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MondayDecember 10, 2012

Latino Daily News: Bringing You the Latest Hispanic Current Events and News Stories 24/7

To reflect the dynamic interests of our audience, Latino Daily News is an online daily news source and virtual cultural center for and about Latinos. We offer the latest news headlines, as well as innovative and insightful Hispanic current events stories, photos, videos, and commentaries from a Latino perspective, 24/7.

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Mexico’s New President Launches Massive Educational Reform for Country

Mexico’s New President Launches Massive Educational Reform for Country

Photo: Peña Nieto Education Reform Plan

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President Enrique Peña Nieto has proposed a bill to reform Mexico’s educational system, following through on one of the pledges he made in his Dec. 1 inaugural address.

“The foundation for transforming Mexico is education,” Peña Nieto said during the ceremony to unveil his plan on Monday.

The ceremony was attended by Cabinet members, legislators and the leaders of Mexico’s three largest political parties.

The reform plan, which requires changes to the constitution, calls for measures to objectively evaluate teachers’ performance and the creation of a professional teaching force without interference from unions or other groups.

The measures, according to education experts, are designed to take control of the hiring of teachers away from the powerful SNTE teachers union.

Teaching positions, in many cases, become lifetime or hereditary jobs.

The SNTE is led by Elba Esther Gordillo, considered Mexico’s most powerful woman, who has the backing of the New Alliance Party, or PANAL, which holds 10 seats in Congress.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spain Microfinance Foundation Helps 1,200 Puerto Rican Projects

Spain Microfinance Foundation Helps 1,200 Puerto Rican Projects

Photo: Spain Microfinance Foundation Helps 1,200 Peurto Rican Projects

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Spanish banking giant BBVA’s Microfinance Foundation has contributed some $4.7 million over the past two years to fund 1,200 small businesses in Puerto Rico, the bank said Monday in a communique.

BBVA launched its Microfinance Foundation in 2008 in collaboration with the Government Development Bank of Puerto Rico, a project that has enabled the creation of 4,500 new enterprises.

The president of the Puerto Rico Microfinance Corporation, Annette Montoro, said the operation serves as a lending mechanism for strata of society with no access to conventional banking services.

The BBVA Microfinance Foundation operates not only in Puerto Rico but also in Colombia, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Panama and the Dominican Republic.

A non-profit created by the BBVA Group, the BBVA Microfinance Foundation serves 1.2 million people in Latin America.

Sixty percent of its clients are women, and 43 percent have daily incomes of less than $8. Since 2007 the foundation has granted loans amounting to some $3.3 billion.

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U.S. Reacts to Cuban Dissident Group Members ‘Ladies in White’ Being Detained

U.S. Reacts to Cuban Dissident Group Members ‘Ladies in White’ Being Detained

Photo: Ladies in White Detained in Cuba

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Cuba’s Ladies in White reported that dozens of women belonging to that dissident group suffered temporary arrests across Cuba on the eve of International Human Rights Day.

The group’s spokeswoman, Berta Soler, told Efe that in Havana more than 40 woman were detained by police as they prepared to make their usual march home after Mass on Sunday, which on this occasion was being dedicated to Human Rights Day.

“We put up some resistance, we sat on the ground but they took us by force to a police station at Tarara Beach and at 4:30 p.m. they began letting us go,” Soler said.

The activist also reported temporary detentions of a dozen other members of the opposition, one of them being her husband, former political prisoner Angel Moya, who was released hours after his arrest.

The Cuban government considers dissidents to be counterrevolutionaries and “mercenaries” in the pay of Washington.

Government-aligned blogger Yohandry Fontana wrote Sunday that the Ladies in White, whom he describes as “pro-U.S.,” received “a strong response from the people” in Havana’s Miramar neighborhood when they tried to stage “a provocation” and “a show for the media” after ending their usual march.

U.S. reaction was swift:

We are deeply concerned by the Cuban Government’s repeated use of arbitrary detention and violence to silence critics, disrupt peaceful assembly, and intimidate independent civil society.

We understand that across Cuba, 94 members of the peaceful pro-democracy group - The Ladies in White - were reportedly beaten and detained on December 9. Just ahead of Human Rights Day, the women had used their weekly gathering, church attendance, and peaceful march to focus attention on continued human rights abuses in Cuba.
We call on the Cuban Government to end the increasingly common practice of arbitrary and extrajudicial detentions, and we look forward to the day when all Cubans can freely express their ideas, assemble freely, and express their opinions peacefully.

 

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Mexico’s ‘Biutiful’ Director Now Working on ‘Birdman’

Mexico’s ‘Biutiful’ Director Now Working on ‘Birdman’

Photo: Mexico's 'Biutiful' Director Now Working on 'Birdman'

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The director of Babel and Biutiful is now set to direct Birdman, the story of an actor who once played a famous superhero and is now faced with a wounded ego at the loss of fame and fortune.

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu is set to direct Birdman, a great departure from the Mexican filmmaker’s usual works.

Production may start in March 2013 though so far, no names have been mentioned to play the lead.

The comedy was co-written by Gonzalez Inarritu and Nicolas Giacobone, Armando Bo, and Alexander Dinelaris.

Another of Gonzalez Inarritu’s current projects is the thriller The Revenant. It is rumored Leonardo DiCaprio has showed interest in the film.

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Eva Longoria to Co-Chair President Obama’s Inauguration

Eva Longoria to Co-Chair President Obama’s Inauguration

Photo: Eva Longoria to Co-Chair President Obama's Inauguration

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Eva Longoria has been named one of the co-chairs of President Barack Obama’s inaugural committee after successfully helping during his re-election campaign.

This year, the former Desperate Housewives star used her celebrity to engage Latino voters and ask them to allow President Obama another 4 years in the White House.

Longoria also spoke at the Democratic National Convention as co-chair of the re-election campaign.

Now the 37-year-old actress will join the CEO of the inauguration, Stephan Kerrigan, executive director David Cusack, and fellow committee members Matthew Barzun, Frank White, and Jane Stetson.

Other co-chairs of this year’s inauguration include former presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush.

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STUDY:  Living in Hispanic or Black Community Increases Your Obesity-Risk

STUDY:  Living in Hispanic or Black Community Increases Your Obesity-Risk

Photo: Obesity in Latino Communities

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A new study by James B. Kirby, Ph.D., and Lan Liang, Ph.D., researchers at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and other researchers investigated the complex relationship between racial/ethnic composition of communities and obesity levels.

They found that living in a community with a high concentration of Hispanics was associated with an increase in body mass index (BMI) and obesity among non-Hispanic whites and Hispanics. However, living in communities with a high Asian concentration resulted in lower BMI and lower odds for obesity among non-Hispanic whites.

This is one of the more exciting areas of obesity research deals with community-level characteristics that can promote unhealthy lifestyles and obesity. These include lack of sidewalks, minimal food selections, and even the racial/ethnic makeup of a community.

The study based its findings on nationally representative data collected from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey pooled from 2002 to 2007. Census data yielded information on poverty and racial/ethnic composition at the community level.

Blacks were the most likely group to be obese, with a prevalence of 36.1 percent. Next came Hispanics (28.7 percent), followed by whites (24.5 percent), and Asians (7.1 percent).

Hispanics living in areas where 25 percent or more residents were Hispanic had higher BMIs and were more likely to be obese compared to other individuals. Whites living in these Hispanic communities also had higher BMIs and were more likely to be obese. However, whites living in Asian neighborhoods had lower BMI scores and rates of obesity.

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George Zimmerman Suing NBC Over Edited 911 Call, Brother Defends Him on Univision

George Zimmerman Suing NBC Over Edited 911 Call, Brother Defends Him on Univision

Photo: George Zimmerman Suing NBC Over Edited 911 Call, Brother Defends Him on Univision

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George Zimmerman, the man charged with second-degree murder for the shooting death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin, has filed a lawsuit against NBC for airing an edited version of a 911 call he made the night of the incident.

Zimmerman and his lawyers are suing NBC Universal Media for intentional infliction of emotional distress and defamation.

The complaint, filed in Seminole County, Fla. and obtained by The Wrap:

NBC News saw the death of Trayvon Martin not as a tragedy but as an opportunity to increase ratings, and so set about to create the myth that George Zimmerman was a racist and predatory villain. Their goal was simple: Keep their viewers alarmed, and thus always watching, by menacing them with a reprehensible series of imaginary and exaggerated racist claims.

The edited call is reported to have first aired on March 19. In it, Zimmerman is heard saying, “This guy looks like he’s up to no good … he looks black.”

Though Zimmerman, a night watchman at the time, did utter those words, two statements were edited to sound like one. Zimmerman and his attorneys say employees at NBC continued to report he used a “racial epithet” during the emergency call and used the edited recording to “pounce on the Zimmerman/Martin matter because they knew this tragedy could be, with proper sensationalizing and manipulation, a racial powderkeg that would result in months, if not years, of topics for their failing news programs, particularly the plummeting ratings for their ailing ‘Today Show’.”

Others included in the lawsuit are NBC Miami correspondent Miami Lilia Rodriguez Luciano; Miami-based reporter, Jeff Burnside; Ron Allen another NBC correspondent and MSNBC employee.

Zimmerman’s brother, Robert Zimmerman Jr. recently defended his brother on Spanish-language television, telling Univision’s Jorge Ramos Trayvon Martin’s family lawyers are exploiting racial tensions to misrepresent and vilify his brother.

Robert and the brother’s mother, Gladys Zimmerman, maintains George is not racist, pointing out the mother has Afro-Peruvian roots.

The Zimmermans have long-stated 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was killed in an act of self-defense.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Lionel Messi Breaks Gurd Müller’s 40-Year-Old Goal Record

Lionel Messi Breaks Gurd Müller’s 40-Year-Old Goal Record

Photo: Lionel Messi Breaks Gurd Müller's 40-Year-Old Goal Record

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On December 9, Argentina-born soccer star with FC Barcelona Lionel Messi broke the long-standing record for number of goals scored in a single calendar year.

On Sunday, the 25-year-old forward scored two goals against Real Betis. With the day’s first goal, Messi tied Gerd Müller’s all-time record at 85 and also equaled Barcelona’s all-time leading goalscoring record in the La Liga division. His second goal of the game made him the record holder.

Gerd Müller’s record had been set in 1972 while he played with West Germany’s national team and with Bayern Munich.

Messi has proven once again why he is a three-time World Player of the Year (Ballons d’Or ) and has likely earned himself a fourth award.

“Messi will be the player to win the most Ballons d’Or in history,” former Barcelona player and manager Johan Cruyff told BBC Sport.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/20661031

“He will win five, six, seven. He is incomparable. He’s in a different league.”

It should be noted that Messi’s record-breaking goals almost did not happen, as he had to be carried away on a stretcher during Wednesday’s match against Benifica in a Barcelona’s Champion’s League match.

In all, Messi’s goals break down to 74 for Barcelona and 12 for Argentina, scored in 66 games. The total number of goals is likely to increase, as he still has two league matches and a King’s Cup tie to play before year’s end.

After Sunday’s match, Messi took to Facebook to thank his teammates and fans “who have made this possible. I could not have done this without you!”

He went on to say “As I have said many times, the record is nice but the important thing is the victory that keeps us on the path we want to continue on. As I always say, my objectives are on a team level: to win the league, the Champions League and Copa del Rey again.”

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Madonna Lands in Argentina for Three Days of Concerts

Madonna Lands in Argentina for Three Days of Concerts

Photo: Madonna arrives in Argentina

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U.S. singer Madonna landed Monday in the Argentine capital to kick off a tour during which she will give two concerts in Buenos Aires and one in the city of Cordoba.

Madonna arrived early Monday at Jorge Newbery Airport in Buenos Aires with all the equipment, props, personnel and apparel needed for the show, including a 700-piece wardrobe and microphones of gold, silver and lead, the official news agency Telam said.

The artist will perform on Dec. 13 and 15 at El Monumental stadium in Buenos Aires, home of the capital’s River Plate soccer team, and will say farewell on Dec. 22 with a concert at the Mario Alberto Kempes Stadium in Cordoba, the nation’s second-largest city.

The MDNA Tour promoting her 22nd disc - entitled “MDNA” - includes Madonna’s third trip to Argentina, where she previously appeared in 1993 and 2008.

The singer arrived in the country after giving concerts in Mexico, Colombia and Brazil as part of a long tour that had also covered Europe and the United States.

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McAfee Hosts Q & A Live Stream from Guatemalan Jail (VIDEO)

McAfee Hosts Q & A Live Stream from Guatemalan Jail (VIDEO)

Photo: McAfee Hosts Q & A Live Stream from Guatemalan Jail

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Software company founder John McAfee held a live stream Q & A this weekend following the Guatemalan government’s refusal to grant him asylum.

On Sunday, the antivirus software creator answered a number of questions from the media regarding his fleeing Belize and his possible involvement in the murder of his neighbor, Gregory Faull, also an American.

McAfee, who has fought back against claims he is a drug addict or mentally unstable, gave a statement Sunday night and called on media outlets to ask him questions via email. After making his initial statement, McAfee took a break from the live streaming and reviewed the questions. He then returned for another UStream session to answer those questions. (See the videos below)

Now that Guatemala has rejected his bid for asylum, McAfee says, “We are filing a series of papers with the court to attempt to keep me here long enough for the world to see the injustice of sending me back to Belize.”

McAfee believes the Belizean authorities are out to silence him and his blog for exposing the corruption in its government.

Belize’s government has maintained McAfee is only wanted for questioning, with the country’s prime minister even calling him “bonkers” and paranoid.

“We are filing a series of papers with the court to attempt to keep me here long enough for the world to see the injustice of sending me back to Belize,” McAfee said on Sunday.

McAfee, who remains in a Guatemala jail after being arrested for entering the county illegally, said he and his girlfriend – a 20-year-old woman named Samantha – wish to return to the U.S. and have been in touch with the U.S. embassy a number of times, but said it is “powerless to interfere within the laws of other countries.”

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National Hispana Leadership Institute Celebrates 25-Years of Latina Leadership

National Hispana Leadership Institute Celebrates 25-Years of Latina Leadership

Photo: National Hispana Leadership Celebrates 25-Years

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The National Hispana Leadership Institute (NHLI) kicked off its 25th Anniversary Celebration and 2012 Annual Leadership Conference this weekend in Washington, D.C.

Founded in 1987 the NHLI is a national leadership development organization focused on Latina leaders.  These women represent all sectors of government, NGOs, corporate America and entrepreneurs.

The conference convenes more than 450 NHLI alumnae from its premier career advancement program, the Executive Leadership Program (ELP), as well as other Latina leaders from throughout the U.S. for three days of intensive panel discussions and presentations led by Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and the Center for Creative Leadership.

The conference will include a briefing at the White House and a visit to the Supreme Court of the United States.

NHLI will also issue findings from the “State of Latina Leaders in America” survey.

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Interview: Chef Jose Andres and Spanish Gastronomy

Interview: Chef Jose Andres and Spanish Gastronomy

Photo: Spanish Chef Jose Andres

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Jose Andres, the most popular Spanish chef in the United States, said that Spain’s “great culinary creativity” is not reflected in the export of its products, adding that “we have to keep betting on markets like America” while “taking our chances” with emerging markets like Brazil and China.

The Spanish chef, who was born in Mieres, Asturias, in 1969 and has been based in the United States “half of my life,” said in an interview with Efe that over the past two decades “the American people’s perception of Spanish gastronomy has changed,” but not as much as he would like.

When he crossed the Atlantic 23 years ago, it was “hard to find a wine store with a whole section made up of wines from Spain, but that’s no longer true.”

“So there has been an improvement. But I’m a constructive critic and I’d like to see more. We still have to keep betting on markets like America that are full of opportunities to grow, even if we have to work our heads off to do it,” the chef said.

The focus should not be just on the United States, but also on “emerging markets like Brazil, China and India,” Andres said.

The chef owns restaurants across the country that include Jaleo, The Bazaar, Minibar, Zaitinya, Cafe Atlantico and Oyamel.

Andres was included this year in the Time 100, the magazine’s list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World - the only Spaniard - and was honored in 2011 as the Outstanding Chef in the United States by the James Beard Foundation.

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Presidential Inauguration Protesters Ordered Released by Mexican Judge

Presidential Inauguration Protesters Ordered Released by Mexican Judge

Photo: Mexican Protester Ordered Released

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A judge dropped all charges and ordered the release over the weekend of 55 of the 69 people arrested in connection with the protests earlier this month in Mexico City that caused extensive damage.

Judge Maria del Carmen Patricia Mora Brito found no grounds to charge the protesters, La Liga de Abogados Primero de Diciembre attorney Julio Jesus Robles Maloof told Efe.

Fourteen other people - 13 men and a woman - are still being held at Mexico City’s Reclusorio Norte prison and at the Santa Marta Women’s Prison.

The suspects face vandalism and other charges for their roles in the Dec. 1 protests against the inauguration of President Enrique Peña Nieto, officials said.

Television news reports showed images of police brutality against the protesters, many of them young people who have been identified publicly by their families and defended as non-violent individuals.

The Federal District Human Rights Commission, or CDHDF, released a report in which it cited “consistent information on 22 cases of people who were arbitrarily arrested” by Mexico City police and of four people who were tortured by officers.

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3 Honduran Children Burn to Death Inside their Wooden Shack Home, Left Home Alone

3 Honduran Children Burn to Death Inside their Wooden Shack Home, Left Home Alone

Photo: Death in Honduras

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Three siblings died in a fire in their family’s dwelling in a poor section of Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras, fire department spokesman Oscar Triminio said Sunday.

The fire broke out Saturday night in the wooden structure in Villa Cristina, a district on the east side of the capital, while the children were home alone, Triminio said.

The siblings, ages 1, 2 and 6, died from “asphyxiation and burns,” the fire department spokesman said.

The children’s parents were working and had locked them in the dwelling, which was made from wood and sheets of zinc, emergency services officials said.

Investigators are trying to determine the cause of the blaze, which completely destroyed the dwelling and burned the children.

A charcoal grill may have started the blaze, firefighters said, adding that the children were sleeping in the dwelling’s kitchen.

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19th Anniversary of “Posadas Sin Fronteras” Celebrating U.S.-Mexico Border Life

19th Anniversary of “Posadas Sin Fronteras” Celebrating U.S.-Mexico Border Life

Photo: Friendship Park

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Hundreds of people on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border joined together this weekend for the traditional “Posadas Sin Fronteras” (Posadas Without Borders), at which they recalled the thousands of families separated by strict immigration laws and those who have lost their lives in their attempt to achieve “the American Dream.”

The annual gathering has been held for 19 years at so-called Friendship Park which divides San Diego, California, from Tijuana, a border city in Mexico’s Baja California state.

The custom is for relatives and friends to gather on each side of the border to sing Christmas carols and share sweets, tamales and “champurrado” (a thick, hot drink made with ground corn and chocolate), all typical fare at this time of year, as well as to listen to the testimonials of immigrants.

Although on normal days, access to this area is limited to 10 people at a time, on this occasion that restriction was removed and about 150 people gathered on the U.S. side.

Christian Ramirez, the director of the Coalition of Communities South of the Border, hailed the fact that a tradition like Posadas Sin Fronteras has continued and allowed people on both sides of the frontier to move closer to each other.

“The fact that we’re here, celebrating the posada, and that the walls have not prevented this coming together is to be celebrated, although civil society continues demanding a public place where walls do not impede solidarity, the exchange of embraces and smiles,” Ramirez told Efe.

The Spanish word “posada” means “inn, shelter or hospitality,” and it refers to the shelter Joseph and Mary sought at Bethlehem just before the birth of Jesus.

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MondayDecember 10, 2012