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SaturdayJanuary 19, 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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J.J. Abrams Secures Rights to Create Lance Armstron Biopic

J.J. Abrams Secures Rights to Create Lance Armstron Biopic

Photo: Lance Armstrong

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Paramount Pictures and film producer J.J. Abrams are planning to bring the career of disgraced American cyclist Lance Armstrong to the big screen, The Hollywood Reporter said.

Paramount and Abrams’ Bad Robot have secured the rights to adapt a forthcoming book on Armstrong by The New York Times sportswriter Juliet Macur for the cinema.

Macur’s book, titled “Cycle of Lies: The Fall of Lance Armstrong,” is due out in June in the United States.

Armstrong this week acknowledged that he used performance-enhancing drugs for most of his career and that his record seven consecutive Tour de France titles between 1999 and 2005 were all PED-aided.

After long denying using banned substances and saying in recent months that he was the victim of an “unconstitutional witch hunt” conducted by U.S. Anti-Doping Agency chief Travis Tygart, the 41-year-old Armstrong came clean in a prime-time, two-part interview with Oprah Winfrey that aired Thursday and Friday on her OWN cable channel.

Other proposed film projects on Armstrong’s career and the doping accusations against him have fallen through.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican Authorities Arrest 158 Polices with Ties to Organized Crime

Mexican Authorities Arrest 158 Polices with Ties to Organized Crime

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Federal and state agents arrested 158 municipal police in the northern Mexican state of Durango for alleged ties to organized crime, officials said.

Durango state Attorney General Sonia Yadira de la Garza told Milenio Television that agents from the State Bureau of Investigation - backed by federal police and army troops - detained the suspects Friday in the city of Gomez Palacio.

She said 110 of the police belong to the municipal force in the town of Lerdo while the other 48 are employed in Gomez Palacio, adding that the detainees include commanders and administrative staff.

The operation stems from information gathered from criminal suspects, who said those police provided them with protection and even collaborated in kidnappings, De la Garza said.

The investigation shows these police had spent three years aiding and abetting Sinaloa drug-cartel members, the prosecutor said.

De la Garza said federal and state police will temporarily take over law-enforcement duties in Lerdo and Gomez Palacio.

Both are part of northern Mexico’s Comarca Lagunera metropolitan area, which has seen an uptick in drug-related violence in recent years attributed to a turf war between the Sinaloa cartel and the rival Los Zetas mob, Mexico’s two most powerful organized crime gangs.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Florida’s Controversial Python Contest Kills 21 in First Week

Florida’s Controversial Python Contest Kills 21 in First Week

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A total of 21 Burmese pythons have been captured in the Florida Everglades in a contest designed to reduce the population of these serpents, which are not native to the area and are eliminating fauna endemic to this delicate ecosystem.

That was announced Friday by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation, or FWC, the organizer of this controversial contest, which will award prizes to whoever catches the most Burmese pythons during the course of this month and to whoever catches the biggest one.

About 1,000 people have signed up for the contest, for which a hunting license is required.

Among the participants in the contest, which began last Saturday and runs through Feb. 10, is Florida’s Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, who as yet seems not to have caught one of the serpents.

The politician said this week that it is vital to reduce the presence of a creature that is eradicating native species from the Everglades.

“The Everglades is one of the great natural wonders of the entire Earth, and the entire ecological apple cart is being upset by this invasive species,” Nelson said.

The politician said this week that it is necessary to reduce the presence of pythons because they “eat everything in the Everglades: bobcats, deer, even alligator and maybe endangered Florida panther,” he said.

In some parts of the Everglades where they are most abundant, the Burmese pythons have driven down the population of other animals like field mice, possums, raccoons, rabbits and practically any other mammal by as much as 99 percent in recent years.

Burmese pythons are believed to have infested the Everglades because specimens were purposely released there by people who had them as pets or had to leave them involuntarily when Hurricane Andrew struck in 1992, forcing their owners to evacuate their homes for several days.

The delicate ecosystem of Everglades National Park has no species capable of standing up to these reptiles, except possibly the very largest alligators.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Subway on Damage Control: Foot-long Subs Aren’t Always a Foot Long

Subway on Damage Control: Foot-long Subs Aren’t Always a Foot Long

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Subway, the sub chain, had a PR nightmare on its hands this week when a Facebook user posted a photo of his foot-long sub with a ruler. It turned out that the sub was only 11 inches long and he wanted a reply.

It all started on Tuesday when Matt Corby of Australia posted the photo after he was angered by its length. He included the caption, “subway pls respond,” reports ABC News. The original post, which is no longer available, drew thousands of comments and 131,000 likes.

Eventually, Subway did issue a statement on Thursday, reports NBC News, noting that they try their best to keep the length of subs consistent.

“Our bread is freshly baked daily in each of the over 38,000 Subway restaurants worldwide,” the statement reads. “We are committed to providing a consistent product delivering the same amount of bread to the customer with every order. The length however may vary slightly when not baked to our exact specifications. We are reinforcing our policies and procedures in an effort to ensure our offerings are always consistent no matter which Subway restaurant you visit.”

Despite that, people continue to post images of 11-inch subs on Facebook, showing that Corby’s experience is not uncommon. In fact, The New York Post did an investigation in New York, buying subs from Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn stores. Most only measured 11 to 11.5 inches long.

Read more at The Celebrity Cafe →

President Obama’s Inauguration to Take Place Monday

President Obama’s Inauguration to Take Place Monday

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On Inauguration Day, the President-elect and Vice President-elect swear in and take office.

Visit USA.gov’s President Barack Obama page for information about Inauguration Day events. You can also learn about inaugural history, download the 57th Presidential Inauguration mobile app, and view a video about the ceremony location.

The President’s term of office officially begins on January 20, but since that date falls on a Sunday, the public swearing in ceremony will be held on Monday, January 21.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Puerto Rican Singer Noelia Wants Private Plane Seized by Venezuela Returned

Puerto Rican singer Noelia complained that her private plane was “arbitrarily seized” at an airport in Venezuela and asked the nation’s Vice President Nicolas Maduro to take steps to resolve the case.

The artist told Efe Friday that the aircraft was in Venezuela for its possible sale, which in the end never went through. It was scheduled to be back in Florida on Wednesday to fly the artist to California, but was detained at Maiquetia International Airport in Caracas.

The private jet with U.S. registration, belonging to the artist and her husband, Jorge Reynoso, was “arbitrarily seized,” the songstress said.

“I publicly request the honorable government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to intervene in the injustice imposed by some officials who are holding the private jet,” Noelia said.

She said they had fulfilled all the requirements laid down by Venezuelan law and that the plane’s two pilots were “the object of extortion by officials at all levels.”

Noelia said that “directors of the Anti-drug and Customs Agency certified the inspection of the plane and distanced themselves from the seizure,” while pointing to the president of Venezuela’s National Institute of Civil Aviation,” or INAC, Francisco Paz Fleitas, as “the sole authority in the matter.”

The vocalist of songs like “My Everything” and “Enamorada” (In Love) suspects that behind the seizure is the hidden intention to “keep the aircraft and they’re trying to work up some justification.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spanish Prime Minister Reacts to Controversy Surrounding Popular Party

Spanish Prime Minister Reacts to Controversy Surrounding Popular Party

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Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy pledged here Saturday not to “waver” if irregularities are found to have occurred within his conservative Popular Party.

In a speech at a PP gathering in this southern city, Rajoy described as “a regrettable controversy” revelations that the party’s former treasurer, ex-Sen. Luis Barcenas, held large sums in Swiss bank accounts and reports that Barcenas made under-the-table salary payments to PP leaders, an allegation the party’s top officials deny.

Rajoy said the party “also has responded rigorously and transparently when it has come under question” and always has acted “decisively” in the face of “irregular behavior.”

“If at any time I learn of irregularities or improper conduct, I won’t waver because I know it’s one of my responsibilities,” the premier and PP chairman said.

Clearly alluding to Barcenas, who stepped down from his post in 2009 and formally resigned a year later, Rajoy said “there are people who held some responsibilities and who now are no longer in the party” because the PP held people accountable.

Revelations about up to 22 million euros ($29.3 million) held in Swiss bank accounts by Barcenas, implicated in an ongoing political corruption scandal known as the “Gürtel case,” erupted this week.

The controversy heated up further when El Mundo reported Thursday that Barcenas used ill-gotten funds to pay up to 15,000 euros a month in supplementary, undeclared salary payments to PP leaders.

The Gürtel case involving alleged kickbacks from businesses that had been awarded government contracts, 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.

The allegations of illegal kickbacks and under-the-table payments to PP officials come at a time when Spain is mired in a double-dip recession and the unemployment rate is over 26 percent.

Read more by HS News Staff →

TSA to Remove Revealing Body Scanners from Airports

TSA to Remove Revealing Body Scanners from Airports

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The U.S. Transport Security Administration announced that it is removing from airport checkpoints the full-body scanners that produce images of passengers that are too revealing.

The agency said the manufacturer of the machines, Rapiscan Systems, is unable to update the software that produces the image that TSA agents check at airports, and which amounts to a virtual strip search.

“It became clear to TSA they would be unable to meet our timeline” for updating the software, and “as a result of that, we terminated the contract for the convenience of the government,” Karen Shelton Waters, the agency’s assistant administrator for acquisitions, told Bloomberg News.

Passengers and activists defending the right to privacy have been complaining since the scanners first went into service in 2007 that the images they produced showed passengers “practically naked,” which they considered offensive.

Last year, 76 of those scanners were eliminated from airports and the 174 machines still in use will be gradually removed, NPR public radio said.

This does not mean that body scanners will disappear entirely - the Rapiscan model will be substituted by others made by the L-3 Communications Holdings company that are not only more modern but less invasive and comply with TSA regulations.

These machines use millimeter-wave technology, a radio frequency able to distinguish metallic from non-metallic objects, instead of the X-rays employed by Rapiscan.

Read more by HS News Staff →

INFOGRAPHIC: The Violence of Mexican Drug Cartels (VIDEO)

INFOGRAPHIC: The Violence of Mexican Drug Cartels (VIDEO)

Photo: Visual.ly and ishothim

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A bitterly violent war against Mexican Drug Cartels wages on across the U.S. border. Tens of thousands are being murdered, and over a million are being forced to flee their homes. U.S. laws and policy play a major role in the conflict’s violence.

Visual.ly and ishothim.com have created this video about understanding the complexities of the war and why it is happening.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Florida Man Bit Off Girlfriend’s Thumb During Fight

A Florida man is being accused of biting off the left thumb of his on-again, off-again girlfriend during a fight on Wednesday.

Palm Bay police spokeswoman Yvonne Martinez told Florida Today that the case came to their attention when a woman called Holmes Regional Medical Center.

The woman told the nurse that she needed attention for a severed thumb. During the call, she continued to say, “I can’t believe he bit my finger off,” Martinez explained.

The man was identified as Ricardo Davis. According to WESH Orlando, investigators said the fight started while they were in a car. It suddenly took a violent turn when the woman pushed Davis. When he went to retaliate, he apparently led with his teeth and bit off the woman’s thumb. He then spit out the thumb. Unfortunately, doctors could not reattach it.

“He was driving to work, she works at a Taco Bell in Palm Bay,” Martinez explained to Florida Today. “During the course of the drive down to work they got into a verbal argument, and she basically became upset. She kind of pushed his head, and he responded by biting (her thumb).”

Davis later confessed to the crime and was in court on Thursday. He was charged with aggravated battery.

Read more at The Celebrity Cafe →

Eat Healthy But Cuidado with Superfoods

Eat Healthy But Cuidado with Superfoods

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By Jose Gonzalez, NewsTaco

Are you familiar with superfoods?

A story in The Guardian this week highlighted an issue that has been popping up in recent years: our “superfoods” are the regular foods of communities in other places.

One case in example is quinoa from Bolivia—and how with our increased consumption, there is a negative impact on the communities that produce it.

As the article notes:

“There is an unpalatable truth to face for those of us with a bag of quinoa in the larder. The appetite of countries such as ours for this grain has pushed up prices to such an extent that poorer people in Peru and Bolivia, for whom it was once a nourishing staple food, can no longer afford to eat it. Imported junk food is cheaper. In Lima, quinoa now costs more than chicken. Outside the cities, and fuelled by overseas demand, the pressure is on to turn land that once produced a portfolio of diverse crops into quinoa monoculture.”

Some argue that “superfood” is nothing more than marketing jargon—though it is true that in general superfoods are particularly nutrient-dense, with more antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, enzymes or protein, hence the term superfood.Image

But part of the label also connects to a superfood deriving from some usually exotic plant from faraway lands. Recent examples are goji berries from China and Tibet; açai, chia, and quinoa from South America; coconut, nonifruit and durian from Southeast Asia; mesquite, agave, and spirulina from Mexico.

Bringing back to make some connections to Latinos in the US, there are two interesting points.

One is that many first-generation Latino immigrants come from their home countries with a diet that is rich in nutritional integrity and simply healthier.

Studies have shown that first-generation immigrants, though many facing harsh working conditions, are healthier than later generations. It is the adoption of a “Standard American Diet” that leads to rises in diseases like diabetes and obesity.

A second point is that in our quest for diversity in our supermarket shelves, along with subsidized farm policies, we cause unexpected negative environmental and social effects in other areas of the world.

This is without even delving into the issues of food miles and the carbon footprint of food imports.

There have been concerns that Mexican maize farmers could no longer make a living due to a flood of cheaper US corn. Demand for asparagus is drying up deserts of Peru and demand for coconut water may not be delivering expected benefits to farmers.

So what may be a good resolution? Two options may be to be careful about over-consuming and thinking about going back to one’s roots in terms of “eating natural” and healthy.

A recommendation is to mix your superfoods with “regular” foods while taking note that many of our Latino foods are superfoods in their own and may be grown domestically. Think of the nopal, the pitaya, the cacao, hibiscus, aguacate, oregano, pumpkin seeds.

So much like the issue with farmworkers in the US, eating healthy is not just about the food you consume, but where it comes from, who it impacts, and the environmental effects—bet it a campesino in the US, Mexico, or communities of the Bolivian Andes and Peruvian deserts.

This article was first published in NewsTaco.

NewsTaco provides you with innovative and insightful news, critique, analysis and opinion from a Latino perspective in a 24-hour world.

Read more at NewsTaco →

Voto Latino Celebrates Obama’s Inauguration

Voto Latino Celebrates Obama’s Inauguration

Photo: Rosario Dawson and Wilmer Valderrama

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Non-partisan voter registration organization Voto Latino, their celebrity coalition, elected officials and media will come together for an intimate celebration to commemorate President Obama’s Inauguration and to honor Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis on January 20th.

Confirmed hosts include Voto Latino Chair Rosario Dawson, 2012 Co-Chair Wilmer Valderrama, President Maria Teresa Kumar, and Vice-Chair Brandon Hernandez.  Other guests include Russell Simmons, Congressman Xavier Becerra and more.

The event is both a celebration of the Inauguration and of the organization’s achievements over the past year. American Latinos played an integral part in the 2012 elections, representing a record setting 10% of voters. Through the help of Voto Latino’s efforts, over 100,000 new voters were registered in time for Election Day.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Not So Disney Anymore - See Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens in ‘Spring Breakers’ Trailer

Not So Disney Anymore - See Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens in ‘Spring Breakers’ Trailer

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Whoa. These girls have gone a long way since Disney.

Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens have clearly gotten away from their good girl image with their most recent roles in Spring Breakers, which also stars James Franco.

Brit, Candy, Cotty, and Faith have been best friends since grade school. They live together in a boring college dorm and are hungry for adventure. All they have to do is save enough money for spring break to get their shot at having some real fun. A serendipitous encounter with rapper “Alien” promises to provide the girls with all the thrill and excitement they could hope for. With the encouragement of their new friend, it soon becomes unclear how far the girls are willing to go to experience a spring break they will never forget.

—IMDB

Check out the trailer below.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Many Young Americans Plan to Own a Gun, Survey Finds

Many Young Americans Plan to Own a Gun, Survey Finds

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Included are depressed, unpopular teens and avid gamers.

Many young Americans say they plan to own a gun later in their lives, a new study reveals.

This finding suggests a possible reversal of a trend that pointed to decreasing gun ownership, the researchers said.

Researchers surveyed 2,100 college students (aged 18 to 25) and more than 2,100 high school students (aged 13 to 17) last fall and found that one-third grew up in a household with a gun and 36 percent said they were “very worried” about gun violence.

Nearly 40 percent of the survey participants said they plan to own a gun when they have their own household and another 20 percent said they are considering doing so, according to the national poll conducted by researchers at American University and Loyola Marymount University.

The survey, conducted from Sept. 27 to Oct. 16, 2012, also revealed that 50 percent of young people who say they are depressed, stressed or have difficulty making friends plan to have a gun in their household.

High school students who regularly play video games for more than four hours a day were 50 percent more likely to say they plan to own a gun, compared with those who do not play video games. The results were similar among college students, according to an American University news release.

More females than males said they fear gun violence (40 percent versus 32 percent) and females were less likely to plan to own a gun. Half of black respondents said they fear gun violence, compared with 31 percent of whites. Blacks were less likely than whites to plan to own a gun.

Democrats were more likely than Republicans to fear gun violence (45 percent versus 25 percent) and less likely to plan to own a gun.

The survey took place before the Dec. 14 Newtown, Conn., school massacre that left 20 first-graders and six staff members dead.


More information

The Nemours Foundation offers advice about gun safety in the home.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Nicaragua Sentences Fake Journalists to 30 Years

Nicaragua Sentences Fake Journalists to 30 Years

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The 18 Mexicans arrested last summer in Nicaragua while posing as Televisa journalists and later convicted on drug, money laundering and racketeering charges were sentenced Friday to 30 years in prison.

That is the maximum prison term allowed under Nicaraguan law.

The apparent leader of the group, Raquel Alatorre Correa, was in tears as she entered the courtroom in Managua for sentencing.

It was last Aug. 24 when the Mexicans were detained in Nicaragua with $9.2 million in cash they were apparently trying to smuggle from Mexico to Costa Rica.

The suspects were traveling in six vans bearing Televisa logos and had letters of accreditation ostensibly signed by the media giant’s vice president for national reporting, Amador Narcia.

Alatorre identified herself as a Televisa news director.

The Mexican network immediately denied any knowledge of the suspects and asked Nicaragua to carry out a thorough investigation.

Prosecutors said the 18 defendants were part of a “highly organized” criminal outfit that transported large quantities of drugs from Mexico to Costa Rica.

Defense lawyers announced plans to appeal the guilty verdicts, citing the absence of evidence that the defendants were transporting drugs.

“Not so much as a gram of cocaine was ever exhibited here,” attorney Ramon Rojas Urroz said.

On the way out of the courtroom, defendant Cecilio Torres told journalists that he and the others were “mistreated and deceived,” though he did not who was responsible.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Pope Benedict To Tweet in Latin to Nearly 4,000 Followers

Pope Benedict To Tweet in Latin to Nearly 4,000 Followers

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Pope Benedict XVI now has 3,730 followers on his Twitter account in Latin, two days ahead of his scheduled inaugural tweet, the Vatican said Friday.

The pope’s account in Latin, @pontifex.ln, was opened some 24 hours ago to join the other eight on which the pontiff has tweeted messages since Dec. 12 in Spanish, Portuguese, English, Italian, French, Polish, German and Arabic.

The account opened with greetings from the pope: “Tuus adventus in paginam publicam Summi Pontificis Benedicti XVI breviloquentis optatissimus est” (Your entry to the official page of Pope Benedict XVI is very agreeable).

The president of the recently founded Pontifical Academy for Latin, Ivano Dionigi, said that Latin is the “perfect” language for Twitter.

Dionigi, in a statement on Vatican Radio, said the fact that more than 3,000 people are following the papal account in Latin shows that the classical language continues to have its appeal, even in the world of social networking, adding that the pope is an example of both “innovation and tradition.”

Benedict XVI has more than 2.5 million followers on Twitter.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Phoenix Suns Fire Coach Alvin Gentry After Losing Streak

Phoenix Suns Fire Coach Alvin Gentry After Losing Streak

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Alvin Gentry stepped down as coach of the NBA Phoenix Suns on Friday after reaching an agreement with management.

The Suns posted a record of 158-144 under Gentry, who took charge of the team in February 2009.

The squad’s best season during his tenure came in 2009-2010, when Phoenix went 54-28 and made it to the Western Conference finals before falling to the Los Angeles Lakers.

This season, the Suns have lost 28 games - including 13 of their last 15 - and are at the bottom of the Western Conference.

Phoenix did not immediately name an interim coach to succeed Gentry, whose coaching career has included stints with the Detroit Pistons, L.A. Clippers and Miami Heat.

The Suns’ new management, led by President Lon Babby and GM Lance Blanks, remodeled the team with the addition of Luis Scola, Goran Dragic and Michael Beasley, but the new acquisitions have yet to pay off.

Read more by HS News Staff →



SaturdayJanuary 19, 2013