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MondayNovember 26, 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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Former Massage Parlor Owner Gets Life for Trafficking Undocumented Female Migrants & Abuse

Former Massage Parlor Owner Gets Life for Trafficking Undocumented Female Migrants & Abuse

Photo: Alex Campbell Sentenced to Life

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Alex Campbell, 45, of Glenview, Ill., a former northwest suburban massage parlor owner was sentenced today to life in federal prison for various crimes including sex-trafficking, forced labor, harboring illegal aliens, confiscating passports to further forced labor and extortion involving four foreign women whom he mentally and physically abused while forcing them to work for him.

The defendant, who operated the Day and Night Spa on Northwest Highway in Mt. Prospect, Ill., used violence and threats of violence to force three women from the Ukraine and one from Belarus to work for him without pay and, at times, little to no subsistence between July 2008 and January 2010.

Campbell was convicted at trial in January of this year of three counts each of forced labor, harboring illegal aliens for financial gain and confiscating passports and other immigration documents to force the victims to work and one count each of sex trafficking by force, and extortion. 

All four victims testified as government witnesses at trial. In addition to the trial victims, the government presented evidence that investigators learned of approximately 20 women that Campbell victimized.

The women were forced to work long hours every day and do as Campbell instructed them, and they were beaten and punished if they disobeyed him.

Trial testimony established that Campbell confiscated passports and identity documents from three of the victims, as well as harbored and transported them to ensure their continued labor.  Campbell forced one victim to engage in commercial sex acts with customers at various other massage parlors.  He extorted another victim to pay him more than $25,000 to leave by threatening to send a sexually-explicit video recording to her parents in Belarus.

Read more by HS News Staff →

2014 World Cup Mascot Will be Named Fuleco

2014 World Cup Mascot Will be Named Fuleco

Photo: 2014 World Cup Mascot Will be Named Fuleco

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FIFA, soccer’s global governing body, announced Monday that its mascot for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil will be called Fuleco, a name that won in a popular vote of more than 1.7 million people.

Fuleco, a term that combines “futebol” (soccer in Portuguese) and ecology, came out top among the three finalist names for the armadillo chosen to be the world championship’s mascot.

Brazil’s three-banded armadillo, Tolypeutes tricinctus, is an endangered species known for its ability to roll itself into a protective spherical shell - which looks something like a soccer ball.

Since the mascot’s official introduction, its popularity has surged, according to figures from a FIFA follow-up survey showing that 89 percent of Brazilians now know the mascot, which scored 7.3 out of a possible 10 as a character people find likeable.

Those interviewed associate the mascot with nature, a passion for soccer and friendliness, which puts it well in line with FIFA’s idea that the World Cup should push the importance of the environment.

FIFA and the organizers of Brazil 2014 believe the mascot, as an endangered species, “can play a crucial role in promoting environmental awareness” and can “encourage people to behave in an environmentally friendly way.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican Citizen Sentenced 54 Months in Prison for Trafficking ID’s of Puerto Rican, U.S. Citizens

Mexican Citizen Sentenced 54 Months in Prison for Trafficking ID’s of Puerto Rican, U.S. Citizens

Photo: Puerto Rican Identity Theft Ring

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A Mexican national was sentenced today to 54 months in prison for trafficking of identities of Puerto Rican U.S. citizens and corresponding identity documents.

Jose Sergio Garcia-Ramirez, 37, formerly of Rockford, Ill., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Gustavo A. Gelpí, in the District of Puerto Rico.  Judge Gelpí also ordered that Garcia-Ramirez forfeit $35,900 in proceeds and ordered the removal of Garcia-Ramirez from the United States after the completion of his sentence.

On July 17, 2012, Garcia-Ramirez pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit identification fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.

To date, a total of 53 individuals have been charged for their roles in the identity trafficking scheme, and 18 defendants have pleaded guilty.

Court documents allege that individuals located in the Savarona area of Caguas, Puerto Rico obtained Puerto Rican identities and corresponding identity documents.  Other conspirators located in various cities throughout the United States (identity brokers) allegedly solicited customers and sold Social Security cards and corresponding Puerto Rico birth certificates for prices ranging from $700 to $2,500 per set. 

Their customers allegedly generally obtained the identity documents to assume the identity of Puerto Rican U.S. citizens and to obtain additional identification documents, such as legitimate state driver’s licenses.  Some customers allegedly obtained the documents to commit financial fraud and attempted to obtain a U.S. passport.

Garcia-Ramirez admitted that he was an identity broker in the conspiracy and operated in Illinois.  Garcia-Ramirez is the fourth defendant to be sentenced in this case.

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Pope Benedict Elevates Six to Become Cardinals Including Ruben Salazar Gomez, Archbishop of Bogota

Pope Benedict Elevates Six to Become Cardinals Including Ruben Salazar Gomez, Archbishop of Bogota

Photo: Bogota Archbishop Gomez Elevated to Cardinal

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This morning in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall the Holy Father received the new cardinals created in the consistory of Saturday November 24, and their families.

Over the weekend Pope Benedict XVI elevated six new cardinals from Colombia, India, Lebanon, Nigeria, the Philippines and the U.S.  The six were welcomed into the College of Cardinals who amongst other things decide whom the pope should be.  The next pope will come from amongst the 120 current members of the College of Cardinals.  Each new cardinal received his red hat and gold ring. 

Gomez has been Archbishop of Bogota since 2010 and is 70-years-old.  He has been a priest for 45 years.

When Pope Benedict addressed Cardinal Archbishop Gomez he spoke in Spanish encouraging all Colombians to “move forward in peace and harmony along the paths of justice, reconciliation and solidarity”.

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Drunk Alcohol Counselor Hits Man With Car, Drives Another 2 Miles with Him in Windshield

Drunk Alcohol Counselor Hits Man With Car, Drives Another 2 Miles with Him in Windshield

Photo: Drunk Alcohol Counselor Hits Man With Car, Drives Another 2 Miles with Him in Windshield

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A man is dead after he was struck by a drunk driver as he crossed the street and the driver traveled more than 2 miles before stopping.

Police say 51-year-old Sherri Wilkins of Torrance, California was driving drunk when she struck 31-year-old Philip Moreno at around 11:25 p.m. Saturday evening.

Wilkins’ blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit when she hit Moreno so hard he was pulled out of his shoes and embedded into her windshield and hood.

Rather than stop however, Wilkins continued to drive another 2.3 miles before other drivers forced her to stop. Police say she continued to drive because she panicked. There were no reported witnesses to the actual collision, but police are still searching.

When emergency responders arrived, Moreno was suffering from severe injuries, but was able to speak to officers at the scene. He was taken to the hospital in critical condition, but did not survive his injuries.

In a strange twist, Wilkins is a drug and alcohol counselor at Twin Town Treatment Center in Torrance, CA and one of her clients was reportedly related to Moreno.

Wilkins was booked on charges of manslaughter, suspicion of drunken driving, and hit-and-run driving.

She told officers she was driving home from work when she hit Moreno, who was walking home after a night out.

This was not Wilkins first arrest. Two years ago she was charged in a similar incident. On July 16, 2010 Wilkins was charged with driving under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident, and being under the influence of a controlled substance.

Police are asking that anyone who witnessed the initial accident to call police at (310) 618-5557.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mass Grave Found in Border State of Chihuahua, Mexico

Mexican authorities are reporting the discovery of a mass grave in the U.S.-Mexico border state of Chihuahua.  The northern border city has been the center of some of Mexico’s bloodiest turf battles between narco cartels.

The mass grave that contained 11 male bodies is believed to be some two-years-old.  It was located 25 miles from Ciudad Juarez in the municipality of Ejido Jesus Carranza.  In addition to the bodies investigators found men’s clothing and shoes buried in another pit. 

Authorities were led to this site from information obtained by authorities that interviewed Jose Antonio Acosta Hernandez “El Diego”.  Hernandez is the former head of “La Linea” cartel that was arrested in Mexico in July, 2011.  It is believed “El Diego” order some 1,500 killings, numerous car bombings and a massacre at a teenagers birthday party.

In addition Mexican authorities found 8 tortured bodies also in Chihuahua near the municipality of Rosales.  The victims had been shot, beaten, burned and had their eyes gouged out.  These victims were believed to have been kidnapped on Friday with their bodies being discovered Saturday.

Read more by HS News Staff →

FBI Most Wanted: Fugitive Joe Luis Saenz Captured in Mexico

FBI Most Wanted: Fugitive Joe Luis Saenz Captured in Mexico

Photo: FBI Most Wanted: Fugitive Joe Luis Saenz Captured in Mexico

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A man on the FBI’s Most Wanted list has been captured in Mexico.

On July 25, 1998, Joe Luis Saenz allegedly shot and killed two rival gang members in Los Angeles. Less than two weeks later, on August 5, 1998, Saenz allegedly kidnapped, raped, and murdered his girlfriend, Sigrieta Hernandez, because he believed she was talking with police. Saenz is believed to have also murdered a fourth victim in October of 2008 in Los Angeles County.

Saenz was added to the FBI’s Top Ten Fugitives List in October 2009, and the FBI offered a reward of up to $100,000 for information leading directly to the arrest of Saenz.

Now 37, Saenz was believed to be hiding in Mexico, and working for a drug cartel as an enforcer and hit man.

On Thursday, he was arrested in Guadalajara, Mexico. The following day he was returned to Los Angeles to face charges of murder, kidnapping, and rape.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Pit Bull Protects Mother, Saves Baby from Kidnappers

Pit Bull Protects Mother, Saves Baby from Kidnappers

Photo: Pit Bull Protects Mother, Saves Baby from Kidnappers

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An Indiana family is safe after a frightening ordeal, and they owe it all to their protective pit bull.

On Tuesday, Nayeli Garzon-Jimenez was at home with her three-month-old daughter and the family dog when intruders forced their way in through the back door.

Garzon-Jimenez was on the phone with her husband, Adolfo Angeles-Morales, when a man and woman tried to enter. Angeles-Morales told his wife to try to identify the intruders. He later told WISH-TV, ‘In the same second, I hear the noise over my phone and she started screaming and crying, and said, someone just stuck their hand in the door.’

The man and woman managed to get inside the home and that is when the woman grabbed the infant from her Garzon-Jimenez‘s arms and demanded cash. The mother tried to pull the female assailant by the shirt, but the man turned around and hit her in the head with a gun.

When the fearful mother said she had no money to give them they attempted to leave through the back door with the woman still holding the infant.

One of the family’s dogs, a gray pit bull, stopped them from leaving, however, reportedly blocking the exit, and began growling and snarling at the intruders. He then chased them further into the house.

The intruders, who have not been identified, ran for the back door again, throwing the baby back at Garzon-Jimenez.

The would-be kidnappers fled in a 2002-2007 brown van with tinted windows.

The mother and baby were taken to the hospital, with the mother being treated for the head wound minor scraps and bruises.

A description of the intruders:

- Light-skinned black male
- Close-cut beard
- Acne scars
- Around 6’2 and heavyset
- About 35 years old

- Black woman
- Braided hair pulled back in a ponytail
- Two lip piercings
- Eyebrow piercing
- Around 5’10 and heavyset
- About 25 years old

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Lady Gaga Finds Fans in her Garage While on Tour in Peru

Lady Gaga Finds Fans in her Garage While on Tour in Peru

Photo: Lady Gaga Finds Fans in her Garage While on Tour in Peru

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While Mother Monster, Lady Gaga, is known to absolutely adore her loving fans, she probably did not love them being in her garage in the middle of the night.

Early Friday morning, while Gaga was in Peru preparing for her upcoming show, she tweeted a bizarre encounter that left her feeling exposed – in more ways than one.

A mere hour after she said goodnight to her fans via Twitter, Gaga began tweeting again.


It looks like those baby monsters found their way home to momma. And leave it to Lady Gaga, to try to feed her Peruvian trespassers. Love her or hate her, Lady Gaga is certainly one of a kind.

As of Monday, the performer was in Paraguay.

Read more by HS News Staff →

New York Man Accused of Killing his 15-Year-Old Step-Niece

New York Man Accused of Killing his 15-Year-Old Step-Niece

Photo: New York Man Accused of Killing his 15-Year-Old Step-Niece

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Police are investigating the murder of a 15-year-old girl whose body was found the day after Thanksgiving.

The girl, Destiny Sanchez, was found in the lobby of a three-family home in New York’s South Bronx peninsula of Hunts Point.

On Saturday an autopsy was performed and it reports revealed she had been smothered and choked to death. She was also found to have had bleach poured all over the closes she was wearing.

Police have stated the brother of Sanchez’s step-mother is the prime suspect. Luis Vega, 34, was said to be drinking with Sanchez ahead of her death.

When questioned by police, Vega reportedly stopped speaking to authorities. He was then charged endangering the welfare of a child. Vega later had to be transported to the Jacobi Medical Center for what the New York Daily News said was a preexisting condition.

The teenage victim was to turn 16 this week. Her mother, Evalese Clemente, is said to be inconsolable.

Sanchez was found by a resident of the building at around 8 a.m.

On Saturday, neighbors, family, and friends held a memorial outside the Baretto Street residence.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Newly Elected Texas Senator Ted Cruz Considering Run for President in 2016

Newly Elected Texas Senator Ted Cruz Considering Run for President in 2016

Photo: Ted Cruz Considering Presidential Run

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The newly elected Texas Republican Senator, Ted Cruz, is considering a run for the Presidency in 2016 the Houston Chronicle is reporting.

The Cuban-American, Tea Party backed, conservative candidate defeated Democrat Paul Sadler to take the senate seat vacated when Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson retired.  Some believe Cruz, much like Florida Senator Marco Rubio, will help bring Latinos to the party and more importantly the Latino vote.

Cruz is not popular amongst many Latino for his very conservative positions and anti-immigration stance.  He has vowed to triple the size of the U.S. Border Patrol and to build a larger border fence then currently exists. 

However, Cruz does recognize the newly minted power of the Latino vote: “In not too many years, Texas could switch from being all Republican to all Democrat. If that happens, no Republican will ever again win the White House. New York and California are for the foreseeable future unalterably Democrat. If Texas turns bright blue, the Electoral College math is simple. We won’t be talking about Ohio, we won’t be talking about Florida or Virginia, because it won’t matter. If Texas is bright blue, you can’t get to two-seventy electoral votes. The Republican Party would cease to exist. We would become like the Whig Party. Our kids and grandkids would study how this used to be a national political party. ‘They had Conventions, they nominated Presidential candidates. They don’t exist anymore.’ “

Cruz has an impressive academic and professional resume.  Cruz is a Harvard-trained lawyer and Princeton undergraduate who was Texas’ solicitor general from 2003-2008.  He is also the first Latino to represent Texas in the U.S. Senate. 

If Cruz does decide to run for President he will have to address the issue that he was not born on American soil but rather in Canada.

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American Author Jonathan Franzen First to Receive Carlos Fuentes Medal

American Author Jonathan Franzen First to Receive Carlos Fuentes Medal

Photo: Carlos Fuentes Award given to Jonanthan Franzen

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American writer Jonathan Franzen received the first Carlos Fuentes Medal from the late Mexican writer’s widow, Silvia Lemus, during the opening ceremony of the 26th Guadalajara International Book Fair.

Starting with this year’s fair, the medal will be awarded to all the writers chosen to open the Literary Salon at the book fair in Guadalajara, the biggest event of the year for the Spanish-language publishing industry.

“This is a fair for both books and literature,” Guadalajara International Book Fair president Raul Padilla said.

Franzen, who was born on Aug. 17, 1959, in Western Springs, Illinois, writes for The New Yorker and has published several critically acclaimed novels.

“I had the good fortune of meeting him (Fuentes) before his death. This means a lot to me personally,” the writer said during Sunday’s event.

Franzen is the author of “The Corrections” (2001), which won a National Book Award, and “Freedom” (2010), as well as the essay collection “Farther Away” (2012), which discusses contemporary life and his friendship with writer David Foster Wallace, who committed suicide in 2008.

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Merchant in Brazil Guns Down Three People, Including Local Mayor

Merchant in Brazil Guns Down Three People, Including Local Mayor

Photo: Mayor Jussiape, Brazil Gun Downed

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The recently re-elected mayor of the small northeastern Brazilian city of Jussiape, his wife and a councilman were gunned down by a merchant, who later died in a shootout with police, officials said.

Mayor Procopio Alencar and the other victims were killed Saturday morning in downtown Jussiape, a city about 630 kilometers (391 miles) from Salvador, the capital of Bahia state.

The gunman, identified as Claudinor Galvao de Oliveira, owned a small shop in the city and it is not known why he killed the mayor, police said.

De Oliveira first shot Jandira Alencar, the mayor’s wife, after spotting her in the streets of the city.

He then went to the mayor’s medical practice and shot the 75-year-old Alencar and an unidentified city councilman he was meeting with, police said.

Officers shot and killed De Oliveira in a city plaza as he apparently went looking for other people to kill, the police department said.

De Oliveira wounded two police officers in the shootout in the plaza.

Investigators have not determined the motive for the multiple murders.

Alencar, a member of the Democratic Labor Party, or PDT, won another four-year term in last month’s municipal elections.

He was elected deputy mayor in 2006 but took over the mayoralty when Mayor Vagner Neves Freitas was sacked by the city council for allegedly misappropriating public funds.

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Toluca vs Tijuana in Apertura Tournament

Toluca vs Tijuana in Apertura Tournament

Photo: Toluca vs Tijuana in Apertura

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Toluca and Tijuana will play in the final of the Mexican League’s Apertura tournament in a two-match series.

Both teams finished the regular season with 34 points, but Tijuana ended up in second place due to the goal differential and advanced to the playoffs, which pit the eight best teams against each other.

Toluca beat Guadalajara and America, while Tijuana, popularly known as the “Xolos,” eliminated Monterrey and Leon.

Mexican Enrique Meza coaches Toluca, while Argentine Antonio Mohamed coaches Tijuana.

The 64-year-old Meza, who is coaching in his eighth final, is looking for his fifth Mexican League title and fourth with Toluca.

The Xolos advanced to their first Mexican First Division final after being elevated to the top group with their performance in the Apertura 2011 tournament.

The 42-year-old Mohamed, who has coached five Mexican teams since 2003, is in his first final.

The finals matches will be played on Thursday, Nov. 29, and on Sunday, Dec. 2.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Kidnapped Banana Industry Executive Rescued in Colombia

Kidnapped Banana Industry Executive Rescued in Colombia

Photo: Carlos Perez Nunez freed in Colombia

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The security forces rescued a banana industry executive who had been kidnapped earlier this month by unidentified individuals in northern Colombia, President Juan Manuel Santos said.

“They just liberated Mr. (Carlos Francisco) Perez, who had been kidnapped,” Santos told reporters during an appearance Saturday in the city of Santa Marta.

Perez, the son of a former Magdalena province governor, was abducted on Nov. 15 by three heavily armed men in Rio Frio.

Authorities have not identified the kidnappers, but they suspect common criminals are involved.

Perez was the fourth person kidnapped in Magdalena in the past two years, with four of the abductions occurring in 2012.

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Parts of Panama Declared as Emergency Zones After Torrential Rains

Parts of Panama Declared as Emergency Zones After Torrential Rains

Photo: Floods in Colon, Panama

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Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli on Sunday declared three northern areas to be emergency zones after torrential rains caused at least two deaths, damaged the property of hundreds and flooded dozens of homes, authorities said.

Martinelli declared western part of Panama province and the province of Colon, specifically the districts of La Chorrera, Capira and Colon, to be emergency zones to facilitate getting aid to the people in the region and to repair roads and bridges damaged by the rain.

The president, accompanied by Housing Minister Jose Domingo Arias, Public Works Minister Jaime Ford and Foreign Minister Romulo Roux, toured parts of the affected region and expressed his condolences to the families of two people who died in a landslide in the town of Nueva Arenosa, near Capira.

On Sunday morning, Martinelli told reporters that he will convene the Cabinet Council to approve special aid to the people affected by the rains and flooding.

Dozens of homes were damaged in the districts of Capira, La Chorrera and Arraijan.

The Sinaproc national civil protection service said that the rain stems from a low pressure system that extends from Costa Rica to Colombia.

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Catalonia Will Not Splinter from Spain, Sovereignty Plan Fails at Voting Booth

Catalonia Will Not Splinter from Spain, Sovereignty Plan Fails at Voting Booth

Photo: Catalonia - Spain

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The center-right Catalonian nationalists won the regional elections here Sunday but with 98.7 percent of the votes counted were far from garnering “the exceptional majority” they were seeking to push their sovereignty plan.

The CiU coalition headed by regional President Artur Mas lost 12 seats in the 135-seat Catalonian legislature falling to 50 seats from the 62 it had won in the 2010 election.

Catalonia’s now second-largest political force, the independence-minded ERC, gained 11 seats - now holding 21 - and displaced the Socialist Party, which lost 8 seats, falling to 20 in the legislature, from that position. The Popular Party, or PP, which governs Spain, gained 1 seat, rising to 19.

Given the election result, the CiU will need the support of other parties to govern, as Mas acknowledged calling on the other parties to exercise “responsibility” and begin “a period of reflection.”

The regional president had moved the election up after Spanish Premier Mariano Rajoy last September rejected his proposal to give Catalonia special fiscal treatment - different from that received by Spain’s other autonomous communities - due to drastic deficit-reducing cuts in health and education Mas felt forced to implement

A record 69.4 percent of the Catalonian electorate voted.

Catalonia - with 7.5 million people - is one of Spain’s richest regions, but it has been hit hard by the economic crisis and its heavy debt load has forced it to ask Madrid for aid.

Many Catalans feel their region would do better economically if it were independent from Spain, saying that a high percentage of their taxes are funneled to Madrid’s central government.

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MondayNovember 26, 2012