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FridayNovember 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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First Round of Peace Talks Between Colombia and Rebels End

First Round of Peace Talks Between Colombia and Rebels End

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The first round of talks here between the Colombian government and leftist FARC rebels has ended with progress on mechanisms for incorporating civil society into the process, which is aimed at bringing an end to a decades-long armed conflict.

Negotiators representing President Juan Manuel Santos’ administration and the guerrillas will resume talks on Dec. 5 after the two sides agreed to organize a citizens’ forum on agrarian policy and launch a Web page for receiving proposals from the general public.

“We’ve made the progress we expected,” former Colombian Vice President Humberto de la Calle, head of the team of government negotiators, said Thursday in his first remarks to reporters since the initial phase of the talks focusing on the five-point agenda began on Nov. 19.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, also has reached the end of this first round of talks with “great optimism and hope,” the guerrilla group’s No. 2 and leader of its peace delegation, Ivan Marquez, said hours earlier.

The agreements reached over the past several days in Havana will allow Colombian citizens and civil society groups to present proposals on the first item on the agenda: the problem of landholding and agricultural development.

The agrarian policy forum will be held in Bogota from Dec. 17-19, while the Web site - www.mesadeconversaciones.com.co - will be up and running from Dec. 7 and include a mechanism for “virtual participation.”

No other agreements have been reached to this stage of the closed-door talks, the content of which will remain secret by mutual agreement.

A certain “breaking of the ice” seemed to occur during the first 11 days judging by one guerrilla’s remarks about the government negotiators.

“There’s a good team on the other side. It’s a very capable team that we deeply respect,” the FARC’s Roberto Granda said.

The accord establishing a framework for the peace process was signed on Aug. 26 in Havana after six months of secret exploratory discussions on the communist-ruled island under the auspices of the Cuban and Norwegian governments.

Rules for the talks were then discussed during the official launch of the peace process in Oslo in October before the venue was moved back to the Cuban capital.

In addition to rural development and improved access to land, the talks will focus on security guarantees for the exercise of political opposition by the rebels; an end to armed conflict and the full demobilization of the guerrillas; the problem of drug trafficking; and the rights of victims of both the rebels and the security forces.

The most recent peace process with the rebels, during the 1998-2002 government of President Andres Pastrana, took place in a demilitarized area of southern Colombia - dubbed “Farclandia” - and collapsed amid mutual recriminations.

The FARC has battled a succession of Colombian governments since 1964. The insurgency swelled to nearly 20,000 fighters in the early 2000s, but now numbers around 8,500 combatants.

Colombia’s armed forces, bolstered by billions of dollars of aid from the United States, have scored dramatic successes against the FARC in recent years, but the rebels remain capable of inflicting significant damage on the military and on vulnerable infrastructure.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Judy Gross Urges Obama to Get Husband Released From Cuban Prison

Judy Gross Urges Obama to Get Husband Released From Cuban Prison

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Judy Gross, wife of the U.S. contractor serving a 15-year prison sentence in Cuba for subversion, urged President Barack Obama on Friday to give the case top priority and to take action to get her husband released by designating a special envoy.

“I urge President Obama to make my husband’s case a top priority,” she said at a press conference three days from the third anniversary of Alan Gross’ arrest in Havana.

Now 63, Gross was detained in possession of satellite communications equipment he said he was planning to distribute among Cuba’s Jewish community.

Havana says he was illegally aiding dissidents and inciting subversion on the Communist-ruled island. Last August, Cuba’s highest court upheld the 15-year jail sentence imposed on Gross five months earlier.

“I cannot and will not allow my husband to die in a Cuban prison,” Judy Gross said at the National Press Club in Washington.

“President Obama needs to send a high-level envoy to Cuba, who has the authority to discuss the range of issues in the bilateral relationship and to take whatever decisions are necessary to bring Alan home,” the Gross family’s lawyer, Jared Genser, said.

Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson went to Cuba as an intermediary in the case in September 2011.

Asked by Efe about that attempt, Judy Gross said “that was then and nothing happened, it didn’t work,” so something like that has to be tried again.

Regarding the suggestion that Cuba might free Gross in exchange for freeing the group of Cubans sentenced for espionage in the United States, Genser said that the family is focusing solely on getting Gross released.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Immigrant Birth Rates Drop 14 Percent in Recent Years

Immigrant Birth Rates Drop 14 Percent in Recent Years

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The U.S. birthrate in 2011 hit a historic low because of the economic crisis, which reduced reproduction among the immigrant population by 14 percent between 2007 and 2010.

“The recession is the only explanation for this change,” D’Vera Cohn, author of the Pew Research Center report on the drop in fertility in the world’s leading economy, told Efe.

The U.S. birthrate is at its lowest since records started being kept in 1920.

In 2011 it stood at 63.2 births for every 1,000 women, half the rate during the post-World War II baby boom, a period of growing prosperity for all social classes.

The biggest regression is seen among women of the immigrant community, one of the groups hit hardest by economic woes.

“Both our research and relevant data from other sources show that fertility tends to drop during a recession, and it is the groups most affected economically that are most discouraged about having children,” Cohn said.

The drop in birthrate among the immigrant population between 2007 and 2010 is greater than the general average: 14 percent.

And it dropped 23 percent among Mexicans, who represent 63 percent of the total of the U.S. Hispanic population.

Over the past two decades, the Hispanic population grew considerably, but it has now gone from a birthrate of 136.9 for every 1,000 women to 96.3 at present, the biggest drop of any population segment.

Nonetheless, immigrants remain the most fertile population group.

In May, for the first time in United States history, the majority of the population younger than 1 year old lived in minority families, the Census Bureau said.

The Pew Research Center study also showed that teen pregnancy is more common among the U.S.-born population than among immigrants.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Tijuana Defeats Toluca 2-1, Takes Lead in Mexican Final

Tijuana Defeats Toluca 2-1, Takes Lead in Mexican Final

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Tijuana defeated Toluca 2-1 on the strength of goals by Fidel Martinez and Pablo Aguilar, taking the lead in the final of the Mexican Apertura 2012 season with one match to play.

The Xolos controlled possession throughout Thursday’s game on their home field, Estadio Caliente, and put pressure on Toluca goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera both by attacking down the sidelines and penetrating up the middle of the field.

After failing to convert in the very early going, Tijuana got on the scoreboard when Martinez, an Ecuadorian midfielder, settled a pass from Argentina’s Cristian Pellerano with his chest and then knocked a right-footed strike through Talavera’s legs in the 24th minute.

Toluca responded immediately, tying the score at 1-1 two minutes later when Paraguay’s Edgar Benitez received a pass from Brazilian midfielder Lucas Silva and finished with his left foot.

The intensity dropped for several minutes, but Aguilar, a Paraguayan defenseman, gave the Xolos the lead for good shortly before halftime when he converted a pass from American Joe Corona.

Tijuana remained the superior side in the second half and had two chances to add an insurance goal in the 58th and 60th minutes, but Colombian striker Duvier Riascos was unable to convert either of the opportunities.

The second leg of the final will be played Sunday in Toluca and decide the Apertura season.

Tijuana is new to Mexico’s first division while Toluca is one of the most successful clubs in the Mexican soccer league with 10 titles, one short of Guadalajara’s record of 11 championships.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Eva Longoria Graces Cover of GQ Mexico (VIDEO)

Eva Longoria Graces Cover of GQ Mexico (VIDEO)

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Sexy Latina Eva Longoria is the cover model for the December issue of GQ Mexico.

While she may be beautiful, the 37-year-old says she hopes people see her inner beauty as well.


I hope people perceive me as beautiful in everything I do in relation to works of charity and philanthropy or political activism.

For me, those are the things that define beauty. The beauty lies mainly on personality, not on skin.

Well the former Desperate Housewives star may be gorgeous inside and out, but for those that just want to look at the outside, check out this video of the lingerie photo shoot.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Sunken Treasure to Be Displayed in Spanish Museum

Sunken Treasure to Be Displayed in Spanish Museum

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The treasure from the Spanish galleon Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes, brought up from the bottom of the sea by U.S. salvage firm Odyssey and recovered, after a hard-fought legal battle, by the Spanish state, will be displayed at the National Museum of Subacquatic Archaeology in the southeastern city of Cartagena on the Mediterranean coast.

The announcement was made Friday by the general director of fine arts and cultural assets, Jesus Prieto, at a press conference to report on the Plan of Procedure for the frigate’s cultural items, in which he confirmed that the cargo will be in the museum known as ARQUA “before the end of the year.”

“It’s the logical place,” Prieto said, adding that the museum sets the standard in Spain for the protection and restoration of the nation’s subacquatic heritage, adding that “it might even seem it was created in its day to house this cargo.”

The 14.5-ton haul is made up of nearly 600,000 coins, more than half of them made of silver.

These are coins minted in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, with the year 1804, the year the ship sank, being the most recent date.

For Nieto, the cargo of a galleon like this has to be “a historical document of prime importance,” and noted its “enormous scientific interest.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Swiss Passenger on Spanish Airline Stung by Scorpion on Plane

Swiss Passenger on Spanish Airline Stung by Scorpion on Plane

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A scorpion stung a passenger on a flight from Costa Rica to Spain, which forced the sealing of the Iberia airlines Airbus 340 at Madrid’s Barajas International Airport, aviation sources told EFE Monday.

The incident took place last Thursday aboard Flight 6316 from San Jose to Madrid.

The pilot told the Barajas control tower that a scorpion had stung a passenger; the airport’s medical service was subsequently notified, the sources said.

Upon the airliner’s arrival at Madrid, Barajas doctors confirmed the arachnid sting on the passenger’s left arm, for which they took her to a hospital in the Spanish capital.

The woman of Swiss nationality remained under observation until she was released the next day.

The passenger was on a flight from San Jose to Madrid with another five people, who had planned to continue their trip to Zurich.

One member of the group remained in Madrid to accompany the passenger during her hospitalization, while the other four continued on to the Swiss city as planned.

The Iberia plane had to be sealed off, according to the regulations for such cases, in order to find the scorpion and disinfect the aircraft.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Oscar Nominated Actor Demian Bichir Films Series Focused on Border Zone

Oscar Nominated Actor Demian Bichir Films Series Focused on Border Zone

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FX television and Shine America are in El Paso to film the pilot for a series about the reality of the border zone starring Mexican actor Demian Bichir, who was nominated for an Oscar for the film “A Better Life.”

In the first episode of “The Bridge,” writers and producers Elwood Reid and Meredith Stiem portray the collaboration between Mexican and U.S. police officers to identify a serial killer operating on both sides of the border.

The pilot tells of finding a body in the middle of an international crossing bridge, a discovery that causes the police from both countries to join forces to investigate the murder.

Bichir told Efe during a break in filming that when he read the script he had no doubts about accepting it because he liked both the story and the characters.

He said that the border zone is familiar to him and added that he knows the problems associated with violence there, violence that has increased since 2008, but it’s also a place he visits sometimes with his family “because the people there are nice.”

Reid said he was an admirer of the Mexican actor’s work and added that the writers had thought about him ever since they began crafting the character of Mexican police commander Marco Ruiz, an upright family man.

“Demian is a warm-hearted, intense actor and his deep understanding of Mexico is an enormous advantage for this series,” Reid said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Salma Hayek Options Memoir ‘The Boy Kings of Texas’

Salma Hayek Options Memoir ‘The Boy Kings of Texas’

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Actress-producer Salma Hayek has reportedly optioned Domingo Martinez’s memoir The Boy Kings of Texas.

The memoir, a National Book Award finalist in the nonfiction category this year, tells Martinez’s coming-of-age story “about the traumas and pleasures of growing up in Brownsville, Texas in the 1980s … Martinez provides a real glimpse into a society where children are traded like commerce, physical altercations routinely solve problems, drugs are rampant, sex is often crude, and people depend on the family witch doctor for advice.”

Hayek’s production company, Ventanarosa, has acquired the rights to The Boy Kings of Texas. She had previously tried to nab the rights and adapt the book into a film, but had been unsuccessful.

The film adaptation is in good hands, as Hayek’s career as a producer has perhaps been as successful as her career as an actress.

Hayek was the executive producer for the ABC series “Ugly Betty”, which was adapted from a Colombian telenovela in 2001. “El Coronel No Tiene Le Escriba” (1999) was the first film she ever produced and went on to be chosen as Mexico’s official submission for Best Foreign Film at the 72nd Academy Awards. The film was adapted from Nobel Prize-winning Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez’s novella of the same name. The film was also entered into the 1999 Cannes Film Festival.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Brazilian Mother Secretly Raises Daughter as Boy for Two Years

Brazilian Mother Secretly Raises Daughter as Boy for Two Years

Photo: Brazilian Mother Secretly Raises Daughter as Boy, Even Alters Birth Certificate

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It was recently revealed that a mother in Brazil raised her daughter as a boy for the first two years of her life.

When the baby was born, the mother named her Samuel and even managed to alter the child’s birth certificate at the registry office in Goiania and change the listed sex as “Male”.

For the next two years, the mother fooled everyone, including the baby’s father. It was only when the child’s aunt suspected something was wrong that the truth was revealed. No one but the mother was ever allowed to change baby, which the aunt found strange. The family member reportedly asked to hold the baby and managed to look into the

When later asked why she did it, the mother said she had been abused as a child and was trying to protect her daughter from the same fate.

On Wednesday, Goiania social services stated the baby has been placed in foster care while a judge reviews the case.

As for the child’s extended family, many are still dealing with the shock.

The paternal grandmother told Record TV, ‘I didn’t suspect a thing. For me, he was a boy. Why would I think anything different?

It was a huge shock for everyone. Now I have to get used to the fact I don’t have a grandson anymore, I have a granddaughter.’

Read more by HS News Staff →

Deferred Action Immigrants Denied Driver’s Licenses in Arizona

Deferred Action Immigrants Denied Driver’s Licenses in Arizona

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A coalition of organizations on Thursday filed suit against the state of Arizona for denying driver’s licenses to undocumented young people who have been given a reprieve from deportation under the federal Deferred Action program.

The plaintiffs say that the executive order signed in August by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer in which Deferred Action beneficiaries are denied the possibility of getting a driver’s license or official state-issued I.D. is unconstitutional.

Deferred Action allows undocumented immigrants under age 31 to be eligible for a renewable two-year reprieve from deportation and a work permit.

The lawsuit was filed in the name of the Arizona DREAM Act Coalition and five young undocumented immigrants who had been denied driver’s licenses.

“This is a shameless attack on our youth. When our youngest and brightest residents are prevented from getting licenses, going to school or work and pursuing their dreams, entire communities suffer,” said Alessandra Soler, the executive director for the ACLU of Arizona, said at a press conference.

One of the plaintiffs is 19-year-old Alejandra Ibarra, whose family brought her to the United States when she was only 4.

She was approved for Deferred Action last month and now has a Social Security Number and a work permit.

“They offered me a job in the city of Tempe, but I had to refuse it because it’s 25 miles (40 km) from where I live and I can’t drive a car,” she said.

“Federal immigration authorities have lifted the shadow of deportation from these bright and hardworking DREAMers, but Arizona insists on pursuing its own immigration policy aimed at keeping them in the dark,” Jennifer Chang Newell, staff attorney with the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, said.

The lawsuit claims that Arizona is violating the U.S. Constitution by interfering with federal immigration law, and it also says that the equal protection provisions of the 14th Amendment are being violated.

According to figures provided by the Migration Policy Institute, approximately 1.7 million young undocumented foreigners are eligible for Deferred Action of whom 80,000 live in Arizona.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Authorities Seize 15 Tons of Drugs in Honduras

Authorities Seize 15 Tons of Drugs in Honduras

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Honduran authorities seized 15 tons of illegal drugs they discovered buried beneath a clandestine laboratory in the northern province of Yora, prosecutors said Thursday.

“According to what the experts say, the drugs found would amount to some 15 tons of cocaine (coca) paste or synthetic drugs,” Elvin Guzman, spokesman for the prosecutor’s office in the northern city of San Pedro Sula, told reporters.

The drug lab was found Thursday in a village lying between the towns of Santa Rita and El Negrito.

Officials suspect they may find additional drugs in underground tunnels at the site, Guzman said.

The operation involves personnel from the army and several different law enforcement agencies.

Authorities uncovered “chemical products and other substances, an electrical installation and a transformer” at the clandestine lab, Carlos Vallecillo, spokesman for the prosecutor’s office in Tegucigalpa, told Efe earlier Thursday.

Honduras’ Caribbean region is a major transshipment corridor for shipments of illegal drugs bound for the United States, the world’s No. 1 drug-consuming nation.

Last year, Honduran authorities intercepted more than 22 tons of cocaine in various operations, including some carried out jointly with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Steve King: Democrats Will Win Over Hispanics By Giving Them ‘A Great Big Check’

Steve King: Democrats Will Win Over Hispanics By Giving Them ‘A Great Big Check’

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By Jeff Spross, ThinkProgress

Since President Obama’s re-election and Mitt Romney’s poor performance among Hispanic voters, a number of prominent conservative lawmakers and commentators have come out in favor of immigration reform.

But Rep. Steve King (R-IA) appears to have not gotten the memo, if his first comments on immigration since the election are any indication.

Echoing Mitt Romney’s now-infamous complaint that Obama won by handing out “gifts” to women and minorities, King told radio host Janet Mefferd yesterday that Republicans should not fixate on winning back the Hispanic vote because Democrats can always counter offer with “a great big check.” Right Wing Watch and Huffington Post’s Nick Wing picked up the exchange:

JANET MEFFERD: How in the world do you out-left the left anyway? If we go to the left on amnesty, do you think the Democrats are going to sit still and just go ‘oh I guess that they’re more caring than we are’? It’s a zero-sum game. I don’t know how in the world the Republicans expect to get votes when the Democrats are already farther along than we are.

STEVE KING: There’s no possible way. Whatever we might say we are going to do, reduce the enforcement of the rule of law, waive the rule of law, Democrats will find a way to hand deliver citizenship papers along with a great big check from money borrowed from the Chinese.

King has already amassed quite the record of derogatory comments towards hispanic immigrants, suggesting failure to pass voter ID laws would “turn this country” over to undocumented immigrants, and once analogizing immigrants to birddogs — then later claiming the latter was a compliment. King has also threatened to sue President Obama for his executive policy forgoing deportation for the 1.4 million young immigrants who would be eligible for the DREAM Act.

King closed out the discussion of the Republicans’ relation to Hispanics by lamenting that “the election really was about expanding the dependency class in america. More americans voted fore dependency, less voted for personal responsibility. And you don’t beat Santa Clause with amnesty.”

Read more at ThinkProgress →

Iberia Airlines Employees Schedule Pre-Christmas Strikes

Iberia Airlines Employees Schedule Pre-Christmas Strikes

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Unions representing employees of Spanish airline Iberia said Thursday they will go on strike for six days prior to the Christmas holidays.

The work stoppage has been planned for Dec. 14 and Dec. 17-21 to protest a restructuring plan that includes the layoff of 4,500 of the struggling carrier’s 20,000 employees.

The strike affects “all of the company’s work centers and activities,” including flight operations, the federal secretary of the UGT labor federation’s airline division, Francisco Rodriguez, said in a press conference.

He said that while the SEPLA pilots’ union did not join in the formal strike call, the pilots agree that the restructuring announced earlier this month by the airline’s parent company - the International Airlines Group - is not “a viability plan, but rather a plan to dismantle” Iberia.

Rodriguez had previously said the restructuring plan would dismantle the company and slammed it for placing exclusive blame for “management’s failure” on the workers.

The restructuring plan for Iberia, which posted a record operating loss of 262 million euros ($340 million) for the first nine months of 2012, is aimed at restoring profitability, IAG, formed in 2011 by the merger of Iberia and British Airways, said in a Nov. 9 filing with Spain’s CNMV stock market regulator.

The announcement of Iberia’s restructuring, which also will involve eliminating 25 airplanes - mostly short-haul aircraft - and reducing operating capacity by 15 percent in 2013, coincided with the release of IAG’s third-quarter results.

The holding company lost 39 million euros ($50.6 million) in the first nine months of the year - due in large part to troubles at Iberia - after posting a 338 million euro profit for the same period of 2011.

IAG said then that a Jan. 31, 2013, deadline has been set for reaching a deal with the unions, but that if no agreement is signed more job cuts and a greater reduction in Iberia’s size and operations will be necessary to safeguard the company’s future.

Iberia CEO Rafael Sanchez-Lozano acknowledged earlier this month that the plan is harsh but that if profound structural changes are not put in place the “company’s future is bleak.”

He said then that Iberia was losing money at the tune of 1.7 million euros ($2.2 million) per day across all of its markets, adding that although the sovereign debt crisis battering Spain has affected Iberia, the airline’s problems are structural and predate the country’s current economic woes.

In statements prior to Thursday’s official strike announcement, Sanchez-Lozano told Radio Cope that the planned job action is “absolutely inappropriate and irresponsible.”

The executive added that it is also “unjustified” because the company is willing to “discuss alternatives.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

FridayNovember 30, 2012