehensive Protection Law.

According to an investigation by the Division of Sex Crimes and Mistreatment of Minors of the Puerto Rico Police Department, the boy did not weigh 7 kilos (15 pounds), which would be normal for an infant of only 18-20 months.

The hearing to which Gonzalez is summoned is scheduled for Nov. 15 at a San Juan court.

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Pemex Up $2.45 Billion Since Beginning of 2012

State-owned oil giant Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, said it posted a net profit of 31.9 billion pesos (about $2.45 billion) in the first nine months of this year, marking a turnaround from the loss posted in the same period in 2011.

Profits increased in the first three quarters of the year due “mainly to higher revenues, which rose to 1.22 trillion pesos (nearly $94.31 billion),” Pemex said.

The state-owned oil company posted a net loss of nearly 67.66 billion pesos (some $5.2 billion) in the January-September 2011 period.

Payments to the Treasury totaled 689 billion pesos (some $53 billion) during the January-September period, up 9 percent from the same period last year, Pemex said in a filing with the Mexican Stock Exchange.

Consolidated stockholders equity totaled 145 billion pesos (about $11.15 billion) as of Sept. 30, up by 19 billion pesos (some $1.46 billion) from the Dec. 31, 2011, level, Pemex said.

Domestic sales rose 9.5 percent during the first nine months of this year, while exports increased 5.8 percent, thanks to stable production and higher prices for the Mexican crude export blend, Pemex said.

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WednesdayOctober 31, 2012