1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to secondary content



TuesdayJanuary 1, 2013

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.

Read More


Explosive Midnight Attack on Police Station in Colombia Leaves 6 Injured

Unknown attackers used explosives to strike a National Police station in Guapi, a town in Cauca province in Colombia’s Pacific coastal region, wounding six people, civil authorities reported.

“The attack was against the police station located in the center of town,” Guapi Education Secretary Dimas Orjuela told Caracol Radio.

The injured include two policemen, two adult civilians and two children, all of whom were taken to hospitals in the city of Cali and Buenaventura, the country’s main Pacific port.

Guapi Interior Secretary Edith Milena Cabezas told the Cali daily El Pais that the attack took place a few minutes before midnight on Monday in an area where residents had gathered to welcome the new year.

Although authorities are still investigating the attack, Cauca police commander Col. Ricardo Augusto Alarcon told reporters that initial indications are that the strike was staged by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

The explosion of multiple homemade bombs caused damage to the windows and doors of the police station.

The FARC, which is involved in peace talks with the government, declared a unilateral cease fire from Nov. 20, 2012, through Jan. 20, 2013.

However, according to a study released last Thursday by the CERAC center for conflict analysis, the guerrillas have staged at least 13 attacks since the cease fire supposedly went into force, most of them in the southwestern part of the country.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Documentary Looks at Mexico’s 25,000 Disappeared, Their Families

Documentary Looks at Mexico’s 25,000 Disappeared, Their Families

Photo: Documentary Looks at Mexico's 25,000 Disappeared, Their Families

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

The 25,000 missing persons in Mexico’s war on organized crime remains “an open wound” for their families that the government must heal, Alicia Calderon, director of a documentary on the subject, said.

“A truth commission would be a first step toward solving all these cases. We have to fight to make the government come up with specific policies, because it has the obligation to heal the wounds it inflicted,” the journalist said in an interview with Efe.

“Retratos de una Busqueda” (Portraits of a Search) shows the battle of mothers trying to discover the whereabouts of sons and daughters who went missing in the war on organized crime.

During the six years of his 2006-2012 term in office, ex-President Felipe Calderon of the National Action Party, or PAN, waged an all-out war against the drug cartels in which some 65,000 people died and another 25,000 are still missing.

That being the case, the film director considers that current President Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, should take action to compensate for the harm the government caused during that war over the past six years, regardless of which party is running the government.

“We’re obliged to do so because the problem doesn’t go away with the departure of Felipe Calderon - we’ve hardly begun to account for what happened,” Alicia Calderon said.

The director is seeking financing to wrap up production of “Retratos de una Busqueda,” which she hopes to premiere during the second half of 2013 and which will compete in the next Morelia International Film Festival.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Peruvians Settle Old Scores with Punching Ritual (VIDEO)

Peruvians Settle Old Scores with Punching Ritual (VIDEO)

Photo: Peruvian Punching Ritual

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

An annual festival in Peru brought together hundreds of competitors to take part in a traditional fighting ritual aimed at resolving disputes before the year’s end.

NBCNews.com’s Dara Brown reports.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Read more by HS News Staff →

Demi Lovato Tweets Her Look Back at 2012

Demi Lovato Tweets Her Look Back at 2012

Photo: Demi Lovato Tweets Her Look Back at 2012

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Demi Lovato may have it together now, but just two years ago things were not looking good for this Latina. Today, however, Lovato says she’s proud to look at how far she’s come since her days of meltdowns, eat disorders, and rehab.

On Monday, the singer-actress-“x Factor” judge took to Twitter to reflect on the past few years.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Cuba’s New Tax Law Takes Effect - Intended to Improve “Economic Conditions”

Cuba’s New Tax Law Takes Effect - Intended to Improve “Economic Conditions”

Photo: Cuba's New Tax Law Takes Effect - Intended to Improve "Economic Conditions"

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Cuba enacted this Jan. 1 a new Tax Law to continue the government’s “modernization” of socialism with economic reforms that revamp the tax culture of a country where taxes have been virtually non-existent since the 1959 Cuban Revolution.

The new tax code approved in July by the National Assembly updates the tax system that has been in force since 1994 to bring it more in line with current international trends, which authorities describe as more “comprehensive” and “flexible.”

In general, the law is a guide for a tax system that is to be applied gradually to finance the transformations that President Raul Castro is promoting in the Cuban economy, and which have created new opportunities in the private sector over the past two years.

The law contains 19 taxes, three contributions and an equal number of fees, but not all these charges will be effective this year and are subject to changes according to the nation’s “economic conditions,” as in the case of income and real estate taxes.

The list includes taxes in support of social security and local development derived from personal income, profits, use of work forces, land transport, advertising and customs.

Postponed during 2013, among other categories, are taxes on goods and services in the retail network, for the use of beaches and inland waters, and on agricultural properties.

A “special regime” has been established for the agricultural sector with tax benefits that reduce its tax rate by as much as 50 percent compared with other economic sectors, in order to stimulate food production, a matter of “national security” for the state, considering the millions of dollars it spends on food imports.

Those who are granted the use of idle lands for farming, which at the end of the year were more than 170,000 people, are exonerated for two years from paying at least three taxes that are obligatory for other self-employed workers.

For the purpose of promoting all kinds of private-sector work, whoever takes up self-employment will not pay a series of taxes related to their chosen activity for some three months, after which a progressive scale will be applied according to income.

Unlike what happened in 1994 when ex-President Fidel Castro introduced taxes as a kind of sanction on enrichment in the emerging private sector, Raul Castro has said that this is “a fundamental instrument of the nation’s economic policy.”

The vice president and coordinator of the current economic reforms, Marino Murillo, has insisted that “everyone has to pay taxes,” even though Cubans are not used to doing so.

For decades taxes were practically done away with and Cubans lived in a socialist country without a tax culture, so that now confusion and controversy have arisen over taxes and about what might be coming next.

The government says the new tax code will help pay for social programs and will ensure that fiscal policy is enforced.

Read more by HS News Staff →

2 Million Ring in 2013 on Brazil’s Copacabana Beach

2 Million Ring in 2013 on Brazil’s Copacabana Beach

Photo: 2 Million Ring in 2013 on Brazil's Copacabana Beach

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Brazil greeted the New Year with massively attended festivities in its principal cities, the standout being the celebration on Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana beach attended by close to 2.3 million people.

For the first time in four years, Rio enjoyed a New Year’s celebration without rain or extreme heat, which made people more enthusiastic and had them going en masse to watch fireworks displays, dance the samba and listen to electronic music until almost 4:00 a.m. on Tuesday.

Police estimated that some 2.3 million people gathered on the sands of Copacabana, while another 45,000 took part in the partying on a dozen cruise ships, yachts and sailboats anchored off Brazil’s most famous beach.

The revels in Rio, which went off without any serious incidents, ended with 45 people hospitalized, mostly from too much booze along with bruises or cuts from bottles, according to information provided by the municipal Health Secretariat, cited in local media.

When the merrymaking was over, partiers in their tens of thousands had to walk several kilometers (miles) and go through a couple of tunnels to reach the bus stops organized by the city, which for the first time totally banned bus and taxi traffic in this seaside district surrounded by mountains.

New Year’s celebrations in Sao Paulo again attracted close to 2 million people to the Avenida Paulista, the principal street of Brazil’s largest city.

Crowded festivities were also enjoyed in all the country’s major cities, including tourist destinations like Fortaleza, Recife and Salvador, all of them, like Rio, with beach parties, fireworks and free concerts.

In Porto Alegre, capital of the southernmost Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, New Year’s festivities were interrupted at around 1:20 a.m., according to local media, when a powerful storm blew the roof off the VIP area where about 200 people were gathered, several of whom were injured.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spanish Prime Minister to Visit Peru, Chile, Algeria, Panama in 2013

Spanish Prime Minister to Visit Peru, Chile, Algeria, Panama in 2013

Photo: Spanish Prime Minister Rajoy to Visit Peru, Chile, Algeria, Panama in 2013

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy plans to visit Chile, Peru, Panama and Algeria during 2013, and his agenda of international travels also includes a meeting at the White House with U.S. President Barack Obama.

Rajoy’s first trip abroad this year will be to Algiers to participate in the 5th High-Level Meeting between Spain and Algeria, according to Spanish government officials.

The economic crisis, the situation of countries that participated in the “Arab Spring” and the threat of terrorism throughout the Sahel region will be some of the main issues that will be discussed at that summit.

The premier will cross the Atlantic to Chile at the end of January to participate on the 26th and 27th at the European Union-Latin America and the Caribbean Summit, which will be attended by numerous leaders from both regions.

Once that summit has concluded, Rajoy will depart for Lima on an official visit to Peru on Jan. 28, a trip that will include a meeting with that country’s president, Ollanta Humala.

February will begin with a trip to Berlin on the 4th, where Rajoy will preside with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the annual bilateral summit.

Also in the first half of the year, although the date has not yet been set, Rajoy will travel to the United States to meet with Obama at the White House.

Among Rajoy’s international appointments during the second half of 2013 will be the G20 Summit on Sept. 5-6 in St. Petersburg, Russia, as well as the High-Level Meeting with Turkey, the bilateral summit with Italy and the Ibero-American Summit in Panama.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Colombian President Still to Decide If He’ll Run for 2nd Term

Colombian President Still to Decide If He’ll Run for 2nd Term

Photo: Colombian President Still to Decide If He'll Run for 2nd Term

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said that he will wait until mid-2013 to make the decision on whether to seek a second four-year term in 2014 and he remarked that he wants to decouple this matter from his government’s peace process with the FARC rebels.

“I’ve been prudent and cautious not to mix one with the other,” the president said in an interview with Colmundo Radio in which for the first time he openly referred to a possible re-election bid for the 2014-2018 term.

“The decision will be made at mid-year, but I want to completely decouple that possibility from the peace process,” the president said.

Santos is the third Colombian leader to attempt negotiations with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, to put an end to the country’s internal armed conflict, which has lasted for half a century.

In February 2012, government delegates began “exploratory conversations” with guerrilla spokesmen and after six months they managed to sign an agreement establishing the issues to include on the agenda to create a roadmap for the peace process.

The peace negotiations were launched in October in Oslo and a few weeks later a second round of talks began in Havana, which - as the permanent seat for the Colombian peace process - has so far hosted two sets of talks where the parties have defined logistical and citizens’ participation issues.

Government and FARC representatives will once again sit down at the dialogue table on Jan. 14.

Santos has been emphatic about his desire that the peace process be completed in a matter of months, not years, and so last November he set a term within which he expects to reach a final agreement.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Baby Names Predictions for 2013 - 5 Trends That Will Shock You

Baby Names Predictions for 2013 - 5 Trends That Will Shock You

Photo: Baby Names 2013

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

One might think that we have seen it all – last year brought a lot of outrageous baby names.  It would appear this is only the tip of the iceberg though, as 2013 is shaping up to be the year that pushes the boundaries of what was previously considered “normal.”  As parents strive for that distinctive name, social baby naming website, Belly Ballot (more here), is predicting some shocking New Year’s trends.  The site collects real-time data on what names parents are selecting from around the globe.  Based on naming data from over 1,000 parents on the site, along with 10,000 votes from their friends and family, the site has released the following predictions for the new year:

1) Tech Inspired Names – One the heels of baby Hashtag, we expect people to continue this trend with more technology inspired names. Think Tweet, Android, and Kindle. We are a technology crazed world and people are carrying this trend over into the most intimate aspects of their lives, including naming their babies. Here comes little iMac.

2) Multiple Names – As the pressure mounts in baby naming, parents are trying to create that one unique name and they are finding themselves having a hard time choosing just one. So why not pick two, or three names. Or like Uma Thurman, five! She recently announced her baby girl’s name, Rosalind Arusha Arkadina Altalune Florence Thurman-Busson. Parents are no longer limiting themselves to a first and middle name, but adding as many names as they like. They might want to save a couple for their next children.

3) Old is New - Everything goes full circle, including baby names (here). Our grandparents’, and great-grandparents’ names are making a strong comeback. Drew Barrymore followed this trend recently naming her daughter Olive. We will continue to see old-fashioned names including Pearl, Florence, Nellie, Eleanor, Roy, Charles, Frank, and Albert. Baby Bertha is just so cute, right?

4) Surnames for First Names – While this is not an entirely new trend, we are now seeing parents push past the names that could easily be a first or last name, like Grant or Kennedy. All bets are off and any surname now goes, think Hayes, Townes, Brick, Drake, Fletcher, Sutton, and Copeland. One can only wonder what we will see next – maybe Bush or Hathaway.

5) Crazy Spellings – Although parents still like traditional names, they are shying away from the original spellings and creating a whole new name for their baby. Jaxon and Jaxen have become very popular. Other examples include Avah, Xakery, Josilyn, and Braedyn. The possibilities are endless, and quite scary.

“We can’t wait to see what happens for 2013,” says Belly Ballot cofounder Lacey Moler .  “No matter what though, it appears that it will be the most interesting and diverse year for naming trends ever.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

New Year’s in Time Square: New York Welcomes More than 1M for Ball Drop

New Year’s in Time Square: New York Welcomes More than 1M for Ball Drop

Photo: New Year's in Time Square: New York Welcomes More than 1M for Ball Drop

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

More than 1 million people welcomed the new year in Times Square, where neither the cold nor the strict security measures were obstacles to happiness and merriment.

The famous lighted ball came down, as per tradition, along the pillar situated on the top of the building at No. 1 Times Square when New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg activated the mechanism along with the Rockettes, the dancers at the famous Radio City Music Hall.

The partygoers, meanwhile, loudly counted backwards as the seconds ticked off before midnight in preparation for the beginning of the new year, which was rung in with a rain of confetti and cheers, along with the singing of the traditional “Auld Lang Syne” and another symbolic song: “New York, New York.”

In addition, the Empire State Building, the skyscraper symbolizing the city, was lit up with Christmas colors.

The celebration, one of the largest and most famous among the new year’s festivities around the world, also featured performances by a various singers, including Taylor Swift and South Korea’s Psy.

Tens of thousands of people had already gathered on the square some six hours before midnight, even though the temperature was about 0 C (32 F), although - with the wind chill factor - it felt a good bit colder.

Officials had put a large security operation into effect with strict controls, bomb and radiation detectors at each of the 16 access points to Times Square. Nobody was allowed to enter the square with a backpack or with alcoholic beverages.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Census Bureau Rethinks the Best Way to Measure Race

Census Bureau Rethinks the Best Way to Measure Race

Photo: Census 2020

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Possible revisions to how the decennial census asks questions about race and ethnicity have raised concerns among some groups that any changes could reduce their population count and thus weaken their electoral clout.

The Census Bureau is considering numerous changes to the 2020 survey in an effort to improve the responses of minorities and more accurately classify Latino, Asian, Middle Eastern and multiracial populations.

Potential options include eliminating the “Hispanic origin” question and combining it with the race question, new queries for people of Middle Eastern or North African heritage, and spaces for Asians to list their country of descent. One likely outcome could be an end to the use of “Negro.”

The stakes surrounding population counts are high. Race data collected in the census are used for many purposes, including enforcement of civil rights laws and monitoring of racial disparities in education, health and other areas.

In addition, the information is used to redraw state legislative and local school districts, and in the reapportioning of congressional seats. The strong Latino growth found in the 2010 census guaranteed additional seats in Congress for eight states.

Latino leaders say changing the Hispanic origin question could create confusion and lead some Latinos not to mark their ethnicity, shrinking the overall Hispanic numbers.

The wording in the 2010 census question, which asked people if they are of Latino origin and then provided a space to fill in their race, yielded a strong response and a record count of 50 million Latinos. Their growth moved them ahead of African-Americans as the nation’s largest minority group.

“We’re the only group in the country that has our own question? Why give it up?” says Angelo Falcon, director of the National Institute for Latino Policy. “A lot of Latino researchers like the question the way it is now because it shows those differences. The way the Census Bureau is thinking about combining the questions, it might take away that information in terms of how we fit within the American racial hierarchy.”

Falcon co-chairs a group of about 30 Latino civil rights and advocacy groups that recently met with the Census Bureau about the potential changes.

For many years, the accuracy of census data on some minorities has been questioned because many respondents don’t report being a member of one of the five official government racial categories: white, black or African-American, Asian, American Indian/Alaska Native and Pacific Islander.

When respondents don’t choose a race, the Census Bureau assigns them one, based on the racial makeup of their neighborhood, among other factors. The method leads to a less accurate count.

Broadly, the nation’s demographic shifts underscore the fact that many people, particularly Latinos and immigrants, don’t identify with the American concept of race.

The government categorizes Hispanic as an ethnicity, while many Hispanics think of it as a race. The confusion played out in the 2010 count, as nearly 22 million people - 97 percent of whom were Hispanic - identified as “some other race.” It ranked as the third-largest racial category.

In addition, Asians and Hispanics had the highest rates of interracial marriage in 2010. And 9 million people identified as multiracial, compared with nearly 6 million in 2000.

Even the terms “Latino” and “Hispanic” are met by many with ambivalence, according to a 2011 national survey by the Pew Hispanic Research Center. Only about 24 percent of adults use either term to most often describe themselves. Slightly more than half of the respondents preferred to identify themselves by their family’s country of origin. And 21 percent said they most often identify as American.

Middle Eastern and North African origin is an ancestry, which is no longer captured in the census form. The government racially defines the ancestry as white. Advocates say the methodology has led to severe undercounts of people of Arab descent.

“We don’t necessarily identify as white because we have a lot of cultural and socioeconomic idiosyncrasies that are different,” says Samer Araabi of the Arab American Institute, which supports the Census Bureau’s efforts. “We think it’s a great step forward not only for the Arab-American community, but for all other communities that are currently being lost in the census form.”

The Census Bureau’s research for the 2020 form is based on findings from an experimental questionnaire sent to nearly 500,000 households during the 2010 census. The forms worded the race and ethnicity questions differently than the official form, including combining them as a single question. Census officials say the combined question led to improved response rates and accuracy.

Karen Humes, assistant division chief for Special Population Statistics of the Census Bureau, says the agency’s research is “expanding our understanding of how people identify their race and Hispanic origin. It can change over time.” Humes says it’s “very premature” to anticipate exactly how the 2020 census form might change.

Any recommended changes to the form must be approved by the Office of Management and Budget and by Congress.

Read more by HS News Staff →

A Magnificent Year for Lionel Messi (VIDEO)

A Magnificent Year for Lionel Messi (VIDEO)

Photo: Lionel Messi

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

It’s been a magnificent year for Lionel Messi, the Barcelona and Argentina star who is a favorite to win his fourth FIFA Ballon d’Or award on January 7, 2013, a trophy given annually to the world’s best football player.

Messi scored both of Barcelona’s goals December 12 in a 2-0 road victory against Cordoba in the Copa del Rey tournament, an annual competition for Spanish

It raised his total for the year to a record 88 goals. On December 9, Messi scored twice against Real Betis to break Gerd Mueller’s record of 85 goals in a year for club and country, set in 1972.

The 67-year-old Mueller, nicknamed Der Bomber for his prolific goalscoring during his playing days, paid tribute to Messi: “My record stood for 40 years – 85 goals in 60 games – and now the best player in the world has broken it, and I’m delighted for him. He is an incredible player, gigantic.”

This gigantic and incredible year has been pulled off by a 1.69 meter tall (5 ft. 7 in.) superstar who was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency as a boy. Barcelona, aware of his prodigious talent, paid for his medical bills, a fact highlighted in this funny, animated video.

At the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, Messi did not score a single goal, but he created multiple chances for teammates and, in the words of one World Cup blogger, was “desperately unlucky” in not finding the net. Argentina advanced to the quarterfinals before falling to Germany, 4-0.

Messi and Argentina will have a short trip to neighboring Brazil for the 2014 World Cup, and I expect he’ll feel right at home on the world’s biggest football stage. Argentina, currently third in the FIFA world rankings behind Germany and #1 Spain, has to be considered a favorite for the title, so I won’t rule out Lionel Messi lifting that elusive World Cup trophy and sealing his status as the world’s greatest footballer.

Read more at Voice of America →

¡Feliz Año Nuevo! Happy New Year from HS News!

¡Feliz Año Nuevo! Happy New Year from HS News!

Photo: ¡Feliz Año Nuevo! Happy New Year from HS News!

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

From all of us at Hispanically Speaking News, Feliz Año Nuevo!

As we close the book on 2012, we hope 2013 treats you well and brings you happy memories that last a life time.

Feliz año nuevo y prospero año!

To be sure you don’t miss a beat in 2013, be sure to sign up for our newsletter.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Fans Say Final Goodbye to Soccer Legend Salvador Reyes at Omnilife Stadium

Fans Say Final Goodbye to Soccer Legend Salvador Reyes at Omnilife Stadium

Photo: Fans Say Final Goodbye to Soccer Legend Salvador Reyes at Omnilife Stadium

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Fans had an opportunity to say a final goodbye to legendary Guadalajara and Mexican national soccer team player Salvador Reyes, who died last week from colon cancer, at a memorial service in this western Mexican city.

Some 300 relatives, friends and fans turned out for the memorial service on Monday organized by the Guadalajara soccer club.

The 76-year-old Reyes died last Friday after battling cancer for several months.

Reyes’s coffin was brought into Omnilife stadium as a mariachi band played the popular tune “Guadalajara.”

Fans applauded and cried as they watched the coffin being brought on the field.

Reyes was later cremated following a private ceremonies and his ashes will be interred in the family crypt.

Reyes was the all-time scorer for the Chivas and played in three World Cups.

He suited up for the Chivas from 1957 to 1967, helping the team win seven of its eight titles, with four titles coming in 1958-1959 and 1961-1962.

Reyes scored 122 goals for Guadalajara and was the team leader in goals in the 1960-1961 season.

He played for Guadalajara from 1953-1967, then he suited up for the Los Angeles Toros from 1967-1968, Santos Laguna in 1968-1969 and San Luis in 1969-1972.

The forward played in the 1958 World Cup in Sweden, the 1962 World Cup in Chile and the 1966 World Cup in England, playing in all the matches for Mexico.

Reyes later coached five different teams from 1969 to 1988.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Hispanically Speaking News Wishes You a Very Happy New Year!

Hispanically Speaking News Wishes You a Very Happy New Year!

Photo: Hs News Happy New Year

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

We wish you love, peace and prosperity in 2013

Image

Read more by HS News Staff →

Narco Blog: Sweet Sixteen Party Ends with One Dead

Narco Blog: Sweet Sixteen Party Ends with One Dead

Photo: Blog del Narco- Execution at Sweet Sixteen

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Hours after an armed group executes a man in a casino where they held a Sweet Sixteen, 10 guests who were injured were discharged from the hospital after they were treated.

A source close to the investigation reported that the victims were injured primarily by shrapnel.

The incident was reported at 22:45 pm at the Community Center Box Cerro de la Silla, in Colonia Altamira.

The executed person has been identified Julio Cesar Cruz Sanchez, 32.

Read more in Spanish at Blog del Narco

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico Sees 10% Rise in Armored Car Sales in 2012

Mexico Sees 10% Rise in Armored Car Sales in 2012

Photo: Mexico Sees 10% Rise in Armored Car Sales in 2012

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

A total of 3,102 automobiles were fitted with armor in 2012, up 10 percent from the previous year, due to the drug-related violence plaguing Mexico, the Mexican Automotive Armor Association, or AMBA, said.

About 70 percent of purchases of armored vehicles were made by the private sector and the rest by different government entities, AMBA president Fernando Echeverri said.

The armoring of automobiles “is now linked more to issues of public, private and even national safety ... helping us deal with criminals,” Echeverri said in a statement.

Purchasers are now looking for armor capable of stopping the rounds fired by the weapons used by criminal organizations, Echeverri said.

The most popular vehicles outfitted with armor are Suburban, Grand Cherokee and Tahoe SUVs.

The industry has expanded rapidly in Mexico, where the death toll from the war on drugs jumped to about 11,000 in 2011.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Cuban Blogger Yoani Sanchez- Welcome Twelve Plus One

Cuban Blogger Yoani Sanchez- Welcome Twelve Plus One

Photo: Unlucky 13

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

The Kabbalah, the number is not mentioned, a superstition with numbers, the calamity that even pronouncing eight letters could bring. I remember when I turned thirteen the many jokes at school that revolved around it. “How old are you?” asked the upper grade students to mock my confusion when answering. I had to respond with “twelve plus one” or “fifteen minus two,” because to say those cursed digits landed me in a wave of laughter. They also might launch a “cocotazo” with the cry of “Gotcha!” as they rapped their knuckles into my skull, and still today I’m not really clear on what that meant in that context. So I grew up assuming that thirteen not only brought bad luck, but also scorn, derision, insult.

When I moved in with Reinaldo, I thought, “What a relief! At least we live on the 14th floor and not the one below.” I imagined what if, every time I gave my address, someone shouted that sarcastic “Gotcha!” of my adolescence. The embarrassment wouldn’t reach me. Years later the doctor predicted that my son would be born on August 13, 1995, but — luckily — nature moved up the date and freed us from that “dark day.” And so, bobbing and weaving, leaving off saying it at times, and using addition and subtraction at others, I’ve escaped the dark superstition of “ten plus three.” Like me, many others have done the same, sometimes more as a precaution than from true belief in the bad omen. But now comes an ordeal for everyone: the year 2013 is about to begin.

I have the impression that for Cubans the next twelve months will not be fatal. Looking ahead, I can predict they will be full of moments of change and great times. Much of the country we know will change, for the better, and a little for the worse; new names will emerge on the national stage and others will be finally inscribed in the marble of a headstone. An era will end, making the Mayans right this time. But all this depends, perhaps in the first place, on how we citizens handle the challenges presented to us, how aware we are that we are living at a turning point in history. Beginning now I am already preparing and I repeat like a mantra: thirteen, thirteen, thirteen, thirteen, thirteen…


* To all my friends, colleagues, bloggers, journalists from all over the world, readers of my texts, commentators have made this blog yours, translators who voluntarily turn it into so many languages, to those who with your true criticisms or your acidic tirades have helped me become a better person, to all of you, I wish you happy holidays and a wonderful new year.

Yoani Sánchez writes from Havana, Cuba. Since March 2008 when the Cuban government enforced a computer filter over Cuba, Yoani has managed to post her texts off the island through a network of volunteers. Time Magazine has named this prestigious journalist as on the 100 Most Influential People in the World as well as being listed as on the 25 Best Blogs in the World.

Read more by HS News Staff →



TuesdayJanuary 1, 2013