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SaturdayJanuary 5, 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.

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Major Bus Accident Kills 11, Injures 30 in Colombia

Major Bus Accident Kills 11, Injures 30 in Colombia

Photo: Scene of the accident

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Eleven people died, including four children, and another 30 were injured in a bus crash on the highway between the Colombian provinces of Caldas and Cundinamarca, traffic authorities said Saturday.

The head of the traffic police of Caldas, Maj. Fernando Alonso, told reporters that the vehicle slammed into a mountainside at a place called Alto del Diablo in the central province of Caldas.

An official of the Manizales Red Cross said that nine people died at the scene of the accident, while another two, a minor and an adult woman, passed away at medical centers.

Most of the fatalities and injured came from the city of Quibdo, capital of the northwestern province of Choco, and were headed for Bogota, taking advantage of the New Year’s holidays.

The Arauca company bus left Friday from Quibdo. The accident took place around 3:00 a.m. Saturday for causes currently under investigation by the authorities.

The injured, including the driver and his assistant, were attended at hospitals of the region. At least five of the injured are in serious condition.

Passengers told local media that the bus, which was destroyed, was traveling at high speed.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Boeing, University of Sao Paulo Establish Scientific Partnership

U.S. aerospace and defense multinational Boeing and the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil’s most prestigious, have signed a scientific cooperation accord on technology projects in the areas of crowd behavior modeling and visual analytics.

The two institutions said in a joint statement that their Memorandum of Understanding on Research and Technology, signed Friday, will enable the development of technical teams to complement the planning of large-scale events such as the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The joint research will involve “complex exercises” and the results obtained will assist in the construction of transport vehicles such as airplanes and ships and the carrying out of complex civil construction projects.

Boeing recently inaugurated a research and technology center in Sao Paulo that will operate some projects in cooperation with USP’s School of Engineering.

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Mexican “Warlock” Predicts Hugo Chavez Will Die in Early 2013

Mexican “Warlock” Predicts Hugo Chavez Will Die in Early 2013

Photo: Antonio Vazquez Alba

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Antonio Vazquez Alba, who calls himself Mexico’s “grand warlock,” said the cards tell him that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will begin his next term in office on Jan. 10 but will die three months later.

“Chavez has been kept alive for the last six months by his vanity, by his thirst for power, because he doesn’t want to lose that position…he will take power again though we can see he’s finished, but after that, unfortunately, it won’t be three months before he dies,” the fortune teller said he has seen in the cards.

Vazquez Alba normally announces his predictions at the beginning of the year. He usually mixes them with obvious political prospects and with auguries that echo opinion polls.

During his traditional New Year’s press conference, “the grand master,” as his followers call him, also said that, when the Venezuelan president dies, “a crisis will descend on Venezuela…many changes and a total revolution.”

That situation, he said, will principally affect, “both directly and indirectly,” Nicaragua, Ecuador, Bolivia and Argentina.

Chavez, who was operated in Cuba on Dec. 11 for a cancer that was first diagnosed in June 2011 and for which he has undergone surgery on another three occasions, is experiencing respiratory deficiency caused by a “severe” lung infection, Venezuelan officials said this week.

The president won re-election in October but is hospitalized in Cuba and it remains unclear if he will be able to return to Venezuela in time to be inaugurated for another term on Jan. 10.

Read more by HS News Staff →

8 Die After Cold Front Passes Through Mexico

At least eight people have died in two Mexican states in recent days amid a cold wave that has sent temperatures plunging to as low as -5 C (23 F), officials said.

Emergency management personnel in the northern state of Chihuahua said in a press conference Friday that six people died between Dec. 31 and Jan. 4 in that state of hypothermia, as well as of carbon monoxide poisoning and burns stemming from the use of coal-fired heaters.

Civil Protection Coordinator Virgilio Camacho said four of the victims died of hypothermia, two of them in the town of Guachochi and two others in Chihuahua city, the state capital.

Two other people died in the border city of Ciudad Juarez, one of burns in a house fire and the other of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Ninety other people have been hospitalized during the same period for burns, carbon monoxide and natural gas poisoning and hypothermia.

Chihuahua authorities declared a state of emergency in the state after two days of continuous snowfall in Ciudad Juarez brought that metropolis and other nearby municipalities to a virtual standstill.

The current cold wave has mainly affected the northern Mexican states of Chihuahua, Durango, Coahuila and Nuevo Leon.

Separately, authorities in the southwestern state of Michoacan reported that two Indians died in recent days of hypothermia, one in the city of Morelia and the other in Patzcuaro.

The state Attorney General’s Office said the autopsies showed that the victims, both of whom had slept outside in frigid temperatures, died of cardiac arrest brought on by hypothermia.

Spokespersons with the federal Health Secretariat, meanwhile, told Efe that next week they will begin providing consolidated reports on deaths in the current winter season.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Plane Carrying Son of Italian Designer Missoni Goes Missing Off of Venezuela

Plane Carrying Son of Italian Designer Missoni Goes Missing Off of Venezuela

Photo: Vittorio Missoni

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The oldest son of Italian fashion designer Ottavio Missoni was among six people traveling in a small plane that went missing off the Venezuelan archipelago of Los Roques, Italy’s Foreign Ministry confirmed.

Four Italians - Vittorio Missoni; his wife, Maurizia Castiglioni; and two of their friends - were on board the plane, as well as the pilot and co-pilot, the ministry, which is in contact with authorities in Caracas, said.

Vittorio, 58, is the oldest son of Ottavio Missoni, founder of a high-end fashion house and a luxury hotel chain bearing the family name.

Italian media described Vittorio, the fashion house’s marketing director, as the Missoni brand’s global ambassador.

The missing twin-engine plane took off Friday from the airport on Los Roques en route to Simon Bolivar International Airport, which serves Caracas. Venezuelan authorities declared the plane missing and launched a search-and-rescue effort involving several boats and two planes.

The search was postponed at nighfall but resumed at dawn on Saturday.

Air-traffic controllers lost contact with the plane at a spot over the Caribbean some 10 nautical miles from Los Roques, Venezuelan Interior and Justice Minister Nestor Reverol said.

He added that the group had spent the holidays on that archipelago, a federal dependency of Venezuela made up of a series of islands, cays and islets.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Lawmakers Approve $9.7 Billion in Aid for Hurricane Sandy Victims

Lawmakers Approve $9.7 Billion in Aid for Hurricane Sandy Victims

Photo: Hurricane Sandy damage (emmalt)

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The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives approved Friday a first provision of $9.7 billion for homeowners who suffered damage from Hurricane Sandy, three days after it earned angry protests for delaying the vote.

The initial part of the proposed federal aid package was approved with a vote of 354-67 and is the first legislation passed by the House in the new legislative session.

All of the “no” votes were cast by Republicans.

The bill passed Friday will allow the National Flood Insurance Program to increase its borrowing limit so it can pay claims for damage from Sandy, which struck the U.S. Northeast in late October.

Since Tuesday, GOP House Speaker John Boehner has faced harsh criticism from lawmakers - including Republicans - representing states affected by the hurricane for delaying a vote on storm relief.

The chorus of critics also included the governors of New York and New Jersey, the two hardest-hit states.

Some of the toughest words came from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, himself a prominent Republican.

“We respond to innocent victims of natural disasters, not as Republicans or Democrats, but as Americans,” Christie said at a press conference on Wednesday.

Responding to the blacklash, Boehner scheduled Friday’s vote on the flood-insurance measure and promised the House would vote Jan. 15 on the rest of the $61 billion in storm-recovery aid proposed by President Barack Obama.

The Senate has already approved the package in its entirety.

Among the Republicans who voted “no” on Friday was former vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, who said it was “irresponsible” to increase the national debt without enacting what he considers “necessary reforms.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

American Tourist Dies While Sightseeing in Spain

American Tourist Dies While Sightseeing in Spain

Photo: New Cathedral in Salamanca

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A tourist of U.S. nationality died Friday while he and his family were making a tourist visit to the New Cathedral in Salamanca, Spain, police officials told Efe.

The incident occurred during the morning when, for reasons not yet known, the 44-year-old man collapsed and hit his head on the floor.

Police said the man fainted and fell down from “natural causes.”

The death took place in a narrow passage in the cathedral towers, such a tight spot that Salamanca firefighters and emergency management services had to take part in recovering the body.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Immigration Reform is Opportunity for Latino Leadership

Immigration Reform is Opportunity for Latino Leadership

Photo: NewsTaco

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By Victor Landa, NewsTaco

Twenty eight Latinos were sworn into the 113th Congress today. That’s enough to put a new notch on the Latino political wall – there have never been that many Latinos in congress before. Neither has there been a more polarized congress, at least not since the civil war. 

So while there’s reason to celebrate for Latinos, there’s also more than enough reason to do it with a sober look at the political moment in time.

All eyes will be trained on the Latino legislators when it comes to immigration reform, and that’ll be a important political battle. But there’s also a danger in it. There’s a danger in Latino’s being relegated to a perceived issue, then shoved to a sideline after the issue is resolved. And that’s because in the last few years immigration has risen as a Latino-centric topic. It’s not, and Latinos know this. Image

Immigration is an American issue, and immigration reform is important to all American’s. But, (and here’s where the issue holds a hint of opportunity) if Latino’s are seen as leading the conversation, then the political moment is a unique opportunity for the new record number of Latinos in congress to show leadership.

And what will that look like?

First, Latino members of congress should work together. That’s easily said. But given the recent record of congressional behavior, not easily expected. So just by doing that, just by joining in one concerted effort, whatever they may agree it should be, would send a signal of leadership that has been missing in the halls of Capitol Hill for years.

Second, it should be reasonable, and by that I mean appeal logically to the interests of all segments of the American public. This is also easily done because immigration reform has the potential to unlock a huge amount of economic and workforce energy. The key is in the manner in which it’s sold, the messaging and the compromising.

Third, once that is accomplished, reform passed, the economy churning, Latino leadership will be poised to play an important role in all future skirmishes in Washington.

Granted, there are many things that can go wrong, many political trumps that can be played to trip the pace, and more than likely the road will not be as smooth as I’ve drawn it to be. But the opportunity still exists. And what’s occupied my thinking as Latinos have surged in political power, in the voting booth and in elected office, is the tenor of Latino leadership moving forward.

It would be a shame if Latinos move into greater political power and all we get is more of the same.

This article was first published in NewsTaco.

NewsTaco provides you with innovative and insightful news, critique, analysis and opinion from a Latino perspective in a 24-hour world.

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Guatemalan Priest Charged As An Accomplice in Bishop’s Murder Receives Early Release

Guatemalan Priest Charged As An Accomplice in Bishop’s Murder Receives Early Release

Photo: Rev. Mario Orantes

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A Catholic priest sentenced to 20 years in prison as an accomplice in the 1998 assassination of Bishop Juan Gerardi was paroled on Friday and spoke out to assert his innocence.

“It was hard to spend so much time in prison being innocent,” the Rev. Mario Orantes told reporters outside a courtroom in Guatemala City, adding that he plans to resume his priestly duties.

He said he will seek a meeting with Archbishop Oscar Vian in the coming days to receive a new assignment.

Orantes, who served 12 years behind bars, was granted early release based on good behavior.

Another man convicted for Gerardi’s murder, retired army Col. Byron Disrael Lima Estrada, was paroled last July.

Lima Estrada’s son and co-conspirator, Capt. Byron Lima Oliva, has been turned down twice by the courts in his bid for early release.

Bishop Gerardi, 75, was found beaten to death in the garage of the rectory where he lived just two days after a commission he led released a report documenting 55,000 human rights violations during Guatemala’s 1960-1996 civil war, most of them committed by the army.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spanish Man Confesses to Slitting Ex-Girlfriend’s Throat

Spanish Man Confesses to Slitting Ex-Girlfriend’s Throat

Photo: Spanish Man Confesses to Slitting Ex-Girlfriend's Throat

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A 39-year-old man turned himself over to the police and confessed he had slit his ex-girlfriend’s throat the night before on a street in the eastern Spanish town of Benaguasil.

Police officials told Efe on Friday that the man, who is under arrest, handed himself over after midnight Thursday and admitted that he had attacked the woman, 33, on a public street and had stabbed her to death.

This was Spain’s first death from gender violence in 2013, which last year took the lives of 46 women around the country.

Read more by HS News Staff →

North Carolina Surgeon Donates Medical Equipment, Trains Hospital Staff in Central America

North Carolina Surgeon Donates Medical Equipment, Trains Hospital Staff in Central America

Photo: Medical supplies

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A Hungarian cardiac surgeon with a “Latino heart” is directing from North Carolina a program that donates medical equipment to hospitals in Central America and provides training for their staffs.

Surrounded in his office at Carolinas Medical Center by numerous testimonials to his long, expert and kindhearted career, Dr. Francis Robicsek insisted that there is still “a lot of work to do.”

At 86, Robicsek is the center’s vice president for international medical outreach.

The physician and acknowledged international authority on cardiology began his philanthropic work during the 1970s in Honduras helping doctors perform cardiac surgery.

In 1975, the program extended to Guatemala, doing heart operations and donating needed equipment while training doctors and nurses.

“The best way to help is not to just go to those countries, donate some equipment and leave, but to train their people and make sure that they are capable of continuing on their own,” Robicsek, who emigrated to Charlotte from Hungary in 1956, told Efe.

Besides Honduras and Guatemala, the program provides services in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Belize, Haiti, Kenya, Liberia and Tanzania.

The doctor said that equipment no longer used at the hospital in Charlotte, having been replaced by newer models, mostly ends up at medical centers in those countries.

Between 2011 and 2012, the program delivered 6,000 computers for the use of both children and adults in Guatemala, a nation where 95 percent of schools lack access to the technology.

Robicsek said that training doctors in countries where the organization offers assistance is one of its basic goals.

He said that some very able Latin American doctors have come to Charlotte with the ambition of learning new techniques to help their communities.

One of the CMC experts training foreign doctors is Angel Perez.

“For me this is more than a job,” the Puerto Rican told Efe. “Every day we make a difference with the equipment donated to us from all parts of the world and with the training we provide. It makes us feel useful.”

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Real Madrid’s Iker Casillas Wins 5th Straight Goalkeeper of the Year Award

Real Madrid’s Iker Casillas Wins 5th Straight Goalkeeper of the Year Award

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Iker Casillas, captain of Real Madrid and the Spanish national soccer squad, has been named goalkeeper of the year for the fifth straight time by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics.

Casillas garnered 224 points in voting by sports journalists worldwide to beat out Juventus and Italian national team goalie Gianluigi Buffon, who received 128 points.

Chelsea’s Petr Cech finished third with 92 points, followed by Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer with 85, Manchester City’s Joe Hart with 26 and Barcelona’s Victor Valdes with 15.

Prior to winning the award for the first time in 2008, the 35-year-old Casillas had finished in the top four in the voting on four occasions between 2003 and 2007.

The Spaniard picked up the honor despite struggling at the end of last year and being replaced by backup goalkeeper Antonio Adan for Real Madrid’s last match of 2012, a road loss to Malaga in Spanish league action.

Casillas told reporters this week that he is determined to win back his starting spot in time for Madrid’s next league match Sunday against Real Sociedad at the Bernabeu.

Real Madrid is in third place in the Spanish league standings and trails leader Barcelona by a whopping 16 points after 17 games played.

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King Juan Carlos Urges Spaniards to Regain Confidence

King Juan Carlos Urges Spaniards to Regain Confidence

Photo: King Juan Carlos I of Spain

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Spain’s King Juan Carlos expressed his concern about the lack of jobs in his country and the fact that many youths have to look for work abroad, but expressed confidence that Spaniards can regain their confidence and overcome the crisis.

In an interview broadcast on public television Friday, the day of his 75th birthday, the monarch also said he feels “in good shape, full of energy and, above all, with hope going forward to face the challenges we all have ahead of us.”

“One of the things that concern me most and is in the minds of many Spaniards is the lack of jobs, which means that millions of families cannot make a decent living, which in turn means that young people must leave Spain to find work, to find what they can, to work abroad, it hurts us a lot, it hurts me a great deal,” the head of state said.

Another matter that upsets the king is “the intransigence that brings with it extremism and perhaps policies that are not very helpful, policies of disruption,” a veiled reference to the pro-independence sentiment in the Catalonia region.

The king said that, in the 37 years of his reign, he has the satisfaction of “all of us having achieved this modern, democratic and unified Spain together,” but added that “we still must achieve a Spain with greater equality and justice.”

About the future, he perceived “an intention to go forward in spite of all that is happening,” an allusion to the economic crisis, and said he believes his son and heir, Prince Felipe, is very well prepared to reign.

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Petrobras Announces Oil Find Off of Brazilian Coast

Petrobras Announces Oil Find Off of Brazilian Coast

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Brazilian state-controlled oil giant Petrobras announced a new oil discovery in ultra-deep waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

The company said the crude reserves were found at a depth of 1,874 meters (6,145 feet) at a well in the Marlim Sul field, 126 kilometers (77 miles) off the coast of Rio de Janeiro state.

That well - known as Mandarim - is located in the pre-salt region, a massive oil frontier so-named because the crude reservoirs it contains are located under an extensive layer of salt up to 2,000 meters (6,550 feet) thick.

Distributed across roughly 160,000 sq. kilometers (62,000 sq. miles), the pre-salt region is projected to hold tens of billions of barrels of light oil and could potentially transform the South American country into a major exporter of crude and derivatives.

Petrobras said studies to evaluate the well’s productivity should be concluded this year.

The company said Thursday it produced nearly 1.97 million barrels of oil per day in November in Brazil, a 1.5 percent increase over the previous month’s output.

Petrobras produced 2.57 million barrels per day of oil equivalent from its domestic and overseas operations in November, down slightly from 2.58 million boe per day in October.

Its domestic output of oil and natural gas came in at 2.35 million boe per day in November, up 1.2 percent from the previous month.

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Nearly 5,000 Pounds of Cocaine Seized in Puerto Rico

Nearly 5,000 Pounds of Cocaine Seized in Puerto Rico

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U.S. authorities in Puerto Rico reported Friday the arrest of two Dominicans from whose vessel they seized 2,200 kilos (4,845 pounds) of cocaine.

The consignment is worth an estimated $29 million, officials said.

The U.S. attorney in San Juan, Rosa Emilia Rodriguez, told a press conference that the two Dominicans were arrested on Dec. 30.

The suspects were identified as Jose De Leon and Wilson Consencion.

Local and federal authorities take pride in having dealt a “hard blow to a cargo worth millions before it reached its final destination of Puerto Rico,” she said.

Rodriguez said that the crew of a Coast Guard plane flying over the southern coast of Puerto Rico spotted a suspicious-looking craft and immediately called for assistance, after which the drug was found and the Dominicans arrested.

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SaturdayJanuary 5, 2013