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SundayDecember 23, 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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Bystander Killed By Trucker Attempting to Avoid Looters in Argentina

Bystander Killed By Trucker Attempting to Avoid Looters in Argentina

Photo: Looting in Argentina

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A bystander was killed by a truck driver who tried to avoid a mob of looters in northern Argentina, raising the death toll from the wave of looting in the South American country to three, police told Efe on Sunday.

A mob tried to stop a truck Saturday night on the road that runs around San Miguel de Tucuman, but the driver accelerated and swerved, killing a pedestrian who was watching the incident unfold, eyewitnesses told Argentine media outlets.

The truck driver did not stop and sped away from the scene, police said.

Mobs attacked businesses Saturday in downtown San Miguel de Tucuman, causing hundreds of Christmas shoppers to run for their lives.

Police, however, denied that any looting occurred in the city on Saturday.

The trouble began Thursday in the resort city of Bariloche, located 1,563 kilometers (971 miles) southwest of Buenos Aires, where a mob of around 100 people attacked two supermarkets, stealing clothing and appliances.

The looting spread to other cities on Thursday night and Friday, officials said.

At least 292 businesses have been looted in 40 cities across Argentina, the Argentine Confederation of Mid-Sized Businesses said.

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Uruguay to Improve Montevideo’s Public Transport System with $70 Million Loan

Uruguay to Improve Montevideo’s Public Transport System with $70 Million Loan

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The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has approved a loan for $70 million to Uruguay to support a public transport system in the eastern section of Montevideo as an alternative to individual transport.

The Montevideo Urban Transportation Program II will finance the second stage of the Urban Mobility Plan, which the Municipality of Montevideo is presently carrying out with IDB support in the city’s northern and western sections.

The objective of the program’s second phase is to design and implement a public transportation system based on a high quality bus service in the Avenida Italia corridor. Included is the construction of exclusive lanes and the organization needed to operate the system.

Montevideo’s Avenida Italia corridor carries 366,000 passengers daily, 69 percent of whom use public transport.

By 2017, the program aims to reduce trip times by 10 percent during peak hours, cut greenhouse gas emissions from passenger vehicles by 30 percent, reduce operating costs of the public transport system, and improve road safety.

The program will implement a bus mass transit system using exclusive lanes along the entire Avenida Italia, connecting Parque Roosevelt in Ciudad de la Costa with downtown Montevideo. Included will be exclusive public transport lanes, stations, terminals, and intelligent management systems.

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Brazilian Poet Ledo Ivo Dies, Age 88

Brazilian Poet Ledo Ivo Dies, Age 88

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Brazilian poet Ledo Ivo, a well-known figure in Brazilian letters, died early Sunday from a heart attack in the Spanish city of Seville, where he had intended to spend Christmas. He was 88.

The poet and journalist, born in the northeastern city of Maceio in 1924, became ill while eating at a restaurant and decided to return to his hotel, where he received medical attention, the G1 news Web site reported, citing Ivo’s relatives.

The poet, who was accompanied by his son, sculptor Goncalo Ivo, died before he could be taken to the hospital, however.

“He was on vacation in the Spanish city, where he was going to spend Christmas with some relatives and return next week to Maceio to fulfill his work commitments,” the writer’s niece, Laudiceia Euridice Ivo, said.

Ivo, a member of the Brazilian Academy of Letters, or ABL, will probably be cremated in Spain and his ashes later repatriated to Brazil, she said.

“With regard to tributes, relatives and friends are mobilizing to celebrate Masses in Rio de Janeiro and in Maceio,” the writer’s niece said.

A novelist, journalist and essayist, Ivo kicked off his literary career with a book of poems entitled “As Imaginacoes,” and his work has been translated into English, Spanish, French and Italian, along with other languages.

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USCIS to Close Field Office in Panama City in February

USCIS will permanently close its field office in Panama City, Panama, on Feb. 1, 2013.

The Panama City Field Office had jurisdiction over Panama, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, French Guiana, and Suriname.

After Feb. 1, 2013, these countries will be in the jurisdiction of existing USCIS field offices, as follows:

    Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, French Guiana, and Suriname will be in the jurisdiction of the USCIS Field Office in Lima, Peru
    Panama will be in the jurisdiction of the USCIS Field Office in San Salvador, El Salvador

For more on the Panama City field office closing, see this news alert on the USCIS website.

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Justice Department Agrees to Reform Puerto Rican Police Department

Justice Department Agrees to Reform Puerto Rican Police Department

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The Justice Department (DOJ) entered into a sweeping agreement with the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and Governor Luis Fortuño to resolve its civil investigation of the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD). 

The complaint and the agreement were filed today in the U.S. District Court of Puerto Rico, along with a joint motion requesting a temporary stay of the proceedings until April 15, 2013 to provide the incoming administration of Governor-elect Alejandro García Padilla sufficient time to review the agreement. 

The comprehensive agreement addresses wide-ranging and ongoing constitutional violations by PRPD that were documented in a lengthy DOJ report issued in September 2011.  The department found reasonable cause to believe that PRPD engages in a pattern or practice of use of excessive force, use of unreasonable force designed to suppress protected speech, and unconstitutional searches and seizures. 

The agreement also addresses allegations that PRPD fails to investigate sex crimes and domestic violence, and engages in discriminatory policing.
 
The agreement was reached after extensive negotiations with commonwealth officials and their police consultants. 

The agreement provides a comprehensive blueprint for meaningful, sustainable reform and reflects the input of many community stakeholders from throughout the Commonwealth, including police affinity groups, members of the Puerto Rico business community, students, representatives of the Dominican community, and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and transgender communities.

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Mexico Sets Oil Price at $86 per Barrel in 2013

Mexico Sets Oil Price at $86 per Barrel in 2013

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The government has purchased options to cover crude exports at a price of $86 per barrel and ensure it meets the targets set in the Revenue Law, the Mexican Finance Secretariat said.

The put options cover the “average price of the Mexican export blend” of crude, the secretariat said in a statement.

The options provide the “right (but not the obligation) to sell petroleum at an average price per barrel of $86 in 2013,” the secretariat said.

The options provide insurance so that if the price of petroleum is below $86 per barrel, “the federal government would receive a payment that would compensate it for the drop in budgetary revenues,” the Finance Secretariat said.

Mexico’s oil sales account for more than one-third of the federal Treasury’s revenues, prompting the government in recent years to purchase options as insurance against volatility in the price of oil on global markets.

The Finance Secretariat spent $1.5 billion on options in 2009 that guaranteed it the right to sell crude at $70 per barrel when the price fell below that level on the international market.

The Petroleum Revenue Stabilization Fund, or FEIP, a public trust created by the secretariat in 2001, handles the options transactions, the Finance Secretariat said.

The FEIP’s mission is to ease the effects of fluctuations in the price of oil on public finances and the national economy, the secretariat said.

The oil hedging programs “are part of the federal government’s risk management strategy,” guaranteeing the availability of the resources needed to fund the outlays approved in the 2013 federal budget, the secretariat said.

The lower house of Congress on Thursday approved 3.95 trillion pesos (about $311.52 billion) in spending for 2013.

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ICE Settles Case on Controversial Home Raids

Attorneys announced the settlement of a home raids case against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).  Seven men and women and one child brought the case in 2008 against more than thirty individual ICE officers for a series of predawn raids of their homes undertaken without consent or a warrant.

They are represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Civil Rights and Constitutional Litigation Clinic at Seton Hall University Law School, and Lowenstein Sandler PC.

According to the complaint, in almost every raid armed ICE agents entered the home by force or deceit, rounded up everyone from their bedrooms, and used force, threats and intimidation, all in an effort to apprehend immigrants for deportation. 

One of the agents was yelling at legal permanent resident Ana Galindo, insisting that she tell him where the nonexistent “illegals” were hiding in her house, when her nine-year-old son ran in from his bedroom to see who was screaming at his mother.  The agent drew his gun and pointed it at the boy’s chest.  Ana spread her arms to shield him.

The case, Argueta v. ICE, charged that the individual ICE agents violated the plaintiffs’ Fourth Amendment right to be free from nonconsensual, warrantless entry into their homes and from shocking and abusive governmental conduct once agents were inside the home. 

In 2006, ICE officials in Washington created a policy called “Operation Return to Sender,” under which seven-member Fugitive Operations Teams (FOTs) were ordered to increase their quota of arrests of so-called alien fugitives with outstanding deportation orders by 800 percent over the course of one year.

The FOTs were permitted to count toward that quota so-called “collaterals”— aliens the FOTs happened to encounter as part of their raids.  According to activists and attorneys, the increase in warrantless intrusions into immigrants’ homes followed directly from the policy. The raids became so notorious that one of the first acts of the new Obama administration was to remove the quotas.

The lawsuit sought to attribute liability to the high-level policy makers who devised Operation Return to Sender for failure to anticipate the consequences of their arrest quota and for their failure to modify the policy once reports of widespread abuses became known to them through the media and congressional and local political leaders. The high-level officials named in the lawsuit were dismissed on appeal.

However, beginning in 2011, the government instituted a number of policy changes prompted, in part, by this and a series of similar lawsuits.

Under the settlement, the eight plaintiffs will receive a total of $295,000 in compensation.

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FC Barcelona Tops 2012 Spanish Soccer League

FC Barcelona Tops 2012 Spanish Soccer League

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FC Barcelona emerged as the winter champions in the Spanish soccer league for 2012 by notching three more points for an accumulated total of 49 out of 51 possible since the start of the season.

With Saturday night’s 3-1 away victory over Valladolid and with just two weeks until the end of the first round - although they still have to play Espanyol and Malaga - the nine-point lead Barca has opened up over their nearest rival, Atletico de Madrid, give the Barcelona team the honorary title of winter champs.

Barca will take a break until Jan. 2, although on Sunday there were several players who worked out on their day off, including Carles Puyol. By then, the injured Cesc Fabregas will be closer to getting back onto the pitch, something that is also expected for coach Francesc “Tito” Vilanova, who is recovering from surgery to remove a tumor.

Fabregas could be back to working out with the team by mid-January.

Barcelona announced on Dec. 19, 2012, that Vilanova was suffering from Parotid gland cancer for the second time, after first being diagnosed with the disease in late November 2011.

He was operated upon on Dec. 20 and will have to undergo about six weeks of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Getting More Latinos in the Outdoors

Getting More Latinos in the Outdoors

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By Jose Gonzalez, NewsTaco

This past week, a story via NPR highlighted another benefit of taking to the outdoors. The story referenced a study indicating how participation in nature activities has positive effects on cognition, specifically creativity. As the study notes:

“We show that four days of immersion in nature, and the corresponding disconnection from multi-media and technology, increases performance on a creativity, problem-solving task by a full 50% in a group of naive hikers. Our results demonstrate that there is a cognitive advantage to be realized if we spend time immersed in a natural setting.”Image

Simply put, spending time in nature helps the mind. The research is part of ongoing work on Attention Restoration Theory, and should be another checklist reason for getting more Latino participation in the outdoors and nature activities.

The push for more Latino participation in the outdoors is a recognized interest by federal agencies and conservation organizations. For one, national parks and national forests are public lands and thus should be accessible to all the public. For mainstream conservation organizations, in order to keep pushing mainstream issues like land conservation and wilderness protection, Latinos need to have a vested interest in the places being protected.

The line “if we get them to the resource, they’ll care about it” is a crucial first step in broadening and diversifying the support base for conservation issues.

But there can be a range of challenges to getting more Latinos in the outdoors. While middle-income and second-generation Latinos may find it easier to engage in outdoor experiences, low-income, first generation, and Spanish-speaking Latinos may face varying challenges ranging from cost of entry, to an awareness of available natural places and the “rules of engagement”—the regulations to be followed and the norms expected by “regulars”.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spain Revokes Asylum Status for Pakistani who Directed Anti-Muslim Video

Spain Revokes Asylum Status for Pakistani who Directed Anti-Muslim Video

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Spanish authorities have revoked asylum for a Pakistani citizen, who filmed a defamatory video about Mohammed, for “putting the security of the Spanish state at risk,” Interior Ministry officials told Efe on Saturday.

The decision taken late Friday was based on grounds that the Pakistani citizen residing in Spain could be “a threat to state security.”

The director of the controversial video, who may appeal the decision, will have to leave Spain, where he has lived legally since Oct. 24, 2006 when he was granted political asylum, as soon as the revocation is final.

Otherwise he will be detained and expelled, the officials said.

The judge investigating the filming of the controversial video warned the Pakistani citizen that if he should broadcast it on any medium whatsover, he will order his immediate arrest, sources close to the case told Efe.

The judge had charged the Pakistani with the crime of incitement to hatred and religious violence.

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Justice Needed for Victims of 1997 Acteal Massacre, Says Amnesty International

Justice Needed for Victims of 1997 Acteal Massacre, Says Amnesty International

Photo: Mourning the Acteal massacre (@SIPAZ)

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Amnesty International demanded Saturday that the Mexican government and the state of Chiapas assure that justice be done for the victims of the 1997 Acteal massacre.

The organization recalled that on Dec. 22, 1997, 45 Tzotzil Indians, mostly women and children of the pacifist group Las Abejas (The Bees), were murdered at Acteal village in the Chenalho municipality of Chiapas state.

Las Abejas was founded in 1992 by an indigenous group seeking peace and the defense of community rights through a peaceful solution to local conflicts, as well as the release of people unjustly imprisoned, Amnesty International said.

It said that authorities failed in their duty to prevent the massacre, which was perpetrated by a group that they themselves had armed and trained.

The international organization said that after 15 years the authorities “continue to fail in their fundamental duty to conduct an independent investigation into the incident and bring to justice everyone responsible for it.”

Amnesty International recalled that in 2009 the Supreme Court decided to free the people accused of participating in the massacre due to procedural irregularities in the trial.

“Without justice in this and other cases, the authorities condemn the communities to constant fear and the danger of more violence,” Amnesty International said.

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Colombian Police Seize 1,760 Pounds of Cocaine Headed for Mexico

Colombian Police Seize 1,760 Pounds of Cocaine Headed for Mexico

Photo: Seized cocaine in Cartagena (El Tiempo)

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In a new blow at the Los Urabaños crime gang in the port of Cartagena, Colombian police seized Saturday 800 kilos (1,760 pounds) of cocaine chlorohydrate of the highest purity that was being shipped to the Los Zetas cartel in Mexico by way of Honduras.

Anti-drug director Maj. Gen. Luis Alberto Perez Alvaran told a press conference that “the alkaloid was found thanks to greater controls in the port, which, based on its experience, decided to check all containers being shipped to Honduras.”

The 800 kilos (1,760 pounds) of cocaine chorohydrate would have an average commercial value abroad of $3.3 million.

This is the second confiscation in five days from the Cartagena gang after the 1,500 kilos (3,300 pounds) that were seized Dec. 17.

The drug was found Saturday in a container carrying agricultural insecticide on its way to Honduras and inside of which were 32 canvas bags containing rectangular plastic-lined packages of the drug.

Though no arrests were made in the operation, the Anti-Drug Force has launched the corresponding investigations to discover whatever contacts there might be among the criminal groups, in order to dismember any eventual network connected to Los Urabeños in the port of Cartagena.

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Spanish Engineering Firm to Benefit from $100 Million Loan From IDB

Spanish Engineering Firm to Benefit from $100 Million Loan From IDB

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Spanish engineering and consulting company Isolux has received a $100 million corporate loan from the Inter-American Development Bank to finance renewable energy and energy infrastructure projects in Peru and Brazil.

These funds will support Peru’s new Majes and Reparticion solar plants, which have a total installed capacity of 40 MW and are the first large-scale solar installations in Latin America.

In addition to diversifying Peru’s energy matrix, the plants will reduce CO2 emissions by 40,000 tons annually and create 260 construction jobs, the IDB said Friday in a press release.

The loan also is expected to finance construction of the 500 kV Taubate-Nova Iguacu transmission line that runs between the southeastern Brazilian states of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, a region that needs significant reinforcement of its basic transmission network.

That project will employ more than 1,400 workers during the construction phase, 80 percent of them from nearby communities.

“Not only will the loan strengthen the region’s energy security, but it will also help an international firm continue to build world-class renewable energy and electricity infrastructure in Latin America at a time when the global financial market downturn is making it difficult to mobilize adequate financing,” Valentina Sequi, IDB project team leader, said.

The IDB loan has a seven-year term and includes a two-year grace period.

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ICSID Rules Ecuador Unlawfully Seized U.S. Firm’s Investments

The World Bank’s International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes has handed down a ruling against the Ecuadorian government, finding that it “unlawfully expropriated” U.S. firm Burlington Resources’ investments in two oil blocks.

The arbitration body said in a 183-page document, dated Dec. 14 and posted to the ICSID’s Web site on Friday, that Ecuador violated a bilateral investment treaty when it seized the Houston-based firm’s investments in blocks 7 and 21 in the Amazon region.

It said arbitration proceedings will continue to determine the amount the government must pay the company in compensation.

“Although the ruling is an essential step in the process, the tribunal has not issued a decision on damages,” Daren Beaudo, a company spokesman, told Efe.

The Ecuadorian Embassy in Washington told Efe it had no comment on the ruling for the moment.

Burlington filed for arbitration against Ecuador with the ICSID in 2008 to challenge a law requiring companies to pay the state 50 percent of their windfall profits stemming from high oil prices on international markets.

The U.S. firm said the law constitued a violation of the principle of legal certainty and it halted production at blocks 7 and 21, which it jointly controlled with French company Perenco.

Ecuador argued before the ICSID that it did not expropriate Burlington’s investments but rather enforced that company’s payment obligations and intervened in the blocks after that firm unilaterally opted to suspend operations.

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Christmas Lottery Distributes $3.3 Billion in Spain

Christmas Lottery Distributes $3.3 Billion in Spain

Photo: Celebrating the El Gordo lottery

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The more than 2.5 billion euros (some $3.3 billion) distributed Saturday by Spain’s Christmas lottery, the most anticipated and popular of the year, provided a breathing space for many Spaniards and immigrants, many of them jobless, amid the economic crisis the country is going through.

The lottery, now in its 200th year, was held for the first time at Madrid’s Teatro Real, usually a setting for operas and grand concerts.

Luck was kind this year to the needy and rained millions on neighborhoods where many of the residents are unemployed.

Such was the case of an Ecuadorian immigrant, out of work and with all of her social security benefits spent, who won 400,000 euros (some $527,565) with her “El Gordo” (the Big One) ticket given her by a friend.

The lucky lady did not wish to give her name nor other details that might identify her, but told Efe that she will share the prize with her sister-in-law, with the friend who gave her the tenth share in a lottery ticket, and will send part of it to her family in Ecuador.

Playing and sharing the Christmas lottery is a tradition in Spain, though this year, for the severe economic crisis and sky-high unemployment rate, sales dropped by 8.03 percent compared with 2011.

Read more by HS News Staff →



SundayDecember 23, 2012