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TuesdayDecember 4, 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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Brazilian Operation Arrests 59 Cops For Ties To Drug Organization

Brazilian authorities on Tuesday arrested 59 police officers accused of ties to drug-trafficking organizations based in this metropolis.

The operation was conducted jointly by Rio de Janeiro state’s Public Safety Secretariat, prosecutors and the Federal Police.

In addition to the 59 cops accused of receiving bribes from drug traffickers to look the other way, Operation Clean-Up also led to the arrests of 11 others with purported ties to criminal gangs.

The 70 suspects allegedly aided the Comando Vermelho (Red Command) - the region’s largest criminal organization - in different parts of metropolitan Rio de Janeiro.

The detained officers, most of them assigned to the state police detachment in the city of Duque de Caxias, will be formally charged with criminal conspiracy, drug trafficking, offering or accepting bribes and extortion via kidnapping.

A group of police officers who kidnapped drug traffickers and their family members to extort high ransom payments was identified after a nearly year-long investigation, prosecutors said.

“We’re not going to tolerate any more corrupt police in our corps,” the commander of the Rio state police, Col. Erir Ribeiro Costa Filho, said at a press conference.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Shakira Being Sued by Ex Antonio de la Rua for $100 Million

Shakira Being Sued by Ex Antonio de la Rua for $100 Million

Photo: Shakira Being Sued by Ex Antonio de la Rua for $100 Million

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Shakira’s ex-boyfriend, Antonio de la Rua, is suing her in U.S. court for $100 million as compensation for having increased her level of fame during the years in which he worked as her representative.

According to the Tuesday issue of US Weekly, the son of former Argentine President Fernando de la Rua accused the singer of “Hips Don’t Lie” of not abiding by their contract and breaking her fiduciary responsibility in a suit filed last month.

De la Rua, who was romantically linked to Shakira for a decade, said she broke a verbal agreement they reached in 2005 whereby he would receive a part of the earnings generated by the singer “in exchange for the contribution of his business and marketing skills, knowledge and expertise.”

Attorneys for the Argentine say the “Shakira brand” rose to new levels under his direction.

The lawsuit comes a month after Shakira accused De la Rua of having improperly appropriated funds generated by her musical success during the years he was her manager.

Shakira, 35, and her current boyfriend, F.C Barcelona star Gerard Pique, are expecting their first child, a boy, who will be born in late January.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Frankie Muñiz Recovering After ‘Mini Stroke’

Frankie Muñiz Recovering After ‘Mini Stroke’

Photo: Frankie Muñiz Recovering After 'Mini Stroke'

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Former Malcolm in the Middle star Frankie Muñiz (born Francisco Muñiz IV) is now recovering after a terrifying ‘mini stroke’ last week.

The 26-year-old former child star took to Twitter Tuesday:

Muniz, who is turns 27, took a break from acting after six years on Malcolm to pursue a career as an open wheel race car driving, even competing in the Atlantic Championship in 2008. Earlier this year he became the drummer for Kingsfoil.

The half Puerto Rican star’s ‘mini stroke’ is also known as a TIA, a transient ischemic attack. These attacks are lapses in blood flow to the brain and can be caused by blood clots or narrowed or injured blood vessels in the brain. Though the stroke-like symptoms can cause numbness and weakness in the limbs and may mirror a migraine, they usually go away after 2 to 4 hours.

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Dominican Show Host Lights California Magician on Fire (VIDEO)

Dominican Show Host Lights California Magician on Fire (VIDEO)

Photo: Dominican Show Host Lights California Magician on Fire

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An American magician is recovering after being set on fire by a Dominican TV show’s guest host last week.

During a November 26 taping of the Dominican Republic’s Approach the Stars, an astrology and variety show, magician Wayne Houchin, his wife, and other magicians believed they would be performing tricks for a national television spot as part of the Curiosities 2012 tour.

Before any tricks could be performed however, the show’s guest host, Franklin Barazarte, said he wanted to perform a blessing on the magician. Though the stunt was not aired, the incident was recorded on an iPhone by another magician.

Barazarte cups his hands and has Agua de Florida, a flammable cologne often used in Santeria rituals, poured into them. He then asks for a lighter, and as Houchin’s wife and fellow magician BJ Bueno stand at his side, Barazarte lights the liquid on fire then quickly throws it onto Houchin’s face and atop his head.

The video clearly shows the California magician on fire as he stumbles about while his wife calls for help. Barazarte continues to tap Houchin’s burning head until the magician falls to the floor and a towel is brought in to help extinguish the flames. As he sits up, Houchin’s face is visible burnt, but he manages to calmly say, “I need to go to a hospital.”

The 29-year-old has told reporters he is currently undergoing treatment for the burns and has contacted lawyers who will be filing a complaint against Barazarte.

‘The attack was intentional,”Houchin told the Associated Press. ‘The host didn’t trip and accidentally spill it on me. He intended to pour flaming liquid on me.

‘The host’s intentions will play a role in the severity of his punishment, but that’s for a court of law to determine and decide.’

Houchin recently finished a hosting gig of his own on the Discovery Channel’s Breaking Magic.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Study Lists Colleges/Universities with Best Hispanic Graduation Rates

Study Lists Colleges/Universities with Best Hispanic Graduation Rates

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A recently released study from The Education Trust listed some of the U.S. colleges making the grade for Latino students.

Instead of settling for lower success rates, they are taking responsibility for helping more Latino students graduate. “Advancing to Completion,” a new study from The Education Trust, shows that institutions across the country are producing stronger outcomes for Latinos. The report outlines strategies used by the colleges making great strides in improving their outcomes for Latino students.

The report covers only the nation’s top 25 institutions making the highest gains in Hispanic graduation rates and in closing the graduation-rate gap between Hispanic and white students from 2004 to 2010. Utilizing data from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, the Education Trust compiled the report with a centralized, higher education data collection process called the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.

“Colleges must do more to ensure success for all students, particularly the growing number of black and Latino students in our country. Thankfully, some institutions are showing us that the status quo is not inevitable,” said José Cruz, vice president for higher education policy and practice at The Education Trust. “The lessons are clear: What institutions of higher education do—and don’t do—for students directly and powerfully impacts student success. The schools we’ve identified provide vivid sign posts on the road to boosting graduation rates at colleges and universities across the country.”

According to the report, the population of Hispanic students has nearly doubled in public schools over the past six years, but college enrollment and graduation rates of Hispanic students are not keeping pace. The report noted, “If America is to restore its status as first-in-the-world in degree attainment, colleges need to do more to ensure that all of their students – especially Hispanic students – graduate from college.”

By 2018, our nation is projected to need 22 million more college-educated workers; and by that time, more than half of jobs are projected to require a postsecondary degree. Using trend data from College Results Online, a unique Web-based tool that allows users to examine important information like graduation rates by race, ethnicity and gender for four-year colleges across the country, two studies – Advancing to Completion: Increasing degree attainment by improving graduation rates and closing gaps for African-American students” and “Advancing to Completion: Increasing degree attainment by improving graduation rates and closing gaps for Hispanic students” – highlight institutions that are improving outcomes for students of color.

See the full list of schools actively helping Hispanic/Latino students graduate here.

Read more by HS News Staff →

SCARY: Woman Diagnosed with Allergy Issues When She’s Actually Leaking Brain Fluid

SCARY: Woman Diagnosed with Allergy Issues When She’s Actually Leaking Brain Fluid

Photo: Aundrea Aragon was leaking brain fluid while doctors told her it was allergies

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An Arizona woman could have died after doctors diagnosed her with simple “allergies” rather than what turned out to be a much more serious condition.

For months, Aundrea Aragon, a 35-year-old mother of three living in Tucson, experienced something very unusual. Each time she bent forward the left side of her nose would not just drip, but pour out a clear liquid.

For more than four months, she struggled with what doctors who kept telling her she just had allergy issues.

It took several trips to different doctors before the cause of the leaking fluid was determined. After finally obtaining a referral to specialists at the University of Arizona, it was revealed that the liquid pouring out of her nose was actually cerebral spinal fluid and it was leaking from two small cracks in the back wall of her sphenoid sinus.

Most often, surgeons repair such cracks, which are caused by cerebral pressure, through craniotomies, resulting in painful recoveries, extensive scarring and possible side effects.

The experienced UA surgeons took a different approach and were able to fix Aragon’s leaks with a procedure through her nose resulting in a shorter hospital stay and faster recovery.

Using tissue from inside her nose as well as a small piece of belly fat, Drs. Alexander G. Chiu and Michael Lemole were able to repair the cracks and stop the leak.

“I was scared to death and desperate,’’ Aragon said. “I knew it could not be allergies. The fluid would come out like a puddle.’’

Steroids and antibiotics did nothing. “I was walking around with toilet paper shoved up my nose and changing it every 10 minutes,’’ she recalled.
While the human body replaces brain fluid, Aragon was at risk for developing a lethal infection, as the dirtiest part of the body – the nose – was now in direct contact with the cleanest – the brain.

“If you are leaking brain fluid out your nose then you have the potential for catastrophic meningitis, the kind where bacteria crawls into your brain and 24 hours later you are essentially in a coma or dead,’’ Dr. Lemole said. “That is what we worry about in these cases.”

Aragon is said to be recovering well, and is happy to be home with her husband and children – Art, 16, Marc, 10, and Reina, 9.

The happy mother recently posted about the success of her Oct. 1 surgery on Facebook.

“I am so grateful to them for everything they have done for us,’’ said Aragon. “I had great care from a great staff,” she said. “I’m here, and I am grateful I can take care of my kids.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

JLo Makes Multiple Lists for Yahoo!‘s ‘Most Searched’ in 2012

JLo Makes Multiple Lists for Yahoo!‘s ‘Most Searched’ in 2012

Photo: JLo Makes Multiple Lists for Yahoo!'s 'Most Searched' in 2012

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Monday, Yahoo! Inc. revealed the annual list of top searches. Yahoo!‘s Year in Review 2012 reflects the daily search habits of users and offers a glimpse into the social trends, compelling newsmakers, top stories, and viral fads of 2012 based on what millions of people searched for. It is clear when looking at the top search habits that partisan politics, the Olympic Games, a seesaw recovery, and a galloping Korean pop singer captured the world’s attention.

Celebrities and technological gadgets draw plenty of online curiosity, but the 2012 elections dominated online searches this year. The elections saturated headline news and ads, but people still checked in online to see what was developing in the presidential elections, as well as their own state and local races. Anticipation for the iPhone 5, in a post-Steve Jobs era, helped Apple maintain a presence in the Yahoo! Top 10. Kim Kardashian, a staple in the Top 10 since 2009, reached the height of her online popularity as most searched person on Yahoo!. Model Kate Upton ricocheted into the national consciousness by landing the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. And the obsession with the royals continued in 2012 as Kate Middleton became the third-most searched person on Yahoo!, thanks in part to her grandmother-in-law’s Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics.

Top Searches Overall on Yahoo! in 2012:

1 [Election]

2 [iPhone 5]

3 [Kim Kardashian]

4 [Kate Upton]

5 [Kate Middleton]

6 [Whitney Houston]

7 [Olympics]

8 [Political polls]

9 [Lindsay Lohan]

10 [Jennifer Lopez]

Top Searches on Yahoo in 2012 for Celebrity Couples Who Broke Up in 2012:

1 [Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez]

2 [Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson]

3 [Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise]

4 [Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony]

5 [Scarlett Johansson and Nate Naylor]

6 [Heidi Klum and Seal]

7 [Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis]

8 [Chad Johnson and Evelyn Lozada]

9 [John Cena and Elizabeth Huberdeau]

10 [Vera Wang and Arthur Becker]

It’s no surprise the elections preoccupied the online audience, but people obviously had time beyond their civic duties to indulge their guilty pleasures and viral compulsions. The Obsessions list has returned: iPhone 5 snagged the No. 1 slot in a list mostly dominated by pop culture trends like “The Hunger Games,” reality TV breakout Honey Boo Boo, British boy band One Direction, Carly Rae Jepsen’s much-memed song “Call Me Maybe,” and the galloping global hit “Gangnam Style” by Korean pop singer Psy.

Top-Searched Obsessions on Yahoo! in 2012:

1 [iPhone 5]

2 [Political polls]

3 [Megamillions]

4 [The Hunger Games]

5 [Honey Boo Boo]

6 [Fifty Shades of Grey]

7 [One Direction]

8 [Call Me Maybe]

9 [Gangnam Style]

10 [Titanic]

It looks like the Dallas Cowboys really are “America’s team,” as they top the list of all sports teams on Yahoo! in 2012. Even the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders and game schedule were tops. However, it looks like MLB is giving the NFL a run for its money when it comes to being “America’s sport,” with five baseball teams in the Top 10 sports team searches.

Top-Searched Sports Teams on Yahoo! in 2012:

1 [Dallas Cowboys]

2 [New York Yankees]

3 [Los Angeles Lakers]

4 [San Francisco Giants]

5 [Detroit Tigers]

6 [Pittsburgh Steelers]

7 [Green Bay Packers]

8 [St. Louis Cardinals]

9 [San Francisco 49ers]

10 [Oakland A’s]

“Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy, but here’s my number, so call me maybe?” — It is no surprise that music newcomer Carly Rae Jepsen’s song “Call Me Maybe” became the top-searched song of 2012. The song had everyone from the Harvard baseball team to the USA Olympic swim team and even “Sesame Street” getting into the tune. “Gangnam Style” also had viral impact in 2012 and was the second-most searched song on Yahoo!.

Top-Searched Songs/Music Lyrics on Yahoo! in 2012:

1 [Call Me Maybe] (Carly Rae Jepsen)

2 [Gangnam Style] (Psy)

3 [Someone Like You] (Adele)

4 [Somebody That I Used to Know] (Gotye)

5 [Sexy and I Know It] (LMFAO)

6 [We are Young] (Fun.)

7 [Rolling in the Deep] (Adele)

8 [You Belong with Me] (Taylor Swift)

9 [What Makes you Beautiful] (One Direction)

10 [Gummy Bear Song] (Gummibär)

Top Searched Reality TV Stars on Yahoo! in 2012:

1 [Kim Kardashian]

2 [Khloe Kardashian]

3 [Honey Boo Boo]

4 [Snooki]

5 [Kourtney Kardashian]

6 [Evelyn Lozada]

7 [Jessica Sanchez]

8 [Bethenny Frankel]

9 [Kris Jenner]

10 [Kristin Cavallari]

The top-searched TV shows overall on Yahoo! in 2012 reflect our continued obsession with competition reality shows. Topping the list: “American Idol” followed by “Dancing With the Stars” and “The Young & the Restless.” The top-searched TV dramas were “The Walking Dead” and “Game of Thrones.” But mostly in 2012, people wanted to laugh, and the shows below represent the top-searched comedies on TV in 2012.

Top-Searched TV Comedies on Yahoo! in 2012:

1 [The Big Bang Theory]

2 [How I Met Your Mother]

3 [Glee]

4 [South Park]

5 [Family Guy]

6 [Modern Family]

7 [Adult Swim]

8 [Two and a Half Men]

9 [The Simpsons]

10 [Drop Dead Diva]

Politicians were better behaved this year than last, when their antics allowed for their own Top 10 list. Yet there was no end to scandalous behavior in 2012, which brought the downfall of a cycling icon, a four-star general, and even the president’s (Secret Service) men.

Top-Searched Scandals on Yahoo! in 2012:

1 [Kate Middleton photo scandal]

2 [Jackson family fight]

3 [Lance Armstrong doping]

4 [General David Petraeus affair]

5 [New Orleans Saints’ bountygate]

6 [Bobby Petrino affair]

7 [Secret Service scandal]

8 [Savile sex scandal]

9 [Air Force sex scandal]

10 [J.P. Morgan/London whale loss]

For more about the Yahoo! 2012 Year in Review and other top searches, go to yearinreview.yahoo.com or search for “2012 Year in Review” on Yahoo.com.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Human Rights Commission Reacts to Murder of Paraguayan Peasant Leader

Human Rights Commission Reacts to Murder of Paraguayan Peasant Leader

Photo: Vidal Vega Murder, Paraguay

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The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the murder in Paraguay of human rights defender Vidal Vega, leader of the Campesinos sin Tierra movement (Landless Campesinos) and president of the Committee of Relatives of Victims of the Curuguaty Massacre.

IACHR is urging Paraguay to investigate and clear up these crimes, and punish those who perpetrated and masterminded them.

On December 1, 2012, two individuals arrived aboard a motorcycle at the home of Vega. According to police information quoted in news reports, the victim’s spouse, María Cristina Argüello, answered the door; the two unknown men asked for Vega and shot him with 12-caliber rifles, in the presence of his family.

Reportedly, Vega was a key witness in an investigation into the Curuguaty massacre, which happened on June 15, 2012, and where 11 campesinos and 6 policemen died. The massacre took place during a raid on Campos Morombí, Marina Cue, lands in litigation between the State and private parties. These events led to the impeachment of former Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo, who ended up being removed from office.

The Commission is urging Paraguay to “immediately and urgently” adopt all necessary measures to guarantee the right to life, integrity, and safety of human rights defenders in the country.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa Joins ‘Fix the Debt’ Steering Committee

Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa Joins ‘Fix the Debt’ Steering Committee

Photo: L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on

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Today, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa joined the Campaign to Fix the Debt Steering Committee.  As a former president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the chairman of the 2012 Democratic National Convention, Mayor Villaraigosa is an important national voice for bringing people together to tackle the nation’s debt.

“If we’re serious about long-term economic growth, we need a balanced approach for reducing the federal debt,” said Mayor Villaraigosa. “That approach should include spending cuts, raising revenue and reforms that put our entitlement programs on a sustainable footing. The Campaign to Fix the Debt is dedicated to reminding all Americans that we can’t reduce the debt and create the conditions for long-term job creation without working across party lines to find practical solutions.”

“Mayor Villaraigosa has a record of fighting for an economy that works for everyone, and we are proud that he has accepted our invitation to join the Campaign to Fix the Debt Steering Committee,” said Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget and head of the Campaign to Fix the Debt.  “A viable fiscal deal must address all the factors that contribute to the federal debt, which means reining in spending, creating greater tax revenue, and reforming entitlement programs to ensure their long-term solvency.”

As Mayor of Los Angeles, Villaraigosa has taken on the tough challenges. He has cut crime to 1950s levels, doubled the number of charter schools, and created jobs while dramatically expanding the size of LA’s rail network. Before being elected Mayor, Villaraigosa served as Speaker of the California State Assembly and as a member of the Los Angeles City Council.

The Campaign to Fix the Debt is a bipartisan coalition of more than 310,000 individuals active in 17 states across the country.  Members come from a diverse range of social, political and economic backgrounds.  The Campaign believes that a viable deal should be based off a framework that leaves all debt-reduction options on the table and raises revenues, cuts wasteful spending, and ensures the long-term sustainability of important social programs.

Read more by HS News Staff →

REPORT: Hundreds Have Been Murdered in Honduras by Police

The chancellor of the National Autonomous University of Honduras, or Unah, reported Monday that at least 149 people have been murdered by members of the National Police over the past 23 months.

“Some 149 people have been murdered in the last 23 months by the Police,” Julieta Castellanos said during the presentation of a report by Unah’s Violence Observatory.

Of the total number of people who have died at the hands of the police, 92 perished in 2011, among them the chancellor’s son, Rafael Vargas Castellanos, and a friend of his, and the other 57 have died so far in 2012, she said.

“It’s an alarming figure that the Police themselves are those who are murdering people in this country, Castellanos said, demanding that authorities continue the process of purging the Police begun in November 2011 after the murder of her son and his friend.

Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula, the two largest cities in Honduras, have the highest rates of violence against the public by the police, she said.

Last Wednesday, the constitutional panel of the Honduran Supreme Court declared the internal confidence tests that police are practicing as part of the housecleaning process.

However, President Porfirio Lobo said that the purging of the Police will continue.

“Those who oppose the purging of the Police must explain to us how the public is going to be protected from a criminal institution ... which has been incapable of exercising its own internal controls,” Castellanos said Monday.

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Spain Unemployment Rate Hits High of 26.2 Percent

Spain Unemployment Rate Hits High of 26.2 Percent

Photo: Spain Unemployment Rises

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The number of people officially registered as jobless in Spain climbed by 74,296, or 1.54 percent, in November to 4,907,817, according to figures released Tuesday by the Spanish Employment and Social Security Ministry.

Over the 12 months ending Nov. 30, the ranks of the unemployed rose by 487,355, or 11.02 percent.

It marks the second worst November since records began to be kept in 1997, topped only by 2008, when the number of unemployed increased by 171,243 people.

The services sector was far and away the hardest hit by job losses, with 63,166 people being laid off.

November marked the fourth consecutive month with an increase in the number of unemployed persons in Spain, which has a population of roughly 47 million.

Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics office, said last Friday that Spain’s unemployment rate rose to 26.2 percent in October, up from 25.8 percent in September and the highest rate in the EU.

The Spanish economy remains hampered by the fallout from the collapse of a long-building housing bubble, which left many of its banks saddled with toxic assets and created an overhang of unsold homes.

Weak domestic demand and a slowing global economy have made Spanish businesses reluctant to invest in expansion or new ventures, the bank said.

Median annual household income in Spain has fallen 1.9 percent this year to 24,609 euros ($32,193), according to the latest national survey on living conditions.

With Spain mired in recession for the second time in four years, 12.7 percent of families said they struggle to make their money last until the end of the month, compared with 9.8 percent last year.

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Univision Rebrands TeleFutura as UniMas to Attract Younger Latinos

Univision Rebrands TeleFutura as UniMas to Attract Younger Latinos

Photo: Univision Rebrands TeleFutura as UniMas to Attract Younger Latinos

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Univision announced Monday the rebranding of its TeleFutura channel as UniMas, with content including series, sports and movies in Spanish targeting the younger generation of Latinos.

The new channel, which will debut Jan. 7, will use content from Caracol Television, RTI Colombia and Televisa in order to “solidify its position as the fastest growing broadcast network in the country, regardless of language,” Univision said in a press release.

“For more than 50 years, Univision has been committed to listening to the needs of our consumers and UniMas expands on our promise to be the Hispanic Heartbeat of America,” Randy Falco, president and CEO, Univision Communications Inc., said.

UniMas will significantly increase its sports programming with coverage of Mexican league soccer, the 2013 Gold Cup and Confederations Cup and the 2014 World Cup.

To launch its new programming, UniMas will also premiere two suspense shows - “Made in Cartagena” and “Quien Eres Tu” (Who Are You), as well as “Cloroformo,” a boxing drama.

In this way, the leader in U.S. Hispanic media services plans to offer “bold content from the top Spanish-language producers in the world.”

According to an analysis published Monday in The New York Times, though Univision and rival Telemundo appear to be vying for viewers, the real prize is advertising dollars.

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Hispanic Standout:  Sara Velez Becomes 1st Woman President of Puerto Rico’s Olympic Committee

Hispanic Standout:  Sara Velez Becomes 1st Woman President of Puerto Rico’s Olympic Committee

Photo: Sara Rosario Velez, Hispanic Standout

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Sara Rosario Velez has become the first female president of the Puerto Rico Olympic Committee, or Copur, after former fencing star David Bernier stepped down from the post.

Rosario Velez will take the place of Bernier, who three weeks ago was appointed secretary of state in the administration of Gov.-elect Alejandro Garcia Padilla.

“I’m pleased and very happy to be chosen as the first woman president of the Puerto Rico Olympic Committee. All my life I’ve worked for the Olympics. Being president of the Olympic Committee was never a goal of mine, but the chance came along and I took it,” Rosario Velez said in a press release.

She said the 42 sports federations under Copur and their directors will have to work with her “as a team” and not as “separate federations” with a view to the 2014 Central American and Caribbean Games in Veracruz, Mexico.

She also said that while wrestler Jaime Espinal and 400-meter hurdler Javier Culson won silver and bronze medals, respectively, at the London Olympics, the goal of Copur will be to bring home the first gold medal for the U.S. commonwealth.

“The bronze and silver medals are great, and we’re looking for more athletes like Javier Culson and Jaime Espinal. We’re going to Rio (de Janeiro) 2016 to get that gold medal everyone dreams of,” she said.

Rosario Velez will officially assume her new position on Dec. 13 at Casa Olimpica in Old San Juan.

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Panama Makes Inroad to Becoming Regional Diamond Trading Power

Panama Makes Inroad to Becoming Regional Diamond Trading Power

Photo: No conflict diamonds in Panama

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The Panamanian government announced that it has been unanimously admitted to the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, a program meant to keep conflict diamonds off the world market.

The request for admission was presented by Panamanian Trade and Industries Minister Ricardo Quijano in Washington, scene of last week’s plenary meeting of the KPCS, an official spokesman told Efe.

The Kimberley Process was implemented in 2003 on the initiative of African producing nations, importers, exporters, civil society and industry to avoid the discrediting of the legitimate international trade in rough-cut diamonds by dissuading the introduction of stones extracted to finance violent conflicts.

“After Minister Quijano’s presentation to the plenary session, incorporating Panama was unanimously approved, ... (and it was) formally admitted as a participating country in the Kimberley Process,” said a communique from the Trade and Industries Ministry.

According to the source, admitting Panama to the Kimberley Process will allow the country to establish itself as a regional center for trading in diamonds in bulk, “taking advantage of the geographic position, the connectedness and the legal and financial stability” the country enjoys in the region.

Now, 76 countries have joined the Kimberley Process, and these represent 99.8 percent of the world’s diamond production. EFE

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TuesdayDecember 4, 2012