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SaturdayDecember 15, 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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Venezuelan President Chavez is “Totally Conscious”

Venezuelan President Chavez is “Totally Conscious”

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The president of the National Assembly of Venezuela, Diosdado Cabello, said Saturday that President Hugo Chavez is “totally conscious” and giving instructions from Havana, where he was operated Tuesday for cancer.

“He is totally conscious and giving instructions, yes, giving instructions,” Cabello told foreign reporters shortly before a ceremony was to begin celebrating the founding of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America, or ALBA, eight years ago.

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Mexicans Responsible for Deadly Casino Royale Attack Receive 75 Year Sentences

Mexicans Responsible for Deadly Casino Royale Attack Receive 75 Year Sentences

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A Mexican judge handed down sentences of between 75-100 years in prison to seven defendants convicted of participating in an August 2011 arson attack on a casino here that killed 52 people, judicial officials said.

The defendants each got 50-year sentences for homicide and another 25 years for criminal conspiracy, while one of them, Julio Tadeo Berrones, was sentenced to an additional 25 years due to his prior criminal record.

A spokesman for the court in Monterrey, capital of the northeastern state of Nuevo Leon, told Efe Friday that Tadeo Berrones was on parole at the time of the attack.

The others defendants convicted in the case were identified as Juan Angel Leal, Jonathan Jahir Reyna, Luis Carlos Carrasco, Jose Alfredo Grimaldo, Tomas Barbosa and Jonathan Emanuel Estrada.

The prison sentences are the first to be handed down for the attack at the Casino Royale, while six others defendants are awaiting trial.

Ten men and 42 women died on Aug. 25, 2011, when members of the Los Zetas drug cartel - generally regarded as Mexico’s most ruthless criminal outfit - doused the inside of the casino with gasoline and set it ablaze.

Investigators determined that the criminal gang was trying to intimidate the casino’s owners, who had refused to make extortion payments, and that many more lives were lost than intended in the poorly planned daytime attack.

By law, those convicted in the case can serve no more than 60 years dating from the time of their arrest.

The gunmen told the people inside the casino to get out before setting fire to the building, but the emergency exits were closed. The majority of the victims - employees and gamblers, most of them women - died from smoke inhalation, with only seven burning to death.

Some suspects told investigators they were scolded by their bosses for killing so many people at the casino, which was the target of an extortion racket common in several parts of Mexico.

Home to many of Mexico’s industrial giants, Monterrey long seemed immune to the drug war that claimed some 60,000 lives during the tenure of former President Felipe Calderon, who stepped down earlier this month.

But the metropolis and its suburbs began to experience a spike in drug-related violence in March 2010.

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Hispanic Group Offers Politicians a List of How Not to Campaign

Hispanic Group Offers Politicians a List of How Not to Campaign

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Hispanic Group, an independent, minority-owned advertising agency with expert knowledge of reaching Latinos, advises politicians to avoid basic marketing pitfalls when courting the Latino vote.  The agency claims that political campaigns aimed at Latinos have been all about mudslinging and have missed the mark in terms of communicating goals. 

The hot topic this past election shouldn’t have been immigration, but rather communication.  Both parties should’ve made a more concerted effort to connect with Latinos, and that goes beyond just speaking in Spanish.  It’s not a matter of language—it’s lingo.

A full-service agency that caters to the Latino market, Hispanic Group claims that in general candidates don’t communicate what they will do if elected and instead point the finger at what the opponent is doing wrong.  Politicians have gotten used to the vicious cycle of backbiting and fear tactics, and fail to outline proactive goals to turn this country around on all levels of government.

Of the 50 million Hispanics in the U.S., approximately 21 million are eligible to vote, though only 10 million of them are registered.  Of those, even fewer turn out to vote.  How to overcome the tide of apathy and get half of the foreign-born citizens to vote, is what both candidates have been desperately trying, albeit miserably, to do.

The candidates on the ballot this past November were engaged in anti-publicity campaigns, by not asserting their platforms and trash-talking the opposition.  If you’re trying to promote a brand—in this case a candidate—you need to stress the benefits, not the pitfalls of the competition.

From the standpoint of an advertising campaign, both candidates committed these basic communication pitfalls:

    1. The product does not meet the expectations promised the consumer.
    2. I should buy your product, but the competitor may do me harm.
    3. If you don’t buy my product, you will be worse off.

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State Department, biNu to Share English Content with Cell Phone Users

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announces a partnership with biNu to provide increased English language content to people around the world.

Under the partnership, biNu will distribute Department of State English language learning resources, such as e-books, audio content, and the Trace Word Soup English language game on their free mobile phone platform.

biNu is a mobile application platform used by over 4 million people worldwide that provides a smart-phone-like experience on mass-market feature phones, which account for roughly 85% of today’s global mobile phone market.

The State Department’s Trace Word Soup game allows foreign language students to practice English vocabulary and spelling from their own mobile device. Launched on biNu in early October 2012, over 1.2 million games have been played in Bangladesh, Brazil, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sudan, Zimbabwe, and other countries around the world.

Trace Word Soup players can enhance their experience with biNu’s integrated dictionary, translation tools, and social media features. Users are also able to ac

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3rd Annual Cinema Tropical Awards Announces Nominees

3rd Annual Cinema Tropical Awards Announces Nominees

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Sixteen films from five Latin American countries have been nominated for the third edition of the annual Cinema Tropical AWARDS, honoring the best of Latin American cinema of the year in five different categories: Best Feature Film; Best Documentary Film; Best Director, Feature Film; Best Director, Documentary Film and Best First Film.

Both the Argentinean film The Student / El Estudiante by Santiago Mitre and the Brazilian film Neighboring Sounds by Kleber Mendonça Filho lead the nominations with three each.

The five films competing for the award for Best Feature Film of the Year are: Santiago Mitre’s El Estudiante / The Student (Argentina); José Henrique Fonseca’s Heleno (Brazil); Kleber Mendonça Filho’s O som ao redor / Neighboring Sounds (Brazil); Matías Meyer’s Los últimos cristeros / The Last Christeros (Mexico); and José Luis Torres Leiva’s Verano / Summer (Chile).

The five films competing for the award for Best Documentary Film are: José Álvarez’s Canícula (Mexico); Everardo González’s Cuates de Australia / Drought (Mexico); María Fernanda Restrepo’s Con mi corazón en Yambo / With My Heart in Yambo (Ecuador); Claudia Priscilla & Kiko Goifman’s Olhe pra mim de novo / Look At Me Again (Brazil); and Maite Alberdi’s El salvavidas / The Lifeguard (Chile).

The winners of the 3rd Annual Cinema Tropical AWARDS will be announced on Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at a special ceremony at the New York Times headquarters in New York City.

The films were selected from a list of Latin American feature films with a minimum of 60 minutes in length that were premiered between January 1, 2010 and March 31, 2011.

The nominees were culled from a list created by a nominating committee composed of 14 film professionals from Latin America, the U.S., Canada, and Europe.

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Colombia Receives $12 Million Loan to Train 4,000 Youth For Offshoring Industry

Colombia Receives $12 Million Loan to Train 4,000 Youth For Offshoring Industry

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The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approved a $12 million loan to promote the expansion of the offshoring services industry in Colombia in order to increase employment, boost exports of high value-added services, and improve the sector’s business climate.

Colombian services centers have in recent years managed to attract multinational firms such as CitiGroup, Hewlett Packard, Kimberly Clark, Siemens and Tata as clients, and in 2011 the sector accounted for $640 million, or 13 percent of total services exports. Still, the country is not yet recognized as a top global offshoring location and lags behind some neighboring countries.

In order to help Colombia gain ground, the Bank will finance a government program based on public-private partnerships between universities and businesses. Under this system, the curricula include both technical knowledge and so-called “soft” skills (such as customer service and English) that address the industry’s specific needs. The four-year program will train 4,000 youths.

It also will strengthen the business capacities ofsmall and medium-sized enterprises in the global services sector to help them raise the value of their exports from the current 15.5 percent of total exports to 21.6 percent by the end of the program.

Additionally, it will contribute to update the industry’s regulatory framework and seek partnerships with Colombians living abroad –particularly in the United States and Spain—to help promote the sector.

The loan, extended under the IDB’s Flexible Financing Facility, is for a 15-year term, with a 15-year grace period and at a LIBOR-based interest rate, although under this flexible arrangement Colombia has the option to request changes in the conditions.

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3 Die, 5 Still Missing from Colombian Shipwreck

3 Die, 5 Still Missing from Colombian Shipwreck

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At least three people died, five went missing and 14 were rescued after a Colombian-flagged vessel went down in the Pacific Ocean, the Colombian navy said.

The Claudia Alejandra sank Thursday in the Cabo Marzo area off the coast of Choco province, which borders Panama.

The ship was sailing the route between Jurado, Choco, and the port of Buenaventura in the southwestern province of Valle del Cauca.

The three fatalities were crew members of a ship transporting both passengers and cargo.

According to those rescued, at least five people remained trapped in ship at the time of the accident.

The search being carried out by experts of the Colombian navy continued early Saturday with the arrival of deep-sea divers.

To date in 2012, the navy has succeeded in saving 331 shipwrecked people and recovering 43 vessels during search and rescue operations in the Colombian Pacific.

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How was Your 2012? Check Out Your Year in Review on Facebook

How was Your 2012? Check Out Your Year in Review on Facebook

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As this year comes to a close, Facebook invited users to take a look back on the most memorable moments of 2012. Facebook recently released its 2012 Year in Review results as well as a new feature that allows users to see their top moments of the year.

Facebook’s 2012 Year in Review creates a list of the top 5 movies, songs, TV shows, Books, Memes, and Public Figures that trended this year.

The Hunger Games and The Avengers ranked highest on this year’s movie mentions. The Hunger Games trilogy also scored numbers one through three of this year’s most read books, followed by Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James.

In the music category, We Are Young by Fun, feat. Janelle Monae proved to be the most listened to song of 2012. Gotye, Carly Rae Jepsen, One Direction, and Marron 5 also made it to the top with their hit songs this year.

A&E TV’s, Duck Dynasty beat out Honey Boo Boo, Big Bang Theory, Game of Thrones, and Downton Abbey for the number one most mentioned television show of the year.

View the full list of mentions for the 2012 Year in Review here.

To add a more personal touch to this year’s recaps, Facebook added a feature that allows users to compile their biggest 20 moments of the year with the click of a button. Users will now see an ad on their timelines encouraging them to access their year in review. The personal Year in Review feature can also be accessed at Facebook.com/YearinReview.

Read more at The Celebrity Cafe →

Denver Students Design Blankets Using Mayan Hieroglyphics

Denver Students Design Blankets Using Mayan Hieroglyphics

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A group of children at an elementary school in Denver decided to decorate blankets with drawings based on Mayan hieroglyphics and donate them to a nearby nursing home.

Maria Segura, an art teacher with the Denver Center for International Studies at Barney Ford Elementary, called the project a way of “conveying our best wishes to the community.”

The idea of the blankets dawned, she said, when 20 students each decorated a square of cloth with a symbol from Mayan writing.

One kid said the squares reminded him of a blanket he had at home, which sparked the whole project of having the youngsters create blankets with colorful Mayan symbols.

The students proudly show off their work together, which also gives it a social side.

The handcrafted blankets will be presented Saturday to patients at the Kindred-Malley center, which provides long-term rehabilitation therapy for mostly elderly people recovering from serious medical disorders.

“This project is part of our Global Arts course, in which students are encouraged to analyze the wonders and diversity of the world through art. By the same token, DCIS requires teachers and students to do something for the world around them,” Tamera Cone, coordinator of Art and International Studies at DCIS, said.

So besides gifting the blankets, a group of students will join with patients at the center to sing a repertoire of holiday songs.

“These kids are not only learning a subject at school, but are also seeing how to use what they learn to make a difference to people in the community. They see they have what it takes to help other people, to help their communities and, someday, to help the world,” said Marjorie Larner of the International Studies Schools Network, of which DCIS is a part.

For Segura, “once children discover the roots of communication, even through paintings of Mayan hieroglyphics, they also discover the happiness they can bring to others with their art.”

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Three Arrested in Panama for Murder of Two Spanish Businessmen

Three Arrested in Panama for Murder of Two Spanish Businessmen

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Three people are in custody in connection with the murder of two Spanish businessmen in Panama, diplomatic sources here told Efe Friday.

Jose Antonio Perdomo, 57, and Miguel Undier, 47, a dual Spanish-German citizen, were found dead Thursday at the younger man’s country home east of the Caribbean coastal city of Colon.

Panamanian authorities informed Spanish Ambassador Jesus Silva Fernandez that three suspects have been arrested, the sources told Efe.

The men were apparently killed several days ago, according to media accounts, and only discovered by chance as workers passed by the property on Thursday.

Perdomo and Undier hailed from Spain’s Canary Island, but the latter had been traveling back and forth to Panama for 15 years and had effectively made the home near Colon his primary residence, Spanish diplomats said.

Authorities suspect the men were killed by poachers who strayed onto the property, but the investigation continues, according to the sources.

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Radamel Falcao and Atletico Madrid Prepare for FC Barcelona Match

Radamel Falcao and Atletico Madrid Prepare for FC Barcelona Match

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Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao showed clear signs of recovery from a muscle injury and will be available for this weekend’s much-anticipated match against unbeaten FC Barcelona at Camp Nou.

The Colombian star, who was taken out of the lineup just prior to Atletico’s Copa del Rey (King’s Cup) match Wednesday against Getafe because of the injury, returned to the practice Friday after sitting out the previous day.

Falcao is the second-leading goal scorer this season in the Spanish league with 16, seven behind Barcelona great Lionel Messi.

Barcelona leads the standings with 43 points, having compiled a record of 14 wins, one draw and no losses through 15 games. Atletico is currently in second place with 37 points.

Sunday’s showdown, which comes near the end of the first half of the 38-week league schedule, will be the first match this season between the two clubs.

Atletico Madrid will look to make a better showing than two weeks ago when the team suffered a 2-0 road defeat to third-place Real Madrid, the defending La Liga champions.

To pull off the upset and give a boost to its title hopes, Atletico will likely need to contain Messi, who will be looking to add to his Guinness World Record tally of 88 goals in a calendar year.

Although Falcao was on the field, two other Atletico players missed practice on Friday: Spanish striker Adrian Lopez, who suffered an ankle sprain during his team’s 3-0 Copa Del Rey win over Getafe; and Uruguayan midfielder Cristian Rodriguez, who is still recovering from a muscle injury.

Atletico is off to a strong 12-1-2 start as its seeks its first La Liga title since 1996.

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Cuba to Send Spaniard Home to Finish His Prison Sentence

Cuba to Send Spaniard Home to Finish His Prison Sentence

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A Spaniard jailed in Cuba in connection with a road accident that resulted in the death of prominent dissident Oswaldo Paya will be sent back to Spain, possibly before the end of the year, to serve the rest of his four-year sentence.

The governments of Spain and Cuba announced Friday the agreement they reached this week for the return of Angel Carromero to his homeland, an application of the 1998 bilateral accord on the execution of penal sentences.

Carromero, 27, a leader of the youth wing of Spain’s governing Popular Party, last week signed a plea to serve the rest of his sentence in Spain, and on Wednesday representatives of both countries discussed the request in Havana.

After that meeting, the Spanish consul in Cuba, Tomas Rodriguez-Pantoja, signed a memorandum for Carromero’s removal to Spain.

The Madrid and Havana governments have not stated the exact date when the move will take place, though according to Spanish diplomatic sources consulted by Efe it could occur during the last week of December.

Also being flown back to Madrid with Carromero will be another Spanish citizen who was sentenced to 18 years behind bars in Cuba for drug trafficking.

Carromero was at the wheel of a rental car that crashed on July 22 near the eastern Cuban city of Bayamo.

Riding in the car was Paya, 60, and fellow dissident Harold Cepero, who died when it crashed into a tree.

Another of the passengers was Swedish political activist Jens Aron Modig, who like Carromero suffered slight injuries and who was authorized to leave the island several days later.

Upon hearing the news that the Spaniard will be sent home, the widow of Oswaldo Paya, Ofelia Acevedo, expressed her family’s joy about Carromero’s impending return to Spain, having always considered him innocent.

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Nation Reacts to Deadly Shooting at Connecticut Elementary School

Nation Reacts to Deadly Shooting at Connecticut Elementary School

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A shooting Friday at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, left 20 children and seven adults dead, including the perpetrator, state police said.

Eighteen youngsters were pronounced dead at the scene and two others died later at the hospital, state police Lt. Paul Vance told a press conference.

The six adult victims at the school included the principal of Sandy Hook Elementary, while another adult found slain at a different location is thought to have been killed by the same shooter.

The perpetrator apparently took his own life.

“We are not going to confirm the identity of the shooter,” Vance said, adding that police could not release additional details pending completion of the investigation.

He revealed, however, that one person who was shot inside the school survived and said an FBI team had already arrived in Newtown to assist in the probe.

All of the shootings at Sandy Hook took place in two classrooms, Vance said.

“Earlier today, beautiful children had their lives taken away from them,” Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy said at the same press conference.

“You can never be prepared for this type of tragedy,” he said.

“We have endured too many tragedies in recent years,” an emotional President Barack Obama told reporters at the White House. “Our hearts are broken today.”

The president ordered flags at government buildings flown at half-staff in honor of the victims and the White House announced that because of the massacre, Obama would not be making a visit to Portland, Maine, scheduled for next Wednesday.

Authorities received a 911 call at 9:41 a.m. Friday and Connecticut state police quickly dispatched emergency units to the school in Newtown, which has 450 students.

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Colombian General Sentenced to 13 Years in U.S.

Colombian General Sentenced to 13 Years in U.S.

Photo: Gen. Mauricio Santoyo

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A retired Colombian police general was sentenced Friday in U.S. federal court to 13 years in prison for colluding with his country’s AUC federation of right-wing militias, which is on Washington’s list of international terrorist groups.

Gen. Mauricio Santoyo, who served as then-President Alvaro Uribe’s security chief from 2002-2006, pleaded guilty in August to charges he accepted bribes from the AUC in exchange for tipping off the paramilitaries about impending police operations.

Federal prosecutors had sought a 15-year prison term.

Santoyo, who retired from the National Police in 2009, came under investigation after three erstwhile AUC commanders extradited to the United States - Salvatore Mancuso, Juan Carlos Sierra and Carlos Mario Jimenez - testified that he had accepted bribes.

A U.S. federal grand jury indicted Santoyo in May. He later surrendered to U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents in Bogota and was flown to Washington.

Founded in the mid-1980s to battle leftist rebels, the AUC degenerated into a loose alliance of death squads involved in drug trafficking, extortion and other criminal activities.

The militia federation ostensibly demobilized in 2006 as part of a peace process with the Uribe government.

A U.S. diplomatic cable disseminated by WikiLeaks said the AUC is responsible for more than 250,000 deaths in Colombia.

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Spain Shows Support to Pakistani Woman Sentenced to Death for Blasphemy

Spain Shows Support to Pakistani Woman Sentenced to Death for Blasphemy

Photo: Asia Bibi

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The Spanish government expressed support Thursday to the family of a Pakistani Christian woman sentenced to death under the South Asian country’s controversial blasphemy law.

Spain’s deputy foreign minister, Gonzalo de Benito, met here Thursday with the husband of Asia Bibi, Asiq Mashi, who traveled to Madrid with one of the couple’s children to accept an award on his wife’s behalf.

De Benito asked about Bibi’s situation and voiced solidarity with her family, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

The deputy minister also reiterated Spain’s support for Bibi’s battle against her blasphemy conviction.

As part of its policy of promoting human rights, the Spanish government is fully committed to defending religious freedom and to advocating for the abolition of capital punishment, De Benito said.

“Through international pressure, (Bibi) can be liberated,” Mashi told Efe in an interview here on Wednesday, while adding that his wife would no longer be safe in Pakistan even if she leaves jail.

Bibi’s plight has inspired a global campaign and figures such as Pope Benedict XVI have urged Pakistan’s government to pardon the 47-year-old mother of five.

People inside Pakistan have also spoken up for Bibi, including a provincial governor and a Christian government minister who were assassinated by radical Islamists for their stand against the blasphemy law.

Bibi was sentenced in November 2010 to death by hanging after a conviction for blasphemy based on accusations by Muslim neighbors that she had contaminated their drinking water by touching the vessel with her “impure” Christian hands.

The sentence remains on appeal and no date has been set for her execution.

Read more by HS News Staff →

SaturdayDecember 15, 2012