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SundayDecember 16, 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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Expert:  Spain Has ‘Very Solid’ and ‘Respected’ Image Abroad

Expert:  Spain Has ‘Very Solid’ and ‘Respected’ Image Abroad

Photo: Spain Coat of Arms

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Spain’s image abroad is “very solid” and “respected,” with the negative effects of the economic crisis being just a temporary factor that will not affect the country’s permanent value, Brand Spain High Commissioner Carlos Espinosa de los Monteros said.

Spanish companies are “admired” around the world and the crisis has not affected their image, Espinosa de los Monteros said in an interview with Agencia EFE.

Foreign firms based in Spain are also satisfied with the country, the No. 1 nation in Europe for industrial investment in 2012, the high commissioner said.

“Currently, there are 90,000 (Spanish) companies that export regularly and in India alone there are nearly 300” small- and medium-sized firms operating, Espinosa de los Monteros said.

“These are positive figures and sometimes it seems like they are ignored by Spaniards themselves,” the Brand Spain chief said.

Japan will be the target country in 2013 and 2014 for the Spanish government, with plans in the works for joint events and bilateral trade cooperation projects, Espinosa de los Monteros said.

Spain is also maintaining a strong presence in the United States, where the 500th anniversary of Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon’s discovery of Florida will be commemorated next year, the Brand Spain chief told Efe.

Other events in 2013 will mark the founding of several cities on the U.S. Pacific coast, such as Los Angeles, Santa Monica, San Jose and San Diego, Espinosa de los Monteros said.

“The glass should be viewed as half full and not half empty,” the high commissioner said, referring to recent figures that indicate Spain may have turned the corner on the economic crisis.

Brand Spain, an agency created just six months ago, will promote Spain’s economic, social, cultural and sports reality around the world, with a Web site being launched on Dec. 20, Espinosa de los Monteros said.

“Brand Spain does not want to sell smoke but to make the reality known and highlight the areas in which Spain stands out, as well as its leadership positions,” the high commissioner said, adding that “there are many things to make one feel proud of being a Spaniard.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Connecticut Elementary School Shooter Killed Himself As Police Approached

Connecticut Elementary School Shooter Killed Himself As Police Approached

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Adam Lanza, who massacred 26 people at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, committed suicide as soon as he heard police approaching, indicating that he may have planned an even larger massacre, Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy said Sunday on “This Week” on ABC.

Investigators have not revealed what the possible motive for the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School may have been, but the 20-year-old Lanza may have been looking to kill even more people.

“We surmise that it was during the second classroom episode that he heard responders coming and apparently at that decided to take his own life,” Malloy said.

Police have not found any letters or diaries that shed light on why Lanza committed the massacre, the governor said.

“I think our nation needs to take a very different approach to mental health, and we need to speak about it more honestly, just as we need to do other things,” Malloy said.

Lanza used a .223-caliber assault rifle and was carrying two handguns.

All of the victims - six adults and 20 children - were shot at least three times, Connecticut state medical examiner Wayne Carver said Saturday.

Lanza’s weapons were all owned by his mother, Nancy, who he killed before setting off for the school.

President Barack Obama plans to visit Newtown on Sunday afternoon to express his condolences to the families of the victims.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spain’s Prado Sends 100 Piece Art Exhibition to Houston Museum

Spain’s Prado Sends 100 Piece Art Exhibition to Houston Museum

Photo: Goya's "El infante Don Francisco de Paula"

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An exhibition of 100 masterpieces from Spain’s Prado Museum opened Sunday at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, or MFAH, giving visitors a look at the evolution of Spanish painting from the 16th century to the 19th century.

The “Portrait of Spain: Masterpieces from the Prado” exhibition, which is being sponsored by BBVA Compass and the BBVA Compass Foundation, brought works by Velazquez, Goya, Murillo, El Greco, Zurbaran, Fortuny and Sorolla, among other greats of Spanish painting, to Houston from Brisbane, Australia, where it premiered at the Queensland Art Gallery.

The exhibition also includes works by foreign artists, such as Rubens, Tiepolo and Titian, who were employed by the Spanish Court.

The show, which runs until March 31, 2013, is divided into three periods: 1550-1770, 1770-1850 and 1850-1900.

Among the 79 oil paintings and 22 etchings on display at MFAH are Francisco Zurbaran’s “Agnus Dei,” Alonso Sanchez Coello’s “La Infanta Isabel Clara Eugenia,” Diego Velazquez’s “Rey Felipe IV” and Francisco de Goya’s “El infante Don Francisco de Paula.”

A Spanish festival is being held Sunday afternoon to give art lovers a taste of Spanish culture.

“Enjoy samples of Spanish delights: tapas, wine, bread, and other delicacies. This daytime party also features dancers from Solero Flamenco; a Spanish guitarist; and festive Spanish decor,” the MFAH said on its Web site.

Read more by HS News Staff →

190,000 Households to Benefit From Improved Waste Management in Bolivia

190,000 Households to Benefit From Improved Waste Management in Bolivia

Photo: Trash dispoal in Bolivia (Syzmon Kochanski)

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Bolivia will improve municipal solid waste management services including sweeping, collection, transportation, and disposal, with a $20 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

The program is expected to increase the final disposal of trash in landfills from 37 percent to 51 percent nationwide, contributing to environmental improvements in Riberalta, Potosi and other Bolivian cities.

The program, which will benefit approximately one million people, was designed taking into account lessons learned throughout successful experiences in other cities, including La Paz.

As part of the program, comprehensive municipal service frameworks will be implemented covering street sweeping, collection, transportation, recycling and disposal of solid waste through activities that enhance the quality and coverage of the various services, increase the disposal of trash in landfills and improve the operating efficiency of service providers.

The program will also improve the quality of life of recyclers currently working in landfills, offering them training under the framework of a labor inclusion and formalization plan.

Participation and training of all stakeholders at all levels of the solid waste management process is crucial to the financial and institutional sustainability of these municipal services.

Read more by HS News Staff →

ACLU is Calling for Support for All Illinois Drivers

ACLU is Calling for Support for All Illinois Drivers

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During the first week of January 2013, the Illinois House will consider a measure that provides a way for all persons who are present in the United States without documentation - to obtain a driving document under Illinois law. This is a unique opportunity that needs to move forward now.

To obtain the document, an individual will need to produce a form of identification issued by their country of origin and evidence that they reside in Illinois. In return, drivers will be tested on their driving skills and rules of the road, and provide proof of insurance for their automobile. Urge your support for this bill: take action now!

Many undocumented persons fear interactions with police that begin with a simple traffic stop. In some communities, such stops can result in long detentions - disrupting families and work. This measure will alleviate many of these unnecessary detentions and keep families from being unnecessarily upset and split apart.

Please take a moment to write your representatives in the legislature and urge them to support the driver’s license bill when it comes to the floor.

This is a big step forward for Illinois.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico Compiles Time Capsule to be Opened in 2087

Mexico Compiles Time Capsule to be Opened in 2087

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The TEPJF electoral court has buried a time capsule containing more than 80 documents and other items that will not be opened until 2087 in an effort to give future citizens an understanding of today’s democracy.

“It seeks to give coming generations an idea of how the jurisdictional body became a guarantor of Mexican democracy; as well as putting original documents on the work done within reach of future researchers,” the TEPJF said in a statement.

The time capsule was buried in the esplanade of the Upper Hall of the electoral tribunal at the base of a statue of the republican eagle.

The hermetically sealed stainless steel box has a neoprene interior to keep moisture, dust and microbes out so the contents will stay intact for a long time.

The time capsule contains 26 messages, 31 photographs, two reports, four books, four artifacts, nine regulations, four newspapers and four documents in sealed envelopes.

A plaque at the base of the statue instructs future generations not to open the capsule until Sept. 15, 2087, the 100th anniversary of the establishment of Mexico’s electoral justice body.

The time capsule was registered with the International Time Capsule Society, or ITCS, at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, Georgia.

Read more by HS News Staff →

IACHR Calls On LatAm to Stand Up for LGBTI Persons

IACHR Calls On LatAm to Stand Up for LGBTI Persons

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The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) reiterates its deep concern on the homophobic, lesbophobic and transphobic violence in the region and urges States to adopt urgent measures to prevent homicides and acts of violence against lesbians, gays, and bisexual, trans and intersex persons (LGBTI), and against other persons perceived as such.

During October and November 2012, the Commission received information on 54 murders of LGBTI persons in the region. Out of that total, the Commission was informed that 35 were committed against trans persons and transgender women or those perceived as such, which occurred in: Argentina (1), Bolivia (1), Brazil (20), the Dominican Republic (1), Honduras (1), Mexico (8), Nicaragua (1), and the United States (2).

Also, the Commission received information on 15 murders of gay men or men perceived to be gay during these two months. These occurred in Brazil (12), Mexico (2), and Nicaragua (1). Finally, the Commission also received information that there were 4 homicides of lesbian women or women perceived to be lesbian, occurring in Brazil (3) and Ecuador (1).

Furthermore, during October and November, the Commission continued receiving alarming information on other human rights violations of LGBTI persons. The IACHR was informed of attacks against personal integrity, including serious acts of violence at the hands of individuals; acts of “corrective” rape of lesbian women; and situations of police abuse and arbitrary detentions, especially of trans women. Also, the IACHR is concerned about the allegations of human rights violations of persons deprived of liberty who are LGBTI.

The Commission recalls that it is the States’ obligation to investigate acts of this nature and sanction those responsible. The Commission urges the States to open lines of investigation that take into account whether these murders were committed because of the gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation of the victims.

In general terms, the Commission notes that there are problems in the investigation of those crimes. In this regard, the Commission reiterates that the ineffectiveness of the state’s response fosters high rates of impunity, which in turn lead to the chronic repetition of such crimes, leaving the victims and their families defenseless.

Read more by HS News Staff →

San Juan Welcomes Calle 13 For First Time in 3 Years

San Juan Welcomes Calle 13 For First Time in 3 Years

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Puerto Rican urban music band Calle 13 performed before 25,000 people at Isla Grande Pier in their first concert in San Juan after a three-year absence.

Rene Perez, known as “Residente,” opened the concert, one of the most anticipated musical events in years in Puerto Rico, with “No hay nadie como tu” and “Vamos a portarnos mal.”

The Calle 13 soloist criticized outgoing San Juan Mayor Jorge Santini, who prevented the band from performing in the capital for years over differences with Perez.

Residente called on Puerto Rico’s new administration, which takes office on Jan. 2, to spend more money on education.

The singer said education was the key to improving conditions on the island, which has been plagued by crime and violence for years.

Panamanian singer Ruben Blades took part in the concert and told the audience he was glad to see Calle 13 finally back in San Juan.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latinos as Consumers and Producers of Organic Food

Latinos as Consumers and Producers of Organic Food

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By Jose Gonzalez, NewsTaco

What comes to mind with the mention of “organic” food? How about in combination with the term “Latino”?

As organic food continues to be a growing presence in the marketplace and conservation dialogue, Latinos have the opportunity to continue to increase their presence in the issue as both consumers and producers of organic food—and help redefine the identity of the typical organic food consumer and producer.

As consumers, Latinos can assist in several ways. A first step is to continue to educate ourselves on what is organic. In truth, this should resonate for many Latinos with roots in traditional parts of Latin America where “organic” was no different than what came out of mama’s or abuelita’s cocina every day.  Of course, this comes with the recognition that there is a wide range in the Latino socio-economic spectrum, affecting the opportunities and challenges Latinos face in having access to organic foods. Image

For the segment of Latinos that are low-income, organics can remain a challenge due to high cost and accessibility. Organic foods may either be priced significantly higher than “conventional food” and there may be little access if the community is in a food desert/food swamp. But recent moves like being able to use Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program (SNAP) cards at farmers markets alleviate part of this challenge.

A second step is to showcase our purchasing power because the organic food marketplace will continue to see Latinos as a plum consumer base. This article from 2008 indicates that the idea is not new and marketing firms are eager to frame products for us if we go into the organic food marketplace unprepared and under-informed. The article notes:

“Latino Americans, the fastest-growing ethnic group in the U.S., have emerged as core organic consumers, defined by market research firm The Hartman Group Inc. as those most actively and intensely involved in the world of organics, purchasing products across multiple categories and embracing more of a total organic lifestyle.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Jenni Rivera Family Outraged Over Leaked Video of Plane Crash Scene

Jenni Rivera Family Outraged Over Leaked Video of Plane Crash Scene

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The family of the late Latin American pop star Jenni Rivera is outraged over a leaked video of the plane crash site where she died Sunday.

On Thursday, two Mexican police officers were reportedly arrested for stealing items belonging to the victims of the plane crash. Now, TMZ is reporting that at least one of them is linked to a video of the tragic scene that is circulating around the web. The video even includes shots of mangled body parts.

It has not been authenticated by authorities, but Rivera’s family believes it is real and that is shows her remains. Sources close to the family told TMZ that they are outraged by the video and cannot believe that it could have been leaked by one of the first responders.

The shot of the severed foot really angered the family since “Jenni was very particular about her feet and toes,” the sources said.

They add that the family hopes that they can get the video taken off the web as soon as possible.

It has also been reported that the owner of the 43-year-old Learjet 25 that Rivera was using, Starwood Management LLC, has a questionable record. Christian E. Esquino Nunez, an executive for the Las Vegas-based company, was accused of falsifying documents by federal authorities.

The Associated Press reports that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration had seized two of Starwood’s planes this year and is now investigating the company.

Read more at The Celebrity Cafe →

Players of Pre-Columbian Ballgame Plead with Mexico to Return Land

Players of Pre-Columbian Ballgame Plead with Mexico to Return Land

Photo: Pelota Mixteca (Octavio Lopez)

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Players of Mixtec and Tarascan pelota, modern versions of ballgames played in pre-Columbian times, are demanding in the capital that their customs be respected and that the land where they have played for the last 50 years be returned to them.

“It’s not just part of our cultural tradition, it’s that we players value it as a heritage that dates back 2,000 years, and that’s why we’ve preserved it,” Cornelio Perez, president of the sport of rubber-ball pelota, one of the varieties of Mixtec pelota, told Efe in an interview.

Like most of the players, he comes from a family that migrated more than 50 years ago to Mexico City from Oaxaca in the southern part of the country, one of the birthplaces of the sport.

Their ballcourts were built in the 1950s by migrants from Oaxaca and Michoacan, but starting in the 1980s there have been “attempts to do away with them,” since “with the growth of the city they began to form part of the historic downtown area.”

A year after the pre-Columbian ballgame was declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Mexico City in 2008, the capital city government ordered the players relocated in order to build a police station there for the city’s Public Safety Secretariat.

“Unfortunately these ballgames are becoming museum pieces - you go to the Anthropology Museum and there are ballcourts, but it’s a distorted version like something out of a library,” Perez said after criticizing the place where they have been moved as lacking the right conditions.

Mixtec pelota, which originated in Oaxaca, is divided into three types according to the material the ball is made of: either rubber, sponge or fabric, and is characterized by the use of a large, extremely heavy glove to hit the ball.

The Tarascan ballgame, for its part, comes from the region of western Mexico made up of Michoacan, Guerrero and Mexico State, and instead of using a glove, players hit the ball with their hand or a stick.

Compared with the 350 people who used to show up to watch the game every week for decades, now they’re lucky to get a few dozen - the others are no longer interested in the sport.

But Gregorio Ramos, president of the Mexican federation of native and traditional games, denies that the new ballcourts are different from the previous ones, since he says the Sports Institute visited the players to find out the measurements and conditions necessary to construct them according to tradition.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Is the Colombian Peace Period Over Already?

Is the Colombian Peace Period Over Already?

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A group of Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, rebels attacked the police station of a poor northwestern Colombian town, an assault that comes less than a month after the guerrilla group’s leadership declared a unilateral two-month truce.

Local authorities on Saturday reported the gunfire attack in the town of Murindo, although National Police spokespersons told Efe they would not provide details on Friday afternoon’s incident for the time being.

The government secretary of Antioquia province, Santiago Londoño, told Caracol Radio that the attack lasted 45 minutes and that no casualties or damage were reported.

Local media reported, however, that several people were treated for nervous attacks at an area hospital.

“The FARC’s 34th Front, which is present in the area of the Atrato Medio (River), has carried out 10 attacks on the town of Murindo over the past two years,” Londoño said.

The aggressors are a “small faction of that front” who, though they only direct their attacks against the police station, “generate fear in the population.”

On Nov. 19, the FARC’s leadership declared a unilateral two-month cease-fire that took effect the following day, a move that was not reciprocated by the Colombian government.

The truce comes amid peace talks in Havana between the rebels and a Colombian government negotiating team.

The FARC’s 36th Front, active in much of Antioquia, said following the unilateral truce announcement in the Cuban capital and after knocking down two power pylons that they carried out those actions because they were unaware of the cease-fire order.

Read more by HS News Staff →

U.N. Orders Ghana to Release Argentine Warship

U.N. Orders Ghana to Release Argentine Warship

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A U.N. court ordered Ghana on Saturday to release the Argentine frigate Libertad immediately, after being held for two and a half years with its entire crew in the small African country’s port of Tema.

The president of the Hamburg-based International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, Japan’s Shunji Yanai, said the 21-judge court unanimously ruled that the navy training vessel must be released unconditionally.

Argentina successfully argued that a military vessel like the Libertad may not be impounded, according to article 290, paragraph 5, of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Members of the court gave Ghana until Dec. 22 to report back to them on the release of the large Argentine sailing ship, and demanded that the African country aid in supplying the ship’s provisions before it leaves Ghanaian waters.

The Libertad has been detained at Tema since Oct. 2 as a result of a complaint by NML Capital Ltd, a U.S. hedge fund that is demanding that Argentina pay up on sovereign bonds in default since late 2001, when the country was in the midst of an economic meltdown.

Argentina subsequently restructured most of the nearly $100 billion in defaulted debt, convincing creditors to accept roughly 30 cents on the dollar.

NML is among a group of U.S. bondholders who demand full repayment and have attempted to seize a range of Argentine assets, including the presidential aircraft.

The Argentine government refers to NML as a “vulture fund” and calls the detention of the Libertad an attempt at “extortion.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Colombia’s Ecopetrol to Invest $9.5 Billion in 2013

Colombia’s Ecopetrol to Invest $9.5 Billion in 2013

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Colombian state oil company Ecopetrol announced plans to invest more than $9.5 billion in 2013 as it strives to boost output to 1 million barrels per day by 2015.

A total of $6.59 billion is to be invested directly in Ecopetrol and $2.96 billion in its subsidiaries, the company said in a statement Friday.

Ecopetrol Chairman and CEO Javier Gutierrez told reporters that “the investments for 2013 are consistent with the company’s mid- and long-term strategy and aligned with the goal of producing 1 million clean barrels in 2015 and 1.3 million in 2020.”

He said the bulk of the funds will be allocated for exploration and production, as well as to modernize refineries and expand crude transport capacity.

The 2013 investment plan was drawn up on the basis of the experiences of previous years.

By business area, $974 million will be earmarked for exploration, $3.79 billion for production, $397 million for refining and petrochemicals, $1.25 billion for transport and $179 million for “other” activities.

Ecopetrol said in 2013 it plans to drill 19 exploratory wells, 3 delimiting wells and 11 stratigraphic wells, all in Colombia.

Most of those wells will be located in the Llanos Orientales (Eastern Plains) region. Others will be drilled throughout the Magdalena Valley and in the Caribbean region.

The goal of the investment in production is to continue increasing crude and gas ouput, which is projected to average 750,000 barrels per day of oil equivalent in 2013.

The budget approved for 2013 does not include possible acquisitions, which would have to be analyzed and approved individually by Ecopetrol’s board of directors.

Separately, the company said that meeting the plan’s financing needs will depend on price fluctuations, cash flow, market conditions, progress in executing the investment budget in the different business areas and eventual acquisitions.

Ecopetrol, Colombia’s largest firm, is one of the 40 largest oil companies in the world and among the four biggest in Latin America.

Besides Colombia, where the company accounts for 60 percent of oil output, Ecopetrol is involved in exploration and production activities in Brazil, Peru and the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

The company owns Colombia’s two largest refineries and the majority of its network of oil and multi-purpose pipelines and is significantly increasing its participation in biofuels.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Singer Julieta Venegas to Host Buenos Aires Bookstore Night

Singer Julieta Venegas to Host Buenos Aires Bookstore Night

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Mexican singer Julieta Venegas hosts Saturday the 6th Buenos Aires Bookstore Night, a celebration of books and their authors that in previous years has attracted crowds of more than 40,000 people.

Venegas will take the stage at 8:00 p.m. (2300 GMT) in Corrientes street, which runs through the cultural heart of the Argentine capital and the literary event organized by the Buenos Aires municipal government.

The evening’s program includes such well-known authors as Ernesto Mallo, Gabriel Rolon, Claudia Piñero and Sergio Olguin, along with musicians, illustrators and artists of all kinds.

Numerous bookstores are also organizing poetry readings and storytelling events, while the group Siempre de Viaje-Literatura en Progreso (Always Traveling-Literature in Progress) is organizing what it refers to as “literary bicycling.”

“Buenos Aires is one of the cities with the most bookstores per capita in the world,” the capital’s culture minister, Hernan Lombardi, said at the inauguration of Bookstore Night.

Lombardi also said that the Argentine capital “cultivates reading and creativity as one of its most symbolic activities.”

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, designated Buenos Aires as World Book Capital 2011, citing the quality of its programs to promote book distribution, promote reading and grow the publishing industry.

Read more by HS News Staff →



SundayDecember 16, 2012