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Dozens of people exchanged their firearms Tuesday for gift-cards for buying food on the second anniversary of the attack against now-former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, which took the lives of six people at a Tucson shopping center.
“I think it’s a very good idea to give people who no longer want their weapons the chance to to hand them in,” Tucson resident Hector Barragal, who traded in a modified .22 caliber hunting rifle, told Efe.
The weapons were handed over to the Tucson Police Department.
Barragal said that what he liked best about giving up his gun was the $50 food card he got in return.
He expressed his support for greater nationwide restrictions on the sale of high-caliber weapons, but said he defends the Second Amendment that allows citizens to keep and bear arms.
“The only thing I believe is that they shouldn’t sell high-caliber guns that can shoot off so many bullets,” said Barragal, who gave assurances that he has no plans to buy another weapon.
The event was organized by Tucson City Councilman Steve Kozachik.
“We want to give people a chance to give up their guns, if that’s what they want to do,” Kozachik told Efe.
He said that during the first hour around 75 people traded in their guns, including a woman who said she’s had four handguns in a closet since her husband died.
“We had another individual who told me his brother committed suicide six months ago and for him, this was a way of closing that very sad chapter in his life,” the councilman said.
Events like today’s, the councilman said, are very important for the Tucson community, which two years ago suffered the pain of the attack on Giffords in which another 13 people were wounded.
Kozachik acknowledged that perhaps events like this won’t avoid tragedies like the one in Tucson, or like the killing of 26 children in Connecticut last month, but perhaps they could prevent a shooting accident in somebody’s home.
“Many parents with small children don’t want guns in the house,” the councilman said.
Several courier packages were seized this week by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the Rafael Hernandez International Airport containing 11 gold bars arriving from Curacao, Netherlands Antilles.
In mid-December, 2012, CBP officers at the Aguadilla inspection facility came upon six unusually heavy shipments arriving from Curacao which rendered a more intrusive inspection. The inspection revealed several gold bars.
“This seizure proves once more that CBP officers at our ports of entry are very vigilant and will continue working with our partners to identify contraband arriving from abroad,” stated Marcelino Borges, director of CBP field operations for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. “We will not tolerate the introduction of contraband into our jurisdiction whether it is in the form of narcotics or any other type.”
Qatari driver Nasser Al-Attiyah of the Red Bull Buggy team on Tuesday won the fourth leg of the Dakar Rally between the Peruvian cities of Nazca and Arequipa.
Next were two French drivers, Guerlain Chicherit of SMG Buggy and Stephane Peterhansel of X-raid Mini, who holds the overall lead in the race.
Spain’s Joan “Nani” Roma of X-raid Mini was fifth, y minutes and 27 seconds behind Al-Attiyah, while mechanical problems prevented Spanish driver Carlos Sainz of Red Bull Buggy from completing the stage.
The Qatari secured his second consecutive stage win just 36 seconds ahead of Chicherit and 1:17 ahead of Peterhansel.
Peterhansel is the overall leader so far with a lead of more than 5 minutes over Al-Attiyah. Giniel De Villiers of Imperial Toyota is in third, followed by X-raid Mini’s Leonid Novitskiy in fourth and Nani Roma in fifth.
In the fifth stage, the rally will leave Peru and move into Chile on the leg between Arequipa and Arica.
The fifth stage will comprise 509 kilometers (316 miles), including a timed segment of 172 kilometers (107 miles).
Ailing President Hugo Chavez will not be fit in time for Thursday’s scheduled inauguration and plans to take the oath of office at a later date before the Supreme Court, the speaker of Venezuela’s National Assembly said.
Chavez “will not be able to appear on that date before the National Assembly,” Diosdado Cabello said Tuesday from the legislative podium, reading from a message sent by Vice President Nicolas Maduro.
The 58-year-old head of state, who won another term in the October elections, remains hospitalized in Cuba almost four weeks after undergoing his fourth cancer surgery in 18 months.
“The commander-president has requested that it be reported that, according to the recommendations of the medical team who are working for the reestablishment of his health, the post-surgical recovery process will have to be extended beyond the ... tenth of January,” said the message.
Chavez has decided to invoke Article 231 of the Venezuelan Constitution, which allows a president to take the oath before the country’s highest court under certain circumstances.
Venezuela’s opposition insists that if Chavez fails to be sworn in on Thursday, the clock will start ticking on the 180-day maximum period during which Maduro can serve as acting president before having to call fresh elections.
Chavez, who took office in 1999, is supposed to serve until 2019.
The government says the president is battling “complications stemming from a severe lung infection” that developed after his Dec. 11 operation in Havana.
Today, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) praised his home state of Illinois for passing SB957, a bill that will allow the State of Illinois to issue Temporary Visitor Driver’s Licenses to immigrants, even if they are undocumented immigrants in the United States. The Illinois Highway Safety and Mandatory Insurance for All Bill passed the State House of Representatives and is expected to be signed by Gov. Patrick Quinn.
The following is a statement by Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez, Chair of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
The conversation on immigration has shifted and once again, Illinois is in the forefront. All the talk of mass deportation, “self-deportation” or driving out tens of millions of undocumented immigrants and their families has died down. It was resoundingly rejected on Election Day in November. Now we are starting to address the reality that immigrants work here, live here, raise families here, and yes, drive here, and that we should have practical policies that reflect that reality.
The Illinois bill will improve insurance coverage and road safety and protect thousands of Illinois families, including Illinois families who will not have to worry that a minor traffic stop could lead to their family’s disintegration through deportation.
Congratulations to the State of Illinois and to the advocates and public safety experts who have been fighting for this legislation for more than a decade. It is a sensible response to reality and another sign that the immigration policy debate is moving forward. I am looking forward to carrying the same spirit of problem-solving and concrete accomplishment that was demonstrated in Springfield to the immigration debate in Washington.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Brownsville and Matamoros International Bridge discovered heroin valued at approximately $3,090,000 allegedly being smuggled into the country by a man driving a Ford F250. In a separate case CBP officers and Border Patrol agents discovered $156.676 bulk U.S. currency hidden with a Nissan Xterra at the Hidalgo Bridge.
On Thursday, December 20, CBP officers at the Brownsville and Matamoros International Bridge encountered a male identified as a 50-year-old Mexico citizen who resides in Brownsville, Texas as the driver of a black 1999 Ford F250. A CBP officer referred the Ford and its driver to secondary for further inspection after a primary examination revealed discrepancies with vehicle. During the CBP secondary examination CBP officers discovered the Ford’s drive shaft encapsulated alleged heroin. CBP officers removed a total of 14 kilograms (30.9 pounds) of alleged heroin from within the Ford F250’s drive shaft.
The alleged heroin from this seizure has an estimated street value of approximately $3,090,000. CBP officers seized the narcotics and turned the driver over to U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents for further investigation.
On December 22, CBP officers and Border Patrol agents working outbound enforcement operations at the Hidalgo International Bridge encountered a black Nissan Xterra as it attempted to exit the United States and enter Mexico. The driver, a 52 year-old citizen of Mexico who resides in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico was referred to secondary for further inspection. In secondary, a search of the Nissan resulted in the discovery of 19 bundles of bulk U.S. currency with a total of $156,676 hidden within the vehicle’s gas tank.
The Colombian navy reported Tuesday that it seized a small submarine used to smuggle cocaine off the country’s southwestern coast.
The semi-submersible vessel was spotted adrift last Saturday 60 nautical miles from the mouth of the Naya River by air and maritime units and authorities found that it had no cargo or crew on board.
Authorities presume that the sub - which has the capacity to carry four tons of cocaine - was going to be loaded and sailed to Central America.
The vessel is “a very appealing mechanism” for drug traffickers, thanks to its small profile above the ocean’s surface, a situation that makes “its detection and neutralization more complicated,” navy Capt. Carlos Delgado told Efe.
Delgado added that the two engines of the semi-submersible vessel give it a “very basic” ability to navigate, supported by the use of GPS that marks “its route from the start to the destination site, where the other part of the organization awaits it.”
The sub is approximately 15 meters (49 feet) long, 3 meters (10 feet) wide and can carry a crew of four, and it is the first vessel of its type found by authorities this year, although the Colombian navy seized eight similar subs in 2012.
“It’s a mechanism that is still in use and is being used more,” Delgado concluded.
A bill to authorize driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants in Illinois has passed the State House by a 65-46 margin. The legislation that requires Governor Pat Quinn signature will give the undocumented three-year state drivers licenses.
Gov. Quinn promised to sign the bill into law immediately, authorizing 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.
Family members may play a unique and influential role in buffering Mexican youth against the negative effects of stress as they transition into adulthood, suggests a new study by an interdisciplinary group of researchers at universities in Mexico and the U.S.
More than 6,700 Mexicans ranging in age from 16 through 21 participated in the study, which assessed perceived levels of stress and depressive symptoms as well as social support that the young people received from family members, peers and significant others. The study participants, who were applicants to a public university in Mexico, were at a particularly stressful time in their lives, since they were engaged in selecting career paths and applying to college.
High levels of stress were associated with higher levels of depressive symptoms among youth who reported having the least social support but not among youth who indicated they had the most support. While support from friends, family members and significant others reduced the association between stress and depression, only familial support had a significant impact.
These findings were consistent with prior studies. However, unlike youth in the previous studies, which were conducted primarily in the U.S. and Europe, Mexican youth indicated that family members were their most important sources of support.
“The findings suggest that families may play a unique and powerful role in meeting the mental health needs of Mexican youth, especially during stressful periods in their lives,” said Marcela Raffaelli, who is a professor in the department of human and community development at the University of Illinois and one of the study’s co-authors.
The authors speculate that the strong cohesiveness of Mexican families may explain why the young people who participated in their study reported that relatives were their greatest source of emotional support. They note that young adults in Mexico often continue living in the parental home while completing their education and embarking upon careers, not moving out on their own until they marry.
However, the researchers cautioned that the findings should be interpreted carefully since the participants – 47 percent of whom had at least one parent with a college degree – were not representative of Mexico’s general population.
The study is part of an ongoing collaborative research project called UP-AMIGOS (University of San Luis Potosi: A Multidisciplinary Investigation on Genetics, Obesity and Social-environment), which is examining factors among Mexican college students that are linked to health outcomes and amenable to intervention.
The study appeared in a recent issue of the Journal of Research on Adolescence.
Other co-authors of the study at Illinois: Flavia C.D. Andrade, a professor in the department of kinesiology and community health; Angela R. Wiley, a faculty member in the department of human and community development; and graduate student Laura L. Edwards.
Co-authors at Universidad Autonoma de San Luis Potosi: Omar Sanchez-Armass, a faculty member in the department of psychology, and Celia Aradillas-Garcia, a professor in the School of Medicine.
Leading companies in the electronics sector confirmed on the eve of the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that they are out to revitalize the world of television sets with screens of great size, definition…and price.
The one-time “idiot boxes” of heavy cathode ray tubes were not only dropped long ago in favor of flat screens, but a transition has also begun to the world of apps born with the telephone revolution launched by the iPhone.
These smart televisions will be the stars of the CES that kicks off here Tuesday.
Samsung revealed Monday its second generation of intelligent televisions, Smart TV F8000, and also allowed a glimpse of its first 85-inch model with Ultra HD technology, the ES9000.
The terms Ultra HD and 4K have been the fashion in recent months to describe screens with four times greater definition than the current standard HD.
Manufacturers like LG and Sony had already launched Ultra HD televisions in 2012 for more than $20,000.
Panasonic brought out its new line of HDTV Smart Viera plasma screens - 16 new models that go from 42 to 65 inches and boast voice-control systems.
Sharp, for its part, put on the table two new 32-inch screens in Ultra HD format, while LG expanded its range of televisions in that format by adding 55-inch and 65-inch models to the 85-inch TV is has been selling since 2012.
Sony unveiled two new Bravia models of 55 and 65 inches with 4K definition, and announced for the United States a system of distributing content for Ultra HD screens beginning next summer
Ailing President Hugo Chavez is expected to be sworn in for another term as President this Thursday “virtually” from his hospital bed in Cuba. Chavez took office in 1999, and was re-elected in October to another six-year term.
Chavez remains hospitalized in Cuba more than three weeks after his latest cancer surgery. Most recently he was battling a severe lung infection from a post-operation complication. The 58-year-old president was first diagnosed with cancer after complaining of pain in his pelvic region during a June 2011 official visit to Cuba. Since then, the former paratrooper has undergone four surgical procedures and courses of chemotherapy and radiation.
Several Latin American leaders are expected for the “virtual office taking” on the 10th at the Miraflores Palace. Current government officials say the Venezuelan constitution allows for the virtual office taking while opposition leaders want reassurances that Chavez can rule. The powerful Venezuelan Catholic Church stated Chavez’ prolonged illness “puts at grave risk the political and social stability of the nation.”
Meanwhile, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez office has confirmed she will be visiting Chavez in Cuba on inauguration.
One of the most common refrains voiced by opponents of immigration reform is that it must wait until the federal government has secured our border with Mexico and enforced the nation’s current immigration laws. Ten years ago those claims carried some force. At the time, there had been large-scale undocumented migration for a sustained period, the border was relatively porous, and immigration enforcement in the country was less organized than it could have been. Ten years later, however, the facts on the ground have changed dramatically.
Pablo Berger’s “Blancanieves” and the Alberto Rodriguez action film “Grupo 7” are the favorites going into the 27th edition of the Goyas, Spain’s equivalent of the Oscars, with 18 and 16 nominations, respectively.
The super-production by Juan Antonio Bayona, “Lo imposible,” with 14 nominations, and “El artista y la modelo,” by Fernando Trueba, with 13, round out the list of finalists for best film honors.
Actors Elena Anaya and Antonio de la Torre were tasked with making public the list of nominees for the awards, which will be presented on Feb. 17 in Madrid.
Nominated for best actress are Maribel Verdu for “Blancanieves”; Aida Folch for “El artista y la modelo”; Naomi Watts for “Lo imposible” and Penelope Cruz for “Volver a nacer.”
Daniel Gimenez Cacho for “Blancanieves,” Antonio de la Torre for “Grupo 7,” France’s Jean Rochefort for “El artista y la modelo,” and Jose Sacristan for “El muerto y ser feliz” are the finalists for best actor.
In addition, this year the Goya of honor will be presented to actress Concha Velasco for a life dedicated to film, the only award to be announced in advance.
The group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is calling on Florida authorities to ban decapitations in the upcoming Python Challenge contest, organized to combat an alarming proliferation of Burmese pythons in the Everglades National Park.
PETA sent a letter Monday to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, or FWC, organizer of the controversial competition that kicks off on Saturday, urging it to bar hunters from killing the giant snakes by cutting off their heads.
Anyone interested is welcome to participate in the month-long challenge in the Everglades, a protected ecosystem that is unique in the world, and try to kill as many Burmese pythons as possible, whether by a gunshot to the head or other “humane” methods.
While the FWC recommends using a captive bolt or firearm, it says that decapitation is deemed an acceptable method by the American Veterinary Medical Association as long as the hunter follows up by destroying the brain with a firearm, captive bolt or other effective method.
Burmese pythons, which are among the world’s largest snake species, are spreading rapidly in the Everglades due in part to irresponsible pet owners who abandoned the snakes in that vast subtropical wetlands region in South Florida once they were no longer able to care for them.
Some 400 people across the United States have registered for the contest, which allows participants over the age of 18 to carry a firearm without a hunting license.
The goal is to remove this non-venomous snake that can grow to more than five meters (16 feet) in length and is a predator that poses a major threat to native wildlife. The largest specimen of that species ever found in the Everglades measured 5.3 meters (17.7 inches) in length and was carrying 87 eggs.
The contest will run until Feb. 10 and is divided into a General Competition and a Python Permit Holders Competition, each of which offers two cash prizes: $1,500 for the participant who harvests the most Burmese pythons, and $1,000 for the participant who harvests the longest Burmese python.
But PETA - citing Clifford Warwick, one the world’s top reptile biologists - said in its letter that “decapitation, followed by an attempt to destroy the snake’s brain, as the challenge recommends, cannot be carried out humanely in the field, leading to prolonged suffering.”
The animal rights group also criticized the very idea of a bounty hunt, noting that the U.S. Geological Survey has concluded that “(b)ounties have never been used successfully with invasive reptiles” and that “any feature that adds value to an invasive species ... creates economic pressure to assure the population’s continuation.”
“This bounty hunt is misguided in the first place, but allowing hunters to decapitate pythons - who remain alive and in agony and who will writhe for an hour even after their heads have been cut off - is despicably cruel,” PETA President Ingrid Newkirk says.
An estimated 100,000 Burmese pythons exist in the Everglades and are expanding unchecked because no other animal poses a threat to them. They prey on everything from wading birds and small mammals to bobcats, deer and even alligators.
Participants in the contest do not need a hunting license unless they are under the age of 18 nor any type of prior experience with snakes, sparking concern by some groups over participants’ safety and the unintentional damage they may cause to other native snake species.
In response, the FWC is providing information online to help hunters distinguish non-native Burmese pythons from native Florida snakes and will advise participants on safety during the entire month the contest lasts.
The Migration Policy Institute has released data that the U.S. government has spent $18 billion on immigration enforcement in the last fiscal year. This expense dwarfs the amounts spent at any of the other law enforcement agencies the government runs.
The $18 billion was spent across immigration enforcement programs run by Immigration and Customs, Border Patrol and the U.S.-Visit program. Since 1986, according to AP, the U.S. government has spent $187 billion on immigration enforcement. Last year’s fiscal spend on immigration enforcement tops the combined budgets of the FBI, ATF, DEA and Secret Service by some $3.6 billion.
In 2012 410,000 people were deported from the U.S. , which was slightly higher than 2011 when 396,906 undocumented immigrants were deported. And a larger number of individuals are detained each year in the immigration detention system (just under 430,000 in fiscal 2011) than are serving sentences in federal Bureau of Prisons facilities for all other federal crimes.
A female taxi cab driver was found shot and executed in her vehicle in the housing unit the Colossus.
The vehicle was found abandoned and the report of the discovery was made at about eleven o’clock.
The victim was identified as Martha Eslava Osegueda, 49 years old, and was shot while in the driver’s seat. Several .45 caliber bullets were located in the car.
The taxi, a white Nissan with license plates 3007-FFY, was confiscated by the ministerial authorities. The murdered woman’s husband identified his wife and immediately began the process to transfer the body.
Non-Profits and charity groups serving Latinos have until January 17 to nominate themselves to be the subject of the “El Buen Pitch” competition that culminates at Hispanicize 2013, the largest annual gathering of Hispanic marketers, media, bloggers, agencies and entertainment professionals.
Hispanicize 2013 will be held April 9–13, 2013 at the Eden Roc Hotel on Miami Beach.
“El Buen Pitch” is “The Apprentice”-style competition where agencies compete to create the best marketing plan for the selected organization. The non profit or charity chosen to be the subject of “El Buen Pitch” will receive extraordinary national attention for its cause and will also be the recipient of national media coverage, comprehensive marketing plans from top notch Hispanic marketing agencies and pro-bono advertising media space donated by media partners of Hispanicize 2013.
Non-profits and charities can nominate themselves for “El Buen Pitch” by filling out the simple form by clicking here.
In February the Hispanicize 2013 advisory board will select 10 semi-finalists that will submit a final, more thorough proposal with detailed strategies, tactics, timelines and budgets. Three finalists will then be announced during the first week of March and invited to pitch before a distinguished panel of judges at Hispanicize 2013.
Spain inaugurated on Tuesday a rail line from Barcelona to the French border that completes the process of linking the two nations’ high-speed passenger rail services.
The route from Barcelona to the border city of Figueres will become operational Wednesday with nine trains running in each direction.
Eight of the southbound trains will connect with the Barcelona-Madrid line, while two northbound trains offer links to France’s TGV line to Paris.
Completion of the latest line leaves Spain second only to China in the size of its high-speed rail network, with 3,000 kilometers (1,864 miles) in service.
Construction of the latest link cost more than 3.7 billion euros ($4.8 billion), not including renovations to the train stations in Barcelona, Girona and Figueres-Vilafant.
Spain’s Crown Prince Felipe, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and Catalan regional President Artur Mas rode the first train from Barcelona to Figueres.
The high-speed rail network is an element of national cohesion and has given Spanish firms valuable experience with the technology, the prince said during the inaugural ceremony.
“Public and private enterprises from across Spain are obtaining very important contracts in many countries of the world, such as the AVE of the desert, which will link the cities of Medina and Mecca in Saudi Arabia,” Felipe said.
The high-speed rail project “is not an isolated milestone,” Premier Rajoy said. “It is, on the contrary, an unbeatable story of our ambition as a country.”
A Florida restaurant worker lost his job last week after he got into an explosive argument with a patron over ketchup.
Customer Luis Martinez walked into an Orlando Subway and ordered a Philly cheese steak sandwich, asking for his usual “American cheese, onions, and ketchup.”
Suddenly annoyed by the request for ketchup on the sandwich, employee Lawrence Ordone, said he was unable to give it to Martinez.
An argument then began over Ordone’s refusal to add ketchup to the sandwich, and the sandwich maker admits he “flew off the handle,” shoved a chair to the side, and told Martinez to “fight like a man.”
Martinez told police Ordone threatened him and his wife. When officers arrived, however, the Subway employee had fled the restaurant.
Ordone was not arrested, but he was fired the following day.
As for the ketchup, Ordone told WFTV, ‘There’s ketchup three aisles down. You can go buy your own ketchup, and I promise to God, you can put as much as you want on it and nobody’s going to say nothing.”
Four people died in an attack by wild dogs at an ecological reserve in Mexico City, according to forensic analysis, authorities in the Mexican capital said.
The Federal District Attorney’s Office reported in a communique Monday that the injuries on the bodies found in the Cerro de la Estrella Reserve, east of the city, were “caused by dog bites.”
Experts established that, in view of the severity of the injuries, 10 or more dogs were involved in each attack and that the four people died of external hemorrhage as a result of “injuries to the neurovascular bundle by canines.”
As of Monday, members of the capital’s Public Safety Secretariat had captured eight wild male dogs, 10 females and seven puppies that were living in caves of the ecological reserve.
The specialists are currently carrying out a thorough study of human blood on the animals’ hair, and are also performing an analysis of their stomach contents, the DA’s office said.
The statement said agents of the Public Safety Secretariat found two lifeless bodies on the Cerro de la Estrella mountain on Dec. 29.
Once the investigation began, it was determined that one body was that of a 26-year-old woman identified as Shunashi Elizabeth Mendoza Caamal, who was lacking the left arm and had huge bite wounds exposing bone.
The other body belonged to a child age 1 year and 8 months.
In another case on Jan. 5 this year, police went to the reserve after receiving a report on the discovery of the bodies of two teenagers between ages 15 and 16, identified as Alejandra Ruiz Garcia and Samuel Suriel Martinez.
Wounds on different parts of the bodies had characteristics of being produced before and after death, the DA’s office said.
A Chinese national pleaded guilty late yesterday to conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement and wire fraud. The individual operated a website used to distribute more than $100 million worth of pirated software around the world, making it one of the most significant cases of copyright infringement ever uncovered — and dismantled — by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Xiang Li, 36, of Chengdu, China, will be sentenced May 3, 2013, facing a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release following his prison sentence.
According to statements made at the plea hearing and documents filed in court, HSI identified Li as the operator of a website located at www.Crack99.com that was advertising thousands of pirated software titles at a fraction of their retail value. The investigation revealed that Li used the Crack 99 website to distribute pirated or cracked software to customers all over the world.
Software is “cracked” when its digital license files and access control features have been disabled or circumvented.
During the course of the charged conspiracy from April 2008 to June 2011, Li engaged in more than 500 transactions, in which he distributed approximately 550 different copyrighted software titles to at least 325 purchasers located in at least 28 states and more than 60 foreign countries.
Colombian singer Juanes will make a special appearance on Feb. 6 at the University of Southern California during a week of events that will wrap up with the presentation of the Grammy Awards.
The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, or NARAS, said the artist will appear at the university as part of the program “Grammy in the Schools Live!” which is organized by the Grammy Foundation and which this year celebrates its fourth anniversary.
The event, to be attended by Neil Portnow, president of NARAS, is scheduled for two days before the tribute to singer-songwriter and guitarist Bruce Springsteen honoring his career and his philanthropy and in which Juanes will also sing.
The list of artists onstage at Los Angeles Convention Center will also include Sting, Elton John, Eddie Vedder, Neil Young, Tom Morello and Tim McGraw, Mumford & Sons and the Alabama Shakes.
Supporters and opponents of Venezuela’s ailing President Hugo Chavez, who won re-election last October, continued to argue Monday over whether a failure to hold the inauguration as scheduled three days from now would leave the country without a legitimate government.
The 58-year-old head of state remains hospitalized in Cuba almost four weeks after undergoing his fourth cancer surgery in 18 months.
Even if Chavez does not take the oath of office on Thursday, Caracas will be the scene of rallies and other events to mark the day, National Assembly speaker Diosdado Cabello said.
“We don’t rule out anything. What we won’t do is arrive at the 10th without knowing what it is we’re going to do,” he said at a press conference when asked if the government is assuming Chavez will not be in Venezuela on Thursday.
In its latest bulletin on Chavez’s condition, the government said the president was battling “complications stemming from a severe lung infection” that developed after the Dec. 11 operation in Havana.
“All of Venezuela” will be joined outside the presidential palace on Thursday by heads of state and government from friendly nations, Cabello said.
The opposition standard-bearer in the October election, Henrique Capriles, said Monday that Chavez will remain president for the time being regardless of whether the inauguration takes place on schedule.
He added, however, that the constitution establishes a procedure for instances where a president is incapacitated.
Article 234 permits the vice president to serve as acting head of state for 90 days. At the end of that period, the National Assembly can vote either to extend the temporary presidency for another three months or to declare the office vacant and schedule fresh elections.
Chavez, who took office in 1999, is supposed to serve until 2019.
The Latin America country of Ecuador tops the list of places for foreigners to retire to. In the rankings produced by InternationalLiving.com, Ecuador’s quality of life, low cost of living and mild climate were viewed as ideal for retirees.
Ecuador placed ahead of Costa Rica, Panama, and Mexico – other desired Latin American locations to retire. A retiree faces monthly living expenses in the range of $900 to $1,400 to live in Ecuador comfortably.
InternationaLiving.com looked at data from 22 destinations that tend to be popular with American and Canadian retirees. They took into consideration cost of living, housing costs, health care and other items critical to retirees. Most of the countries that topped the list were Latin American, Spanish speaking countries, something the editors at InternationalLiving.com did not view as a negative.
According to the Huffington Post, an estimated 3.3 million Americans plan to retire abroad.
Ecuador weighed in heavy on its “top notch hospitals, clinics and well-trained physicians,” many of which speak English. In addition retirees can participate in Ecuador’s health care system via Social Security for a modest premium. The real draw for many is the weather in Ecuador - the weather is mild thanks in great part to Ecuador laying on the equator.
The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) condemns new federal legislation introduced by Representative Steve King (R-IA) that seeks to deny 14th amendment rights to citizenship and targets immigrant families. The bill (HR-140) would deny birthright citizenship to children of some immigrant parents.
“Representative King has a long and shameful record of spouting hateful rhetoric that demonizes immigrant mothers and attacks immigrant families. This newest attack is the same old story,” says Jessica González-Rojas, executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. “While NLIRH activists, allies, and many policymakers are gearing up to fix our nation’s broken immigration system, Representative King and the other sponsors of this legislation are instead trying to upend centuries of constitutional law to deny the rights of US-born citizens.”
The 14th amendment reads, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside,” and has been consistently interpreted by courts to protect birthright citizenship, regardless of the immigration status of one’s parents.
NLIRH, along with the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, form the Steering Committee of the National Coalition for Immigrant Women’s Rights, the leading national coalition focusing on women’s and gender issues in immigration policy and public discourse.
The Justice Department announced that it reached an agreement with Centerplate Inc., resolving allegations that the company violated the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
Centerplate, based in Spartanburg, S.C., is one of the largest hospitality companies in the world. With over 10,000 employees nationwide, Centerplate provides food service to over 250 stadiums, convention centers and entertainment venues across the country.
The Justice Department’s investigation was initiated based on a referral from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The department’s investigation concluded that, for at least the past three years, Centerplate engaged in a pattern or practice of treating work-eligible non-U.S. citizens differently from U.S. citizens during the employment eligibility verification processes, including E-Verify, by requiring specific documents issued by the Department of Homeland Security from non-U.S. citizens, while not making similar requests of U.S. citizens.
Under the terms of the agreement, Centerplate has agreed to pay $250,000 in civil penalties, the third highest amount paid through settlement since enactment of the INA’s anti-discrimination provision in 1986. Centerplate has also agreed to fully compensate any victims who lost wages as a result of Centerplate’s practices, undergo Justice Department training on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA, and be subject to monitoring of its employment eligibility verification practices for a period of three years.
The case settled prior to the Justice Department filing a complaint in this matter.
Some 35,000 people live in areas of Rio de Janeiro state that are prone to mudslides and other natural disasters as a result of heavy rains, an official report published Monday in the Brazilian daily O Globo said.
The study was prepared by the state Geological Service and says that 67 of Rio’s 92 municipalities are at serious risk of mudslides in mountains where for decades the building of housing has been permitted, legal or otherwise.
In those areas there are at least 11,849 buildings that are home to some 35,000 people, the study says, which identifies as the most “critical” districts several in Petropolis and Teresopolis, cities in a mountainous region that two years ago was the scene of a disaster caused by torrential rains that left close to 1,000 dead.
Heavy downpours, which are normal during the Southern Hemisphere summer, have already caused their first fatalities this year.
According to the latest official figures, at least three people died due to the intense rainfall last week in Duque de Caxias, a suburb of Rio de Janeiro city.
The rains and the flooding that followed destroyed dozens of homes and around 3,000 people have taken refuge in municipal shelters.
Almost half a century after beginning the struggle for their rights and despite some notable successes, Hispanics in this state are still facing serious difficulties, according to the leadership of the Colorado Latino Forum.
“We must continue with the process of assuring ourselves that Latinos have a voice in Colorado,” Polly Baca, the first Hispanic woman elected to the state Senate and a member of the CLF board of directors, told Efe.
“The work today is a continuation of the work begun in 1964 by LARASA (Latin American Research and Service Agency) to develop an agenda that includes all the issues important not only for us, but also for all other groups in Colorado, because we’re concerned about everyone,” she added.
Baca and 200 other Hispanic leaders met on the weekend at Metropolitan State University of Denver to participate in the CLF annual convention.
One of the main achievements of the Latino community in 2012 is the fact that in last November’s presidential election more than 338,000 Hispanic voters in Colorado went to the polls, a record number that represents 14 percent of the total ballots cast.
The state legislature now has 12 Latinos, four in the Senate and eight in the House of Representatives, the highest number in the last 25 years.
“The giant has awakened,” said businessman and CLF co-founder Gene Lucero. “Colorado is a model for the rest of the country.”
However, Hispanics still are facing numerous problems in different areas, including justice, economic development, education, health and immigration, according to the 2012 Snapshot of Colorado Latinos, prepared by the Colorado Latino Leadership, Advocacy & Research Organization.
The report indicates that the rate of imprisonment for Latinos is almost double that for whites and that poverty affects Latinos 2.5 times more than other groups.
“Our challenge is to eliminate all those disparities,” Lucero said.