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MondayJanuary 7, 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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Thousands of Haitians Turned Away at Dominican Border

Thousands of Haitians Turned Away at Dominican Border

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Thousands of Haitian immigrants are remaining on Monday on the bridge separating their country from the Dominican Republic to protest the refusal of authorities to allow them to enter this country because their documents are not in order.

The binational market held on Mondays and Fridays here in Dajabon was cancelled Monday because of the confusion and the tension in the border zone.

Elite army troops with combat rifles, along with police officers and immigration inspectors were deployed by Dominican authorities at the border crossing point.

The officers returned to Haitian territory several dozen immigrants who were trying to enter the Dominican Republic illegally at spots near the border post.

Dajabon Mayor Miguel Humberto Tatis said that he had no figures regarding the losses caused by the suspension of commerce between Haitians and Dominicans, but he said that it amounted to millions of dollars.

The Rev. Regino Martinez, coordinator in Dajabon for the NGO Solidaridad Fronteriza, requested in December that authorities provide permits for the 2,030 immigrants who work in the northwestern Dominican Republic to enter Dominican territory without any problems.

Immigration officials said that authorization was granted and a list of the workers was prepared, but so far only four people appearing on the list have presented themselves to enter the Dominican Republic. Meanwhile, the other Haitians who are trying to enter the neighboring country do not have the proper documents and are not included in the agreement achieved by the priest.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Handbag Designer Nancy Gonzalez Opens Store in Hong Kong

Handbag Designer Nancy Gonzalez Opens Store in Hong Kong

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Designer Nancy Gonzalez is now selling luxury handbags in Hong Kong.

The president and creative director of the brand recently told Women’s Wear Daily, ‘Things came together in a very organic way. It’s very difficult to find a space in this mall and we got lucky because there was a space that could be available and it was the right space.’

Because the Asian market can be a bit different, the decision to sell or not sell the handbags in department stores vs. in stand-alone stores had to be considered. Research revealed stand alone stores are overwhelmingly preferred and more successful than department or “shared space” stores.

According to WWD, the Nancy Gonzalez brand has 300 points of distribution worldwide. The move to Hong Kong was to better establish a presence in Asia, where is had previously only been selling through boutiques and not from their own stores.

Gonzalez was born in Colombian. She began selling in the U.S. in 1998, debuting at Bergdorf Goodman

Today, her extensive line of woven clutches, weekenders, satchels, hobo bags and signature box clutches- some one hundred and fifty designs in over two hundred colors—are practically a flagship to the luxury Fifth Avenue store. According to Jim Gold, chief executive officer of Bergdorf Goodman, ” Nancy Gonzalez is one of the Key Brands in our accessories department. We’ve had an enormously successful relationship with her for Years. She is a true visionary who has revolutionized the precious skins market with her mix of unconventional colors and design.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Immigration News: Illinois Step Closer to Providing Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants

Immigration News: Illinois Step Closer to Providing Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants

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A bill to authorize driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants in Illinois was approved on Monday by a legislative committee and is now ready to be voted on by the full lower House, although the support of certain Republican lawmakers is still being solicited.

In the House, 60 votes will be needed to pass the bill and, for the present, that tally has not been confirmed, Monica Treviño, spokesperson with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, told Efe by telephone from Springfield, the state capital.

The Senate approved the bill last month by a vote of 41-14.

ICIRR and other groups who have lobbied in favor of the bill since September are focusing the vote negotiations on the need to improve highway safety.

“We’ve tried to avoid making it an immigration matter to avoid resistance,” said Democratic lawmaker Lisa Hernandez.

She said that several undecided legislators had been satisfied when their doubts were laid to rest, and although they did not commit themselves to voting for it the lawmaker said she was optimistic about Tuesday’s House session.

The speaker of the lower house, Democrat Michael Madigan, on Tuesday received hundreds of cards demanding approval of the bill filled out by immigrants who attended a Sunday Mass in Chicago.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel participated in the Mass and urged the faithful to telephone their legislators to make their voices heard in the final push to pass the bill.

The measure, which Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn promised to sign immediately, will authorize undocumented immigrants to receive temporary visitors’ driver’s licenses, a document that has been provided since 2005 by the Secretary of State to foreigners who live temporarily in Illinois and do not have Social Security Numbers.

This license is a different color from the regular licenses and cannot be used as identification to board airplanes, buy weapons or to vote.

Applicants will have to have lived in Illinois for at least three years, must present an identity document from their country of origin and pass the tests certifying their ability to drive.

It is estimated that some 80,000 accidents per year are caused by undocumented immigrants driving without a license in Illinois.

Read more by HS News Staff →

World’s Tech Spending Expected to Grow 4% in 2013

World’s Tech Spending Expected to Grow 4% in 2013

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Worldwide expenditure on technological products will reach $1.1 trillion this year, 4 percent more than in 2012, thanks to the demand for tablet computers and smartphones, according to a report from the U.S. Consumer Electronics Association.

The industry group announced its new year’s predictions for the sector to the press covering the 2013 Computer Electronics Show, which opens officially Tuesday in Las Vegas.

The study, prepared by consultants GfK in collaboration with CEA, said that technology consumption contracted 1 percent in 2012 compared with 2011, due to Europe’s economic woes and weak growth in the United States.

During the next 12 months, the technology market is expected to grow in emerging nations by 9 percent, while in developed countries it will increase by a mere 1 percent.

In Western Europe, spending on technology in 2013 is predicted to be similar to what it was in 2012, while in Japan it is likely to decline.

The United States will show a 2 percent increase in the sector, while in Latin America, GfK noted the potential of Brazil and Argentina.

Developed countries, despite sluggish growth, will continue leading in technology spending in absolute terms, accounting for 56 percent of global sales.

It is estimated that in 2013 there will be a tablet PC in four out of every 10 U.S. households. Penetration of smartphones will be around 55 percent.

GfK experts estimate that in the coming years the difference between smartphones, tablets and laptops will dissipate to such a degree that it will be hard to place the new devices in clearly separate categories.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Famed Spanish Journalist Enrique Meneses Dead at 83

Famed Spanish Journalist Enrique Meneses Dead at 83

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Journalist Enrique Meneses Miniaty has died at Hospital La Paz in Madrid, Spanish daily El Pais said Monday in its Web edition. He was 83.

Meneses was the first foreign reporter to bring pictures of Fidel Castro’s guerrillas to the world in the 1950s.

In 1956 he began his contributions to Paris Match. He covered the war of the Suez Canal in 1956 for the magazine and the following year went to Cuba, where he was the first foreign photographer embedded with Castro’s men in the Sierra Maestra mountains, with whom he live for four months.

By having the negatives from this last work sewed to a young Cuban girl’s undergarment, he was able to get them out of the country, but the publication of the photos got him expelled from the island.

Between 1962-1963, Meneses worked in the United States, where he covered events such as the civil rights march on Washington and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Meneses was a war correspondent in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Angola, Bangladesh and Sarajevo, his last work because since then he suffered from a chronic obstructive pulmonary illness.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Two Dominican Drug Smugglers Arrested with $29 Million Worth of Cocaine on High Seas

Two Dominican Drug Smugglers Arrested with $29 Million Worth of Cocaine on High Seas

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) as part of the Caribbean Border Interagency Group law enforcement authorities, seized over 2,600 pounds of cocaine, a go-fast vessel and detained two Dominican smugglers during an at-sea interdiction Sunday in the Caribbean Sea.

The drug shipment is estimated to have a wholesale value of more than $29 million.

A CBP marine surveillance aircraft detected two men aboard a suspicious 32-foot power boat Sunday afternoon, approximately 60 nautical miles south of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands.

A U.S. Coast Guard cutter interdicted the suspect vessel with the assistance of the CBP aircraft crew.

The Coast Guard boarded the interdicted vessel and discovered 40 bales of suspected contraband in plain view in the vessel’s forward compartment. A field test confirmed that the packages contained cocaine.

Monday night, the detainees along with the contraband shipment and seized vessel, were transferred to CBP field operations officers in Ponce, Puerto Rico, who in turn, transferred custody of the seizure to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) - Homeland Security Investigations for further investigation.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latin America News:  Guatemalan Students Riot, Protesting Educational Reform

Latin America News:  Guatemalan Students Riot, Protesting Educational Reform

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A group of students from the state University of San Carlos set fire to a public bus Monday in protest against the educational overhaul approved by the Guatemalan government and set to take effect in the coming days.

No one was hurt in the incident.

A police spokesperson told reporters that a group of “supposed university students, who covered their faces with ski masks, hijacked a bus and set it on fire” outside the San Marcos campus.

After leaving the bus in flames, the protesters spread out across the campus and, according to media accounts, warned that protests like this will continue until authorities cancel the educational reform, which includes the extension of the degree program for primary teachers from three to five years.

Meanwhile at the petition of the Education Ministry, dozens of police have kept watch since Sunday on the main state-supported universities that offer teacher training, to prevent students who oppose the measure from occupying their premises to block the start of classes, scheduled for Jan. 15.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latin America News:  Gunmen Opens Fire in Valaparaiso, Chile, 7 Wounded

Latin America News:  Gunmen Opens Fire in Valaparaiso, Chile, 7 Wounded

Photo: Shootings in Valparaiso, Chile

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Seven people were wounded Monday when a man wielding a shotgun opened fire on pedestrians in the coastal city of Valparaiso, Chilean media outlets said.

The incident occurred around 2 p.m., when a man, whose identity and motive are so far unknown, opened fire on people on O’Higgins Square in downtown Valparaiso near Chile’s Congress.

The man was tackled by several people and arrested later by police, according to reports on state television.

According to Radio Cooperative, most of the wounded were taken to a hospital in the port city 125 kilometers (78 miles) west of Santiago.

Police told Efe that they did not yet have any further official information about the matter.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Guillermo del Toro Turned Down Chance to Direct ‘Star Wars: Ep. VII’

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Horror king Guillermo del Toro reportedly said, “Thanks, but no thanks,” to directing Star Wars: Episode VII.

In a recent interview with The Playlist, Del Toro said LucasFilm and Disney contacted him to direct the upcoming film, but because he had “so much stuff already” he had to turn down the opportunity.

The director’s chair currently remains open, while Del Toro is still working on the upcoming Pacific Rim, which is scheduled for theaters on July 11.

Asked who he would like to see helm the Episode VII, Del Toro named Brad Bird, saying, ‘I think the fans deserve somebody that is just going to immerse themselves completely. As a geek, I would have loved to see [him] take it.’

However, Bird has previously stated he will not be taking on the project.

On top of Pacific Rim, Del Toro is also working on a number of other projects. See the list below.

Directing:
- Pinocchio
- “The Incredible Hulk” TV series
- Hellboy 3 (yet to be confirmed)
- Crimson Peak

Producing:
- Mama
- Pinocchio
- “The Incredible Hulk” TV series
- Book of Life
- Alma
- Kung Fu Panda 3

Writer:
- The Hobbit: The desolation of Smaug
- The Hobbit: There and Back Again
- Pinocchio
- “The Incredible Hulk” TV series
- Hellboy 3

He is also said to be turning his novel trilogy into a TV series called “The Strain” for the FX network. On top of that, his award-winning masterpiece Pan’s Labyrinth is now being transformed into a musical for the stage.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latin America News:  Brazil Auto Production Down by 1.9% in 2012

Latin America News:  Brazil Auto Production Down by 1.9% in 2012

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Vehicle production in Brazil came in at 3.34 million units last year, down from 3.4 million in 2011 and the first annual decline since 2009, the Anfavea industry association said Monday.

By sectors, last year the assembly lines turned out 3.17 million commercial automobiles, 1.2 percent more than in 2011.

However, the manufacture of trucks registered a sharp decline of 40.5 percent to 132,820 units.

Meanwhile, production of buses fell 25.4 percent to 36,844 units.

Last year, a record 3.8 million light commercial automobiles, trucks and buses were sold in Brazil, a 4.6 percent hike over 2011 sales.

Exports of Brazilian automobiles totaled $14.72 billion in 2012, 9.3 percent below foreign sales the year before.

Brazil has the world’s fifth-largest automotive industry.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Lucha Libre News: Are Mexican Luchadores Responsible For the Attendance Decline at Shows?(VIDEO)

Lucha Libre News: Are Mexican Luchadores Responsible For the Attendance Decline at Shows?(VIDEO)

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The topic of the show was “Are Mexican Luchadores Responsible For the Attendance Decline at Lucha Shows?” Negro Casas was the defendent on the show. He was representing all luchadores and argued he was innocent. Cibernetico was the attorney arguing the “Yes” wrestlers deserve some of the blame. Fabi Apache was the attorney arguing the “No” wrestlers are not to blame and was basically Negro Casa attorney. The jury consisted of Felino, Puma King and Texano Jr.

Read more by HS News Staff →

BRAZIL: Cat Used to Smuggle Items Into Prison

BRAZIL: Cat Used to Smuggle Items Into Prison

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Guards at a Brazilian prison recently nabbed a purring accomplice to what was likely an attempted prison escape.

On New Year’s Eve, guards at a medium-security prison in Arapiraca, which is near Sao Paolo, noticed a cat attempting to enter the facility.

When a guard managed to grab the cat, he found it had two drills, two saws, three batteries, a cell phones, headset, and phone charger tapped to it.

Now, because they have no idea who the cat was meant for, each of the roughly 250 prisoners are now suspects.

A spokesperson for the prison said it would be hard to figure out to whom the cat was going because “the cat does not talk.”

This particular cat was a regular site at the prison, and had become something of a “prison cat”. It was taken care of by families of inmates, but it would always return to the prison on its own.

The cat was taken to a nearby animal shelter to have the items and tape removed.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Secretary of State Clinton Returns to Work

Secretary of State Clinton Returns to Work

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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton returned to work in her office in Washington on Monday after being absent from public life for a month with health problems.

Clinton, who will leave her post this month and be replaced by Sen. John Kerry, began her return to the State Department with a meeting behind closed doors with her aides.

The last time Clinton, 65, had appeared in public was on December 7, shortly before she developed stomach problems that caused her to become dehydrated and experience a fainting spell, during which she hit her head.

The most-traveled secretary of state in history was admitted to a New York hospital on December 30, where doctors discovered a blood clot in a vein between her brain and skull behind her right ear.

It was not until last Wednesday that Clinton was seen leaving the hospital along with her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and her daughter Chelsea.

During her absence, Clinton had to cancel her appearance before the congressional committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in which Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed.

This week Clinton will pursue an agenda full of meetings and on Thursday she will receive Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

The questions about Clinton’s health have also sparked controversy over her political future, given that many people see her as a potential Democratic presidential candidate in 2016.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Chicago Perfumer Creates “Tamale” Scent

Chicago Perfumer Creates “Tamale” Scent

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Some scents wake us up, some calm us down and help us sleep. It makes us wonder then, what the scent of tamales will do for us.

Chicago perfumer Zoraydo “Z” Ortiz has created a new perfume “Tamale” as part of her new line from Zoils Oils.

The perfume line, called “La Diecicho”, is a 5-year project of Z, who holds a degree in biological sciences and works as a research specialist at Rush University Medical Center.

The Little Village resident has already picked up a few fans selling the scents are music festivals.

Along with Tamale, Z has also created a scent for bikers that she says smells like bike grease. Another scent is “Pan de Muerto,” which she created in celebration of Dia de los Muerto. She created the scent after looking up a recipe for the bread. The perfume smells like anise and orange.

She’ll also create custom scents for as little as $20 – unless she really likes you, then you get the “cool guy discount” of $5 off.

The perfumes can be found at shops along 18th Street in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood:

- Wheel of Time bike shop
- Pilsen Vintage and Thrift
- Round Two Resale

To get a custom scent, Z can be reached here on Facebook or by calling this number (773) 759-1791.

As for Tamales, Z says she is also making a “pollo” or chicken scented tamale scent or perhaps an “al pastor” scent.

“I could go wild,” she told DNAinfo.com

Read more by HS News Staff →

First Week of 2013 Proves Deadly in Puerto Rico With 14 Murders

First Week of 2013 Proves Deadly in Puerto Rico With 14 Murders

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A young evangelical pastor was among the 14 people slain in Puerto Rico in the first week of 2013, police reported Monday.

The most recent murder occurred Sunday at 9:55 p.m. in Canovanas, east of San Juan, where an unknown assailant walked up to Kedin Adorno Fuentes, 22, and shot him several times in the face.

Minutes before, police had reported the murder of Ian Carlos Rivera Colon, 23, at a gas station in the central town of Corozal.

However, the most talked about case was that of 20-year-old pastor Julio Enrique Lopez Castro, who was murdered last Saturday while he was working in a cell phone store in the eastern town of Rio Grande.

Police said that Lopez Castro was beaten to death with a fire extinguisher after his attackers tied him up with telephone cables and gagged him.

Puerto Rico’s crime problems attracted serious attention when in 2011 the 1,000-murder mark was surpassed, though the number of murders fell slightly last year.

The island’s new governor, Alejandro Garcia Padilla, announced on Thursday that he had signed an executive order for the National Guard to exercise “vigilance in the port and airport zones with the aim of preventing the entry of illegal drugs and weapons.”

U.N. figures from 2008 put the island’s murder rate at 20.3 homicides per 100,000 residents, compared with 5.0 per 100,000 in the rest of the United States.

Puerto Rican authorities blame most of the carnage on strife among rival drug gangs

Read more by HS News Staff →

Lionel Messi Wins Fourth Ballon d’Or – World Player of the Year

Lionel Messi Wins Fourth Ballon d’Or – World Player of the Year

Photo: Ballon d'Or Winner is Lionel Messi

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Soccer star Lionel Messi has won his fourth FIFA Ballon d’Or.  The 25-year-old Argentine was up against FC Barcelona teammate Andres Iniesta and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo for the prize.  The announcement was made at a FIFA gala in Europe.

Just in December, Messi broke the long-standing record for number of goals scored in a single calendar year.

Messi has won the award three years running and Ronaldo took the prize in 2008. First-time finalist Iniesta was the MVP of the 2012 European Championship.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Crime Scene Photos Shown to Jury in Murder Trial of Jodi Arias (PHOTO WARNING)

Crime Scene Photos Shown to Jury in Murder Trial of Jodi Arias (PHOTO WARNING)

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The trial of Jodi Arias began last week, and the photos of the crime scene were recently shown to the jury.

Arias is standing trial for murdering her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander in 2008 in Mesa, Arizona.

Alexander, a Mormon motivational speaker, ended his 5-month relationship with Arias in 2007, and Alexander’s family says she began stalking him. He reportedly even told them he believed Arias had gotten into his Facebook account somehow.

After he began dating another woman in December 2007, Alexander told family and friends Arias slashed his tires on two separate occasions. Still, despite her alleged behavior, Alexander was reportedly involved in a sexual relationship with Arias in the months prior to his murder.

On June 9th, 2007, after not hearing from their friend in days, two of Alexander’s friends went to his house to check up on him. When they entered they found his body on the floor of his bloody bathroom. It was later determined he had been dead since June 4.

After changing her story a number of times (first she claimed she was not at the home, then said she was present, but saw two people kill Alexander) Arias eventually confessed to killing Alexander but said it was in self-defense, as he was abusive.

Arias has entered a plea of not guilty. If found guilty, she faces the death penalty.

Caution: some of the photos below are graphic.


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Above: the last photo of Travis Alexander. It was allegedly taken by Arias just before she shot him in the face and stabbed him 27 times.

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Latin America News: Ricardo Darin vs Pres. Crisitina Fernandez

Latin America News: Ricardo Darin vs Pres. Crisitina Fernandez

Photo: Cristina Fernandez controversy, Argentina

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Popular Argentine actor Ricardo Darin tried on Monday to reduce the tone of the controversy that arose with President Cristina Fernandez after he questioned the sources of her wealth.

The star of “El secreto de sus ojos,” which took the 2010 Oscar for Best Foreign Film, did not expect that his remarks to a magazine would result in an irate response from the president.

“There have been no public officials more criminally denounced and investigated by the Argentine judiciary regarding enrichment than was my husband and lifelong companion (the late Nestor Kirchner, Fernandez’s predecessor as head of state),” said the president Sunday in a letter disseminated online.

Fernandez’s reply sparked a flood of support for the actor in the social media.

Darin tried on Monday to throw cold water on the controversy and said he would continue the debate with the president in private.

“I respect and appreciate that she replied to me ... The best thing is to speak in private,” the actor told the daily La Nacion.

He said that his remarks came during a “simple chat” with a journalist.

The net worth of Argentina’s first family has increased from 6 million pesos ($1.2 million) in 2003, when Kirchner became president, to 70.5 million pesos ($10.2 million) now, La Nacion said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spanish Authorities Bust-Up Major Heroin Smuggling Ring

Spanish Authorities Bust-Up Major Heroin Smuggling Ring

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Drug traffickers arrested in Spain with 64 kilos (141 pounds) of high-purity heroin from Afganistan planned to distribute the drug throughout Europe, police officials said Monday.

The ring was dismantled Sunday in the province of Barcelona in an operation that led to the arrest of eight people, six of them Pakistani, and the seizure of cash and documents.

The news was announced at a press conference by officials of the Civil Guard, National Police and the delegate of the national government in the Catalonia region of Llanos de Luna.

When investigations got underway last May, investigators discovered they were up against an organized, well-connected criminal outfit.

“The brains of the operation were citizens based in Pakistan, who had created a complex system for transporting the drug - the Spanish citizens were the last link in the chain,” Rodrigo Mendoza, who led National Police investigations, said.

Those under arrest pretended to send documents regarding international business operations by mail, in which they camouflaged the drug in different packets, as well as in the double bottoms of containers and other merchandise.

In December, agents in charge of the investigation intercepted a container of maritime cargo with 57.7 kilos (61 pounds) of the drug.

“The detainees had created a sham company supposedly in the business of exporting and importing food, and tried to bring in 57.7 kilos (61 pounds) of the drug hidden among 20,000 kilos (22 tons) of salt,” Mendoza said.

Investigators consider that the amount of heroin seized, enough for up to 1.5 million doses, was to be trafficked not only in Spain but throughout Europe.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spain’s Chef Dani Garcia Takes on NYC

Spain’s Chef Dani Garcia Takes on NYC

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Spanish chef Dani Garcia is putting in hour after hour of work and sacrifice to achieve his dream of conquering the palates of New Yorkers with Manzanilla Spanish Brasserie.

The eatery, which is at 345 Park Avenue South, brings the dishes of Marbella, in southern Spain, nearly 6,000 kilometers (3,728 miles) to diners in Manhattan.

Garcia, who was born in Marbella in 1975, says he welcomes diners to a “very New York” space that has Andalusian roots adapted to the Big Apple.

“It’s a lifeline, it’s oxygen, it is many things for me professionally and personally, much more important than it might appear,” the famous chef of Calima, a Marbella restaurant awarded two Michelin stars, said in an interview with Efe.

Manzanilla Spanish Brasserie is not a tapas bar like the similarly named establishment in Malaga or a haute cuisine restaurant like Calima, the chef said.

“It’s a brasserie, a pretty open concept and very New York, very geared to the city,” but without forgetting its roots, Garcia said.

The chef and his mother, Isabel Reinaldo, have just teamed up to publish “En la cocina de mi madre” (Ediciones B), a collection of innovative recipes for preparing traditional and new dishes.

“It is inevitable, your way of cooking is unique and even if I open myself up to new ingredients, in the end you are you, and your kitchen has your personality and your flavor, and, if you can, in 80 percent of the cases, it is a reminder of the kitchen in your home, in your land, of what you have lived all your life,” the chef, who trained with Martin Berasategui, said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latin America News:  Bolivia and China Partner to Make Lithium Batteries

Latin America News:  Bolivia and China Partner to Make Lithium Batteries

Photo: Bolivia-China Partnership

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Bolivia will receive a $2.9 million Chinese-made pilot plant for manufacturing lithium-ion batteries in the next few weeks, with production expected to start up in the second half of this year, a government official said.

The pilot plant will be shipped in the next few days and should arrive in the South American country in March, Corporacion Minera de Bolivia official Luis Alberto Echazu told state media.

The plant will be used to train Bolivian technicians, who will learn how to operate an industrial plant that will be constructed in the future.

The project is part of a government plan to develop the Uyuni Salt Flat, located in the southwestern Andean province of Potosi, on its own to produce batteries for electric cars, computers and cell phones.

President Evo Morales is promoting the development of the lithium industry without foreign partners, but he proposed a partnership with Japan last week to manufacture electric cars in Bolivia that would use domestically made lithium-ion batteries.

Lithium-ion batteries are used to power a range of electronic devices, including cellphones, laptops and digital audio players.

The Uyuni Salt Flat, a dried-up sea bed that stretches over a more than 10,000-sq.-kilometer (some 4,000-sq.-mile) area, is the world’s largest reserve of the planet’s lightest metal.

The Bolivian government says the salt flat contains 100 million tons of lithium reserves, although the U.S. Geological Survey puts the figure at just 9 million tons.

The Morales administration has been working since 2009 to install a pilot plant to make lithium carbonate at Uyuni and its goal is to show results in “industrializing” the metal before 2014.

Specialists, however, have repeatedly criticized the government’s project, citing a lack of significant progress toward installation of a lithium-ion battery plant.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Blog del Narco: Mazatlan and Concordia Mayors Propose Arming Settlers Against Cartels

Blog del Narco: Mazatlan and Concordia Mayors Propose Arming Settlers Against Cartels

Photo: Mayors Propose Arming Civilians

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The mayors of Mazatlan and Concordia proposed delivering weapons to the residents of the mountainous area of the state, with training from the Mexican Army to defend their communities from cartels linked to drug trafficking.

The mayor of Mazatlan, PAN Alejandro Higuera Osuna said he is in favor of residents of rural mountain communities carry weapons. He believes that arming the villagers to protect their communities “would bring calm and confidence to the people.”

His counterpart from Concordia, the PRI Eligio Medina Rivers, agreed that it would be good to arm the inhabitants of rural communities, especially those in the mountains, to fend of the cartels.

The mayor argued that it is not possible to have a soldier or policeman in every home, but a weapon to prevent its people from those who perpetrate massacres in El Alto region of Sinaloa is possible.

He set out to create “a kind of village defense squads” with military training and support from federal, state and municipal.

On December 24, a command associated with drug trafficking apparently killed nine people in the community of El Platanar Ontiveros, in Concordia. In several villages in this area there are many families displaced by violence.

Twelve of the 18 municipalities in the state have ghosts communities whose residents have fled due to harassment and attacks by armed groups.

From 24 to 31 December, there were three attacks in Sinaloa, killing 19 people.

Read more at HS News Blog del Narco in English

Read more in Spanish at Blog del Narco

Read more by HS News Staff →

Chicago Mayor Emanuel Makes Push for Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants

Chicago Mayor Emanuel Makes Push for Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants

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In anticipation of a key vote in the Illinois state legislature this week, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is voicing his support for driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants in the state.

The legislation has already passed the state Senate and faces a committee vote in the House.  Emanuel wants to make sure it is passed so that immigrants can obtain driver’s education, licenses and obtain insurance. 

The Chicago Sun-Times estimates that close to 250,000 undocumented immigrants would benefit from the law passing. The proposed legislation would extend the state’s Temporary Visitor Driver’s License program but these licenses could not be used for legal identification.

The Mayor spoke to Latino leaders and immigrant advocates over the weekend and voiced his support for the measure. 

According to information released by the Highway Safety Coalition, undocumented immigrants who drive without a license and insurance in Illinois are involved in about 80,000 accidents a year at a cost of $660 million.

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Concern Over Constitutional Reforms in Colombia Giving Military Too Much Power

Concern Over Constitutional Reforms in Colombia Giving Military Too Much Power

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The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) expresses its deep concern over the serious setback in human rights that would represent the constitutional reform that modifies Articles 116, 152 and 221 of the Constitution of Colombia that significantly expands the scope of the military criminal jurisdiction.

According to information the Commission has received, on December 11, 2012, the full Senate of Colombia approved the reform. The Inter-American Commission considers that various provisions that were approved are incompatible with the American Convention on Human Rights.

Further, the reform establishes that alleged crimes committed in the framework of a military operation would be tried under the military criminal jurisdiction, and international humanitarian law would apply. Although the reform excludes crimes against humanity, genocide, and a series of grave human rights violations from being judged in military courts (it refers to forced disappearance, extrajudicial execution, sexual violence, torture, and forced displacement), it establishes that other grave human rights violations would be heard before courts of military jurisdiction, for example war crimes and arbitrary detentions, among others.

Therefore, under the new law, it would be the military criminal justice system that would carry out the first investigation activities following a presumed crime committed by a member of the public force.

The constitutional reform on military criminal jurisdiction would reverse progress and would constitute a serious setback that jeopardizes the right to justice for victims of human rights violations.

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Former NM Governor Bill Richardson and Google’s Schmidt Travel to North Korea

Former NM Governor Bill Richardson and Google’s Schmidt Travel to North Korea

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Bill Richardson, former New Mexico Governor and the first Latino candidate for President, arrived in North Korea on a ‘private humanitarian mission’ along with Google executive Eric Schmidt.

In spite of the U.S. State Department labeling the trip “unhelpful” according to the New York Times, Richardson is leading a private group of individuals on a venture described by him as a humanitarian mission.  Currently, the U.S. does not maintain any diplomatic relationship with the country that is largely isolated internationally. 

Richardson served as New Mexico Governor from 2003 to 2011 and since then has been an ambassador-at-large of sorts for issues of his own choosing.  In 2011 he traveled to Cuba to fight for the release of American prisoner Alan Gross.  On this trip he is hoping to secure the release of American citizen Kenneth Bae who is under arrest for “hostile acts” since November of last year.

Google, Inc. has not disclosed why its Executive Chairman is there and what it hopes to accomplish in a country that does not allow Internet access for its citizens. 

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University of Texas Mariachi Aztlán to Perform at President’s Inauguration

University of Texas Mariachi Aztlán to Perform at President’s Inauguration

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The University of Texas-Pan America’s (UTPA) Mariachi Aztlán will be doing a repeat performance for President Obama’s inauguration on January 21, 2013.

The mariachi group performed for the 2010 inauguration and has been invited back.  The group will perform at the Texas gala “Black Tie and Boots Ball”, a Latino gala and for the inauguration itself on January 21st.

The group has been in existence since 1989 founded by Dr. Dahlia Guerra and currently under the direction of Francisco Loera.  These Hispanic cultural ambassadors often travel throughout North America and recently were recognized as the grand champion at the Mariachi Spectacular in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

We are very proud to be representing student excellence from UTPA at the inaugural events. The Mariachi students are excited to be attending such a momentous historical occasion and are especially happy that mariachi music and the music of the Hispanic culture from the Rio Grande Valley are being recognized at a national level,” Dr. Dahlia Guerra, dean of UTPA’s College of Arts and Humanities told The Monitor.

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Spanish Chef Dani Garcia Ready to Conquer New York City

Spanish Chef Dani Garcia Ready to Conquer New York City

Photo: Dani Garcia's Manzanilla Spanish Brasserie

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Spanish chef Dani Garcia is putting in hour after hour of work and sacrifice to achieve his dream of conquering the palates of New Yorkers with Manzanilla Spanish Brasserie.

The eatery, which is at 345 Park Avenue South, brings the dishes of Marbella, in southern Spain, nearly 6,000 kilometers (3,728 miles) to diners in Manhattan.

Garcia, who was born in Marbella in 1975, says he welcomes diners to a “very New York” space that has Andalusian roots adapted to the Big Apple.

“It’s a lifeline, it’s oxygen, it is many things for me professionally and personally, much more important than it might appear,” the famous chef of Calima, a Marbella restaurant awarded two Michelin stars, said in an interview with Efe.

Manzanilla Spanish Brasserie is not a tapas bar like the similarly named establishment in Malaga or a haute cuisine restaurant like Calima, the chef said.

“It’s a brasserie, a pretty open concept and very New York, very geared to the city,” but without forgetting its roots, Garcia said.

The chef and his mother, Isabel Reinaldo, have just teamed up to publish “En la cocina de mi madre” (Ediciones B), a collection of innovative recipes for preparing traditional and new dishes.

“It is inevitable, your way of cooking is unique and even if I open myself up to new ingredients, in the end you are you, and your kitchen has your personality and your flavor, and, if you can, in 80 percent of the cases, it is a reminder of the kitchen in your home, in your land, of what you have lived all your life,” the chef, who trained with Martin Berasategui, said.

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Coach Ron Rivera Will Stay with Carolina Panthers

Coach Ron Rivera Will Stay with Carolina Panthers

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Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera will be back for the 2013 season, a team spokesman said.

Rivera and team owner Jerry Richardson agreed to keep working together for a third season, Panthers spokesman Charlie Dayton said.

The head coach is “going about normal preparations for next season,” Dayton said.

Rivera’s fate was up in the air after the Panthers went 7-9 this season, but Richardson decided the head coach had done a good job with the team.

Richardson fired general manager Marty Hurney after the Panthers got off to a 1-5 start.

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“Being too Humble is a Defect” Say Soccer Great Cristiano Ronaldo

“Being too Humble is a Defect” Say Soccer Great Cristiano Ronaldo

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Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo said in an interview with Brazilian television network Globo that he was convinced that “being too humble is a defect” and he can take just being loved or hated.

“Not even God is able to please everybody,” the Real Madrid superstar said, adding that he nevertheless always tried to be loved by “the majority of the people.”

Ronaldo said that whether he “is or not,” he always worked to “be the best,” a goal that “all people, no matter what their occupation is,” should strive to achieve.

Almost no references were made during the program to Argentina’s Lionel Messi, who has made it difficult over the past three years for Ronaldo to achieve his goal of being “number one” in the world and is the favorite to be selected as FIFA’s best player in the world for 2012.

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Blog del Narco:  Gunmen Attack Bars in Torreon Mexico, At Least 8 Dead

Blog del Narco:  Gunmen Attack Bars in Torreon Mexico, At Least 8 Dead

Photo: Violence in Torreon, Mexico

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At least eight people were killed and four others wounded in attacks by gunmen on two bars in Torreon, a city in the northern Mexican state of Coahuila, the state police said Sunday.

Gunmen opened fire Saturday night on two men sitting in the Futuro bar.

Raul Ontiveros Salazar, 45, and Jose Miguel Sanchez, 22, died in the attack, the state police said.

A group of gunmen attacked people at the Tornado bar, located on one of the city’s main streets, shortly after midnight.

Six people died in the attack, the Coahuila state police said.

Three of the victims, Jose Antonio Valdez Martinez, 25, Luis Daniel Lugo Sanchez, 25, and Rene Alejandro Berumen, 36, were identified by police, but the other three victims have not been identified.

Municipal and state police officers cordoned off the areas around the two bars.

Five bars in Torreon have been attacked by gunmen working for drug cartels in the past week.

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Latin American News:  Honduran Ambassador to Colombia Resigns Amidst Scandal

Latin American News:  Honduran Ambassador to Colombia Resigns Amidst Scandal

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The ambassador of Honduras to Colombia, Carlos Humberto Rodriguez, resigned his post Saturday following the scandal at his country’s embassy in Bogota last Dec. 20, the Honduran Foreign Ministry said.

Rodriguez, now in Tegucigalpa, resigned his post after Honduran Foreign Minister Arturo Corrales asked for his “immediate and irrevocable resignation,” the ministry said in a communique.

Colombian police confirmed that a party at the Honduran Embassy in Bogota was attended by at least two prostitutes, both now wanted by the nation’s security forces because they apparently robbed two computers from the diplomatic headquarters.

The Honduran daily El Heraldo reported this Friday what went on at the embassy in Bogota.

The Honduran Jorge Mendoza, the personal driver until Saturday of ambassador Rodriguez, organized an improvised party at the Honduran Embassy on Bogota’s north side, during which two prostitutes “stole two laptop computers,” the newspaper said.

The Honduran Foreign Ministry has not stated whether the ambassador was in Colombia when the scandal occurred, though, according to local media he was on vacation in the United States.

The Honduran foreign minister this Friday named an “investigative commission to receive, compile and verify the information regarding the case in question.”

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MondayJanuary 7, 2013