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ThursdayJanuary 10, 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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President Chavez Supporters Flood into Venezuelan Capital

President Chavez Supporters Flood into Venezuelan Capital

Photo: President Chavez Supporters Flood into Venezuelan Capital

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Thousands of supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez flooded into central Caracas on Thursday to participate in a rally called by the governing PSUV to support the ailing leftist leader on the day he was supported to be sworn in for another term.

Starting early in the morning, people from across the Andean nation gathered near the presidential palace to shout slogans supporting the leader and the Supreme Court ruling that the inauguration could be delayed until Chavez recovers.

The 58-year-old head of state, who won another six-year term in the Oct. 7 election, remains hospitalized in Cuba four weeks after undergoing his fourth cancer surgery in 18 months.

The Venezuelan government says the president is battling “complications stemming from a severe lung infection” that developed after his Dec. 11 operation in Havana.

Venezuela’s Supreme Court said Wednesday that Chavez can delay his swearing-in without creating a constitutional vacuum and that Vice President Nicolas Maduro may remain head of the government during the president’s absence.

“Today the people are on the streets to ensure (respect for) our Constitution, our commander and our vote. We’re not voting so the opposition can rule, here the revolution and its people rules,” read a poster prepared by Rufina Sosa.

Near the gate of the presidential palace, Alis Bazan, a taxi driver who at first glance could almost pass for the president’s double in his trademark red shirt and beret, told Efe that he came from the central state of Carabobo to support Chavez.

Three Latin American presidents - Jose Mujica of Uruguay, Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua and Bolivia’s Evo Morales - traveled to Caracas for Thursday’s rally, while more than a dozen other nations sent their foreign ministers.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Salma Hayek to Return to NBC’s ‘30 Rock’’ for Series Finale

Salma Hayek to Return to NBC’s ‘30 Rock’’ for Series Finale

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Salma Hayek will reportedly be returning to NBC’s 30 Rock for the series finale later this month.

The Mexican actress appeared on the show in a number of episodes in season 3. Hayek played nurse Elisa, the woman Jack (Alec Baldwin) almost married despite learning she killed her husband after finding out he was cheating on her.

Other stars expected to appear in the finale are House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Julianne Moore, and Ice-T.

After seven seasons, 30 Rock, which also starred Tina Fey, Tracy Morgan, and Jane Krakowski, will end on January 31.

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30th Anniversary of Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act

30th Anniversary of Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act

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Next week marks the 30th anniversary of the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act.

This landmark legislation provides employment-related protections to migrant and seasonal agricultural workers and is administered and enforced by the department’s Wage and Hour Division. The law requires that, among other things, every non-exempt farm labor contractor, agricultural employer, and agricultural association must disclose the terms and conditions of employment to each migrant worker in writing at the time of recruitment and to each seasonal worker when employment is offered, in writing if requested.

The law also says each worker must be paid the wages owed when due and provided with an itemized statement of earnings and deductions. Employers also must ensure that housing, if provided, complies with substantive federal and state safety and health standards, and that each vehicle, if transportation is provided, meets applicable federal and state safety standards, with each driver properly licensed.

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Latino Blotter: Man Who Vandalized Picasso Painting in Museum Arrested at Border

Latino Blotter: Man Who Vandalized Picasso Painting in Museum Arrested at Border

Photo: Picasso Painting Vandalized, Houston

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Hidalgo International Bridge arrested a man wanted out of Houston, Texas for vandalizing a famous Picasso painting.

The arrest occurred on Tuesday afternoon at the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge when Uriel Landeros, age 21, a United States citizen from Edinburg, Texas arrived as a pedestrian and told CBP officers that he was turning himself in. Preliminary queries indicated that Landeros was a possible match to an arrest warrant.

According to the U.S. Marshals Service, Landeros faces an outstanding warrant for allegedly vandalizing a famous Picasso painting at a museum in Houston.

Picasso’s 1929 “Woman in a Red Armchair” was hanging in Houston’s Menil Collection when a witness, who was texting a friend, looked up and saw a man getting unusually close to the painting. Thinking quickly, the witness hit the camera button on his phone and began recording the bizarre and very quick incident.

The unidentified man, later ID as Landeros, managed to spray paint the word “conquista” - Spanish for “conquest” - across Picasso’s work before walking off.

Landeros was arrested and released to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service and subsequently taken to the Hidalgo County Jail where he will wait to be extradited to Houston.

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Spanish PM Rajoy Announces Spanish-Algerian Business Summit for March

Spanish PM Rajoy Announces Spanish-Algerian Business Summit for March

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Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced Thursday that business leaders from his country and Algeria will gather here in March for a summit to explore investment opportunities.

Rajoy mentioned the meeting in his statement at the close of the 5th High-Level Spanish-Algerian Meeting in Algiers, at which the two nations discussed economic and commercial relations.

There are many Spanish companies that are “prepared and able” and already doing business in Algeria, and that country’s government wants more firms to discover the advantages of operating there, the prime minister said.

He added that many of those Spanish firms are interested in bidding on government contracts in housing, energy and naval construction.

Rajoy said he had analyzed with Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika assorted matters on the international agenda, including the situations in Libya, Tunisia, Mauritania, Syria and Mali.

In that area, he stressed the common willingness to work together to resolve the problems in the region and to foster peace, coexistence and progress.

Thursday’s conference in Algiers will be a landmark in the “magnificent” relations between Spain and Algeria, Rajoy said.

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Heavy Snow Sends Northern Mexico into State of Emergency

Heavy Snow Sends Northern Mexico into State of Emergency

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The Mexican government declared a emergency in 21 municipalities in the northern state of Chihuahua due to heavy snow and a cold wave blamed for six deaths there.

Federal officials said that the measure, which was requested by the Chihuahua government, will allow authorities to access resources within the national emergency fund to cover food, clothing and health care needs among the affected population.

Salvador Echavarria Campos, a meteorologist with Chihuahua’s UEPC civil defense agency, said that the lowest temperature registered Thursday morning was minus 11 C (12 F) in the municipality of Bocoyna, in the state’s mountainous region.

On Tuesday, UEPC director Luis Lujan Peña confirmed that the snow had cut off some 150 communities in the Sierra Tarahumara mountains.

So far, official figures are that six people have died in Chihuahua and two others in the western state of Michoacan from causes linked to the low temperatures.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spain’s FC Barcelona Once Again Named Soccer Club of the Year

Spain’s FC Barcelona Once Again Named Soccer Club of the Year

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Spain’s FC Barcelona has once again been named soccer club of the year by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics, or IFFHS.

Barca, whose stars include Argentine great Lionel Messi and Spaniards Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez, has now won the voting on four occasions, having previously taken top honors in 1997, 2009 and 2011.

Other clubs that have won the IFFHS title more than once include Juventus, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Liverpool and Sevilla.

Five Spanish clubs finished in the top 12 of the voting, a reflection of the strength of the Spanish league’s first-division squads in 2012.

Barcelona beat out last year’s UEFA Champions League winners Chelsea by a 28-point margin, while Argentine club Boca Juniors and Spain’s Atletico Madrid finished in a tie for third.

Real Madrid finished seventh, just behind Champions League runner-up Bayern Munich, while Athletic Bilbao and Valencia came in 11th and 12th, respectively.

Sao Paulo club Corinthians, the reigning Copa Libertadores and FIFA Club World Cup champions, came in fifth in the voting.

Juventus was named the IFFHS club of the month for December.

Read more by HS News Staff →

5 Match Suspension for Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos

5 Match Suspension for Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos

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Spain’s soccer federation imposed a five-match suspension Thursday on Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos in the wake of his ejection from a Copa del Rey clash against Celta.

Besides the automatic one-game suspension for the expulsion, the defender will miss four other matches because of his abusive comments toward the officials at Wednesday’s game in Madrid, the federation said.

Ramos was thrown out in the 73rd minute after receiving a second yellow card.

The referee said in his incident report that before leaving the pitch, Ramos repeatedly called him a swine and accused him of showing bias against Real Madrid throughout the match.

Ramos directed similar insults to an assistant referee on the sideline, the chief official said.

The 26-year-old defender’s subsequent apologies on Twitter were insufficient to avoid the additional penalty, the federation said.

Ramos will be absent for both legs of Real Madrid’s Copa del Rey quarterfinal matchup with Valencia, as well as for three La Liga matches.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico’s Auto Production up 12.8% in 2012

Mexico’s Auto Production up 12.8% in 2012

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Mexico’s production of motor vehicles grew 12.8 percent last year to a record 2.88 million units as exports increased 9.9 percent to 2.35 million, also a new high, the AMIA industry association said Thursday.

The strength of the export sector compensated for slow sales at home, AMIA said.

The United States accounted for 63.9 percent of Mexico’s foreign sales of cars and light trucks, while another 15.5 percent went to Latin American nations.

Domestic vehicle sales were up 9 percent last year compared with 2011, but the total was 10.2 percent lower than in 2007 and only slightly better than that of 2002, AMIA said, decrying “a lost decade” for the Mexican auto market.

With sales yet to return to the volumes reached prior to the 2008 global financial crisis, “the domestic market is far below the level where it should be,” AMIA said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

TRAGIC: Man Run Over, Killed by Girlfriend Just After Learning They Were Expecting Child

TRAGIC: Man Run Over, Killed by Girlfriend Just After Learning They Were Expecting Child

Photo: Michael Santiago run over by girlfriend outside clinic where they learned they were pregnant

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A Chicago-area man is dead after being run over by his girlfriend outside a clinic, just moments after they learned they were going to have a child.

Michael Santiago and Arely Torres were leaving a Lawndale medical clinic at around 1:15 p.m. on Tuesday when witnesses say he was run over by Torres’ car.

Witnesses say Santiago was leaning into a Volkswagen’s open door talking to Torres who was behind the wheel when Torres suddenly accelerated. Santiago was hit by the open door and slammed into another car which knocked him to the ground. He was then somehow run over by the Volkswagen.

Santiago, 21, died. He and Torres, 19, had just left the clinic where they received confirmation that she was pregnant. His sister told the Chicago Tribune he was excited about becoming a father after they had their last pregnancy ended with a miscarriage.

Sadly, the Santiagos’ father died in April and Michael, a former member of the U.S. Air Force, was to walk his sister down the aisle next month at her wedding.

Torres was cited for driving too fast for conditions, and is expected in traffic court on February 1.

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Hispanic Health: Study Show Cognitive Benefits of Lifelong Bilingualism

Hispanic Health: Study Show Cognitive Benefits of Lifelong Bilingualism

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Seniors who have spoken two languages since childhood are faster than single-language speakers at switching from one task to another, according to a study published in the January 9 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience. Compared to their monolingual peers, lifelong bilinguals also show different patterns of brain activity when making the switch, the study found.

The findings suggest the value of regular stimulating mental activity across the lifetime. As people age, cognitive flexibility — the ability to adapt to unfamiliar or unexpected circumstances — and related “executive” functions decline. Recent studies suggest lifelong bilingualism may reduce this decline — a boost that may stem from the experience of constantly switching between languages. However, how brain activity differs between older bilinguals and monolinguals was previously unclear.

In the current study, Brian T. Gold, PhD, and colleagues at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to compare the brain activity of healthy bilingual seniors (ages 60-68) with that of healthy monolingual seniors as they completed a task that tested their cognitive flexibility. The researchers found that both groups performed the task accurately. However, bilingual seniors were faster at completing the task than their monolingual peers despite expending less energy in the frontal cortex — an area known to be involved in task switching.

The researchers also measured the brain activity of younger bilingual and monolingual adults while they performed the cognitive flexibility task.

Overall, the young adults were faster than the seniors at performing the task. Being bilingual did not affect task performance or brain activity in the young participants. In contrast, older bilinguals performed the task faster than their monolingual peers and expended less energy in the frontal parts of their brain.

Read more by HS News Staff →

1 in 4 New NYPD Recruits is Hispanic

1 in 4 New NYPD Recruits is Hispanic

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Twenty-seven-and-a-half percent of the recruits sworn in at the New York Police Academy on Thursday are Hispanic.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and police Commissioner Raymond Kelly presided at the swearing in ceremony for the 830 recruits who will complete their training and graduate next summer.

Non-Hispanic whites make up 49 percent of the 830 recruits, while 13 percent are African Americans and 10 percent are Asian, according to the press release issued by the mayor’s office.

Bloomberg emphasized during the ceremony that the city had just completed the safest decade in its history, according to crime statistics, “and I have no doubt that this group, as diverse as the city they serve, will help to continue improving” upon that record.

He noted that last year the work of the police resulted in the city having the lowest number of murders by firearms in two decades, along with a decrease in shootouts registered in the Big Apple.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Former Model’s Rear Disfigured by Costa Rican “Plastic Surgeon”

Former Model’s Rear Disfigured by Costa Rican “Plastic Surgeon”

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A former model is suing the Costa Rican doctor she says caused severe deformities to her butt.

The doctor, who only had his last name released (Vargas Scott) reportedly performed an “aesthetic procedure” on the unnamed model not from Costa Rica to give her a shapelier rear.

Vargas Scott, who lawyers say is not a plastic surgeon, injected 700 cubic centimeters of liquid silicon, known as PMMA biopolymer, into her buttocks on Sept. 19, 2011. The model says she felt immediate discomfort when Vargas Scott began the procedure. Vargas Scott told her it would take awhile for any swelling to go down and for everything to settle. Within days, she says she was unable to sit, walk, or lay down comfortably and was in constant and immense pain.

She was left with painful swelling and bruises, and the PMMA formed “a sort of capsule on her lower back.” She returned to Vargas Scott two months later, and he removed some of the PMMA. However, the pain did not subside and she was instead left with even more pain.

The model returned to her home, which is outside Costa Rica, but return in January of 2012. For some reason, the woman allowed Vargas Scott to injest another 75 cubic centimeters of PMMA in each side and recommended she take a number of medications for the pain.

The woman eventually consulted medical professionals who informed her that the PMMA she had been injected with was in fact very bad for her health.

She quickly flew to Mexico where she checked into Los Angeles de las Lomas Hospital in Valle las Palmas, Huixquilucan, where she was told she would need reconstructive surgery to her buttocks to repair the damage that had been done. The process would cost around $100,000 and take five months.

The model has now filed a lawsuit against Vargas Scott and during the investigation presented a number of documents and 7 witnesses.

A psychological evaluation found she is now severely depressed, and suffers from anxiety and serious self-esteem issues.

A similar experience was recently had by Mexican singer Alejandra Guzman. The singer was also injected with PMMA and spent a number of weeks recovering in the hospital, the very same hospital the model underwent treatment.

Vargas Scott is being investigated by the Public Ministry’s Unit of Crimes Against Life.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Argentina Celebrates Return of Navy Ship From Ghana

Argentina Celebrates Return of Navy Ship From Ghana

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The Argentine government threw a big party to welcome home a navy vessel that was seized in Ghana last year at the request of a hedge fund seeking full repayment on defaulted debt.

Several thousand people, including supporters of President Cristina Fernandez’s Front for Victory alliance, government officials and relatives of crew members of the ARA Libertad, gathered at the seaside resort of Mar del Plata for the celebration, which featured an air show, music and fireworks.

Fernandez railed against vulture funds that have refused to accept a steep haircut on the sovereign bonds that Argentina defaulted on a decade ago, calling them “veritable social predators.”

“We’re a government used to suffering external, internal or global pressure. We’re going to keep resisting,” said the president, who was repeatedly interrupted by shouts of “fatherland, yes; colony, no.”

The navy frigate, which is being used as a training vessel, sailed up and down the coast for several hours so the thousands gathered on the beaches of Mar del Plata - about 400 kilometers (250 miles) south of Buenos Aires - could see it.

The ARA Libertad on Wednesday culminated its longest-ever training voyage, which began on June 2 in Buenos Aires and took it to ports in Brazil, Suriname, Guyana, Venezuela, Portugal, Spain, Morocco and Senegal before it was seized in Ghana.

The ship was impounded in that West African country in early October when a court there granted an injunction by Cayman Islands-based hedge fund NML Capital Ltd., which is seeking to fully collect on some $284 million in unpaid bonds, plus interest.

That amount represents a small portion of Argentina’s roughly $93 billion sovereign-debt default in 2001-2002, when the country was mired in one of the steepest economic crises in its history.

But the Hamburg, Germany-based International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea ruled on Dec. 15 that the ship must be released immediately, accepting Argentina’s argument that the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea prohibits military vessels like the Libertad from being seized.

The vast majority of Argentina’s creditors eventually agreed to accept roughly 30 cents on the dollar for the defaulted bonds, but some holdouts, including NML Capital, remain.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latin America News:  Mexico’s First Lady Will Head Social Welfare Institute

Latin America News:  Mexico’s First Lady Will Head Social Welfare Institute

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Mexican first lady Angelica Rivera will chair the Citizen’s Consultative Council of the National System for the Comprehensive Development of the Family, or DIF, President Enrique Peña Nieto’s office said.

Laura Vargas Carrillo, the wife of Government Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio Chong, in turn, will be the general director of DIF.

These appointments depart from the tradition according to which the first lady has headed the DIF, a public institution for social assistance among the activities of which is promoting family planning, child care, assistance to the elderly and the fight against drug abuse.

Laura Vargas is a lawyer who has served as the general director of the DIF-Hidalgo system and as president of the DIF Foundation.

Angelica Rivera is an actress with an extensive career who in November 2010 married Peña Nieto, then the governor of Mexico state.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Lakers Lose 5th Consecutive - Gasol, Howard Still Out as Team Loses to Spurs

Lakers Lose 5th Consecutive  - Gasol, Howard Still Out as Team Loses to Spurs

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The Los Angeles Lakers’ downward spiral continued against the well-oiled San Antonio Spurs, who held off a late rally by the visiting team for a 108-105 victory.

The Lakers played close against one of the NBA’s top teams on Wednesday night despite the absence of injured big men Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol, but that was little consolation for a team that came into the season with championship aspirations but now finds itself with a 15-20 record after its fifth straight defeat.

Los Angeles trailed by nine at halftime at the AT&T Center in San Antonio and that lead widened to 17 points in the third quarter on a basket by Tony Parker, but the Lakers chipped away at the deficit and got to within three in the closing moments.

Kobe Bryant had a chance to tie the game with time winding down, but his 3-pointer was off the mark as the Spurs got the win to run their record to 28-10 overall and 15-2 at home.

Parker led San Antonio with 24 points on an efficient 10-of-16 from the field, while sixth-man Manu Ginobili added 19 points and eight rebounds.

Kawhi Leonard also made a big contribution, scoring 11 points and playing tough defense on Bryant, who scored a game-high 27 points but misfired on 14 of his 24 field-goal attempts.

Metta World Peace scored 23 points for the Lakers and Earl Clark helped fill his team’s void in the middle by scoring 22 points and grabbing 13 rebounds in a losing effort.

High expectations surround the Lakers this season after the offseason acquisitions of Howard, a three-time defensive player of the year who is out with a torn labrum in his right shoulder, and Steve Nash, a two-time league MVP who also missed time earlier in the season due to a leg injury.

The team struggled out of the gates under then-head coach Mike Brown, briefly got on track under interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff, and has suffered from injuries and poor play again since Mike D’Antoni took the reins in late November.

Following their latest loss, the Lakers are now 10-15 with D’Antoni on the sidelines.

In other action on a busy Wednesday night in the NBA, the Toronto Raptors routed the Philadelphia 76ers 90-72, the Utah Jazz topped the Charlotte Bobcats 112-102, the Cleveland Cavaliers cruised past the Atlanta Hawks 99-83, and the Boston Celtics defeated the Phoenix Suns 87-79.

The Milwaukee Bucks surprised the Chicago Bulls 104-96, the Oklahoma City Thunder trounced the Minnesota Timberwolves 106-84, the New Orleans Hornets rallied for an 88-79 win over the Houston Rockets, the Denver Nuggets edged the Orlando Magic 108-105, the L.A. Clippers defeated the Dallas Mavericks 99-93, and the Memphis Grizzlies topped the Golden State Warriors 94-87.

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Blog del Narco: Cross Dresser Kidnapped and Murdered in Nuevo Leon

Blog del Narco: Cross Dresser Kidnapped and Murdered in Nuevo Leon

Photo: Cross Dresser Killed in Nuevo Leon

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The manager of a bar that was kidnapped last night by an armed group in Montemorelos and was found murdered this morning.

Daniel Mendoza Ricardo Macias, 23, nicknamed “The Daniela”, was dressed as a woman, was taken from the bar at Mountain Avenue Cemetery, in the Barrio Lerdo de Tejada.

Gunmen forcibly removed him and took him away in the trunk of a car that was a white Altima.

Around 7:30 pm, police received a report that there was a dead person dressed as a woman and a white Altima car in a gap of the community of La Palma, about 200 meters west of the Highway.

Arriving police confirmed that it was Mendoza Macias, who was stabbed to death.

Read more in Spanish at Blog del Narco

Narco News in English here

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EU Must Adopt Minimum Wage, Says Eurogroup

EU Must Adopt Minimum Wage, Says Eurogroup

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The EU should adopt a minimum wage and other measures of solidarity to ensure that the European Union’s “social dimension” does not disappear amid a bloc-wide austerity drive, Eurogroup President Jean-Claude Juncker said Thursday.

“It is indispensable to agree on a European legal minimum wage,” the Luxembourg prime minister told the Economic Committee of the European Parliament.

Without such a step, he said, the EU “will lose the support of Europe’s working class.”

“The social dimension of the European Union is the bastard child of the economic and monetary union, but we must maintain it ... and talk about it in concrete, not abstract, terms,” Juncker said.

Seventeen of the 27 EU member-states have adopted the euro.

While people were promised that the single currency would bring improvement in living standards, what they have gotten instead is higher unemployment, the Eurogroup chief said.

Unemployment in the eurozone reached a record 11.8 percent in November.

Two euro countries that have been pressed to adopt austerity policies, Spain and Greece, are suffering jobless rates above 25 percent.

“I would have liked for us to have established a system of compensation for all the countries that are making those efforts that have been demanded from Brussels,” Juncker said.

After serving as Eurogroup president since 2005, Juncker plans to step down later this month. Most observers expect the position to go to Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem.

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Chilean Man Trying to Do Acrobatics on Tower is Electrocuted, Killed (VIDEO)

Chilean Man Trying to Do Acrobatics on Tower is Electrocuted, Killed (VIDEO)

Photo: Chilean Man Trying to Do Acrobatics on Power Line is Electrocuted, Killed

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A Chilean man died after he attempted to perform acrobatic stunts on power lines earlier this week.

Identified only as Miguel, the man was reportedly on drugs when he climbed an electrical pylon on Tuesday in the capital city of Santiago.

Witnesses watched in horror as the man scaled the structure at around 4 p.m.. Firefighters tried to coax him down for more than half an hour and even placed an airbag on the ground below him in case he fell.

While up on the pylon, Miguel began swinging on the beams and barely remained balanced. The growing crowd below watched as the swinging man’s legs hit one of the cables and he was electrocuted and died instantly.

His contact with the wire also caused an explosion which set fire to two nearby houses.

His neighbors told police they had never seen him attempt stunts like this before, and say it was definitely a result of the drugs he had taken.

A witness caught the man’s horrific death on video.

CAUTION: Video contains graphic footage (death).

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Prehispanic Teotihuacans Exhumed Dead and Used Make-Up in After-Death Rituals

Prehispanic Teotihuacans Exhumed Dead and Used Make-Up in After-Death Rituals

Photo: Teotihuacans After-Death Rituals

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In collaboration with the National University of Mexico, a team of Spanish researchers has analysed for the first time remains of cosmetics in the graves of prehispanic civilisations on the American continent. In the case of the Teotihuacans, these cosmetics were used as part of the after-death ritual to honour their city’s most important people.

A research team from the Polytechnic University of Valencia and the University of Valencia has studied various funerary samples found in urns in the Teotihuacan archaeological site (Mexico) that date from between 200 and 500 AD.

The scientists have been researching Mayan wall paintings in Mexico and Guatemala since 2006. Published in the ‘Journal of Archaeological Science’, this project came about after contact on various occasions with other researchers in the area, namely the National University of Mexico, who wanted to know the composition and function of the cosmetics found in pots.

In these rituals the high priest of the city would conduct a ceremony in the dwelling of the most noble of citizens (nobility, princes and kings). The reason for this is that unlike today where graves are located in special places, in those days the deceased were buried underneath the floor of their homes.

Teotihuacan is one of the most important and most visited archaeological sites in Mexico thanks to its close location to Mexico City and its spectacular great Mayan pyramid.

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Projections Show Latin American Consumer Market to Reach 661 million People in 2025

Projections Show Latin American Consumer Market to Reach 661 million People in 2025

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Mega Trends are transformative, global forces that define the future world with their far reaching impact on business, societies, economies, cultures and personal lives. In the last decade, Latin America has shown tremendous growth supported by the strong macroeconomic reforms implemented during the 1990s.

Global Information (GII) highlights a report below covering 12 mega trends for the Latin America region with potential scenarios and the implications of these trends.

The future expansion of Latin America’s consumer market means increased opportunities in the Latin American consumer finance. The region is also witnessing a dramatic rise in the number of high net worth individuals (HNWIs), particularly in Brazil.

Mega Trends in Latin America

In addition to strong fiscal reform, external demand for the significant wealth of Latin America’s natural resources has pushed the region to the frontiers of development. This report identifies Mega Trends that will create new growth opportunities and increase the region’s growth over the next decade. At the core of these trends that will define the future consumer market of Latin America is its projected 661 million people and combined GDP of almost $15.14 trillion in 2025.

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STUDY:  Hispanics Leery of Health Care Providers, Avoiding Cancer Screenings

When researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center and colleagues conducted a random telephone survey among blacks, whites and Hispanics in New York, Baltimore and San Juan, Puerto Rico, they found that Hispanics are nearly twice as likely to report that fear of being used as a “guinea pig” and lack of trust in medical professionals contribute in being unwilling to participate in cancer screenings.

The researchers concluded that health care providers need to do a better job of instilling trust and dispelling certain fears, particularly among Hispanics, to improve cancer screening rates for lower-income minorities.

The study appeared in a supplement in the November issue of the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved.

According to the authors, the reasons for disparities in cancer screening behavior have been less apparent for minorities than for others, and few studies have aimed at understanding why.

Noncollege-educated individuals with less than a high school education or diploma were found to be twice as likely as college graduates to fear embarrassment during screening.

Screening offers opportunities for early detection, diagnosis and treatment. Given the disparities in cancer screening utilization and the adverse health implications of such disparities, it is critical to understand the factors contributing to the problem, said the authors.

The researchers added that communication can be especially difficult where there are language barriers, yet improving patient-provider communication “holds tremendous promise because it offers one of the more readily changeable contributors to cancer screening adherence.”

The survey included responses from 355 blacks in New York and Baltimore, 311 Hispanics in San Juan and New York, and 482 whites in New York and Baltimore. They cities were chosen, said the authors, to ensure a wide geographic and racial/ethnic representation. The participants were 18 to 94 with incomes between less than $20,000 to more than $75,000 per year. Almost 40 percent has some or completed their high school education. College graduates or those with “some college” accounted for 46 percent of respondents.

The authors noted that their survey did not take into account respondents’ health insurance status or the race or ethnicity of the respondent’s health care provider.

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Chile’s ‘No’ Makes Final Oscars Cut, Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film

Chile’s ‘No’ Makes Final Oscars Cut, Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film

Photo: Chile's 'No' Makes Final Oscars Cut, Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film

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Chile’s No, starring Gael Garcia Bernal, has made the final cut, and is officially a Oscar nominee in the Foreign Film category.

In 1988, due to international pressure, Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, is forced to call for a referendum to decide his permanence in power. The country will vote “YES” or “NO” to Pinochet extending his rule for another eight years. The leaders of the opposition persuade a young daring advertising executive - René Saavedra - to head their campaign. Against all odds, with scant resources and under scrutiny by the despot’s minions, Saavedra and his team devise an audacious plan to win the election and set Chile free.

No is up against Austria’s Amour, Norway’s Kon-Tiki, Denmark’s A Royal Affair, and Canada’s War Witch.

Notable nominations in other categories:

- Paco Delgado – Costume Design for Les Misérables
- Inocente for Documentary Short
- Searching for Sugar Man for Documentary Feature


Argo, which is based on the true story of the 1980 joint CIA-Canadian secret operation to extract six fugitive American diplomatic personnel out of revolutionary Iran, led by Tony Mendez has been nominated for a number of awards, including:

- Best Picture
- Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Alan Arkin)
- Film Editing (William Goldenberg)
- Music – Original Score (Alexandre Desplat)
- Sound Editing (Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van der Ryn)
- Sound Mixing (John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Jose Antonio Garcia)
- Writing – Adapted Screenplay (Chris Terrio)

Surprisingly, Javier Bardem did not receive a nomination for his role in the latest James Bond feature Skyfall, which is also up for a number of awards.


See the full list of nominees here.

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No Oscar Nomination for Javier Bardem in ‘Skyfall’

No Oscar Nomination for Javier Bardem in ‘Skyfall’

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Spain’s Javier Bardem will not be in the running for a best supporting actor Oscar in the 85th Academy Awards, whose nominations were unveiled on Thursday.

The 43-year-old Bardem, who was seeking his fourth Oscar nod, was overlooked in favor of Tommy Lee Jones (“Lincoln”), Christoph Waltz (“Django Unchained”), Philip Seymour Hoffman (“The Master”), Robert De Niro (“Silver Linings Playbook”) and Alan Arkin (“Argo”).

Bardem was nominated in previous years for best actor for his roles in Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu’s “Biutiful” and Julian Schnabel’s “Before Night Falls.” He also took home the best supporting actor Oscar for his role as a sociopathic hit man in the Coen brothers’ “No Country for Old Men.”

Bardem, who played cyber-terrorist Raoul Silva in “Skyfall,” the latest installment in the James Bond saga, has been nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award and Britain’s Bafta award for that same role.

Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” topped this year’s Oscar nominations with 12, including best picture, best actor (Daniel Day-Lewis), best director (Spielberg), best supporting actress (Sally Field), best supporting actor (Tommy Lee Jones), and best adapted screenplay (Tony Kushner).

The other best picture nominees were “Life of Pi,” “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “Amour,” “Argo,” “Django Unchained,” “Zero Dark Thirty,” “Silver Linings Playbook” and “Les Miserables.”

The nominations were announced Thursday by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in an event at its Beverly Hills, California, headquarters.

The Academy Awards ceremony will take place on Feb. 24 at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles.

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STUDY:  Wage Gap Exists In States with Large Latina Workforces

STUDY:  Wage Gap Exists In States with Large Latina Workforces

Photo: Pay Gap for Working Latinas

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According to a study conducted by the National Partnership for Women & Families Latinas are suffering from a pervasive gender-based wage gap in the very states where the majority of them work. Of these states, Texas and California have the largest populations of employed Latinas – and they are paid just 59 cents and 60 cents, respectively, for every dollar paid to men in the states.

In the 20 states with the largest number of Latinas who work full time, year round, the wage gap ranges from 51 and 68 cents for every dollar paid to men in those states.

Nationally, Latinas are paid just 60 cents for every dollar paid to all men. That amounts to a loss of $19,182 each year. In general, women of color fare worse than women overall, who are paid 77 cents for every dollar paid to all men – or $11,084 less per year.

According to the new analysis, eliminating the national wage gap would mean that Latinas and their families would have enough money for nearly three years’ worth of food, 5,743 gallons of gas, nearly two years of rent, more than one year of mortgage and utilities payments, or almost five years of family health insurance premiums. The loss of these basic necessities can be especially punishing during tough economic times, and it adds up over a lifetime.

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care, and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family.

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North Carolina Haults Issuance of Driver’s Licenses for DREAMers

North Carolina Haults Issuance of Driver’s Licenses for DREAMers

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The North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles temporarily suspended issuing driver’s licenses to the undocumented young people who have received a reprieve from deportation under the federal Deferred Action program.

The program is aimed at the people meant to benefit from the long-stalled DREAM Act, which provides a path to legalization for certain undocumented people who were brought to the United States as children.

DMV is not processing driver’s licenses for the Deferred Action beneficiaries “until (U.S.) Citizenship and Immigration Services defines what documents are acceptable as proof of legal residence in the country,” spokesperson Margarett Howell told Efe Wednesday.

When consulted by Efe, however, Homeland Security Department spokesperson Steve Blando said “the states, and not the federal government, decide whom to authorize driver’s licenses for.”

“All this confusion and change of policy in the North Carolina DMV is occurring when the new administration of the department by incoming Republican Gov. Pat McCrory is beginning,” said Jose Rico, a member of the NC DREAM Team.

It is calculated that of the 51,000 DREAMers in North Carolina who could benefit from Deferred Action, just 13,000 have applied.

“Here they’re passing the ball among the departments and we’re going to investigate more in depth about what’s happening with the licenses and the students with Deferred Action,” said Viridiana Martinez, the founder of the NC DREAM Team.

In August, the DMV’s Howell told McClatchy Newspapers that people who have qualified for Deferred Action would be eligible for driver’s licenses.

But the rule change in North Carolina is still not clear and organizations like the ACLU have begun monitoring the situation.

Four states - Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska and Arizona - have decided not to issue driver’s licenses to Deferred Action beneficiaries.

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Cristiano Ronaldo Leads Real Madrid to Copa del Rey Quarterfinals

Cristiano Ronaldo Leads Real Madrid to Copa del Rey Quarterfinals

Photo: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)

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Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat trick powered Real Madrid to a 4-0 victory in Madrid Wednesday over Celta to set up a clash with Valencia in the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey.

Celta won the first leg in Vigo by a score of 2-1, but the visitors saw their advantage quickly erased thanks to goals by Ronaldo in the 3rd and 25th minutes, much to the delight of the more than 60,000 fans in the Bernabeu.

Even so, it was not all smooth sailing for Real Madrid, who had to play down a man after Sergio Ramos was expelled in the 73rd minute on a double-yellow card.

In other Copa play on Wednesday, Sevilla fell 2-1 at home to Mallorca, but advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-2 advantage on aggregate.

Sevilla will next face Real Zaragoza, who beat Levante 2-0 Wednesday after winning 1-0 in the first leg.

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Mexican Olympian Noe Hernandez Says He Targeted When Shot at Nightclub

Mexican Olympian Noe Hernandez Says He Targeted When Shot at Nightclub

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Mexican Olympic medalist Noe Hernandez said Wednesday that the gunshot wound to the head he suffered at a nightclub late last month was not accidental.

“They wanted to attack me or something like that because the shot was almost, almost planned,” Hernandez told Televisa’s Primero Noticias morning news show about the Dec. 30 attack at a metropolitan Mexico City bar that also left two dead and one other person wounded.

Hernandez lost his left eye and nearly all vision in his right eye in the attack and underwent reconstructive surgery in which surgeons inserted seven metal plates into his head.

The former track athlete, a silver medalist at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, said the assailants directly threatened him because “when they put a gun to your head they want to kill someone.”

Hernandez told Televisa that he felt watched and that he believes the attackers did not come upon him by chance at the bar on the outskirts of the Mexican capital.

The former race walker said he has lost all sight in his left eye and has just minimal vision in his right eye that allows him to see shadows and shapes.

The 34-year-old, a sports official in the Mexico City metropolitan area, said he recalls that he went alone to the bar but cannot remember any other details of the attack.

Hernandez finished second to Poland’s Robert Korzeniowski in the 20-kilometer race walk in Sydney and recorded his personal-best time of 1:18:14 in that same event at the 2003 IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Saint-Denis, France.

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Brazil Loses 1600 Prisoners After Letting Them Leave for the Holidays & Expecting Their Return

Brazil Loses 1600 Prisoners After Letting Them Leave for the Holidays & Expecting Their Return

Photo: Brazil Loses 1600 Prisoners After Letting Them Leave for the Holidays & Expecting Their Return

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Nearly 1,600 Brazilian inmates who received holiday furloughs have not returned to their prisons, the state-run Agencia Brasil reported Wednesday.

The number represents 5.93 percent of the 26,486 prisoners who were given furloughs for good behavior in the states of Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Espirito Santo, as well as in the Federal District of Brasilia.

The representative for the National Council for Criminal and Prison Policy, Davi Tangerino, said that many of the prisoners now considered “fugitives” might return to the prisons in the coming days, but some of them had traveled to other states where they live and had transportation problems.

Tangerino said that if the fugitives are recaptured they will have to serve the rest of their sentences without any possibility for additional furloughs.

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Juanes, Miguel Bose Plan Third ‘Peace Without Borders’ Concert

Juanes, Miguel Bose Plan Third ‘Peace Without Borders’ Concert

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Singers Miguel Bose and Juanes met with Jose Antonio Abreu, founder of Venezuela’s National System of Youth and Children’s Orchestras, to discuss plans for holding the third Peace Without Borders concert in Caracas.

The two international stars will visit the headquarters of the award-winning “System,” as it is known, again next month to work out additional details, a spokesman for the Simon Bolivar Musical Foundation told Efe.

“We are very impressed with all this,” Juanes said of Abreu’s organization, Caracas daily El Nacional reported.

Bose said he and Juanes expect to bring together “15 artists representative of Europe and Latin America” for the third edition of the Peace Without Borders concert, according to the newspaper.

The concert is also to feature the System’s Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra and acclaimed Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel.

The first Peace Without Borders concert took place in 2008 on the Colombia-Venezuela border, while the second was staged the following year in Havana.

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Latin America News:  VZ Supreme Court Endorses Delaying Hugo Chavez Inauguration

Latin America News:  VZ Supreme Court Endorses Delaying Hugo Chavez Inauguration

Photo: Hugo Chavez Delayed Inauguration

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Venezuela’s Supreme Court endorsed on Wednesday the government’s position that ailing President Hugo Chavez can delay his swearing-in for another term without creating a constitutional vacuum.

The 58-year-old head of state, who won another term in the Oct. 7 election, remains hospitalized in Cuba four weeks after undergoing his fourth cancer surgery in 18 months.

“Despite the beginning of a new constitutional period on Jan. 10, a new oath-taking is not necessary in relation to President Hugo Chavez in his condition as a re-elected president,” Supreme Court Chief Justice Luisa Estella Morales told reporters.

The high court’s opinion supports the Chavez administration’s view that under Article 231 of the Venezuelan Constitution, the president may be sworn-in by the Supreme Court at a later date.

Chavez’s aides officially confirmed on Tuesday that he would not be present for the scheduled inauguration.

“The executive branch constituted by the president, vice president, the ministers and the other organs and officials of the administration will continue fully exercising their functions based on the principle of administrative continuity,” Morales said Wednesday, implicitly rejecting opposition claims that Chavez’s failure to take the oath would make his government illegitimate.

The chief justice also dismissed the opposition’s contention that the clock should start Thursday on the 180-day maximum period during which Vice President Nicolas Maduro can serve as acting president before having to call fresh elections.

Chavez traveled to Cuba with permission from the National Assembly and that authorization was renewed on Tuesday, Morales pointed out.

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.

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Spain Wants Lenient Treatment for Angel Carromero on His Vehicular Manslaughter Charges

Spain Wants Lenient Treatment for Angel Carromero on His Vehicular Manslaughter Charges

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The treatment board of a prison in the north-central Spanish province of Segovia has proposed that Angel Carromero, who was extradited from Cuba after being convicted there of vehicular manslaughter, be granted open-regime, or semi-free, status.

Sources with the General Secretariat of Penitentiary Institutions told Efe Thursday that the prison where the Spaniard is serving out his sentence made the proposal and that the secretariat will issue its final decision on Friday.

Carromero, a leader of the youth wing of Spain’s governing conservative Popular Party, is serving a four-year sentence handed down by a Cuban court for a July 2012 car accident in which prominent Cuban dissident Osvaldo Paya and another opponent of the island’s communist government were killed.

The proposal states that Carromero meets the requirements of open-regime status, citing his family ties in Spain, the type of crime committed, his conduct while in prison and the fact he is employed.

The Madrid municipal government announced that if Carromero is granted open-regime status he can return to his workplace in a district of the Spanish capital.

Prisoners with “semi-free” status can enjoy privileges such as only spending the night behind bars and being granted authorized leave on weekends.

The Spaniard, Swedish citizen Jens Aron Modig, Paya and fellow dissident Harold Cepero were on their way from the Cuban capital to the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba in a rented car on July 22 when the accident happened.

The vehicle, with Carromero at the wheel, ran off the road and crashed near Bayamo, about 800 kilometers (500 miles) east of Havana.

Paya and Cepero died, while Carromero and Modig suffered relatively minor injuries.

Cuban authorities blamed the accident on excessive speed and the driver’s failure to heed warning signs about road construction. They say the car was going 120 kph (nearly 75 mph) along a stretch of highway where the speed limit was 60 kph (around 37 mph).

The activist was sent back to Spain on Dec. 29 and since then has been held at the prison in Segovia.

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Opposition Figure Oscar Elias Biscet Presents Democracy Manifesto

Opposition Figure Oscar Elias Biscet Presents Democracy Manifesto

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Cuban opposition figure Oscar Elias Biscet on Wednesday presented a manifesto on which he intends to collect signatures to promote a move toward democracy on the Communist-ruled island.

Accompanied by about a dozen dissidents, Biscet read the document at an appearance before international media where he demanded a “total change” in Cuba because “the people are tired of tyranny.”

The manifesto claims that Cuba’s current constitution, parliament and government are illegitimate.

It also demands that the legal system be based on principles such as popular sovereignty, a government based on the consent of the governed, guarantees for basic human rights and free and transparent elections.

“We have seen over more years than we care to remember how the communist regime has not conceded an atom of freedom and has rigidly and arbitrarily resisted any change that would guarantee a dignified life for our people. No other alternative remains to us except for ... non-violent political challenge to make the freedom of our people a reality,” the document said.

The initiative is called Proyecto Emilia, in remembrance of Emilia Teurbe Tolon, who embroidered the first Cuban flag in the mid-19th century.

Biscet, a physician and veteran human rights activist, was among the “Group of 75” dissidents jailed amid a harsh crackdown in March 2003.

He was released in March 2011 during the process to free political prisoners undertaken by Raul Castro’s government after mediation by the Catholic Church.

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ThursdayJanuary 10, 2013