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WednesdayJanuary 16, 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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LATINO BLOTTER: Father, Son Given Long-Term Sentences for Racist Attacks

LATINO BLOTTER: Father, Son Given Long-Term Sentences for Racist Attacks

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A father and son in California have been handed long prison sentences for their series of attacks on black victims.

Santiago Rios, 48, and his son, Louie, 22, have been sentenced a combined total of just under 30 years in federal prison for their part in multiple attacks on blacks as well as defacing property with racist graffiti.

The father and son were not the only ones involved in attempting to rid Azusa, Calif. of its black population, however, as 49 other members of their Southern California gang were also convicted.

The gang, known as Azusa 13, told recruits that to join the gang they had to attack black people and try to force them out of the city.

Santiago “Chico” Rios was said to be a leader in Azusa 13 and was a “proponent of the racial cleansing of the city of Azusa.” The father also admitted to being involved with “every significant aspect of the gang’s activities.” He was sentenced to 19 years and 7 months in prison after he pleading guilty to a number of charges against him. He was also said to be taking orders from the Mexican Mafia.

His son, Louie “Lil Chico” Rios, who is hearing-impaired and had to use a sign language interpreter during court proceedings, was given a 10-year sentence.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican Olympian Noe Hernandez Dies 2 Weeks After Shooting

Mexican Olympian Noe Hernandez Dies 2 Weeks After Shooting

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Mexican former track star and Olympic silver medalist Noe Hernandez died Wednesday after going into cardiac arrest, two and a half weeks after being shot in the head at a nightclub, the Mexican Athletics Federation told Efe. He was 34.

Hernandez, who died at a hospital in metropolitan Mexico City, lost his left eye and suffered severe damage to his right eye in the Dec. 30 attack at a bar in this capital.

The former race walker had been released from Mexico City’s Neurotrauma Clinic eight days ago and was convalescing at his home when he went into cardiac arrest.

Hernandez said last week that the incident at the nightspot was not accidental.

“They wanted to attack me or something like that because the shot was almost, almost planned,” he told Televisa’s Primero Noticias morning news show about the attack that also left two dead and one other person wounded.

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

Hernandez, who was working as a sports official in the Mexico City metropolitan area, said he recalls that he went alone to the bar but could not remember any other details of the attack.

He finished a surprise 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.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Shelter in Mexico Gives Disabled, Abused Dogs a Safe, Caring Home

Shelter in Mexico Gives Disabled, Abused Dogs a Safe, Caring Home

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A dog sanctuary in Mexico is the first of its kind as it provides troubled canines with a safe and loving home.

Milagros Caninos (Miracle Dogs) is a sanctuary in Mexico City that takes in abused, elderly, terminally ill, and disabled dogs.

Dog lover Patricia Ruiz created the cage-free shelter after her beloved dachshund passed away. Recognizing that animals are more than just pets around the house, Ruiz sought to share her belief that dogs should know love, respect and somewhere to call home. Ruiz began adopting in-need dogs and quickly realized that in helping dogs, people could be helped as well.

ImageMany who work at Milagros are those with Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy, and others like street children and the elderly. In helping care for the dogs these people are loved in return by their furry friends. As they care for the animals that make an important point: everyone have a place and can be useful to society.

Aside from those getting a sort of therapy from the dogs, the sanctuary is also worked by volunteers and professionals skilled in veterinary medicine.

The dogs at Milagros are separated into a number of areas to better care for them:

-Disabled dogs
-Abused/tortured dogs
-Elderly dogs
-Dogs with cancer

Though many of the dogs will (happily) live the rest of their lives in the sanctuary, some are available for adoption. However, dogs with cancer or expensive to treat health problems are not up for adoption. While the dogs are carefully watched, the potential adopters are also studied to ensure that none of the dogs will suffer once they leave.

Click here to learn how you can help these special dogs and their home, Milagros Caninos.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Smugglers’ Strategy: Abandon Dope ( Border Patrol Seizes $2.2 Million in Pot)

Smugglers’ Strategy: Abandon Dope ( Border Patrol Seizes $2.2 Million in Pot)

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Ajo Station agents seized 4,585 pounds of abandoned marijuana during three separate incidents in the West Desert yesterday.

Ajo Station agents assigned to the all-terrain unit were patrolling near Why, Ariz., Monday morning when they discovered an abandoned Chevy Suburban loaded with 85 bundles of marijuana. The drugs weighed approximately 1,724 pounds with an estimated value of $862,000.

Later in the day, agents spotted vehicle tire tracks heading off-road. After following the tracks to a wash, they discovered an abandoned 2003 Chevy Tahoe loaded with 66 bundles of marijuana weighing approximately 1,340 pounds and valued at $670,000.

Ajo agents working near Pia Oik village last night located another abandoned 2003 Chevy Tahoe concealed in the dense brush. Inside, they found 76 bundles of marijuana weighing 1,521 pounds worth approximately $760,500.

In all cases, the vehicles and narcotics were transported to Ajo Station and will be turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Frustrated smugglers often abandon their contraband in hopes of eluding apprehension and subsequent prosecution.

Customs and Border Protection welcomes assistance from the community. Citizens can report suspicious activity to the Border Patrol by calling (877) 872-7435 toll free. All calls will be answered and remain anonymous.Image

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Pieces of Spanish Ship Ulpiano Surface 142 Years after Sinking

Pieces of Spanish Ship Ulpiano Surface 142 Years after Sinking

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The North Sea has released several pieces of historic flotsam that have washed up along the German coast on the island of Suederoog, including the Spanish ship Ulpiano, which ran aground at Christmas 1870, the press reported Wednesday.

The small cargo ship’s iron hull is almost completely visible at low tide, the Schleswig Holsteinischer Zeitungsverlag reported on its Web site.

The Ulpiano ran aground 142 years ago on a sand bar near the island of Suederoog after being trapped in the sea ice in one of the harshest winters ever registered in the North Sea.

The vessel’s 12-man crew was able to abandon ship on Christmas Day 1870 aboard a lifeboat and they were rescued shortly thereafter by the residents of the small island, who treated them “like sons and not like shipwrecked sailors,” said Hans Joachim Kuehn, director emeritus of the Archaeological Institute of the German region of Schleswig Holstein.

Along with the Ulpiano, the North Sea also released nearby the remains of a cargo sailing ship from the early 18th century, as well as other vessels that still remain to be identified.

The sandbar near Suederoog Island is one of the largest along the Frisian coast, a region that since 1600 has registered more than 800 shipwrecks.

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Mexican Boxer “Chucho” Castillo Dies at 67

Mexican Boxer “Chucho” Castillo Dies at 67

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Mexican boxer Jesus “Chucho” Castillo, a one-time world bantamweight champion best known for his rivalry with countryman Ruben Olivares, has died. He was 67.

Castillo passed away Tuesday afternoon in Mexico City due to complications following gastric surgery, prompting the World Boxing Council to declare three days of mourning in his honor.

The holder of the WBC and WBA bantamweight crowns in the early 1970s, Castillo never lost a fight by knockout and had a career record of 42-18 with two draws.

He fought of series of three fights at the Forum in Inglewood, California, between 1970 and 1971 against Olivares - a member of the Boxing Hall of Fame - that forever linked the two pugilists.

In their first bout on April 18, 1970, Olivares defeated Castillo by decision to successfully defend his WBC and WBA crowns, while in the second - on Oct. 16, 1970 - Castillo won by technical knockout in the 14th round to hand his opponent his first-ever defeat in 62 fights.

In the April 2, 1971, rubber match, Olivares won back his titles with a 15-round decision.

Castillo’s other main rivals included Japan’s Seiichi Watanuki, Nicaragua’s Vicente Blanco and American Danny Lopez.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Florida Governor Confesses to Returning Dog Adopted During Campaign

Florida Governor Confesses to Returning Dog Adopted During Campaign

Photo: Gov. Rick Scott (Michael Egger - Tampa Tribune)

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Shortly after taking the oath of office in January 2011, Florida Gov. Rick Scott returned a dog he had adopted while he was campaigning, something that became known this week and sparked criticism and jokes on the Internet and in the local press.

Not long after he became a candidate in 2010, the Republican politician announced that his family had decided to adopt a Labrador and even asked via the social networks for the public to help select a name for him. Eventually he was named Reagan.

The last time anything was heard of the pooch was a day before Scott was sworn in as governor of Florida, in January 2011, when he was last seen walking the animal.

This week the daily Tampa Bay Times decided to ask Scott directly regarding the whereabouts of the dog, after trying fruitlessly to obtain a response from his press office.

Scott told the newspaper that Reagan would not stop barking and that he was not very sociable, and although he never bit anyone, he scared people who were around him, especially those who were carrying things in their hands, and so the family returned him shortly after they moved into the official governor’s residence.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Number of Foreigners in Spain Drops for First Time in 15 Years

Number of Foreigners in Spain Drops for First Time in 15 Years

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The number of foreigners registered in Spain at the beginning of January 2012 fell for the first time in the last 15 years, official figures released Wednesday show.

A total of 5,736,258 people of foreign origin were registered in Spain on Jan. 1, 2012, a figure that was 15,229 fewer than in 2011.

Spain - according to National Statistics Institute, or INE, figures - had a total population of 47,265,321 on that date, almost 75,000 more than in January 2011, when there were 47,190,493 people living in the Iberian nation.

Although Spain’s total population has not stopped growing over the past 15 years, this time the number of foreigners did not continue the trend shown since 1998, the year in which 637,085 registered foreigners were counted out of a total population of 39,852,651.

The decline amounts to 0.3 percent with respect to the year before.

By country of nationality, Romanian citizens constitute the most numerous foreign group in Spain with 897,203, followed by Moroccans with 788,563, Britons with 397,892, Ecuadorians with 308,174 and Colombians with 246,345.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Archaeologists Find Dozen Mayan Burial Sites Near Chichen Itza

Archaeologists Find Dozen Mayan Burial Sites Near Chichen Itza

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Mexican archaeologists have found a dozen Mayan burial sites dating back more than 1,200 years at the Xtojil site, located some 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Chichen Itza in the Yucatan Peninsula, the National Anthropology and History Institute, or INAH, said.

Most of the skeletal remains were discovered in lithic tombs known as “cistas” (rectangular caskets protected and covered by stone slabs) that also contained some 30 ceramic pieces, two of which have hieroglyphs, the INAH said in a statement.

The find was made during excavation work to expand a highway in that region, the INAH said.

The tombs were placed between 600-800 A.D., prior to Chichen Itza’s emergence as a great ceremonial and political hub in the northern part of the peninsula.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Sundance 2013: Peru’s “The Companion” Showing in Shorts Catagory

Sundance 2013: Peru’s “The Companion” Showing in Shorts Catagory

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The Sundance Film Festival, which gets underway this week in Park City, Utah, once again will provide a platform for independent filmmakers to showcase their creations and sign contracts for the theatrical distribution and video-on-demand rights to their works.

The fest, which runs from Thursday to Jan. 27, will screen 119 feature-length films - 27 of them in competition - from 32 countries, including the work of 51 first-time directors.

Those films were selected from among 12,146 titles submitted for consideration.

Robert Redford, president and founder of the Sundance Institute, said “every great film starts with an idea, and it is a testament to artists that they continually find new ideas, new stories, new points of view and new ways of sharing them, year after year.”

One of the films sure to get people talking at this year’s festival will be the biopic “jOBS,” which was chosen as the closing-night feature.

The film starring Ashton Kutcher about late American businessman and Apple Inc. founder Steve Jobs will premiere in the United States in April after being picked up by U.S. independent film distribution company Open Road Films.

The Shorts Competition at this year’s Sundance includes the Peruvian film “The Companion,” which tells the story of a young prostitute who tends to his father, a fallen-from-grace artisan; and “A Story for the Modlins,” a Spanish film that was nominated for a Goya award.

Box-office hits discovered at past Sundance festivals include “Sex, Lies and Videotape,” “Maria Full of Grace,” “An Inconvenient Truth,” “Little Miss Sunshine,” “Napoleon Dynamite,” and the recent “Precious,” “Winter’s Bone,” “Animal Kingdom” and “Beasts of the Southern Wild.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Hispanic Brand Uses Old Process to Produce Authentic Cigars

Hispanic Brand Uses Old Process to Produce Authentic Cigars

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A group of Hispanics in southeastern Texas is selling handmade Cuban-style cigars that have been increasing in popularity thanks to a old manufacturing process that is being maintained in the United States.

Manny Lopez, originally from Havana, more than six years ago started the small El Cubano Cigars factory in League City, south of Houston, where he makes and sells cigars made with different types of imported tobacco leaves coming from various parts of Latin America.

“Although tobacco can’t be imported from Cuba because it’s prohibited by the U.S. embargo on the island, the seed being planted in Central and South America is clearly Cuban,” Lopez told Efe.

“The manufacturing process for the cigars is also performed by specialized personnel born in Cuba and with many years of experience, between 40 and 50 years for each one ‘binding’ the tobacco leaves,” Lopez said.

The businessman produces in his factory more than 200,000 Cuban-style cigars annually and is one of just two providers in the state of Texas who, besides selling his product all over the United States, also hires “twisters” or cigar makers with special experience and skill in preparing the smokes.

The cigars made by El Cubano Cigars are prepared using the same methods that were used in earlier times in Cuba and not the way they are made nowadays, which has put much emphasis on increased production, but of lesser quality, Lopez said.

“We have 18 different leaves - but in reality there are five classes of tobacco that are used - in each one of the cigars,” Lopez said.

Lopez purchases the leaves in several Latin American countries, including Colombia, Peru and Honduras, but the best ones currently - and for a number of years now - come from the valleys of Ecuador where Cuban seeds are used.

Read more by HS News Staff →

US Citizen Robbed then Shot Dead in Santo Domingo

US Citizen Robbed then Shot Dead in Santo Domingo

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El Nacional reports that a US citizen, Sandra Valente, 37 who was staying at the Quinto Centenario hotel in Santo Domingo, was shot dead while eating dinner with her Dominican husband Ramon Dario Reyes Figuereo, aged 41, in La Barrica restaurant in the Ozama area in Santo Domingo East on Monday, 14 January.

The police said that when Reyes Figuereo went to the bathroom, the perpetrator, Kelvin Junior Hernandez, 34, also known as Barbita, approached Valente and attempted to steal her gold necklace. He then shot her in the head and the arm and she died later that night in the Dario Contreras hospital.

Hernandez was caught shortly afterwards by the police who recovered both the revolver and the gold necklace. Apparently he has a criminal record and is also known for robbing and assaulting several people along Sabana Larga and Venezuela Avenues and has also broken into cars in the same area.

Read more by HS News Staff →

School Re-Named to Honor Victoria Soto - Hero Teacher Killed at Sandy Hook

School Re-Named to Honor Victoria Soto - Hero Teacher Killed at Sandy Hook

Photo: Victoria Soto used her body to shield her students from gun fire at Sandy Hook

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A school near the now tragically famous Sandy Hook Elementary School is being renamed to honor one of the teachers killed in the massacre last month.

HoneySpot Elementary School in Stratford, Connecticut will be named after Victoria Soto, the 27-year-old teacher who died trying to shield her young students from the gunman.

On Monday, Mayor John Harkins’ name-change recommendation was approved. Monday was also the one-month anniversary of the terrible shooting which claimed the lives of 20 children and 6 members of the school staff.

Soto graduated from Stratford High School. As the recommendation was approved, those in attendance gave a standing ovation. HoneySpot will now be named Victoria Soto School.

A petition is now going around to have a street named after the first grade teacher as well.

On Friday, December 14, as the gunman opened fire in the school, Soto ushered her students into a closet. When the horrific incident was over, Soto was found huddled over her students, having used her body as a shield between the shooter and the children.

“She loved those students more than anything,” Carlee Soto, her sister told Today. “She didn’t call them her students; she called them her kids.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican Lawmakers to Submit Bill To Tackle States’ Excessive Borrowing

Mexican Lawmakers to Submit Bill To Tackle States’ Excessive Borrowing

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Mexico’s federal government will submit a bill in February aimed at getting the fiscal houses of states and municipalities in order, Finance Secretary Luis Videgaray said.

He told the media that the federal government cannot bail out indebted states and municipalities because no budget provision exists for that purpose and such an action would set an undesirable precedent.

But due to the urgency of the matter, a bill addressing excessive borrowing by state and local governments will be presented next month, Videgaray said.

He recalled that President Enrique Peña Nieto, who took office on Dec. 1, pledged that a bill restricting the ability of states and municipalities to run up public debt would be one of his administration’s first 13 initiatives.

The issue of fiscal responsibility also was included in the so-called Pact for Mexico signed early last month by Peña Nieto, of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, and leaders of the country’s two other main political parties: the conservative National Action Party, or PAN, and the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution, or PRD.

In a radio interview Tuesday, Videgaray said not all Mexican states and municipalities have run up excessive debt but that “those cases of excess that put the country’s economic and financial stability at risk cannot keep occurring.”

According to the Finance Secretariat, the overall debt of states and municipalities has risen from roughly 1.7 percent of Mexico’s gross domestic product in 2008 to 2.8 percent of GDP in 2011.

The total debt of Mexico’s states and municipalities stood at 406.8 billion pesos (roughly $32.1 billion at the current exchange rate) on Sept. 30, 2012.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latin America News:  Ecuador Oil Production Increases by Nearly 3 Percent

Latin America News:  Ecuador Oil Production Increases by Nearly 3 Percent

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Ecuador increased its oil production by 2.9 percent in the third quarter of 2012, compared to the same period a year earlier, to an average of 508,800 barrels per day (bpd), the Central Bank said.

Ecuador, a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, produced 499,900 bpd in the April-June 2012 period.

The Andean nation’s refineries processed 13.8 million barrels of petroleum during the third quarter of 2012, down 6.3 percent from the second quarter.

Ecuador exported 32.9 million barrels of crude worth about $3.13 billion in the third quarter of 2012, with the average price per barrel at $95, thanks to the rise in oil prices, the Central Bank said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Charlie Sheen is Going to be a Grandfather! (VIDEO)

Charlie Sheen is Going to be a Grandfather! (VIDEO)

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During a Monday taping of The Late Show with David Letterman, Charlie Sheen confirmed that he will soon be a grandfather.

Sheen’s eldest daughter, Cassandra Estevez, is from his relationship with his high school girlfriend.

The former star of Two and a Half Men confirmed his 28-year-old daughter’s pregnancy after ex-wife Denise Richards tweeted:


Sheen has 5 children, Cassandra; Sam, 8, Lola, 7, with Richards; and 3-year-old twin boys Bob and Max with Brooke Mueller.

When asked about being a first-time grandfather, Sheen told Letterman he was excited but admittedly a bit nervous.

“Me as a grandfather, Dave. I don’t know. It’s like the world’s going to crack in half. It’s fabulous. It’s just not a title I’m ready to adopt.”

While appearing on the show, Sheen seemed a much less crazed person than he was in 2011, when he admits he had a meltdown or rather, a “meltforward.”

Watch part of his appearance here.

 

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Mexican Officials Implement Diet Regimen for Overweight Police

Mexican Officials Implement Diet Regimen for Overweight Police

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Forty percent of the police officers in Ciudad Juarez, a border city in northern Mexico, are obese and at least 80 percent are overweight, prompting officials to put them on diets.

The city’s health department and police department have started a program to help officers lose weight and fight obesity, with all members of the law enforcement agency, from the police chief to cadets at the police academy, included, officials said.

Officers are given a medical examination, provided with the results and put on a diet, and they must exercise, police spokesman Adrian Sanchez told Efe.

“After the exams are done and depending on the results, they will be given an exercise routine and a diet that they must follow,” the police spokesman said.

Six of the 1,800 active-duty officers employed by the department suffer from morbid obesity, which can kill, Ciudad Juarez health department chief Dr. Ariel Diaz de Leon said.

Even though the program is mandatory, the officer who sheds the most pounds will get a prize of 15,000 pesos (about $1,200), officials said.

Ciudad Juarez, located across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, had the dubious distinction for many years of being Mexico’s murder capital.

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Televisa Deportes Reporter Jorge “Chori” Lopez Dies in Small Plane Crash

Televisa Deportes Reporter Jorge “Chori” Lopez Dies in Small Plane Crash

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A Televisa sportscaster and his American pilot died when their small plane crashed in Cozumel, an Island in Mexico’s Caribbean region, while performing stunts, emergency management officials said.

Jorge “Chori” Lopez Vives, who worked for Televisa Deportes, and pilot Fred Cabanas died when the stunt plane manufactured by American Champion Aircraft Corporation went down, Cozumel emergency management chief Rudy Erosa Navarrete told Efe.

Cabanas and Lopez Vives were working on a show about extreme sports that was to be broadcast in the next few days, officials said.

The pilot, known for his dangerous acrobatic maneuvers, was one of the most experienced stunt flyers in the United States.

The accident occurred around 5:00 p.m. Tuesday and the wreckage ended up about 40 meters (130 feet) from the runway.

The wreckage of the plane, which was registered in El Salvador, was turned over to the Civil Aviation Board, which will investigate the cause of the crash.

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Rice University: No Panaceas for Mexico’s Violent Drug War, but Prohibition has Failed

Rice University: No Panaceas for Mexico’s Violent Drug War, but Prohibition has Failed

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While Mexico and the United States have ramped up their efforts to control and perhaps defeat Mexico’s increasingly violent drug cartels, the outcome of these efforts remains in doubt and no panaceas are in sight, but prohibition has once again proved to be a failure, according to a paper from Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. 

The paper by Rice sociologist William Martin, “Cartels, Corruption and Carnage in the Calderón Era,” traces the origins and growth of Mexican drug cartels and the corruption, failed government policies and gruesome violence that accompanied their rise. Martin is the Baker Institute’s Harry and Hazel Chavanne Senior Fellow in Religion and Public Policy.

“An observer with deep ties and personal experience in both the United States and Mexico compared the conflict among the cartels and between the cartels and the government to a sporting event,” Martin said. “Spectators in both the government and the public may keep score as individual contests are won or lost and as teams move up or down in the standings, but regardless of the treasure expended and the damage done, drugs will still be desired, provided and sold. And as long as societies and their governments treat drug use as a crime rather than as a matter of public health, the deadly game will continue, season after season.”

ImageMartin’s analysis places a special focus on efforts and developments during former Mexican President Felipe Calderón’s term from December 2006 to November 2012. Despite Calderón’s drawing on the force of the Mexican military, his war on the cartels appeared to have exacerbated the violence, Martin said.

To reverse course, Martin recommends that the Mexican government work to shift from a mindset of war to one of crime fighting and to reduce the role of the military while strengthening that of the police. “It must continue to build and reinforce professional civil service, law enforcement and judicial systems, from local to federal levels, with effective measures to prevent, identify, check, prosecute and punish corruption and violation of the rights of citizens,” he said. “This will involve improvement in pay, higher educational requirements, vigilant screening and continuing reinforcement of appropriate values and attitudes. Obviously, this is a mammoth and daunting task. The United States can offer assistance, but most of this work will have to be done by Mexicans.”

In addition, Martin said both countries must work to improve educational and employment opportunities so that young people in particular do not turn to drugs and crime because they have abandoned hope of achieving a meaningful life by legal means.

“Finally, both countries, in dialogue with other nations in the hemisphere, in Europe and elsewhere, should examine the drug policies and programs of other countries to consider viable alternatives to a policy of strict prohibition,” he said. “A growing number of countries have adopted such policies, either officially or de facto. Usage rates have generally remained stable, without an increase in problems popularly associated with the drugs in question. Equally notable, the quite high usage rates in the United States persist despite some of the harshest penalties in the world. Looking with an open mind at alternative systems should help dispel the fear that any change to current policies will lead to catastrophe.”

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Pemex Prepares to Lay Off 15,000 in Mexico

State-owned oil giant Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, plans to cut at least 15,000 jobs as part of a reorganization, press reports said.

Pemex currently has 111,000 career employees and 27,000 other workers appointed to positions and “whose number doubled in the past six years,” the El Universal newspaper reported.

Pemex representatives contacted by Efe did not comment on the press reports.

The job cuts will affect more than half of the appointed employees at Latin America’s largest corporation, the newspaper said.

El Universal did not say when the job cuts would occur, but it said the focus would be on “administrative positions.”

The goal is to eliminate duplication of functions and make the oil giant more efficient, the newspaper said.

The leftist opposition Party of the Democratic Revolution, or PRD, presented a plan on Monday to reform and modernize Pemex by increasing investment in the oil giant and giving it more financial and management autonomy.

Pemex, the world’s No. 4 oil producer with output of about 2.5 million barrels per day, is the biggest contributor to Mexico’s Treasury.

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inPERU Road Show arrives in Chicago to Highlight Opportunities in Peru

inPERU Road Show arrives in Chicago to Highlight Opportunities in Peru

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Fresh off of successful road shows in London and Hong Kong, inPERU, a non-profit association made up of government and financial entities whose main goal is to promote investment opportunities in Peru, continues its U.S. tour. On Wednesday, Jan. 30, the inPERU Road Show arrives in Chicago for its second stop in its US three-city tour – including stops in New York City and San Francisco.

The following delegation members will be speaking on why Peru offers unique and attractive opportunities for international investors:
·      Peruvian Foreign Trade and Tourism Minister José Luis Silva

·      Peruvian Minister of Economy and Finance Luis Miguel Castilla

·      Peruvian Central Bank President Julio Velarde

·      Chariman of inPERU Roberto Hoyle

·      Vice Chairman of inPERU José Antonio Blanco


There will be one-on-one interview opportunities available throughout the day along with various seminars.


As you may know, Peru has made recent headlines regarding projected growth of its economy and tourism:
·      Peru’s economy likely grew 6.3 percent in 2012, according to Finance Minister Luis Miguel Castilla, faster than official estimates and likely the quickest expansion in South America as domestic demand surges.

·      Peru is aiming to attract 6 million tourists by 2016. In 2012, he said, Peru saw 2.9 million tourists, who generated $3.3 billion in revenue for the country’s tourism industry.

·      Peruvian exports are expected to recover and reach levels achieved in 2011, according to Peru’s Trade and Tourism minister, Jose Luis Silva. The optimistic forecast is based on the recovery expected in the European and U.S. economies, Silva said. Peru’s exports will likely grow 5% this year on the back of a recovery in foreign demand, Peruvian Finance Minister Luis Miguel Castilla said Friday, and non-traditional exports (agriculture like grapes) will be up 9%.

·      Peru, the world’s second-largest copper producer after Chile, reported exports of about $46 billion in 2011. The private-sector association Adex expects exports to decline to almost $44 billion this year as a result of lower mineral shipments. Mining represents about 10% of Peru’s gross domestic product, 30% of government revenue and 60% of total exports. Copper is the country’s main export and, in 2011, accounted for about 20% of total shipments. Copper production, which reached 1.24 million tons in 2011, is expected to double by 2017, Mr. Castilla added. In 2012, the Mines and Energy Ministry expects copper output to have increased 7.8% to 1.33 million tons. The mining sector’s expansion has increased demand for energy, but supply isn’t growing at the same pace. Like many other emerging-market, export-based countries, Peru is facing a strong local currency versus the greenback that is hurting exporters, particularly those outside the mining sector.

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In-State Tuition Legislation for Undocumented Students Gets Its 7th Try in Colorado

In-State Tuition Legislation for Undocumented Students Gets Its 7th Try in Colorado

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Advocates for in-state tuition for undocumented students in Colorado are hoping that the seventh time is the charm.  The current bill introduced to the state’s legislature calls for students that have graduated from local public high schools or have attended school in the state for at least three years to qualify for in-state discounted tuition rates even if they are undocumented.

The bill in some form or another has come before legislators six times before in the last six years.  Advocates are confident of victory this time since Democrats control both the Senate and House in the state.  Most Colorado Republicans remain opposed to the measure. 

Advocates held a press conference yesterday announcing the introduction of Senate Bill 13-033 formally known as the ‘Advancing Students for a Stronger Economy Tomorrow’ (ASSET).  The bill has 31 prime and cosponsors from both state houses and they are all Democrats.  The Mayor of Denver, Michael Hancock, is also a supporter.

If the measure is successful, Colorado would join California, Maryland and Texas that provide some form of in-state tuition support for undocumented students. 

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Spanish Prime Minister Urges Germany to Adopt Stiumlus

Spanish Prime Minister Urges Germany to Adopt Stiumlus

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Germany and the other creditor nations in the Eurozone should take action to stimulate economic growth, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said in an interview with Britain’s Financial Times.

“I think that in this moment, when there is a need for growth, those who are able to implement growth policies should do it,” the premier said.

“What is clear is that you cannot ask Spain to adopt expansionary policies at this time. But those countries that can, should,” Rajoy added.

The prime minister suggested that only a new crisis in the markets would prompt Spain to resort to the European Central Bank’s Outright Monetary Transactions program, under which the ECB would be authorized to buy Spanish bonds in the secondary market as a way of pushing down interest rates.

“The option is there, and it would be absurd to rule it out for all time. But at this point we believe that it is not necessary,” Rajoy told the FT.

He also discounted the need for additional Eurozone assistance to Spain’s troubled banking sector.

The European Stability Mechanism transferred to Spain last month the equivalent of 39.5 billion euros ($51 billion) to recapitalize four nationalized banks and help fund a “bad bank” set up to absorb toxic assets.

“I am absolutely convinced that Spanish financial institutions will not require any more funds than were given already,” Rajoy said, evincing similar confidence in Spain’s economic prospects.

“2014 will be a year of economic growth and growth in jobs, and the second half of 2013 will also be a bit better, as long as there are no turbulences in the financial markets,” he said.

Acknowledging that unemployment - now above 26 percent - is Spain’s biggest problem, the prime minister said the latest data indicate job losses are concentrated in the real estate, financial and public sectors.

“But in other sectors of the economy jobs have not been lost. So the labor reform has started to bear fruit,” Rajoy said.

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Oscar Nominee Bradley Cooper Will Bring Mother to Awards

Oscar Nominee Bradley Cooper Will Bring Mother to Awards

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Bradley Cooper has gone in just a few years from being just another handsome actor in box office hits like “The Hangover” to being nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor for his role in “Silver Linings Playbook.”

“I will take my mother to the Oscars and I will enjoy every second of the ceremony,” Cooper said in an interview with Efe.

Cooper heads into the Oscars ceremony on Feb. 24 as one of the nominees but not as a favorite.

“I’m in the clouds ... not just over competing with Daniel Day Lewis, but also Denzel Washington, Joaquin Phoenix, Hugh Jackman ... and I believe I forgot one,” the actor said.

Cooper, who admitted that Daniel Day Lewis was his favorite actor, said he still could not believe he was in such esteemed company.

The actor, who starred in “Limitless” and “The A-Team,” took his career in a new direction with the role of Pat Solitano, a young man who is released from a psychiatric institution after attacking his wife’s lover and vows to change his life.

“I hope this film helps take away the stigma from mental illness,” Cooper said.

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All Signs Point in the Same Direction: Immigration Reform in 2013

All Signs Point in the Same Direction: Immigration Reform in 2013

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New developments in the immigration debate offer fresh evidence that immigration reform that creates a roadmap to citizenship for 11 million immigrants is going to be a top priority in 2013.

Among the key developments:

White House Gears Up:  A front-page piece from Julia Preston in the Sunday New York Times states that, “President Obama plans to push Congress to move quickly in the coming months on an ambitious overhaul of the immigration system that would include a path to citizenship for most of the 11 million illegal immigrants in the country.”  Notably, the article highlights that the White House and key legislative champions in Congress view full citizenship as a non-negotiable component of the eventual reform and will reject attempts for a piecemeal, provision-by-provision fix.  The article also threw cold water on the recent Beltway speculation that immigration reform would be pushed off of center stage by other notable issue priorities.  Preston quotes Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) saying, “This is so important now to both parties that neither the fiscal cliff nor guns will get in the way.”

Senator Rubio’s Speaks Up: In an interview with the Wall Street Journal published over the weekend, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) made an important contribution to the upcoming legislative debate by unveiling a welcome set of principles.  While the principles are general and how these principles get detailed matters a great deal, the basic elements he includes – a path to citizenship for those here without papers, reforms of our legal immigration system and a workable employment verification system – are consistent with the kind of reform favored by Democrats.  If he convinces other congressional and Senate Republicans to back his principles, the chances for reform this year will go up even more.

The Movement Stands Up: This past Thursday, ICE Agents raided the home of prominent Arizona-based DREAM Act activist Erika Andiola and arrested her mother and older brother.  This generated a huge mobilization and outcry from online and offline activists and led to her family being released on Friday.  As the New York Times described, “The reaction offered the Obama administration a taste of what it might expect when it gets into the thick of the debate over an immigration overhaul, which Congress is expected to tackle this year.”

Labor Stands Together; Evangelicals Show Up:  A Talking Points Memo article by Benjy Sarlin highlights how the U.S. labor movement is now fully engaged and united behind commons sense immigration reform and is preparing to deploy its organizing muscle to get it across the finish line.  In addition, a CNN.com story shows that evangelicals across the political spectrum are prepared for a major grassroots push to help enact good legislation, viewing immigration reform as “a moral imperative.”

Reform Opponents Resort to Same Old, Same Old: Meanwhile, anti-reform policymakers seem to be stuck using old and irrelevant talking points.  Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) stated last week that he remains opposed to a larger reform effort, saying “people need to know we’ve done everything we can do to secure the border.”  According to Jordan Fabian of ABC/Univision, Senator Cornyn went so far as to raise the specter of 9/11, noting that “the ‘porous’ border could leave the U.S. ‘vulnerable to the sorts of attacks that we sustained on 9/11.’” Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) pledged opposition to “amnesty of any kind” and called instead for the status quo of “working to secure our borders and enforce existing immigration law.”  The “border security first” talking point has long been a favorite excuse of Republican policymakers for obstructing real reform.  Yet a recent study from the Migration Policy Institute demonstrates that we spend more on immigration enforcement than all other federal law enforcement agencies combined, and most experts agree that illegal immigration into the United States is currently net zero.

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice Education Fund, “This weekend’s developments show why we are optimistic about reform in 2013.  Democrats have promised it, Republicans need it and our movement is prepared to deliver it.”

Read more at Americas Voice Online →

Lynching in Guatemala Condemned by Catholic Church

Lynching in Guatemala Condemned by Catholic Church

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His Exc. Mgr. Mario Enrique Rios Mont, CM, Apostolic Administrator of the Apostolic Vicariate of Izabal in Guatemala, has strongly condemned the behavior of the community of Puerto Barrios, that lynched two thieves caught stealing after they had been arrested for theft and the next day released.

“This attitude is contrary to the law of God that clearly says not to kill,” says the Bishop’s text, sent to Fides Agency. “The Vicariate is engaged in the permanent Continental Mission - he continues - so hopefully this period is an opportunity for repentance and conversion for a better quality of personal, family and social life. One cannot live a worthy life killing his brother.”

According to local media, the story dates back to last year when two people were stopped by the community of Puerto Barrios and handed over to the police for stealing in the area. For unknown reasons, these people were released the next day. Despite the warnings of the community, they committed the crime again this time beating up a local merchant, so the crowd took the law into their own hands.

More than 600 lynchings have taken place in Guatemala since the 1996 signing of peace accords that ended the country’s 36-year civil war.

The absence of police in isolated communities and pervasive distrust of the judicial system are the main reasons for the rising number of lynchings in the country, experts say.

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Prince Felipe: Now is the Time to Invest in Spain

Prince Felipe: Now is the Time to Invest in Spain

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Crown Prince Felipe told international investors on Tuesday that now is the “best time” to take advantage of business opportunities that are opening up in Spain as the Iberian nation adopts the necessary measures to resume growing economically.

“We’re facing the problems ... (and) our economy’s needs for transformation,” he said at the opening of Spain Investors Day in Madrid.

“Of course, it’s an enormous and also delicate task that needs the participation of society and public and private institutions,” the prince said.

The two-day event gathers together a significant number of entities from all over the world along with Spain’s main companies.

Prince Felipe listed among the strengths of the Spanish economy the growth of competitiveness and the diversification of exports.

In addition, he noted that the Spanish market represents a quarter of the eurozone with 47 million consumers and that it receives more than 57 million tourists annually.

Spain also offers access to 1.3 billion consumers thanks to its geographic location and its historical and cultural links with many countries around the world.

Spanish firms in sectors such as infrastructure, energy, textiles and finance are among the leading companies in the world, the prince emphasized.

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Lakers Turn Around Losing Streak With Consecutive Wins

Lakers Turn Around Losing Streak With Consecutive Wins

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Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard set the tone on both ends of the court for the Los Angeles Lakers in a comfortable 104-88 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks at Staples Center.

Bryant, who has now scored 20 or more points in 22 straight games, ended Tuesday night’s contest with 31 points on an efficient 12-of-19 from the field and six assists, while Howard dominated the paint to the tune of 31 points and 16 rebounds.

The pair also led the way on defense as the Lakers improved their record to 17-21.

Bryant hounded the Bucks’ star point guard, Brandon Jennings, throughout the game, holding him to just 12 points on 4-of-14 shooting. Howard, meanwhile, made his defensive presence felt with four blocked shots

Another key to the game was the Lakers’ ball movement, as head coach Mike D’Antoni’s squad finished the first quarter with 10 assists and the first half with 21.

The Bucks battled back after an early 23-11 deficit to take a 44-41 lead in the second quarter, but the Lakers ended the half on a 16-6 run thanks to the 3-point shooting of Antawn Jamison and good shot selection by Bryant.

While the Lakers’ starters dominated the action on both sides of the floor, Los Angeles’ play dropped off sharply when the reserves took the court, giving up sizable leads in both the first and second halves and proving unable to contain Jennings and backcourt mate Monta Ellis.

But thanks in large part to the outstanding play of Bryant and Howard, the Lakers turned a slim 69-67 third-quarter lead into a 20-point blowout midway through the fourth quarter.

Ellis led the way for the Bucks, whose record fell to 19-18.

The win - D’Antoni’s 400th in his career - was the Lakers’ second in a row after six straight losses and gives the team some momentum heading into Thursday’s showdown at Staples Center against the defending champion Miami Heat.

High expectations surround the Lakers this season after the offseason acquisitions of Howard, a three-time defensive player of the year who was out earlier this month with a torn labrum in his right shoulder, and point guard 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 D’Antoni took the reins in late November.

Power forward Pau Gasol, a key part of the Lakers’ championships in 2009 and 2010, is still out with a concussion.

In other NBA action Tuesday night, the New Orleans Hornets defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 111-99, the Indiana Pacers routed the Charlotte Bobcats 103-76, the Brooklyn Nets edged the Toronto Raptors 113-106, the Los Angeles Clippers topped the Houston Rockets 117-109, and the Denver Nuggets outlasted the Portland Trail Blazers 115-111 in overtime.

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Ken Salazar to Step Down as Interior Secretary

Ken Salazar to Step Down as Interior Secretary

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The Denver Post is reporting that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is stepping down from his position by the end of March and returning to his native Colorado.

The former Colorado senator began his term as U.S. Interior Secretary in 2008.  To his credit Salazar has overseen the creation of seven new national parks in the country and ten new wildlife refuges.  His most difficult days were overseeing one of the country’s biggest environmental disasters, the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon well that resulted in 53,000 gallons of oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico.

Salazar, 57, has called for more National American Latino historical landmarks.  In 2011, he announced four new Latino-themed National Historic landmark nominations he believed deserved to be included in the National Register of Historic Places or included as national parks or historic landmarks.

Salazar is the latest Obama administration member to announce their retirement.  Thus far Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta, and Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis have announced they are stepping down from their posts. 

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Monarch Butterfly Used as Symbol for Immigration in Chicago Art Exhibit

Monarch Butterfly Used as Symbol for Immigration in Chicago Art Exhibit

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“Viajeras” (Travelers), an art exhibit that will open here this week, tries to make a connection between the long southbound migrations of Monarch butterflies to their winter home in Mexico and the Mexican immigrants who travel to the United States to find work, and thereby survive.

The exhibit, sponsored by the Pintoras Mexicanas (Mexican Painters) collective, will open on Friday at the Casa Michoacan in Chicago’s mainly Latino Pilsen neighborhood and consists of 75 interpretations of Monarch butterflies.

“The exhibition (deals with) the issue of migration and is a project that artist Hector Duarte invited us to participate in some time ago,” Alma Dominguez, the founder of Pintoras Mexicanas, told Efe.

Dominguez said that her group includes 260 painters living in Mexico, the United States, Canada, Italy, Germany and France.

About a dozen of them live in Chicago and are among the 75 artists who are exhibiting their work.

Chicago is the first stop for the traveling exhibition that will next move to Mexico City and Mexico’s Michoacan state.

“The exhibition is rather varied, the works are very inspired, very nice,” Duarte, the promoter of the initiative, told Efe.

Duarte, who was born in Caurio, Michoacan, said that at the end of the tour the 75 butterfly works of art will be exhibited on the streets of his birthplace, where he has created a mural.

The inspiration for the mural, he said, came to him when he noted that many people in his town, including him and his family, had abandoned it to settle elsewhere.

“The mural was to symbolize the people who leave Caurio and do not return,” the artist said.

Of a prior population of between 2,500 and 3,000 people, the town currently has just 1,797 residents.

The artist himself left the town at an early age and arrived in Chicago in 1985, while his father and grandfather left much earlier under the Bracero program that brought Mexican guestworkers to the United States.

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Prime Minister Rajoy: Spain Will Start to See a Recovery this Year

Prime Minister Rajoy: Spain Will Start to See a Recovery this Year

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Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said in an interview with the Financial Times that the economic recovery will be felt in Spain this year, when the reforms implemented by his government will start “to bear fruit.”

“I think that the second half of 2013 is when we will start to see a recovery, and it will come through very clearly in 2014,” Rajoy told the FT during the interview at the Moncloa Palace, his official residence.

The prime minister noted that Spain’s exports were rising and the risk premium on its debt had fallen, all signs of an economic recovery.

Unemployment is still Spain’s “most important problem,” but the labor market reforms implemented by the government have helped Spanish firms become more competitive, the 57-year-old Rajoy said.

“Recent job losses have taken place in the real estate sector, in the financial sector and in the public sector,” the prime minister said. “But in other sectors of the economy jobs have not been lost. So the labor reform has started to bear fruit.”

Rajoy said he was “proud and happy” to be from Galicia, a region in northwestern Spain that is a bastion of his conservative Popular Party, or PP, and defended himself against criticism that he was slow to make decisions.

“It is the old cliché that Rajoy never takes decisions,” the prime minister said. “They say about the Gallegos (Galicians) that they like to wait and see - and they say the same thing about me. But in the year since I took over the government I reduced the public deficit in a situation where we were in recession. I pushed through structural reforms and a reform of the banking sector. I would like to know: How many non-Gallegos would have taken those decisions?”

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Real Madrid Defeats Valencia in Copa del Rey Quarterfinals

Real Madrid Defeats Valencia in Copa del Rey Quarterfinals

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Real Madrid made disgruntled fans forget the club’s disappointing performance in La Liga with an authoritative 2-0 victory over Valencia in Madrid in Tuesday’s first leg of the teams’ Copa del Rey quarterfinal clash.

It was the third consecutive clean sheet for veteran goalkeeper and team captain Iker Casillas, relegated to the bench in favor of the younger Antonio Adan until the new starter picked up a two-match suspension.

Real Madrid showed again that motivation can make up for less than sparkling play.

While the club sits in third place in La Liga, it has advanced to the knockout stage in the Champions League and emerged from Tuesday’s first leg with a good chance of grabbing a berth in the Copa del Rey semifinals.

A lapse by Valencia led to the first Real Madrid goal.

The visitors’ Dani Parejo lost the ball on a rush and four Valencia players failed to get back in time to stop a goal by Benzema in the 37th minute.

Seemingly undaunted, Valencia started the second half with the hope of getting out of the Bernabeu with a draw and the visitors briefly took control of the play, but they could not put the ball past Casillas.

An own goal by Valencia in the 73rd minute sealed the win for Real Madrid.

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Spanish-Based Artist Miguel Bose Set to be Lastest Project to Latin America

Spanish-Based Artist Miguel Bose Set to be Lastest Project to Latin America

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After performing with great success throughout Spain with his latest project, “Papitwo,” Miguel Bose begins the year with an extensive international tour that will take him through most of Latin America, RLM promoters said.

The Spain-based artist thus resumes the international concerts he offered at the end of last year in some of the main Mexican cities, as well as making a quick trip to Buenos Aires.

He will start things off on Feb. 9 in Costa Rica, then travel on to Mexico and Venezuela, where he recently was with Juanes to look into the possibility of holding in Caracas the third Peace Without Borders concert, and he will also perform in Ecuador and Chile.

Born in Panama, and a professed admirer or Latin America, Bose has deep ties to the region, where he says his “most faithful public” lives.

“I’m so Latin American. I’ve spend half my life there and I know those cultures so well and I owe those countries so much and I miss them so much when I’m in Spain,” Bose told Efe on another occasion.

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Spain, U.S. Discuss Bilateral Defense Cooperation

Spain, U.S. Discuss Bilateral Defense Cooperation

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Spain’s Crown Prince Felipe and U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta discussed here Tuesday bilateral cooperation on defense, the war on terrorism in Mali and the start of Spanish troop withdrawals from Afghanistan.

Madrid is one of several stops on Panetta’s European junket before stepping down from his post.

The prince received Panetta at Zarzuela Palace where the discussion also included Spanish Defense Minister Pedro Morenes and U.S. Ambassador to Spain Alan Solomont.

After speaking with the prince, Panetta met with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

In a statement to reporters traveling with him on his European tour, the defense secretary said that on this visit to Spain he seeks to promote U.S. military cooperation with a country he considers a “vital ally” and an “important leader” in NATO, and to discuss such issues as collaboration on cybersecurity and the installation of an anti-missile system at Rota naval base in southern Spain.

Panetta also planned talks with Spanish authorities about cooperation in the fight against al Qaeda-linked groups in countries like Mali and the commitment made in Afghanistan, where Spanish troops have suffered around 100 casualties.

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WednesdayJanuary 16, 2013