1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to secondary content



FridayJanuary 18, 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.

Read More


Brazil’s Rodrigo Santoro Talks About Acting with Schwarzenegger in ‘The Last Stand’

Brazil’s Rodrigo Santoro Talks About Acting with Schwarzenegger in ‘The Last Stand’

Photo: Brazil's Rodrigo Santoro Talks About Acting with Schwarzenegger in 'The Last Stand'

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Brazilian actor Rodrigo Santoro, part of the cast of the new Arnold Schwarzenegger film “The Last Stand,” said that in the action scenes it was the world-famous “Terminator” character who protected him.

“In my favorite scene, Arnold told me with that look we all know: ‘Go, go, I’ll cover you,’ and I answered ‘Okay, amigo, I’m going, because the Terminator is covering me,’ and you know, in a certain way it makes you feel invincible,” Santoro told the news Web site G1.

The movie, whose cast also includes Eduardo Noriega, Luis Guzman and Genesis Rodriguez, daughter of Venezuelan singer Jose Luis “El Puma” Rodriguez, premieres Friday in Brazil and several other countries.

“The Last Stand” is the first film starring Schwarzenegger following his two terms as governor of California.

“Arnold is an institution,” Santoro said, adding that “at first it’s a little intimidating” working with Scwarzenegger, but later the confidence that the American actor inspires helps make everything easier.

Santoro, who has appeared in several Hollywood productions, revealed that when he was called to do the film, the 12-year-old boy inside him shouted, “What? I’m doing a movie with Arnold? Seriously? That means I’m going to work with Conan and the Terminator!”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latin America Aims to Improve Education System with New Technologies

Latin America Aims to Improve Education System with New Technologies

Photo: Technology and education

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Latin America is aware that new technologies can represent a “lever of change” in its educational systems, the director of digital business for the Spanish publishing house Santillana said here Friday.

Miguel Barrero told Efe that most Latin American governments are determined to equip their countries with infrastructure and technology, a sign they are “reflecting deeply” on the power of information and communication technologies.

Barrero took part in Panama City’s international IT-in-education seminar organized by the Inter-American Confederation of Catholic Schools and Santillana, with the collaboration of the Inter-American Development Bank and the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

The Spanish executive said that Latin America is taking serious steps to provide technical tools like broadband and wireless Internet, among others, as the first step toward future changes in education.

He said a great demand exists among educators for information on the potential of new technology.

In that context, he said, Santillana is organizing and taking part in international conventions, forums and seminars to try and become a “meeting point” for the continued improvement of educational systems.

Attending the event in Panama were around 150 education professionals from 20 Latin American countries.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Manti Te’o Rebounded from Fake Girlfriend’s Death with Alexandra del Pilar

Manti Te’o Rebounded from Fake Girlfriend’s Death with Alexandra del Pilar

Photo: Manti Te'o Rebounded from Fake Girlfriend's Death with Alexandra del Pilar

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

By now everyone has heard the bizarre tale of how Notre Dame football player Manti Te’o either created or was duped by someone pretending to be his online girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, who was thought to have died from cancer.

Now it appears Te’o, whether he was the victim of an elaborate hoax or not, began seeing a (real) girl named Alexandra del Pilar not long after he says he was told Lennay died.

According to TMZ, Alexandra del Pilar is a 21-year-old student at St. Mary’s College in Indiana, a school not far from Notre Dame.

The two reportedly met on November 10 when Notre Dame played Boston College and dated for 2 months.

Six days after their reported introduction, Del Pilar posted a photo on Twitter of leis hanging from her car’s mirror. She thanked Te’o for her car “smelling so good smile” in the text accompanying the photo.

The news of Te’o dating del Pilar so soon after the fake girlfriend’s death have brought forward even more questions. Still, Notre Dame says they stand with Te’o and maintain he was a victim.

USA Today:

Star linebacker Manti Te’o, whose relationship with a deceased girlfriend was central to the narrative of his Heisman Trophy campaign and Notre Dame’s unbeaten regular season, was the victim of an elaborate hoax, the school said Wednesday after a Deadspin story alleged the woman never existed.

In a statement provided by Creative Artists Agency, which signed him as a client last week, Te’o said he had developed an emotional relationship a woman he had met online and was “the victim of what was apparently someone’s sick joke.”

According to a Notre Dame statement, Te’o and his parents informed the school’s coaching staff on Dec. 26 – nearly two weeks before the Fighting Irish lost to Alabama in the BCS National Championship Game – that he had been the victim of a “sad and very cruel deception.”


As details of this bizarre story keep coming out, the main question remains: Who is really behind the hoax?Image

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latin America News: Suspected ETA Guerilla Member Arrested in Brazil

Latin America News: Suspected ETA Guerilla Member Arrested in Brazil

Photo: ETA Guerilla in Brazil

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

The suspected member of the Basque terrorist group ETA who was detained here Friday raised the possibility of seeking political asylum in Brazil, police said.

“It was a comment without greater significance,” police superintendent Valmir Lemos de Oliveira said of the remarks by Joseba Gotzon Vizan Gonzalez, who escaped from Spain in 1991 and settled in Brazil five years later after stays in France and Mexico.

The 53-year-old suspect was arrested at 9:30 a.m. Friday outside his home in Rio de Janeiro, the police commander said.

Lemos de Oliveira added that Vizan was with his wife, also a Spaniard, and was living in Rio under a false identity.

The detention took place by virtue of a European arrest warrant issued by Spain’s National Court, which handles terrorism cases.

Vizan is accused of taking part in three separate ETA operations in 1988. A police officer was gravely wounded in one of the attacks.

The suspect told police that the accusations against him in Spain are of a “political” nature, according to Lemos de Oliveira, who said the investigation that brought about Vizan’s capture was accelerated in recent days because the case against him is about to run up against the statute of limitations.

The detainee was taken Friday to Ari Franco Prison on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, where he will remain while the situation is being resolved.

Read more by HS News Staff →

3rd Mexican Sextuplet Dies, Other Three Still in Intensive Care

3rd Mexican Sextuplet Dies, Other Three Still in Intensive Care

Photo: Sextuplet Mother Salud Ruiz

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

A third baby has died from among the sextuplets born Jan. 10 in this western Mexican city, and the state of the remaining three is delicate, the Michoacan state Health Department said.

The three survivors are in the intensive care unit of Women’s Hospital in Morelia, the state capital.

Dr. Rosalba Martinez Luviano, neonatologist and supervisor of infant care, said the third baby, a boy named Yosio, passed away on Thursday.

The baby died of extreme prematurity, which caused a hemorrhage and persistent pulmonary hypertension, she said.

Doctors delivered the sextuplets by performing a cesarean section on Salud Romero Ruiz, 33, in her 27th week of pregnancy, judging her to be in a high-risk state of health. Romero had four babies 12 years ago, one of which died.

In her second multiple birth, she had four girls and two boys, of whom only two females and one male have survived.

Jade, one of the girls still clinging to life and who weighs 640 grams (1 pound 6 ounces), is on artificial respiration and in grave condition.

Her brother Benjamin weighs 570 grams (1 pound 4 ounces) and shows serious metabolic alterations and is also on artificial respiration.

The smallest, Sujey, weighs 460 grams (1 pound 2 ounces) and her health is reported as delicate, though she is breathing on her own.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Adsmovil and RedMas Merger Creates Largest Mobile Ad Network in the Americas

Adsmovil and RedMas Merger Creates Largest Mobile Ad Network in the Americas

Photo: Adsmovil and RedMas Merger Creates Largest Mobile Ad Network in the Americas

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

The Cisneros Group of Companies today announced the creation of the largest mobile ad network serving the Americas by merging the mobile business of RedMas, Cisneros’ digital media unit, with Adsmovil, the leading mobile advertising network in Latin America. The newly-formed company will operate under the Adsmovil brand with co-founder Alberto Pardo serving as its CEO and Jorge Rincon, RedMas’ CEO, becoming its COO.

  “From an operational angle, this union provides brands access to many more premium publishers, and gives us the scale to invest in technological improvements.”

“RedMas’ mobile business has been providing cutting edge advertising solutions to the U.S. Hispanic and Latin American markets providing its partners a mix of interactivity, targeting solutions, and custom mobile alternatives to better communicate their company’s core values to Latino consumers,” says Mr. Pardo. “The combined companies will be able to offer a broader mobile network and open up the mobile advertising experience across 15 countries in places that receive high traffic and strong relevance for the Spanish and Portuguese speaking consumer, resulting in more exposure and higher sales conversions for our partners.”

“We started RedMas focusing on the U.S. Hispanic market for online and mobile advertising. Now with Adsmovil, we will also focus on the fast growing Latin American mobile marketing market. With advertising growth close to 65% annually, according to eMarketer, and smartphone penetration going from 15% to 47% by 2015, the Latin American market provides huge growth potential,” adds Mr. Rincon. “From an operational angle, this union provides brands access to many more premium publishers, and gives us the scale to invest in technological improvements.”

Adsmovil’s network now includes the mobile inventory of a number of major publishers in the region, as well as some of the most popular mobile applications in Latin America and the United States, such as Univision, Grupos de Diarios America, Grupo OPSA, Telemundo, impreMedia and Azteca America.

The new Adsmovil counts with commercial presence in the United States (Miami, Los Angeles and New York), Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Venezuela, Argentina and Chile; strengthen its sales team in major markets throughout Latin America and the U.S.; and build on its combined client base as both companies have separately provided result-driven solutions to many global enterprises, including a number of the Fortune 500 companies, such as Disney, Toyota, Sprint, McDonalds, Comcast and P&G.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Algeria Reports 12 Hostages Died During Attack on Gas Plant

Algeria Reports 12 Hostages Died During Attack on Gas Plant

Photo: Mokhtar Belmokhtar

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Twelve hostages, some of them foreign nationals, have died so far in the military operation against terrorists who took control of a remote gas treatment plant, Algeria’s communication minister said Friday.

A squad of terrorists is still holding captives in part of the sprawling complex near the Libyan border, Mohammed Said told the media.

The Algerian government said earlier Friday that roughly 100 of the 132 foreign captives had been liberated.

Authorities have taken every possible precaution against the risk of an explosion at the plant, Minister Said said.

“The situation is under control,” the minister said, adding that “the operation continues.”

Heavily armed militants from a Salafist group led by al Qaeda renegade Mokhtar Belmokhtar occupied the gas facility on Wednesday, taking hundreds of Algerian and foreign workers hostage.

The Algerian military launched its assault on Thursday.

Responding to criticism of Algeria’s tactics, Said said officials had to act immediately to avert a massacre of the captives.

The Salafists who attacked the plant said Friday that they continue to hold seven Western workers, Mauritanian news agency ANI reported.

ANI, which has been a conduit for messages from the Salafists since the start of the crisis, cited the commander of the unit that occupied the plant.

The Salafists also offered to free several U.S. hostages in exchange for the release of two Muslim militants behind bars in the United States.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spain’s Largest Banks Hit Record High for Bad Loans

Spain’s Largest Banks Hit Record High for Bad Loans

Photo: Spain Banking Crisis

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

The proportion of non-performing loans held by Spain’s large banks, regional savings banks, or “cajas,” and other lending institutions hit a new record high of 11.38 percent in November.

Based on provisional data published Friday by Spain’s central bank, those financial institutions’ bad loans were valued at 191.6 billion euros (some $256.2 billion) at the close of November.

The latest monthly increase - up from 11.23 percent in October - means the bad-loan ratio has climbed for 17 consecutive months dating back to July 2011.

The value of Spanish banks’ non-performing loans, those in arrears for at least three months, has climbed from 134.2 billion euros to 191.6 billion euros, or nearly 43 percent, over the past 12 months.

In November 2011, the bad-loan ratio stood at 7.51 percent, more than three percentage points lower than the current level.

The Spanish financial system had a total loan portfolio valued at 1.68 trillion euros in November, virtually unchanged from the previous month, the central bank said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Blog del Narco: Security Officer Shot while Foiling Kidnpping

Blog del Narco: Security Officer Shot while Foiling Kidnpping

Photo: Blog del Narco: Security Guard Killed

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

The homicide division is reviewing the Ministerial Police video surveillance cameras that captured the moments when a security guard is shot dead while thwarting the kidnapping of a woman entrepreneur in a shopping mall in Montebello.

So far research staff has five videos showing when an employee of the security company “ADEP” Gregorio Pérez Gutiérrez, who had 38 years of age is shot dead.

Detectives seek to identify the two men who fired their weapons against the officer.

The attack was just before eight o’clock Thursday night, when the woman tried to enter her luxury vehicle.

Criminals blocked her way in a taxi with economic number 15445, they had stolen minutes before South Plaza.

The woman was kidnapped and forced into the taxi. The imprisonment was observed by dozens of store customers, who alerted a security officer (now deceased) who was armed with a shotgun at the door of the east wing of the square.

The officer confronted the offenders but was fired upon. The shots hit the heroic officer in the head.
After the shooting the perpetrators fled on foot, leaving the victim to panic in the back seat of the taxi.

Emergency services rushed to the scene and confirmed the death of the security guard.

Read more Blog del Narco here

Read more in spanish here

Read more by HS News Staff →

Border Patrol Seize Coke and Meth Along California Interstate

Border Patrol Seize Coke and Meth Along California Interstate

Photo: Drug Seizure California

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to duties on Interstate 5 in Southern California prevented two narcotic smuggling attempts Tuesday near San Clemente.

The first incident occurred at approximately 10 a.m. when agents encountered a 37-year-old male Mexican national driving a 2000 Nissan Sentra at the I-5 Border Patrol checkpoint. Agents became suspicious of the man and referred him for a secondary inspection. A Border Patrol K-9 team performed a cursory inspection, which resulted in an alert to the trunk. Agents searched the trunk and discovered 29 bundles of cocaine and one bundle of heroin inside of a speaker box. The cocaine weighed 84.66 pounds and had an estimated street value of $931,260. The heroin weighed 2.32 pounds and had an estimated street value of $27,840.

The second incident occurred yesterday afternoon at approximately 7 p.m. when agents encountered a 37-year-old male Mexican national driving a 2009 Honda Accord in a parking lot in Oceanside, Calif., adjacent to Interstate 5. A Border Patrol K-9 team performed a cursory inspection of the vehicle resulting in an alert to the dashboard. Agents searched the vehicle and discovered a bundle of methamphetamine hidden in the airbag compartment. The meth weighed 1.21 pounds and had an estimated street value of $24,200.

The suspected smugglers and narcotics involved in both incidents were taken into custody and subsequently turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration for further investigation.

Read more by HS News Staff →

How Embarrassing! People Review President Obama’s Inauguration Though it Has Yet to Happen (VIDEO)

How Embarrassing! People Review President Obama’s Inauguration Though it Has Yet to Happen (VIDEO)

Photo: People Review President Obama's Inauguration Though it Has Yet to Happen

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

President Obama’s inauguration may not be until Monday, but it’s amazing how many people will pretend to have watched it when asked by Jimmy Kimmel Live what they thought of it.

“We sent a camera out onto Hollywood Blvd. today,” Kimmel says. “We asked people what they thought of the inauguration even though it hasn’t happened yet.”

We’re embarrassed that so many people giving their reviews of the yet-to-happen inauguration were Latino.

Watch Kimmel’s most recent “Lies Witness News” segment.

Read more by HS News Staff →

China’s Economy Grew at Slowest Pace in a Decade in 2012

China’s Economy Grew at Slowest Pace in a Decade in 2012

Photo: Chinese Yuan

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

The Chinese economy grew 7.8 percent in 2012 to mark the smallest 12-month expansion in GDP in a decade, the National Statistics Bureau said Friday.

The world’s No. 2 economy grew 9.3 percent in 2011.

Though disappointing by recent Chinese standards, last year’s growth bested the 7.5 percent target set by the People’s Assembly last March, encouraging analysts to predict a rebound in 2013.

China’s economic slowdown can be attributed in part to the impact on the Asian nation of continuing economic woes in Europe and the United States, the National Statistics Bureau said.

The economy grew at a 7.9 percent pace in the final three months of 2012 thanks to government stimulus measures, the bureau said, while GDP for all of last year totaled 51.93 trillion yuan ($8.28 trillion).

The bureau’s report included figures for industrial output in 2012, which expanded 10 percent, compared with 13.9 percent the previous year.

Retail sales grew 14.3 percent last year, down from a 17.1 percent increase in 2011. Conversely, investment in real estate surged 16.2 percent in 2012 despite government efforts to deflate China’s property bubble.

The real estate sector accounts for more than 10 percent of Chinese GDP.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Congressman Luis Gutierrez to Speak on Immigration at Inauguration Event

Congressman Luis Gutierrez to Speak on Immigration at Inauguration Event

Photo: Luis Guitierrez

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez will speak at an event on Saturday, January 19 at the Organization of American States in Washington as part of the Latino Inaugural 2013 activities.


The Congressman will deliver an address about the prospects for immigration reform in 2013 as part of the “Futuro Talks” and his part of the program is slated to begin at approximately 11:20 am ET, Saturday, January 19, 2013.

Read more by HS News Staff →

‘Gossip Girl’ Revamped for Mexico (PHOTOS)

‘Gossip Girl’ Revamped for Mexico  (PHOTOS)

Photo: 'Gossip Girl' Revamped for Mexico

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

From the city of skyscrapers to the beaches of the Pacific, the successful U.S. series “Gossip Girl” is about to have a Mexican version set in the resort town of Acapulco, whose image has suffered in recent years from the constant violence.

“Acapulco is a great brand for Mexico but it needs to clean itself up a little. It’s true that many incidents of insecurity in recent years have kept tourists away,” the producer of the series, Pedro Torres, told Efe.

Now all is in readiness to start shooting next week the new version that will premiere on July 1.

Broadcast in more than 30 countries, “Gossip Girl” relates the adventures of a group of young people living on Manhattan’s exclusive Upper East Side and how they deal with the gossip of an anonymous blogger whose identity is the source of intrigue.

The screenplay is the same as in the original version, unfolds the same plot with the same characters, though it is adapted to a Mexican audience and the sands of Pacific beaches.

Rather than an urban setting, Torres said, the story will play out in the port of Acapulco, “an icon for all Mexicans” but now going through a bad moment due to gangland violence that has claimed more than 70,000 lives in Mexico over the last six years.

See the Acapulco counterparts to below.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spain to Dispatch Military Transport, Trainers to Mali

Spain will contribute to the French-led European Union operation against Islamist militants in Mali by dispatching a Hercules military transport aircraft and as many as 50 military trainers, Defense Minister Pedro Morenes said Friday.

At the same time Spain, which will not send combat troops to Mali, agreed to open its airspace to EU and NATO aircraft involved in operations there, Morenes said.

At a press conference after the weekly Cabinet meeting, the minister explained the details of Spain’s contribution in response to the French request for aid.

Sending the Hercules will be subject to parliamentary authorization.

“Spain has an obligation to take part in Mali” and must stand with its allies in a conflict that is “very important” for global security and for Spanish interests, Morenes said.

Asked whether the kidnapping of Western citizens working at a massive gas complex in Algeria was a reaction to the French operation in Mali, the minister said he did not believe that to be the case.

As to the purpose of sending the Hercules, its mission will be to fly into Mali some 3,500 troops from the countries of the Economic Community of West Africa.

About 50 Spanish troops will be deployed in Mali to carry out the instruction and training of the Malian army, as part of the EU mission.

The Spanish government on Friday designated Antonio Sanchez-Benedito, a senior adviser to the foreign ministry, as ambassador on special mission to the Sahel, the area just south of the Sahara desert where Mali is located.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latino Blotter: Chicagoan Arrested for 3 Felonies - Including Cruelty to Exes Cat

Latino Blotter: Chicagoan Arrested for 3 Felonies - Including Cruelty to Exes Cat

Photo: Miguel Vazquez

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

On January 14, 2013 offender Miguel Vazquez kicked open the front door to the victim’s (his ex-girlfriend) residence/apartment located in the 4200 block of N Kenmore.  Without permission, Vazquez entered the residence and proceeded to damage the victim’s property. Vazquez then stabbed the victim’s 1-year-old cat multiple times about the body causing serious injury to the animal.

As the offender was exiting the building, he was confronted by the victim and her friends, at which time Vazquez struck a 25-year-old male in the back of the head with a pad lock causing him to lose conciousness and a laceration to the head. The victim was transported to Thorek Hospital for treatment for his injuries.  Vazquez fled the scene yelling to victim, he left a surprise for her upstairs.

On January 17, the 19th District Burglary Mission Team, along with assiting units, were able to locate Vazquez at his residence where he was arrested on signed complaints by the victims and placed into custody.

INCIDENT
BURGLARY & AGG BATTERY
4200 block of N Kenmore Ave

OFFENDER
VAZQUEZ, Miguel - 22
4500 block of N Kimball Ave

CHARGES - all felony
1 count - Agg Cruelty to Animals
1 count - Agg Battery/use deadly weapon
1 count - Burglary/residential

COURT
FRIDAY - January 18, 2013
CBC-1 2600 S California - Room 100

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latino Organizations Ask White House to Make Climate Change and Carbon Limits a Priority

Latino Organizations Ask White House to Make Climate Change and Carbon Limits a Priority

Photo: Latinos and Climate change

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Over 20 Latino leaders and organizations submitted a letter to the White House asking President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency for strong standards to limit carbon pollution from existing power plants. The Latino population in the United States is particularly vulnerable to the effects of carbon pollution since fully one-half live in counties currently in violation of clean air standards.

“The National Latino Coalition on Climate Change (NLCCC) has joined this call to ask President Obama to take action on climate change because our community’s exposure to polluted air and its health consequences makes us particularly sensitive to the impacts of global warming,” said NLCCC, Executive Director Mark Magaña.

Organizations signing this letter include: Americas Business Council - Planet Initiative, Common Ground for Conservation, Dialogue on Diversity. League of United Latin American Citizens, Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, Mamiverse, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, MANA – A National Latina Organization, National Association of Hispanic Publications, National Hispanic Coalition on Aging, National Hispanic Construction Association, National Hispanic Medical Association, National Latino Coalition on Climate Change, National Puerto Rican Coalition, Inc., National Hispanic Environmental Council, Presente.org, William C. Velazquez Institute, the U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute, and Voces Verdes.

Click here to view the letter. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Animapocalypse Continues in Peru - Dolphins, Fish, Pelicans Found Dead

Animapocalypse Continues in Peru - Dolphins, Fish, Pelicans Found Dead

Photo: Animapocalypse Continues in Peru - Dolphins, Fish, Pelicans Found Dead

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

It would seem the animapocalypse in Peru has continued into 2013.

Throughout January various animals have been washing up along the shores of Peru’s northern coast.

According to the Sea Institute of Peru 12 dolphins, 35 sea lions, and 13 pelicans have been found dead along the shores of San Jose, Lambayeque.

It appears that many of the dolphins found had died several weeks prior to their discovery, but the government says it have confirmed all the animals died from natural causes.

The pelicans specifically, appeared to have died from starvation, as the anchovy population has dropped significantly due to the increase in water temperature.

In 2012, the Peruvian government also claimed “natural causes” were responsible for the deaths of about 900 dolphins that had washed up on its shores. In May, Peruvian authorities said warm waters off its coast were to blame for the deaths of more than 5,000 marine birds.

Conservationists not within the government however, have continued to question the government’s reasoning, saying “natural causes” does not explain everything.

Read more by HS News Staff →

The Untapped Potential of the Latino Electorate

The Untapped Potential of the Latino Electorate

Photo: Latino Decisions

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

The 2012 election was a watershed moment for the Latino electorate in many respects. In giving President Obama a record level of support (75%), Latinos were decisive to the outcome; an unprecedented mark of influence for this segment of the electorate. Prior to Election Day, both parties went out of their way to include more Latinos in marquee roles their conventions. And after the election Latinos have remained at the center of national discussions about a potentially enduring coalition of minority voters, and the future of the Republican party. 2012 was undoubtedly big for Latinos.

Despite all of these high-water marks, we have yet to see Latinos actualize their full voting potential. To be fair, no group turns out at 100% of their voters, but the larger point is, Latinos remain underrepresented at the ballot box. This post considers the scope of the potential Latino electorate and the role that party and campaign mobilization efforts have in shaping Latino registration and turnout rates.

The National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO) estimates that 12.2 million Latinos voted this past election, representing approximately 10% of the national electorate. That number is much too low when we consider that an estimated 2.5 million Latinos who were registered to vote did not cast a ballot in the presidential election. And, an additional 8.6 million Latinos are eligible to register to vote (18 years old or older, and American citizens) but are not registered. There are almost as many potential Latino voters (registered and not voting, or eligible but not registered to vote) 11.1 million, as there are actual Latino voters (12.2 million).

The impact that a more engaged Latino electorate could have becomes more apparent when we look at individual states. There are an estimated 2.1 million Latino eligible voters who are not registered to vote in Texas, and another 2 million in California. There are another million eligible but not yet registered Latinos in Arizona (405,000) and Florida (638,000) combined, two highly contested states where an increase in Latino turnout could have huge ramifications to both federal and state level races. Without even considering the millions of Latinos who are currently eligible for citizenship (legal permanent residents, or LPRs) and the millions more who could be voters if comprehensive immigration reform were to be passed, these two groups of potential voters add up to over 11 million Latinos who are eligible to vote today!

It is fair to think of the potential Latino electorate as an untapped source because the vast majority of the Latino electorate is not targeted for voter mobilization. Our Election Eve Poll indicates that only 31% of Latino voters were contacted by a campaign, political party, or community organization to either register to vote or cast a ballot during the 2012 campaign (Figure 1 below). This is a telling result. Even in this election, where Latinos were projected to be a key swing electorate, seven of every ten Latino voters were basically ignored during the election cycle. It is likely that the contact rate for the larger Latino population is even lower than the 31% observed among actual voters who are in our survey.

Read more at Latino Decisions →

Cultural Center in Miami Exhibits Photos of Spain from Last 60 Years

Cultural Center in Miami Exhibits Photos of Spain from Last 60 Years

Photo: Spanish National Photography Prize (CCEM)

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

An exhibit here of the work of Spain’s greatest photographers, from black-and-white images of the impoverished post-civil-war period to intense color photos capturing the “movida madrileña” counter-cultural movement, documents the recent societal transformations in the Iberian nation.

All of the artists whose work is included in the exhibit, titled “Connections and Confrontations” and on display beginning Friday in Miami, have been awarded the Spanish National Photography Prize.

The 54 works exhibited at Miami’s Centro Cultural Español (Spanish Cultural Center) provide an overview of the rich transformation that Spanish society has undergone in recent decades, journalist Javier Diez Ballesteros, one of the exhibit’s organizers, told Efe.

The collective exhibition - previously displayed in other cities of the world - includes the work of Gabriel Cuallado, a major figure in the revival of Spanish photography in the second half of the 20th century, and of Joam Colom, “one of the essential photographers in Spain’s history,” Diez said.

Also included are photographs by Madrid-born cultural catalyst Pablo Perez-Minguez, who died in November, and emblematic figures in the “movida madrileña” such as Alberto Garcia-Alix, who is represented by “Los malheridos” and “La Gata.”

The former is a black-and-white shot of a road with a woman’s hand holding a dead bird in the foreground, while the latter - also in black and white - shows a woman with her back arched in a cat-like posture and looking over her shoulder with a piercing glance.

“Everyone is fascinated by ‘La Gata.’ The Slovenian culture minister, who was at the inauguration when we brought (the exhibit) there, was insistently asking me; he wanted to know if it was a photomontage, but no: that unbalanced balance, so feline and intense, is real,” Diez said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

AMERICAN IDOL: Stutterer Lazaro Arbos Struggles to Speak, but Soars When He Sings (VIDEO)

AMERICAN IDOL: Stutterer Lazaro Arbos Struggles to Speak, but Soars When He Sings (VIDEO)

Photo: Stutterer Lazaro Arbos Struggles to Speak, but Soars When He Sings

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

On Thursday night’s episode of American Idol, the judges and the world got to meet a very special singer.

At the age of 8, Lazaro Arbos, developed a debilitating stutter. His parents sought help from speech therapists, but none were able to help their son.

During his pre-audition interview, Lazaro said, “We don’t know where my stuttering came from, ‘cause …it’s just something that goes on and no one really knows why.”

His mother says that when the family moved from Cuba to Florida, his stutter appeared to get worse, “to the point where he couldn’t speak.” His mother says she had to say everything for him.

Growing up, Lazaro said he had no friends because no one would talk to him, so he hid away at home.

Lazaro turned to music, and said that since he was little he “always wanted to sing.”

Once he discovered he could sing without a stutter, it seemed as though he had finally found a way to communicate his emotions and thoughts. His mother now often tellls him, “Sing it to me,” when he has trouble speaking.

“You can’t let things get you down,” Lazaro said. “You have to keep going.”

Watch his moving audition below as he sings Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Blog del Narco: Decapitated Head Left With Narco Message in Chalco Valley (Photo Warning)

Blog del Narco: Decapitated Head Left With Narco Message in Chalco Valley (Photo Warning)

Photo: Photo Warning

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

The municipality of Valle de Chalco conurbado is ground zero in a war between cartels fighting for control of the territory to sell drugs.

The body of a man, dismembered and divided into parts, was left in black bags and abandoned on the streets of the San Isidro.

The body was reported at the intersection of East 19th and Hermenegildo Galeana, a few blocks from the Mexico-Puebla.

The head was placed on a card with a message to rival cartel members.


Read more in Spanish at Blog del Narco

See stories in English here with Narco NewsImage

Read more by HS News Staff →

Extreme Trafficking:  12 Narco Smugglers Caught with 1,250 Pounds of Pot in Arizona Desert

Extreme Trafficking:  12 Narco Smugglers Caught with 1,250 Pounds of Pot in Arizona Desert

Photo: 1,250 lbs Marijuana Seized

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

A dozen drug smugglers carrying 1,250 pounds of marijuana were arrested Tuesday night by Ajo Station Border Patrol agents patrolling near Pia Oik, Ariz.

After identifying what appeared to be a group of smugglers carrying marijuana bundles, agents obtained aerial support from an Office of Air and Marine helicopter and apprehended 11 adults and one juvenile.

The marijuana, worth an estimated $625,000, was turned over to the DEA. The smugglers face federal prosecution for narcotics smuggling.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Shamed Cyclist Lance Armstrong Says he Wants to Clean Up Cycling

Shamed Cyclist Lance Armstrong Says he Wants to Clean Up Cycling

Photo: Shamed Cyclist Lance Armstrong Says he Wants to Clean Up Cycling

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Disgraced American former road cyclist Lance Armstrong said he would be the “first man at the door” in efforts to clean up the sport after telling Oprah Winfrey that he relied on banned substances for most of his career and to win all of his Tour de France titles.

After long denying doping and saying in recent months that he was the victim of a “witch hunt” by U.S. Anti-Doping Agency chief Travis Tygart, the 41-year-old Armstrong came clean in a prime-time interview aired Thursday night on Winfrey’s OWN cable channel.

Armstrong confessed that he had lied for years about his PED use and launched numerous legal attacks against those who threatened his once-pristine reputation, telling Oprah that he was a “bully.”

But the cyclist said his use of EPO and other substances did not give him an unfair advantage but rather put him on an equal footing with his competitors.

He did not name names during the interview, but he said that in his opinion it would have been impossible to win any of the seven consecutive Tours he won from 1999 to 2005 without doping.

Those titles were subsequently stripped away after Armstrong last year refused to fight doping allegations compiled by USADA, but the International Cycling Union, or UCI, decided in October not to award the titles to the second-place finishers of those races.

USADA said the charges against Armstrong were based on evidence provided by “numerous witnesses” who said they had either personally observed Armstrong’s “doping activity” or learned directly from the cyclist about his use of “EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone and cortisone during the period from before 1998 through 2005.”

In Thursday’s interview, Armstrong said he used PEDs as part of a larger doping culture in cycling but said he would like to help get drugs out of the sport.

“I love cycling ... if there was an effort to (clean up cycling), if there was a truth and reconciliation commission - and I can’t call for that; I’ve got no cred - if they have it, and I’m invited, I’ll be the first man at the door,” Armstrong told Winfrey.

A cancer survivor who is regarded as one of the all-time greatest road cyclists, Armstrong issued a statement on his Web site after choosing not to appear before a USADA arbitration panel to respond to the doping charges.

“There comes a point in every man’s life when he has to say, ‘enough is enough.’ For me, that time is now. I have been dealing with claims that I cheated and had an unfair advantage in winning my seven Tours since 1999,” the Aug. 23 statement read.

“The only physical evidence here is the hundreds of controls I have passed with flying colors,” Armstrong said then.

Armstrong has lost lucrative endorsement contracts as a result of the scandal and in October he stepped down from the board of directors of the cancer-fighting Livestrong Foundation he founded in 1997.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latino Organizations Call on Obama, EPA To Address Environmental Issues

Latino Organizations Call on Obama, EPA To Address Environmental Issues

Photo: Climate change

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

This week, over 20 Latino leaders and organizations submitted a letter to the White House today asking President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency for strong standards to limit carbon pollution from existing power plants.

The Latino population in the United States is particularly vulnerable to the effects of carbon pollution since fully one-half live in counties currently in violation of clean air standards.  The following is an excerpt of the letter sent to Washington.

“The National Latino Coalition on Climate Change (NLCCC) has joined this call to ask President Obama to take action on climate change because our community’s exposure to polluted air and its health consequences makes us particularly sensitive to the impacts of global warming,” said NLCCC, Executive Director Mark Magana .

“As our letter reflects, heat waves, drought, wildfires and other extreme weather events impact our families, our businesses and our ability to thrive as a community and all too often impact Latinos more severely,” Voces Verdes advisory board member Roberto Carmona , added. “We want President Obama to know that we stand ready to support stronger carbon limits to help solve climate change.

“Voces Verdes, along with our partners and supporters, would like to congratulate you on your re-election. As leaders in the Latino community, we are proud to see the rising level of civic engagement in our community and are eager to work with your Administration in the coming years.

“This election made it clear that Latinos want a strong economy, immigration reform and a bright and healthy future for our children. Voces Verdes, and a record number of Latino organizations nationwide representing millions of citizens, are committed to protecting public health and the environment and consider it a high priority for all Americans and our community.”

Please visit Voces Verdes to read the letter in it’s entirety.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latin America News: Colombian Rebels Kidnap Gold Mine Employees

Latin America News: Colombian Rebels Kidnap Gold Mine Employees

Photo: Colombian Guerilla Kidnappings

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Colombia’s ELN guerrilla group abducted five employees from a gold mine in the northern province of Bolivar, the armed forces commander said Friday.

“They kidnapped five people, among them a Canadian, two Peruvians and two Colombians,” Gen. Alejandro Navas told reporters in Bogota.

As many as 25 ELN fighters stormed the mining camp before dawn Friday and took five of the employees captive, he said.

“At this moment army units that are in the region are carrying out inspection of area and pursuit by land and air, respectively,” Colombia’s top military officer said.

The identities of the captives remained unknown.

The ELN, which is the smaller of Colombia’s two main insurgencies, targets the mining and oil sectors to signal opposition to the involvement of multinational companies in exploiting the Andean nation’s natural resources.

On Christmas Day, the ELN freed two oil engineers the rebels kidnapped in the northeastern province of Arauca. The men were employees of a firm contracted by U.S.-based Occidental Petroleum.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Argentina’s Del Potro Joins Federer, Murray in Aussie 3rd Round

Argentina’s Del Potro Joins Federer, Murray in Aussie 3rd Round

Photo: Argentina's Del Potro Joins Federer, Murray in Aussie 3rd Round

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Switzerland’s Roger Federer and Scotland’s Andy Murray both cruised into the third round of the Australian Open with straight-set victories Thursday.

In a battle of 31-year-olds, Federer used his superior power and variety to brush aside Nikolay Davydenko 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 in just under two hours and run his record against the Russian to a lopsided 18-2.

His victory sets up an eagerly awaited third-round showdown against Australian 20-year-old Bernard Tomic, who edged German Daniel Brands 6-7 (4-7), 7-5, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (10-8) in a match that featured just one service break in nearly three hours.

Tomic is not short on confidence and cheekily suggested earlier this week that the world No. 2, who has reached 34 consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinals dating back to Wimbledon 2004, might not even reach the third round.

That remark and the fact that the Australian has not lost a match to start the 2013 season, including a win over world No. 1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia at the Hopman Cup event in Perth, Australia, will surely mean a very focused Federer will take the court on Saturday.

Federer handily defeated Tomic 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 in the round of 16 of the 2012 Australian Open.

Murray, meanwhile, was never in danger in a 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 win over Portugal’s Joao Sousa. Throughout the match, the world No. 3 and reigning U.S. Open champion exhibited the more aggressive baseline style that led to a breakthrough season in 2012.

In other action Thursday on the men’s side of the draw, Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro also breezed into the third round with a 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 win over Germany’s Benjamin Becker.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Colombia Halts Hotel Project in Tayrona National Park

Colombia Halts Hotel Project in Tayrona National Park

Photo: Los Ciruelos hotel project (El Espectador)

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

The Colombian government has suspended a hotel project in Tayrona National Park that included the construction of 12 cabins, to prevent any possible damage to the ecosystems of this natural reserve.

“The decision has been taken to apply the preventive measure of suspending all activities permitted by the park license for the Los Ciruelos project, which is in Tayrona Park,” the director of the National Environmental Licenses Authority, or ANLA, Luz Helena Sarmiento, told reporters Thursday.

She said the suspension will be in force until ANLA receives technical and scientific guidelines from National Natural Parks, the agency managing Tayrona, on which the final decision will be based.

She added that the decision is taken following instructions of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and the Environment and Development Ministry.

On Monday, Santos said the project would not go forward.

The initiative, which would be developed by the private sector, consists of 12 cabins, two access docks and two floating docks in this northern Colombian reserve.

The director of National Natural Parks, Julia Miranda, said that in the 3 hectares (7 1/2 acres) comprising the Los Ciruelos tourism project, is a tropical dry forest, an ecosystem that in Colombia is threatened with extinction.

The license for the work was issued during the presidency of Alvaro Uribe, who governed from 2002 to 2010.

Read more by HS News Staff →

U.S. Economic Delegation Travels to Mexico

U.S. Economic Delegation Travels to Mexico

Photo: U.S.-Mexico Trade Relatins

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

A U.S. delegation will travel to Mexico City, Mexico, January 22-24, 2013, to discuss further strengthening the U.S.-Mexico bilateral economic relationship and increasing trade and the creation of jobs in both countries.

The delegation will be led by U.S. Department of State Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs Jose W. Fernandez, U.S. Department of the Treasury Assistant Secretary for International Finance Charles Collyns; U.S. Department of Commerce Assistant Secretary for Market Access and Compliance, Michael Camuñez; and Susan Kurland, Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs of the Department of Transportation.

The Assistant Secretaries will participate in economic dialogues with cabinet officials from recently elected President Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration. In addition to senior government officials, the group will meet with local business leaders and business organizations.

Mexico is Latin America’s second-largest economy, as well as the United States’ second-largest export market and third-largest source of imports. Bilateral trade amounted to nearly $460 billion in 2012, more than quadruple what it was at NAFTA’s entry into force in 1994.

Read more by HS News Staff →

“Delighted” Nadal Happy to Make ATP Return in Viña del Mar, Chile

“Delighted” Nadal Happy to Make ATP Return in Viña del Mar, Chile

Photo: "Delighted" Nadal Happy to Make ATP Return in Viña del Mar, Chile

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal, who has been out of action for six months due to a knee injury, said he is “delighted” to make his return to the ATP Tour at a Feb. 4-10 clay-court event in the Chilean resort city of Viña del Mar.

Tournament organizers issued a press release Thursday making official the Spaniard’s participation in the VTR Open, which offers $400,000 in total prize money.

“I’m delighted to confirm my participation in the tournament in Viña del Mar, in Chile, and I want to thank the organizers for their invitation,” the former No. 1 and 11-time Grand Slam champion was quoted as saying in the release.

“Thank you very much and we’ll see each other in Viña,” Nadal, whose ranking has dropped to No. 4, said.

Nadal’s good friend, Argentina’s Juan Monaco, won the tournament last year and will be back to defend his title, while Spaniards Pablo Andujar, Albert Ramos and Tommy Robredo also will be in the draw.

The Spaniard had earlier announced that he would play two other small clay-court events in February - the Brazil Open in Sao Paulo, which starts Feb. 11, and the Mexican Open in Acapulco, which begins on Feb. 25.

Nadal has not played in South America since 2005, when he won his second of 50 ATP Tour singles titles in Costa do Sauipe, Brazil.

He told Efe in August that he was suffering from a knee ailment known as Hoffa’s syndrome, which is also known as fat pad impingement and involves pain and swelling around the bottom and under the kneecap.

The Spaniard began last summer on a high note by capturing a record seventh French Open title with a victory over world No. 1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia in the final.

But he suffered a shock second-round exit at Wimbledon a couple of weeks later at the hands of unheralded Czech Lukas Rosol, considered one of the biggest upsets in the history of that prestigious tournament, and has not competed since.

Nadal withdrew from last year’s Olympic Games and the U.S. Open due to the injury.

He had planned to return to action in late December in Abu Dhabi, but a stomach virus forced him to withdraw from that exhibition tournament and he also pulled out of the Australian Open, which got underway on Monday.

Nadal, known for his physically demanding style of play and outstanding defensive skills, has struggled to stay healthy during his career, having been forced to withdraw from each of the four Grand Slam events due to various injuries.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spanish Popular Party Investigating Ex-Treasurer’s Swiss Bank Accounts

Spanish Popular Party Investigating Ex-Treasurer’s Swiss Bank Accounts

Photo: Luis Barcenas (Bernardo Díaz)

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Top leaders of Spain’s ruling conservative Popular Party, headed by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, have called a meeting to discuss revelations that the party’s former treasurer, ex-Sen. Luis Barcenas, held 22 million euros ($29.3 million) in Swiss bank accounts.

The PP’s Executive Committee, which is made up of the party’s top executive and legislative officials at the national and regional levels, is scheduled to meet on Monday.

Reports about the large sums held in Switzerland by Barcenas, implicated in an ongoing political corruption scandal known as the “Gürtel case,” erupted this week and the controversy heated up further with new revelations published Thursday by the daily El Mundo, which reported that Barcenas used ill-gotten funds to make under-the-table payments to PP leaders.

Several of those party leaders have denied the allegations, including PP Secretary-General Maria Dolores de Cospedal, who on Thursday vouched for the “honesty” of the party’s leadership and rank-and-file.

Cospedal added that “this is a party in which those who do wrong pay for it” and said the PP will not allow the work of “so many honest people who have worked for the country” to come to naught.

For his part, the leader of the main opposition Socialist party, Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, demanded “immediate” explanations from Rajoy regarding the revelations about Barcenas’ Swiss bank accounts.

He also called for the dismissal of Finance Minister Cristobal Montoro if it is shown that the tax amnesty the government approved last year allowed Barcenas to regularize 10 million euros of the 22 million euros he held in the Swiss accounts.

Barcenas resigned as the PP’s treasurer in April 2010.

The Gürtel case involving alleged bribery, influence-peddling and money laundering implicating top PP officials came to light four years ago as a result of an investigation by crusading Judge Baltasar Garzon.

Last February, Spain’s Supreme Court convicted Garzon of illegally ordering wiretaps to monitor conversations between several defendants in the Gürtel case and their attorneys and barred him from the judiciary for 11 years.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Federal Lawsuit Filed on Behalf of U.S. Latino Citizen Arrested on False Immigration Charges

Federal Lawsuit Filed on Behalf of U.S. Latino Citizen Arrested on False Immigration Charges

Photo: Allegheny County Jail, PA

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania has filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Angelica Davila, a U.S. citizen who was born in Mexico and legally immigrated to this country at the age of 2 with her parents. After being stopped for a minor traffic violation in 2011, Davila was arrested and imprisoned in the Allegheny County Jail overnight based on the erroneous belief she was in the country illegally.

“This is a blatant example of ethnic profiling,” said Reggie Shuford, executive director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania. “The police had no reason to check Ms. Davila’s immigration status for a routine traffic stop when her paperwork was in order. The police questioned her status only because of her ethnicity and that of her passenger.”

On the evening of January 22, 2011, Davila and a friend, Joel Garrete, were pulled over on Perry Highway in Wexford shortly after exiting the parking lot of a Mexican grocery store. Davila, a legally licensed driver in Pennsylvania, had forgotten to turn on her headlights. She provided her license, proof of registration, and insurance the Northern Regional Police Department. The officer also demanded identification from her friend and asked if he was in the country legally.

A native of Honduras, Garrete admitted he was not lawfully present. Bienemann then called the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to check on the status of both Davila and Garrete.

Davila provided her name, country of origin, and date of birth to ICE over the phone and stated she was legally in the U.S.

Nevertheless, after waiting by the side of the road for two hours, both Davila and Garrete were handcuffed and eventually transported to the Allegheny County Jail at the request of ICE.

After transporting Davila and Garrete to the jail, a call from ICE informing the police that a mistake had been made about Davila’s identity and that she had been incorrectly detained. Despite receiving official confirmation from ICE at 9:50 p.m. that Davila was lawfully present in the United States, no effort was made to have her released from jail. Davila was eventually released the next morning after sleeping on the floor of her holding cell, which had no beds.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Six Dead After Plane Crashes in Chiapas, Mexico

Six Dead After Plane Crashes in Chiapas, Mexico

Photo: Six Dead After Plane Crashes in Chiapas, Mexico

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Six people were killed Thursday when a small plane crashed just seconds after it took off from an airport in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, authorities told Efe.

The Cessna plunged to the ground and burst into flames at Angel Albino Corzo Airport near Tuxtla Gutierrez, the state capital.

The plane’s destination was Oaxaca city, capital of the neighboring state of Oaxaca, personnel with the DGAC civil aviation agency said.

Operations were suspended at the airport following the crash, which left the area shrouded in a dense cloud of smoke.

The Cessna made impact near the hangars belonging to the Chiapas state government, Cuarto Poder newspaper said, citing emergency services chief Luis Manuel Garcia.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico to Create New ‘CIA’ Type Intelligence Center

Mexico to Create New ‘CIA’ Type Intelligence Center

Photo: Mexico's New Intelligence Center

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Interior Minister Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong recently announced to the press plans to form a new agency analogous to the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency. The principle mission of the new National Intelligence Center (Centro Nacional de Inteligencia, CNI) will be to fight organized crime.

To optimize efficiency, the agency will act as a central collection point for information generated by all other intelligence and justice entities in the country, including the police, military, Attorney General’s Office (Procuraduría General de la República, PGR), and other federal and state agencies. As Osorio Chong explained, it will “work towards the necessary bringing together of all information.”

Mexican intelligence experts have already been consulting for some months now with their Colombian, French, Spanish, U.K., and U.S. counterparts on issues related to the formation of this new agency. The CNI will be structured within the Interior Ministry (Secretaría de Gobernación, Segob), and will report to the existing Mexican Center for Investigation and National Security (Centro de Investigación y Seguridad Nacional, CISEN).

According to Justice Mexico, the agency’s creation follows President Peña Nieto’s campaign promises to demilitarize government strategies in fighting organized crime.

Read more at Justice Mexico →

Rare Earth Elements Could be the Source of Clean Energy

Rare Earth Elements Could be the Source of Clean Energy

Photo: Dysprosium (Ree Handbook)

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Although they might have archaic-sounding names to the public, dysprosium, terbium, europium, neodymium and yttrium because of their rarity hold the secret to future technology as well as the success of clean energy and they are preoccupying the most powerful nations of the world.

Gaining access to these elements is a priority for U.S. energy strategy, which sees that China controls 95 percent of the production of the so-called rare earths, which are used in wind turbines, solar panels and the batteries of electric and hybrid vehicles.

With that situation in mind, the U.S. Energy Department mobilized scientists and experts from business and academia to seek solutions, a team that will be part of the new Critical Materials Institute.

Iowa-based Ames Laboratory and its director, Alex King, are heading up the project, which will receive $120 million in financing over the next five years.

The main aim of the CMI in the short term will be to detect possible deposits of these metals in the United States, as well as to work with existing operations to ensure that they are viable.

King gave the example of the Mountain Pass mine in California, which for decades was the biggest supplier in the world for rare metals but had to close in 2002 due to environmental problems.

The mine reopened in 2010, although it is facing a difficult market situation given China’s exercise of price controls by restricting rare earth exports.

That practice has been denounced by the European Union, the United States and Japan, while China insists that its intention is to put the brakes on excessive production to lessen environmental damage.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico’s PEMEX and MexiChem Form Joint Venture Valued at $556 Million

Mexico’s PEMEX and MexiChem Form Joint Venture Valued at $556 Million

Photo: PEMEX and Mexichem Joint Venture

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

State oil monopoly Petroleos Mexicanos’ board of directors has approved a joint venture with private Mexican petrochemical company Mexichem that involves capital injection and asset integration totaling $556 million.

The deal will upgrade Pemex’s vinyl chloride monomer, or VCM, plant in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, increasing production by 24,000 tons in the first year of operation and 217,000 tons in the third year, Mexichem said in a regulatory filing.

It also will “allow the vinyl-chlorine chain in Mexico to maintain its competiveness, given its disadvantages in terms of integration and size compared to its North American peers,” the company added.

Mexico City-based Pemex offered some details of the public-private association at the conclusion of the extraordinary meeting of its board, which finally approved the venture a year and a half after the agreement was announced.

“In this venture, Mexichem provides the capital needed for infrastructure modernization, while the lands at the Pajaritos petrochemical complex in Coatzacoalcos (Veracruz state) will be leased for this purpose,” Pemex said.

The board “determined that the industrial process for making ethylene and vinyl chloride monomer will be reserved for Pemex Petroquimica with unionized Pemex staff, safeguarding workers’ rights at all times.”

Mexichem employs more than 10,000 people across the Americas and is a leader in Latin America’s chemical and petrochemical industry with more than $3 billion in annual revenue.

Pemex is the world’s fourth-largest oil producer and the biggest source of revenue for the Mexican Treasury.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Death Toll of Chiapas Plane Crash Rises to 8

Death Toll of Chiapas Plane Crash Rises to 8

Photo: Scene of the accident

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Eight people, three of them children, were killed Thursday when a small plane crashed just seconds after it took off from an airport in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, authorities told Efe.

The aircraft, a Piper Navajo, plunged to the ground and burst into flames at Angel Albino Corzo Airport near Tuxtla Gutierrez, the state capital.

The plane’s destination was Oaxaca city, capital of the neighboring state of Oaxaca, personnel with the DGAC civil aviation agency said.

Operations were suspended at the airport following the crash, which left the area shrouded in a dense cloud of smoke.

The plane was carrying six passengers and a crew of two, state emergency services chief Luis Manuel Garcia Moreno said, citing preliminary reports.

Read more by HS News Staff →



FridayJanuary 18, 2013