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TuesdayNovember 6, 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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Constitutional Court Upholds Same-Sex Marriage Law in Spain

Constitutional Court Upholds Same-Sex Marriage Law in Spain

Photo: Same-sex marriage (Bruno Domingos)

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The Spanish Constitutional Court defended same-sex marriage in rejecting a challenge filed by the conservative Popular Party against the law authorizing such unions, which was enacted by a Socialist administration.

Nearly 25,000 couples have been wed under the law since it was enacted in 2005 by Spain’s then-Socialist goverment.

According to court officials, the verdict was passed by a vote of 8-3.

In its challenge, the PP - now in power - said the measure denaturalizes “the basic institution of marriage” as it has been known up to now.

No sooner was the Constitutional Court’s ruling made public than Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon said that the government will abide by the decision reconfirming the gay-marriage law.

For their part, gay and lesbian organizations celebrated the Constitutional Court’s ruling because “at last” all citizens, independently of their sexual orientation, are acknowledged to have the same rights and duties.

To such reactions, the president of the Family Forum, Benigno Blanco, stressed that the court’s decision will undermine the trust that “many Spaniards” have in the constitution.

He told Efe that his group will continue calling for the law to be repealed.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Tuesday, before learning of the court’s ruling, that the PP only challenged the 2005 law for the word “marriage” and not for its judicial effects, “which don’t matter to us.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

ELECTION 2012: Strategists Say Hispanic Vote Will be Historic

ELECTION 2012: Strategists Say Hispanic Vote Will be Historic

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Democratic campaign strategists say the Hispanic vote will be “historic” in Tuesday’s elections and could be the deciding factor of whether Barack Obama wins a second term in the White House.

“The president will win the largest number of Latino votes in history,” Gabriela Domenzain, the Democrats’ chief promoter of the Hispanic vote, told Efe in an interview at Obama campaign headquarters in Chicago.

“Never before” has so much attention been paid to the Latino vote or has so much effort been invested in mobilizing it, she said.

In her opinion, the effort has been worth it: “We’re beating the governor (Mitt Romney) by 50-60 points” in voter preference among Hispanics, Domenzain said.

The polls predict the president will take about 70 percent of the Hispanic vote, which could be decisive in swing states like Colorado, Florida, Nevada and Virginia.

A total of 23.6 million Hispanics are eligible to vote this time, 22 percent more than in 2008.

But traditionally high rates of abstention remain a risk for Democrats.

Matt Barreto, co-president of the public opinion pollster Latino Decisions, says some 15 million of the 23.6 million eligible Latino voters have registered and predicts about 12.2 million of them will cast ballots.

The latest surveys show a technical tie between Obama and Republican Mitt Romney, but the numbers have not discouraged the president or his principal strategists.

Obama said Tuesday, in a surprise visit to campaign headquarters near his home in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago, that his supporters are convinced he has the votes needed to win.

He insisted, nevertheless, that victory depends on voter turnout Tuesday at the polls.

Tonight the president will give a victory speech or accept defeat from the McCormick Place convention center in Chicago.

The key, experts say, will be turnout, which in 2008 reached 62.9 percent. A drop in that percentage would indicate that the Democratic political machine did not live up to expectations.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Chicago Activist and Single Father Jose G. Herrera Obtains Residency

Chicago Activist and Single Father Jose G. Herrera Obtains Residency

Photo: Jose G. Herrera

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After being arrested four years ago and subjected to a deportation process, Mexican immigrant Jose G. Herrera became a defender of the rights of the undocumented and on Monday celebrated having obtained U.S. permanent residence.

Immigration Judge Robert Vinikoor granted residence to Herrera on Nov. 1 for his good moral character and because of the extreme difficulties his U.S.-born son would face if his father were deported.

“Here goes one who has been freed, but there are still millions,” Herrera told Efe.

The 29-year-old activist and single father expressed his gratitude for this victory to a wide-ranging network of sympathizers and for the letters of support from several influential people who helped with his case, including the rector of Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago where Herrera is pursuing a degree in sociology.

It all began in the summer of 2008 when police stopped him and charged him with driving without a license and under the influence of alcohol.

The judge set bail at $2,500, but when his sister Erica went to pay it at Cook County Jail, she was told that Immigration and Customs Enforcement had placed a detainer on Jose.

Herrera spent 21 days in jail, and when released on three years’ probation for the charges and agreeing to join an Alcoholics Anonymous group, report every month to a police officer and undergo periodic urine tests, Herrera got another big surprise.

One day later ICE agents detained him and sent him to their offices in downtown Chicago.

They released him the same day but with an electronic shackle on one ankle.

“And so I spent 11 months wearing that shackle,” he said.

Since his arrest, Herrera has become an activist and has helped get dozens of immigrants released from detention centers.

Then, together with the Rev. Jose Landaverde, he organized opposition to the construction of a detention center for immigrants in the Chicago suburb of Crete.

Herrera now has only one wish aside from taking his degree, and that is to continue aiding immigrants.

“My wish is to see all those millions of immigrants with their cases resolved, and not necessarily in the courts but because of comprehensive immigration reform,” he said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER UPDATE: Man Who Allegedly Had Sex With Donkey Wants It Back

LATINO BLOTTER UPDATE: Man Who Allegedly Had Sex With Donkey Wants It Back

Photo: LATINO BLOTTER UPDATE: Carlos Romero Had Sex With Donkey Wants It Back

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Earlier this year, Carlos Romero was arrested for allegedly engaging in sexual acts with his 21-month-old miniature donkey. Now, Romero is asking for the animal back.

On September 11, a witness delivering his horse to a barn he rents, said when he arrived, the lights were all off except one in a room being used by Romero, 31, as sleeping quarters.

When the witness, Gerald James, walked past the lit room, he told police he looked in the window and saw Romero standing behind is female miniature donkey, seemingly having sex with it.

Romero did not have a shirt on and his pants were down.

When Romero saw James he reportedly pulled away from the mini donkey, pulled up his pants, pushed the donkey out of the quarters, and closed the door.

Romero is now asking the donkey, whose name is Doodle, be returned.

“I want my donkey back,” Romero said. “There’s got to be due process here. I paid $500 for her.”

Romero has been in protective custody and he claims it’s because authorities are just trying to keep him away from Doodle.

County officials are now looking to petition the court for custody of Doodle and possibly put her up for adoption.

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: Teens Convicted of Raping Two Teen Girl in California Park

LATINO BLOTTER: Teens Convicted of Raping Two Teen Girl in California Park

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Two California teens have been convicted of kidnapping and raping two teen girls in a park.

On September 3, 2011, 17-year-old Leonel Contreras and his co-defendant, William Steven Rodriguez, attacked two teen girls sitting in a Rancho Penasquitos park. The girls were dragged to a dark grassy area, held at knifepoint and raped. The attack ended when a parent of one of the girls went looking for her and began calling her name.

During the trial, Contreras’ lawyer claimed his client was not involved in the attack and that Rodriguez was with someone else when he attacked the girls. He also claims Contreras was coerced into giving a false confession.

However, after being caught, Contreras reportedly said he and Rodriguez had initially intended to rob someone, but changed their mind when they saw the girls sit against a tree in the park.

In the end, a jury convicted Contreras of 21 counts, which included kidnapping, conspiracy, forcible rape and sodomy. The unidentified victims were 15 and 16 years old. At least one of the girls was a virgin at the time of the attack.

Contreras now faces sentencing on December 5 by Judge Peter Deddeh.

On Monday, a separate jury convicted Rodriguez of rape, forced oral copulation, sodomy and other charges.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Archaelogists Find Floor Scorched by Ancient People Frightened by Eclipse

Archaelogists Find Floor Scorched by Ancient People Frightened by Eclipse

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During the excavations in Pañhu, an archaeological zone in the municipality of Tecozautla, Hidalgo which will soon be open to the public, archaeologists found a burned stucco floor. The floor is evidence that its main pyramid was desacralized or deconsecrated approximately 1,350 years ago. This coincides with an astronomical occurrence which was thought by its inhabitants, to be a cataclysmic event.

Archaeologist Fernando Lopez Aguilar, director of the site’s investigation project promoted by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), informed that there was a solar eclipse at sunrise on August 3rd of 650 AD.

“To these old societies, the eclipse must have represented a catastrophe which is why they made sacrifices in order to ‘keep the star alive’, since they believed the black sun or hell’s sun had imposed on their sun, ‘a giver of life’. This event generated a gradual abandonment in Teotihuacan and also had repercussions in Pañhu”, Lopez Aguilar explained.

This phenomenon, Lopez Aguilar said, was interpreted as an omen to leading to the end of the cycle, so in Pañhu they decided to desacralize the main pyramid –to the north, over the plateau where the site is located– and to dig and extract the offerings to the tutelary god. This god was probably the Old Fire God, also known as Huehueteotl, Xiuhtecuhtli, or Otontecuhtlu to the Otomi people.

Over the remains of this construction (400 – 650 AD) they built another in a different style which was appropriate to the architecture of the Late Classic period (650 – 900 AD) in the region of Huichapan, where other settlements where distributed (this includes Pañhu). The Pañhu where characterized for settling over plateaus and for keeping extensive economic links. Such has been confirmed by the finding of the turquoise originated from New Mexico, the jadeite of Valle de Motagua (Guatemala) and shells from the Gulf of Mexico.

This area, according to the archaeologist, was also the scene where one of the most important myths, La Serpiente (The Snake), of Mesoamerican culture was created. This is where the god Huitzilopochtli defeated his brothers, the Centzohuiznahua and the Coyolxauhqui.

“In the territory that goes from the Cerro del Aguila, next to Pañhu, to Cerro del Astillero (towards the southeast and also identified as the mythical Coatepec), a conflict ensued which in pre-Hispanic times would give this region the name ‘Teotlapan’, ‘Land of the Gods’, and which in modern day is Mezquital.”

The Pañhu Archaeological Project team infers the former vision that the Otomi people contributed very little to the Mesoamerican culture “can be attributed to the dominant culture: the Mexica, although Otomi speaking villages that inhabited this place possibly since the year 400 AD, were already identified with these sacred places (Cerro del Aguila, Coatepec, among other) and hid their knowledge and their customs”.

After the archaeological work carried out in the 80’s, when a preliminary exploration of Pañhu structures was done in the Valle del Mezquital Project of ENAH, and after a period of five years of uninterrupted labors (2007 – 2012), this archaeological zone is ready to open to the public. The site will have an interpretative hall which will work with a wind turbine and a solar panel, self-sustainable energy sources.

LATINO BLOTTER: Substitute Teacher Who Slept with 14-Year-Old Boy is Pregnant

A substitute teacher in Texas was arrested after a boy’s mother discovered said teacher was sleeping with her son.

Authorities in Texas’ Bexar County say 35-year-old substitute teacher Amanda Sotelo slept with a 14-year-old student and may be carrying his child.

Sotelo was arrested on November 1, after the underage boy’s mother learned about the sexual encounters on October 31st.. The married teacher was charged with indecency with a child and fired by the Southwest Independent School District that day.

The boy and Sotelo allegedly met in March or April, though the teacher says they did not start their sexual relationship until the end of the school year. Police say Sotelo met the boy through her daughter, who sometimes brought the boy to their home.

According to the affidavit:

Sotelo stated that the relationship developed over time. She and the victim were both going through problems and confided in each other. It wasn’t until the end of this last school year that they began having a sexual relationship, ‘like grown-ups’ … She further admitted that she and the victim had sex about once a week. Sotelo further stated that she found out she is pregnant when she went to the emergency room the first week of September.

Sotelo further stated she loves the victim and he loves her.


She reportedly has children with her husband, who was out of town at the time of her arrest.

Sotelo is being held at Bexar County Jail and her bond was set at $75,000. It is unclear whether she ever taught any of the boy’s classes.

Read more by HS News Staff →

VOTE Then Celebrate Election Day with an ‘Obama’rita’ or a ‘Mint Romney’

VOTE Then Celebrate Election Day with an ‘Obama’rita’ or a ‘Mint Romney’

Photo: VOTE Then Celebrate Election Day with an 'Obama'rita' or a 'Mint Romney'

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For many, time and energy has been invested and spent and a lot is riding on today’s election. So now that you have voted (if not, get to it!) you can help yourself to one (or both) of these political drinks created by Polar Seltzer.

Enjoy these without any guilt too, because each beverage has zero calories, zero carbs, zero sugar, zero sodium and is sugar-free.


OBAMA’RITA

Known to order matching margaritas, this recipe captures the first couple’s commitment to health-smart food choices and his Hawaiian origins.

- 1 part Patron Tequila
- 1 part Cointreau
- 1 part pineapple juice
- 1 part freshly squeezed lime juice
- Pinch of sea salt
- Polar Raspberry-Lime Seltzer
- Fresh pineapple, garnish

Combine all of the ingredients, other than the seltzer in a cocktail shaker with crushed ice.  Shake vigorously, until it shows condensation. Pour into glass. Top with Polar Seltzer, Garnish with skewered pineapple.

MINT ROMNEY

- Splash of Cream
- Chocolate syrup
- Polar Mint Chocolate Seltzer
- Sprig of mint, as garnish

In a cocktail shaker combine the cream and the chocolate syrup with ice.  Shake vigorously, and then pour into a glass.  Top generously with Polar Mint Chocolate Seltzer.  Stir gently. Garnish with mint.

Drizzle the bottom of a large goblet with butterscotch and then scoop in some ice cream, drizzle again with more butterscotch.  Top with Polar Butter Rum Seltzer.

Read more by HS News Staff →

ELECTION TODAY:  Ricky Martin Joins Michelle Obama on Campaign Trail in Florida

ELECTION TODAY:  Ricky Martin Joins Michelle Obama on Campaign Trail in Florida

Photo: Ricky Martin on Obama Campaign Trail

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Puerto Rican singer Ricky Martin joined Barack Obama’s reelection campaign and stood beside first lady Michelle Obama at a rally in Orlando, Florida, on the eve of America’s closest presidential elections in recent times.

“This is my first time at a political rally and I’m glad it’s here in Orlando,” Martin told Obama supporters on Monday.

“We respect his (Obama’s) steady and strong foreign policy, and respect what he’s done at home fighting for equal opportunity for the Hispanic community and all communities, because we’re all together in this,” the artist said.

“We’re 50 million Latinos and if we want and if we vote, we can give the president four more years in the White House,” Martin said.

The artist particularly appreciated the attitude shown by the president toward gays.

“We admire the courage that he (Obama) has shown in upholding his convictions about marriage equality,” the singer said.

“Thank you, president, and thanks also in the name of my children,” the singer of “La Vida Loca” said at an event during which the first lady described her husband as “decent and honest.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

A Message from MALDEF on Election Day

A Message from MALDEF on Election Day

Photo: Election Day and Voter Suppression

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In key states, Latino voters are confronted with illegal voting barriers that threaten their ability to cast ballots on Election Day. The Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) is fighting to ensure that Latinos and other eligible voters are able to participate in today’s election without interference or attempts to suppress their vote.

The following are some of the voter initiative MALDEF is involved in:

In Texas, MALDEF secured a federal court order blocking the most restrictive voter identification law in the country. However, the Texas Secretary of State continues to mislead voters on the requirements for voter ID on Election Day. By printing the wrong voter ID requirements on the back of voter registration cards mailed to all voters in the state, and listing the wrong voter ID requirements on two websites maintained by her office, the Texas Secretary of State has created widespread confusion that threatens the ability of Texas voters to cast their ballots on Election Day. MALDEF is working to ensure that Texas voters know that they can vote using their voter registration cards and other non-photo documents and that the Secretary of State corrects the information she distributes to the electorate.

In Phoenix, Arizona, MALDEF is working to ensure that hundreds of individuals who properly registered to vote using the Federal Mail Voter Registration Form are allowed to cast ballots on Tuesday. MALDEF won a court order in August 2012 requiring Arizona to accept federal voter registration applications. Nevertheless, the State of Arizona did not timely confirm these voters’ identities and kept their names off the precinct rolls in some counties. As a result of MALDEF’s efforts, the Maricopa County Recorder has agreed to send letters to 1,300 registered voters that the voters can use at the polls to receive a regular ballot on Election Day.

Recently, Maricopa County admitted to distributing official documents that advised Spanish speaking voters of the wrong election date. Maricopa, the state’s largest county with a majority of the state’s registered voters, has agreed to conduct additional Spanish language outreach to inform voters of the correct election date.

Voter who experience problems casting their ballots on Election Day can call MALDEF toll-free at1.877.224.5476.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Paulina Aguirre Says Latin Grammy Nomination a Blessing for Ecuador

Paulina Aguirre Says Latin Grammy Nomination a Blessing for Ecuador

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Paulina Aguirre says that her 2012 Latin Grammy nomination in the Christian Music category for her album “Rompe el Silencio” is a blessing for her native Ecuador.

“For a person like me ... who came from a very small country with very big dreams, the Latin Grammy nomination has a great deal of significance,” Aguirre told Efe.

“It’s a recognition of your work, your labor, your effort, it’s for having broken the preconceptions of the impossible,” said the artist, who moved to Los Angeles a decade ago.

“The first time they nominated me for a Grammy in 2007 I was the first” to be nominated in Ecuadorian history for that award and “when I won in 2009 people were very moved, there came out (reports) in all the papers that said: ‘Ecuadorian wins Grammy for the first time,’” said Aguirre.

“After people had told you that you couldn’t (do it), with so few resources you can come to have a trophy of this type, well, that opens possibilities for people who are looking at me to say: One day I can do it, too,” she emphasized.

The Latin Grammy awards will be presented on Nov. 15 at a ceremony in the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico’s President Calderon Inaugurates “Cycling Paradise” in Cozumel

Mexico’s President Calderon Inaugurates “Cycling Paradise” in Cozumel

Photo: Biking in Cozumel

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President Felipe Calderon participated in a cycling event over the weekend in Cozumel and inaugurated a bicycle path on the Mexican Caribbean island’s perimeter road.

The president, who rode 65 kilometers (40 miles), was accompanied by a group of endurance athletes.

“Today, we rode 65 kilometers by bicycle on Cozumel’s perimeter rode, which we inaugurated. The old one will be exclusively for bicycles,” Calderon said in a Twitter posting on Sunday.

Calderon, as he did in June at the Baja Bike 150 in the northwestern state of Baja California Sur, said sports were essential for the social development of Mexicans.

The bike route will help diversify tourism on Cozumel, turning the island into a “cycling paradise,” the president said.

Calderon rode with Communications and Transportation Secretary Dionisio Perez-Jacome and National Sports and Physical Fitness Commission director Bernardo de la Garza.

The perimeter road on Cozumel will be used at the international Ironman competition on Nov. 25, helping to promote the region’s tourist destinations.

Read more by HS News Staff →

ELECTION:  Hispanic Voters in ARizona Energized Around Anti-Immigrant Laws

ELECTION:  Hispanic Voters in ARizona Energized Around Anti-Immigrant Laws

Photo: Latino Voters in Arizona

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The approval of harsh laws like SB 1070 against undocumented immigration in Arizona has served as an engine to increase voter registration and the mobilization of the vote among Hispanics.

In recent months, different organizations in Arizona have worked hard to register new Hispanic voters and convince them to go to the polls.

“In Arizona approximately 50,000 new Hispanic voters have been registered, of whom more than 20,000 signed up for early voting,” Francisco Heredia, director of the Mi Familia Vota group in Arizona, told Efe.

He said that, although Arizona is not considered a swing state in the presidential election, the movement that is being seen among the Hispanic community will transform it into a competitive state in the future.

“During these elections the political power the Hispanic voter has is going to be shown, something that could change the stance of some politicians, who will have to come to our communities to be able to win our vote,” Heredia said.

He said that the Hispanic vote could be the decisive factor that determines close races such as the one between Democrat Richard Carmona, a former U.S. surgeon general who aspires to become the first Hispanic senator from Arizona.

According to figures compiled by Mi Familia Vota, 274,000 Hispanics voted in Arizona in the last presidential election.

“What we’re seeing currently, with the early voting, is that just through the end of the month of October more than 100,000 Hispanic voters already voted by mail in our state,” said Heredia.

In recent years, Arizona has approved a series of laws that seek to penalize undocumented immigrants, but the enactment in 2010 of SB 1070 was a point where the Hispanic community said “enough,” according to Heredia.

SB 1070 was the first state law to criminalize the presence of undocumented immigrants.

“We’re seeing great progress within our community in participating in our country’s civic life, something that we had not seen in the past decade,” Heredia emphasized.

Read more by HS News Staff →



TuesdayNovember 6, 2012