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Hondurans under the age of 23 are being murdered at the rate of 76 a month, compared with 45 youth homicides monthly in 1998, the Honduras branch of Covenant House says in a report released here Thursday.
More than a third of the roughly 8,000 slayings of children and youth in Honduras over the past 15 years have taken place since Jan. 27, 2010, when current President Porfirio Lobo took office, the organization said.
Eighty-seven percent of the 911 people under 23 slain in 2012 were killed with firearms, Covenant House said.
The report describes a “pattern of executions” in which victims’ bodies bear signs of torture and gunshot wounds to the head and chest.
Victims are also discovered with their “hands and feet bound, wrapped in sheets, heads wrapped in plastic bags with adhesive tape, dismembered bodies placed in bags,” the document notes.
Honduras experienced 92 homicides per 100,000 residents in 2011, according to a U.N. study, one of the highest murder rates in the world.
Violence escalated sharply in the Central American nation in the wake of the June 2009 coup that ousted President Mel Zelaya, as political strife added to the carnage wrought by criminal gangs.
Bud Light, official sponsor of the Men’s Mexican National Soccer Team (MNT), is donating $100,000 to the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) to commemorate the team’s five-city American tour and make the dream of a college education a reality for Hispanics across this country.
The donation, to be divided equally in the five states where the MNT will play the friendlies, is part of Bud Light’s long partnership with HSF. The initiative kicked off last night at the Mexico vs. Denmark game in Phoenix, Arizona, where the first $20,000 check was presented to HSF by Bud Light representatives as part of the pre-game activities.
“Bud Light is committed to supporting organizations like the Hispanic Scholarship Fund that touch the lives of so many Latinos in the U.S.,” said Bernardo Meza , Director of Multicultural Marketing for Bud Light. “We are happy to commemorate our MNT sponsorship in a way that also benefits the community at large.”
“The Hispanic Scholarship Fund is dedicated to providing Latino families with the financial and educational resources they need to achieve a college education and with Bud Light’s help, we are able to live up to our commitment,” said Fidel Vargas , President and CEO of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund.
Anheuser-Busch is proud to be an HSF partner, having donated 25 million dollars in scholarships, impacting the lives of more than 24,000 Latinos across the country.
Like fellow American Idol contestant Isabel Gonzalez, Matheus Fernandes covered a Sam Cooke song for his audition, but unlike Gonzalez, Fernandes looks a little different.
At 21 years old, Fernandes, who was born in Brazil, stands at 4 feet, 9 inches, but after hearing him sing, judge Randy Jackson said, “To me, you’re 10 feet tall.”
Diva judge Mariah Carey had similar feelings, saying, “Regardless of the height, race, sex, whatever, you hit me in the heart and you brought me to tears, which I’m holding back currently ... And I want you to know you can sing anything for me, any day of the week.”
“Growing up it was definitely a challenge…It was rough with all the bullying in middle school and in high school. Lots of tears were shed to a point I feel like so many tears were shed that I feel strong. I wouldn’t change anything, ‘cause it made me who I am and pursue what I really love to do.”
This is not Fernandes’ first time on a singing competition show. He also competed on the first season of The Glee Project, coming in 8th before being eliminated.
Watch Fernandes sing “A Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke. Though he and Gonzalez chose the same artist, she sang “Nothing Can Change This Love.”
SECRETARY CLINTON: It is such a treat for me to welcome the new Foreign Secretary of Mexico. Secretary Meade is no stranger to Washington having served previously as finance minister and been very active on many issues that are of mutual concern to our two countries. But this is my last official bilateral meeting, and I cannot even imagine a better opportunity than to meet with you and to have a chance to discuss some of the issues that will be worked on and carried on by my successor and by you.
FOREIGN SECRETARY MEADES: Thank you. It’s a great pleasure for me to meet you here. Basically we’re wanting in this meeting to convey all the gratitude that we have for all the good things that Secretary Clinton has constructed for Mexico for the relationship. It’s a good time to take stock, it’s a good time to look where we are and what we can construct with her successor. But we basically wanted to thank her for what she has done for Mexico. She is very important and well loved, and I am sure that that will continue to be the case with her successor.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much, Secretary Meade. Thank you all. Thank you.
Mexican authorities are reporting a blast at the headquarters complex of state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX). The blast has killed 14 people and injured 100. Early reports indicate some type of machinery exploded in the basement of an administration building in the complex. The explosion occurred sometime near 4:00 p.m. local time.
The PEMEX complex has numerous facilities including the PEMEX tower, all located in Mexico City. Management had evacuated the building where the blast occurred due to electrical problems, early reports indicate. The blast was severe enough to cause damage to nearby buildings sending hundreds of employees into the streets.
There has been no official confirmation of the cause of the blast except that the blast occurred. Mexico’s Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong confirmed that 100 people had been injured and 14 died. Both of those figures could go up as search crews go through the rubble to search for people trapped. Excelsior Mexico is reporting more than 30 workers are trapped in the rubble
PEMEX’s headquarters are located in the heart of Mexico City’s commercial district. The company has assets worth in excess of $400 billion and is considered the world’s second largest non-publicly traded company with over 130,000 employees.
Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, welcomed principles set forth by a group of eight U.S. Senators as a blueprint for reform the country’s immigration system.
“I welcome the introduction of a bipartisan framework to help guide Congress on immigration reform,” Archbishop Gomez said January 28. “It is an important first step in the process and sets a bipartisan tone.”
The framework released by the “Group of Eight” working group would include a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented in the nation. It also would reduce family backlogs in the immigration system, which requires family members to wait years to reunite with their loved ones.
“It is vital that the framework includes a path to citizenship, so that undocumented immigrants can come out of the shadows and into the light and have a chance to become Americans,” Archbishop Gomez said. “It gives hope to millions of our fellow human beings.”
Archbishop Gomez noted that the framework leaves room for improvement, as it fails to restore due process protections to immigrants lost in the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) or address the root causes of migration, such as the absence of living-wage employment in sending communities or protection for refugees fleeing persecution.
Nevertheless, he pledged the support of the USCCB in pushing sound immigration legislation forward and working with Congress to create an immigration system which respects basic human rights and dignity while also ensuring the integrity of our borders.
“A reformed system can protect human dignity and the homeland at the same time,” he concluded.
Puerto Rico’s businesses plan to spend up to 10 percent of their advertising budgets on social media this year, focusing on social-networking giants Facebook and Twitter, a new report said.
Companies based in the Caribbean island plan to target social media with between 7 percent and 10 percent of their advertising budgets, the Puerto Rican Association of Sales and Marketing Executives said.
Puerto Rican businesses are expected to gradually increase the amount they spend on Internet advertising, especially social media, the association said.
The report, however, concluded that Puerto Rican consumers were still not attuned to social-networking brands, making it clear that firms still have much work to do to gain traction in this sector.
Francisco Jose de Goya’s portrait of his grandson went unsold Thursday in an auction of works by Old Masters at Sotheby’s New York.
The highest bid for “Portrait of Mariano Goya,” was $5.5 million, short of the undisclosed reserve price.
The piece, painted in 1827 by an 81-year-old Goya, was expected to sell for $6 million to $8 million.
Not seen in public for 60 years, the painting was the “most beautiful” of the works on sale Thursday, Sotheby’s Christopher Apostle told Efe, adding that the piece’s “sensitivity and simplicity” reflect the character of Goya.
This is not the first time an important Goya painting has failed to sell at auction. The “Portrait of Juan Lopez de Robredo” found no takers in a late 2011 sale at Christie’s in London.
The current record price for a Goya work was set in 1992, when “Suerte de Varas” sold for $7.9 million at Sotheby’s New York.
Mexico’s gross domestic product grew around 4 percent in real terms in 2012 and 3.6 percent in the fourth quarter of the year, the Finance and Public Credit Secretariat said.
The federal government’s deficit totaled 403.6 billion pesos ($31.7 billion), the secretariat said in a report.
The figure is “in line with the budget deficit approved for the year and the applicable projections for the fiscal period,” the secretariat said.
The deficit totaled 92.1 billion pesos ($7.2 billion), or 0.60 percent of GDP, if investment in state-owned oil giant Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, is excluded, the Finance and Public Credit Secretariat said.
The number of workers registered with the Mexican Social Security Institute was up by 699,406, or 4.6 percent, as of Dec. 31, compared to the level at the end of 2011.
For centuries, the fate of the original Otomí inhabitants of Xaltocan, the capital of a pre-Aztec Mexican city-state, has remained unknown. Researchers have long wondered whether they assimilated with the Aztecs or abandoned the town altogether.
According to new anthropological research from The University of Texas at Austin, Wichita State University and Washington State University, the answers may lie in DNA. Following this line of evidence, the researchers theorize that some original Otomies, possibly elite rulers, may have fled the town. Their exodus may have led to the reorganization of the original residents within Xaltocan, or to the influx of new residents, who may have intermarried with the Otomí population.
Using ancient DNA sampling, Jaime Mata-Míguez, an anthropology graduate student and lead author of the study, tracked the biological comings and goings of the Otomí people following the incorporation of Xaltocan into the Aztec empire. The study, published in American Journal of Physical Anthropology, is the first to provide genetic evidence for the anthropological cold case.
Learning more about changes in the size, composition, and structure of past populations helps anthropologists understand the impact of historical events, including imperial conquest, colonization, and migration, Mata-Míguez says.
Mata-Míguez suggests that long-distance trade, population movement and the reorganization of many conquered populations caused by Aztec imperialism could have caused similar genetic shifts in other regions of Mexico as well.
Federal authorities arrested 12 former Ector County Correctional Center (ECCC) guards and one former ECCC employee this morning for allegedly accepting bribes in exchange for smuggling contraband to inmates inside the federal detention facility announced United States Attorney Robert Pitman and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Mark Morgan, El Paso Division.
The defendants are individually named in 13 federal grand jury indictments returned on January 23, 2013, and unsealed today. The indictments allege that during 2011 and 2012, the correctional officers, as well as Barbara Garrett, a food service worker, smuggled in contraband to inmates, including cell phones, chargers, tobacco, and marijuana, in exchange for cash in knowing violation of their official duties. Those indicted and arrested include:
Jovanna Marie Olivarez, age 21, of Odessa
Matthew Ryan Williams, age 20, of Odessa
Dennis Earl Newsome, age 63, of Austin, Texas
Charlette Smith, age 46, of Odessa
Nancy Torres Morales, age 36, of Odessa
Valerie Ann Arenivas, age 22, of Odessa
Gabriel Angel Navarette, age 23, of Odessa
Jennifer Armida Lopez, age 25, of Odessa
Jessica Lucia Smith, age 33, of Monahans, Texas
Jazmine Desiree Cruz, age 19, of Odessa
Jonathon Wayne Meza, age 29, of Odessa
Barbara Jean Garrett, age 52, of Andrews, Texas
Ashley Dawn Clark, age 29, of Crane, Texas
Each defendant is charged with one count of accepting a bribe. Upon conviction, each defendant faces up to 15 years in federal prison and a maximum $250,000 fine.
This case was investigated by agents with Federal Bureau of Investigation, together with investigators from the Odessa Police Department and the Ector County Sheriff’s Office along with cooperation from the United States Marshals Service and ECCC. Assistant United States Attorney John Klassen is prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.
An indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
The arch of history in long, but is bends towards shamelessness. - Jon Stewart
Earlier this week, Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show touched on the GOP, their seemingly shifting stances on immigration reform, and why they’re really changes their minds (as stated by John McCain).
Watch Stewart discuss the Latino vote, with help from correspondents Al Madrigal and Jessica Williams.
Mexican actress Ana Claudia Talancon said she was a huge fan of children and soccer, the two subjects of her film, “El sueño de Ivan.”
“I’ve always loved kids. I’ve felt that way since I was a little girl, with my dolls,” the actress said.
“I have always really enjoyed being with kids,” the 32-year-old actress said.
Talancon, who press reports say is separated from husband and fellow actor Jose Maria de Tavira, told reporters that appearing in “El sueño de Ivan” was a positive experience because it allowed her to perform with children.
“The protagonists are the children, who make it fresh. I loved working with them. I always knew I would have good chemistry working with children. I’m a kid person,” the actress said.
“El sueño de Ivan,” a joint Mexican, Spanish and Colombian production, premiered in Spain in 2011, but it will not open in Mexican cinemas until Feb. 14.
Talancon’s previous films include “Arrancame la vida” (2008) and “El crimen del padre Amaro” (2002).
Game of Thrones and Harry Potter star Natalia Tena has lent her support to a Survival International campaign to finally bring the killers of three Colombian Indian leaders to justice.
Twenty-two years ago, in November 1990, Angel María Torres and two other leaders of Colombia’s Arhuaco tribe were kidnapped, tortured and killed. They were travelling from their home in Colombia’s northern Sierra Nevada region to the capital Bogotá when they were detained by the army.
Shortly after their disappearance, their corpses were found with signs of severe torture.
In a rare interview, Angel María Torres’s widow Dilia has spoken of the grief and despair of the last 22 years.
‘My husband’s hair was gone and his fingers were missing (…) I have lost my husband and all hope of a life with my partner and family.’ Dilia Torres told Survival.
The appeal is supported with a voice-over by Game of Thrones and Harry Potter star Natalia Tena.
Following an international campaign by Survival, its supporters and the Arhuaco, the United Nations and the Colombian government upheld the army’s responsibility for the men’s death. However no-one has been punished for the crime.
Colombia’s indigenous peoples are caught in the cross-fire of Colombia’s civil war, and attacks on them continue. In November, Arhuaco leader Rogelio Mejia was driving in a car with a Survival researcher when the vehicle was attacked by gunmen. Mejia escaped with three gunshot wounds, but the case remains unresolved.
Natalia Tena said, ’Dilia’s story of the loss of her husband touched me deeply, which is why I am supporting Survival’s campaign against impunity for crimes against Colombia’s indigenous people.’
Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said, ‘Rarely is there a more explicit and stomach-churning example of government-sponsored violence against tribal peoples. And yet there are those that continue to promulgate the lie that tribal peoples fare better when the state is imposed upon them. Arhuaco tribeswoman Dilia Torres would vehemently disagree.’
A mother in New Mexico was arrested and charged with child abuse after she a developmentally disabled was found locked in a wooden cage while the family went to a movie.
Cindy Patriarchias, 33, and her boyfriend Edmond Gonzales, 37, reportedly took her three other children to a nearby school for a special movie night. When they left, however, an 8-year-old in Patriarchias’ care was locked up at their mobile home in a cage 29 inches wide, 60 inches long and 49.5 inches tall. The girl was left alone.
Patriarchias’ ex-husband called police after her spotted everyone but the 8-year-old at the school that night.
Police say they arrived at the mobile home, but had to wait over an hour for Patriarchias and Gonzales to arrive. When they were finally able to get inside, officers found the young girl in the cage, which had two latches to keep in closed, laying on a baby mattress.
The girl has microcephaly, which means her head and therefore her brain (microencephaly) are smaller than average. Life expectancy for children like her is sadly shorter than average as well.
Patriarchias claims she was trying to adopt the little girl, but was unable to get a hold of her birth mother.
Patriarchias has been charged with negligently causing child abuse, while Gonzales was charged with negligently permitting child abuse. Each were held at Doña Ana County Detention Center on $25,000 cash-only bond.
The girl did not appear to have any physical injuries as a result of being confined.
Neanderthals sang opera, British archaeologist Steven Mithen, originator of the theory that music was used as a form of pre-linguistic communication by these pre-historic people, told Efe.
“The musicality of the Neanderthals can be identified more with opera than with rap because in addition to music, these hominids also used dance and body language as forms of communication,” Mithen, author of “The Singing Neanderthals,” said.
“Rap is associated with a particular type of music based on words and phrases, something the Neanderthals lacked,” Mithen said.
Mithen helped open a lecture series Thursday on “Music and Its Impact on the Body and Mind” at the CosmoCaixa exhibition center.
The lecture series is being organized jointly with the Bellvitge Institute for Biomedical Research, or IDIBELL.
“Neanderthals did not adopt a hierarchical position in their songs,” Mithen said.
Human beings evolved about 100,000 years ago in Africa and later developed spoken languages, but the modern individuals who spread into the Middle East, Asia and Europe 50,000 years ago encountered Neanderthals, who still communicated using ancient musical forms, Mithen said.
“Modern human beings used language, which was a more efficient form of communication, and they could also invent better technology, while the Neanderthals were gradually pushed out toward extinction,” the University of Reading researcher said.
Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez has been named by NBA Commissioner David Stern as an Eastern Conference All-Star reserve.
Stern chose Lopez to replace Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, who was voted in by the fans as a starter but will miss the rest of the season after tearing his right ACL on Jan. 25.
Lopez, initially passed over for an All-Star spot, will now make his debut in that NBA mid-season showcase on Feb. 17 at the Toyota Center in Houston. He will be the Nets’ lone representative.
“It’s a huge honor,” Lopez said in a statement after the Nets’ 105-85 home loss Wednesday night to the defending-champion Miami Heat.
“First and foremost, I couldn’t have done it without my teammates. They make my job 100 times easier, playing with Deron (Williams), Joe (Johnson), Gerald (Wallace), they gift wrap me buckets and take a lot of attention away from me on the court. It is something I have been working towards and it’s been a goal of mine and it will definitely be an exciting weekend.”
The 24-year-old center is averaging 18.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.2 blocked shots per game - tops for his team in all three categories - thus far in the 2012-13 season.
Two woman returning to New York after a trip to the Dominican Republic were arrested after Customs and Border Protection officers at JFK airport found they were hiding more than six kilos of cocaine in what can only be described as duct tape diapers.
Michelle Blassingale and Priscilla Pena had just arrived at JFK on January 26 when drug sniffing dogs alerted CBP officers to drugs nearby.
The women’s luggage was checked, but officers found no drugs. However, they did notice Pena “appeared to be very nervous.” A pat-down was then conducted and officers found each of the women was wearing a diaper made out of duct tape. When officers cut open the diapers, 6.5 kilos of cocaine in total were discovered. The apparatuses they were wearing are said to have been “rigged like a girdle around their hindquarters.”
Blassingale said she expected to make between $9,000 and $10,000 for smuggling the cocaine
Blassingale and Pena, both of the Bronx, were arrested and charged with drug smuggling. Blassingale remains in custody, but Pena was released on $150,000 bond.
A writer who was skeptical, reticent, disillusioned and, above all, aware of his scant influence within the Royal Spanish Academy, or RAE, the late Miguel Delibes always sought in his novels depicting provincial life to enrich his native tongue.
Friday will mark 40 years since the native of the Spanish region of Castile and Leon and winner of the prestigious Cervantes Prize in 1999 was elected to chair “e” of the Madrid-based RAE, the official royal institution responsible for regulating the Spanish language.
Delibes, who was chosen for a seat by Damaso Alonso and Alonso Zamora Vicente, experienced a “complete change in his life” beginning Feb. 1, 1973, his daughter, Elisa, told Efe Thursday.
“It was perhaps the most exciting moment of his literary career and that’s how we experienced it,” because from that point forward a series of events unfolded including the illness and death of his wife, Angeles de Castro, and the start of film and theater adaptations of “a ton of his works,” she said.
Delibes, who died in 2010 at the age of 89 and is best remembered for books about Castile and hunting and mankind’s mistreatment of nature, “was unable to control his literary and family life as he had done until then.”
“Everything brimmed over, multiplied and he became very famous,” the writer’s daughter, a literature professor and president of the Miguel Delibes Foundation since its creation in 2011, said.
Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office (Procuraduría General de la República, PGR) this month has frozen the finances of the Coahuila-based mining company Materiales Industrializados, S.A. (MINSA) belonging to Armando Guadiana Tijerina for alleged ties to organized crime, along with at least 11 other, smaller mining companies operating in the Carbonífera region of Coahuila. Coahuila is Mexico’s top mining state; every year, Mexico’s Federal Electricity Commission (Comisión Federal de Electricidad, CFE) purchases more than three million tons of coal from Coahuila mining companies as part of the regional development project Promotora para el Desarrollo Minero (Prodemi). Meanwhile, around a thousand MINSA workers protested outside the Sabinas municipal building on January 15, demanding that officials intervene to unfreeze the company’s assets, or risk losing more than 1,300 jobs.
Allegations of organized crime involvement in the region’s coalmines arose last October, when the son of former Governor Humberto Moriera Valdés was murdered in Ciudad Acuña, Coahuila, after which Moriera told Vanguardia that there were “narco-miners” in Coahuila financing organized crime. He reportedly named Guadiana and his brother José Luis as likely having ties to criminal organizations. Moreira, who has been widely blamed for a ballooning state debt during his tenure during which loans to the state were allegedly procured through false documentation, is currently living outside the country as a result of a grant awarded to him by the National Education Workers Union (Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación, SNTE). Federal Deputy for Coahuila Alfa González expressed his concern for this, saying “It really worries us that the ex-governor has left the state without any problem, as though nothing had happened. It’s unfortunate.”
In addition to allegations of organized crime involvement, the mining operations are also reportedly under investigation for money laundering, and tax evasion, as well as failure to comply with federal regulations.
Speaking at a National Football League (NFL) news conference Thursday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton and NFL Vice President for Legal Affairs Anastasia Danias announced the record-breaking results of a nationwide enforcement operation. The initiative, dubbed ‘Operation Red Zone,’ commenced Sept. 1, 2012, and targeted international shipments of counterfeit merchandise as it entered the United States. Authorities targeted warehouses, stores, flea markets, online vendors and street vendors selling counterfeit game-related sportswear and tickets throughout the country.
Fake jerseys, ball caps, T-shirts, jackets and other souvenirs are among the counterfeit merchandise and clothing confiscated by teams of special agents and officers from ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and state and local police departments around the country — all in partnership with the NFL and other major sports leagues.
“The Super Bowl is one of the nation’s most exciting events. Organized criminals are preying on that excitement, ripping consumers off with counterfeit merchandise and stealing from the American businesses who have worked hard to build a trusted brand,” said Morton. “The sale of counterfeit jerseys and other sports items undermines the legitimate economy, takes jobs away from Americans and fuels crime overseas. No good comes of counterfeiting American products — whether NFL jerseys, airbags, or pharmaceuticals — and we must go after the criminals behind it.”
‘Hard goods’ seizures
Special agents from HSI and officers with CBP operated in multiple teams with the NFL and law enforcement agencies throughout the nation to identify illegal shipments imported into the U.S., as well as stores and vendors selling counterfeit trademarked items. With three days left before Super Bowl XLVII, these teams have already seized more than 160,000 items of phony Super Bowl-related memorabilia along with other counterfeit items for a total take of more than $13.6 million. Due to the increased activity of counterfeiting operations around the world, this year the operation began Sept. 1, 2012, and will continue through Feb. 6, 2013.
“We’re delighted to once again partner with federal law enforcement to help combat the influx of counterfeit merchandise,” said Danias. “We are grateful for their tireless efforts to keep counterfeiters from illegally profiting off of the fans’ enthusiasm for their team and the Super Bowl and from hurting the local businesses that play by the rules.”
“In collaboration with the NFL and our Department of Homeland Security partners, we are providing critical support in the effort to protect consumers from counterfeit goods,” said Robert C. Gomez, director of field operations in Atlanta and New Orleans for CBP. “The enforcement of iintellectual property rights is a national agency priority, and our CBP officers and import specialists are actively working to intercept these products. Counterfeit merchandise hurts our economy and, in many cases, presents safety issues. It is a potential source of funding illegal activities that present a threat to our national security.”
In September 2012, HSI Boston — assisted by HSI Providence — executed a search warrant at a residence in Warwick, R.I. HSI seized 226 boxes of counterfeit goods containing 4,016 sports jerseys with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $724,340 and approximately $477,000 worth of additional counterfeit goods, as well as $130,057 in U.S. currency and checks. The owner of the home was subsequently arrested and is currently facing federal charges of trafficking in counterfeit goods and smuggling.
In November 2012, HSI Indianapolis special agents responded to a call from Indiana State Fairgrounds Security that an individual at the Indianapolis International Fest was selling items suspected to be counterfeit. Upon arriving at the festival, the special agents were able to verify the goods to be counterfeit and seized 1,319 counterfeit sports ball caps from the individual with an MSRP of $30,095 and approximately $7,600 worth of additional counterfeit goods. HSI arrested the man for illegally trafficking in counterfeit merchandise.
Twenty-one other individuals were arrested in partnership with state and local law enforcement agencies on state charges at locations around the country.
Furthering HSI’s efforts to combat the international counterfeiting supply chain and piracy online, special agents seized a total of 313 websites identified to be selling counterfeit merchandise.
The website seizures during Operation Red Zone are the next iteration of Operation In Our Sites, a long term law enforcement initiative targeting counterfeiting and piracy on the Internet. The 313 websites have been seized by law enforcement, and are now in the custody of the federal government. Visitors to these websites will find a seizure banner that notifies them that the domain name has been seized by federal authorities and educates them that willful copyright infringement is a federal crime. Since the launch of Operation In Our Sites in June 2010, the HSI-led Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Center has seized a total of 2,061 domain names.
HSI has continued to work closely with payment processor PayPal to identify bank accounts being used to facilitate the transfer of money to these illegal operations. To date, PayPal and HSI have identified and seized more than $66,000 in assets in these accounts.
“PayPal and eBay Inc. pride ourselves in going above and beyond in the fight against the illegal online trafficking of counterfeit goods by partnering with law enforcement and rights owners globally, and as part of providing safe and trusted payments and commerce platforms,” said Tod Cohen, eBay’s vice president and deputy general counsel of government relations.
Operation Red Zone continues
Operation Red Zone will continue this weekend at the Super Bowl, throughout the New Orleans-area and around the nation.
The operation was spearheaded by the IPR Center in coordination with the Department of Justice’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and five U.S. Attorneys’ offices, including the District of Maryland, District of New Jersey, District of Colorado, Eastern District of Louisiana and the District of Utah.
The IPR Center is one of the U.S. government’s key weapons in the fight against criminal counterfeiting and piracy. Working in close coordination with the Department of Justice Task Force on Intellectual Property, the IPR Center uses the expertise of its 21 member agencies to share information, develop initiatives, coordinate enforcement actions and conduct investigations related to intellectual property theft. Through this strategic interagency partnership, the IPR Center protects the public’s health and safety and the U.S. economy.
The first exhibition in a Spanish museum of the work of Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei, under house arrest in his homeland and stripped of his passport for his criticism of the government, shows his obsession for truth and falsehood.
Titled “Resistance and Tradition,” the exhibit consists of 15 works - mostly ceramic-based installation art - that will be on display until June 30 at the Andalusian Contemporary Art Center, located within the grounds of Seville’s La Cartuja Monastery.
The exhibit’s title, according to organizers, clearly alludes to Ai’s political outlook and his interest in Chinese cultural traditions, which is particularly reflected in ceramic work that denounces the country’s current reality and contrasts Chinese artisan work with mass industrial production.
Speaking via videoconference during the media launch event, Ai thanked organizers for bringing his work to a Spanish museum for the first time and lamented that he will not be able to “share this experience with you,” adding that he is sure that visitors will enjoy the exhibit.
LeBron James let his game do the talking after some brash comments by a Brooklyn Nets player, leading his defending-champion Miami Heat to a 105-85 road victory over the New York City team at the Barclays Center.
The reigning league MVP was handed some bulletin-board material before Wednesday night’s contest by Nets journeyman power forward Reggie Evans, who said the Heat’s championship in the 2011-12 season was tainted because it came in a lockout-shortened season.
James responded with a typical all-around effort, scoring 24 points, grabbing nine rebounds and dishing out seven assists, and then waited until after the game to fire back verbally at the Nets.
“You can’t just come out and say something like that versus a champion,” James said. “No one knows what it takes unless you’ve done it. You can’t sit here and judge and talk about a team winning a championship unless you’ve done it. (Evans) hasn’t done it.”
The Heat star also criticized the Nets players for not playing hard for former coach Avery Johnson, who was fired in late December after the team’s record fell to 14-14.
Brooklyn has fared much better under interim coach P.J. Carlesimo, but James said the only difference is that the team is giving more effort and lamented that “Avery had to take the hit of them not wanting to play at a high level.”
Dwyane Wade added 21 points for the Heat, who turned a tie game at halftime into a rout by outscoring the Nets 36-14 in the third quarter.
The Heat were on fire from 3-point range, with James making 3-of-4 shots from that distance and Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis each going 2-for-3.
Center Brook Lopez scored 21 points for Brooklyn, whose record fell to 27-19. Miami’s record improved to 29-13, tops in the Eastern Conference.
In other NBA action Wednesday night, the Los Angeles Lakers stumbled to their eighth straight road loss, falling 92-86 to the lowly Phoenix Suns despite leading by 10 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Indiana Pacers trounced the Detroit Pistons 98-79, the Philadelphia 76ers topped the Washington Wizards 92-84, the Atlanta Hawks edged the Toronto Raptors 93-92, and the New York Knicks routed the Orlando Magic 113-97.
The Boston Celtics cruised past the Sacramento Kings 99-81, the L.A. Clippers defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 96-90, the Chicago Bulls continued their strong run of form with a 104-88 win over the Milwaukee Bucks, the San Antonio Spurs pummeled the Charlotte Bobcats 102-78, the Utah Jazz topped the New Orleans Hornets 104-99, and the Denver Nuggets defeated the Houston Rockets 118-110.
Our immigration system is broken. It has been for some time.
Right now, there are 11 million people living in a shadow economy. There are Americans waiting in long lines to reunite with their families. There are employers who are exploiting the system by hiring undocumented workers, and that threatens the wages and working conditions of American workers. None of this is good for the economy, and it isn’t fair for the middle class.
So President Obama is determined to fix this broken system so that everyone plays by the same rules, and we wanted to make sure you get the details. Here’s what he wants to do:
—First, continue to improve the security on our borders;
—Second, crack down on the companies that hire undocumented workers;
—Third, provide undocumented immigrants the chance to earn their citizenship and hold them accountable by requiring that they learn English, pay taxes and a penalty, move to the back of the line, and pass background checks; and
—Fourth, streamline the legal immigration system for families, workers, and businesses.
The good news is that lawmakers from both parties agree with that basic set of principles, and a bipartisan group of Senators is already working on a bill that’s consistent with President Obama’s proposal. That’s big.
But the surest way to keep up the momentum is for people like you to show that you agree as well. We’ve put together a page where you can get the latest information—read more details about the President’s plan, watch video of his new speech about the need to fix our broken immigration system, and add your name to show that you stand with President Obama.
The Department of Justice filed a civil antitrust lawsuit today challenging Anheuser-Busch InBev’s (ABI) proposed acquisition of total ownership and control of Grupo Modelo.
ABI currently has a 43 percent voting interest and a 50.35 percent economic interest in Modelo. Modelo is a Mexican corporation with its principal place of business in Mexico City. In 2011, Modelo had revenues of approximately $7 billion.
The department said that the $20.1 billion transaction would substantially lessen competition in the market for beer in the U.S. as a whole resulting in consumers paying more for beer and having fewer new products from which to choose.
ABI and Modelo–the largest and third largest beer firms, respectively–together control about 46 percent of annual sales in the United States.
Americans spent at least $80 billion on beer last year. According to the department, ABI’s Bud Light is the best selling beer in the United States and Modelo’s Corona Extra is the best-selling import. Because of the size of the beer market in the United States, even a small increase in the price of beer could result in billions of dollars of harm to American consumers, the department said.
The department’s lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, seeks to prevent the companies from merging.
The complaint also discusses ABI’s efforts to target Corona. ABI considered Corona to be a significant threat, and launched Bud Light Lime in 2008 to compete with Corona. ABI went as far as to mimic Corona’s distinctive clear bottle. Ultimately, instead of trying to compete head-to-head with its own product, Bud Light Lime, ABI is thwarting competition by buying Modelo.
The discovery of a 3,550-year-old child’s sarcophagus near the southern Egyptian city of Luxor could shed light on a little-known period of Ancient Egypt, Jose Manuel Galan, the head of a Spanish team of archaeologists that made the find, told Efe Wednesday.
Experts who for the past three years have explored the vicinity of the tombs of Djehuty and Hery, two high-ranking dignitaries of the Egyptian court between 1500 and 1450 B.C., discovered the intact funeral receptacle lying unprotected on the ground a few days ago.
The archaeologists said they were surprised to find a burial container predating the era of the two officials at that site.
Unlike other sarcophagi, it was not found in a tomb on the hill that overlooks that section of Luxor’s west bank, Galan said, adding that he now is interested in finding the remains of the young boy’s parents.
Children normally were buried in family cemeteries, according to the expert, who currently is carrying out research at an ancient necropolis that “survived” the excavations of 19th and 20th century Egyptologists because other burial grounds were built on top of it.
The boy’s sarcophagus, made of carved wood and painted white, dates to 1550 B.C., an era considered “important because very little is known” about it, Galan said.
It will require looking back at a time when Thebes (present-day Luxor) was a mere provincial capital.
The Theban rulers’ reconquest and reunification of Egypt made that city the imperial capital and ushered in the prosperous era of the New Kingdom.
The non-governmental organization La Alameda has launched a campaign against slave labor in Argentina, alleging that 200 years after the foundation was laid for the abolition of slavery in the South American nation, the practice had “changed form” and affected nearly 500,000 people.
“There are 27 million people subjected to slavery in the world, according to U.N. figures, and we have at least half a million in Argentina,” La Alameda president Gustavo Vera told Efe.
The non-governmental organization has been working for a decade to end labor exploitation and people trafficking in Argentina.
“Some 99 percent (of the victims) are immigrants who were brought here with promises of work and housing,” Vera said.
La Alameda has filed complaints against 105 textile firms for allegedly having workers “in clandestine workshops with shifts of up to 14 hours.”
The worst industries for labor exploitation are textiles, with 78 percent of workers employed on the margins of labor legislation, and agriculture, where informal employment reaches 60 percent, La Alameda says.
The government declared Thursday a holiday to mark the bicentennial of the assembly that granted freedom to the children of slaves born in Argentina.
The South American country, however, “does not have a national policy to eradicate” slavery, Vera said.
According to multiple sources, including In Touch magazine, Alec Baldwin and his Spanish-born wife, Hilaria Thomas, are expecting their first child together.
Baldwin and Thomas were married in New York in June of 2012, and it should be noted that the couple have yet to announce the pregnancy themselves. However, a reportedly “close friend” has informed In Touch that Hilaria is with child.
Hilaria Thomas, 28, was born in Mallorca, Spain. As a child she studied ballet and flamenco dancing. When she was 13, she began international Latin ballroom dancing.
Both Thomas and Baldwin graduated from New York University. She is now the co-owner of and instructor at Yoga Viga studio in New York City.
If the baby rumors are true, this will be the second child for Baldwin, 55, as he has a nearly 18-year-old daughter, Ireland, with ex-wife Kim Basinger.
A new report out on Tuesday claims that Alex Rodriguez was just one of many star baseball players who received banned performance enhancing drugs from a Miami anti-aging clinic.
The Miami New Times obtained records from the now-shuttered Biogenesis, a clinic that was close to the University of Miami campus. While it was called an anti-aging clinic, the report claims that it really sold human growth hormone (HGH), testosterone and other banned substances. These records allegedly contain the names of stars like Rodriguez, Gio Gonzalez, Melky Cabrera and others.
Anthony Bosch, the clinic’s chief, kept the records. He and his father’s names first popped up in connection with PEDs when they were linked to Manny Ramirez when he was suspended in 2009. The Boshes were not charged.
MLB issued a statement to the New Times, which read, “We are always extremely disappointed to learn of potential links between players and the use of performance-enhancing substances and have been active in the issues that have emerged in South Florida… [B]anned substances… have no place in our game.”
The New Times suggests that Bosh built the East Coast version of BALCO, the infamous lab that allegedly supplied PEDs for Barry Bonds and others in California.
Rodriguez, who will be out with an injury this season, sent a statement to CBS Sports and other outlets denying the New Times’ findings.
“The news report about a purported relationship between Alex Rodriguez and Anthony Bosch are not true,” the statement from his reps read. “Alex Rodriguez was not Mr. Bosch’s patient, he was never treated by him and he was never advised by him. The purported documents referenced in the story—at least as they relate to Alex Rodriguez—are not legitimate.”
Gonzalez, who plays for the Washington Nationals, denied the report as well on Twitter.
I’ve never used performance enhancing drugs of any kind and I never will ,I’ve never met or spoken with tony Bosch orused any substance
PEDs are still a hot topic in sports and the report comes just days after cyclist Lance Armstrong finally admitted to using them. It also comes after baseball writers elected not a single player into the Baseball Hall of Fame for 2013.
The general secretary of soccer governing body FIFA declined to comment here Wednesday on charges by France Football magazine that Qatar paid bribes for the right to host the 2022 World Cup.
“If there is something that has to be investigated, the FIFA Ethics Committee is totally independent and can open an investigation,” Jerome Valcke said during a press conference in Rio de Janeiro to outline plans for next year’s World Cup in Brazil.
“It’s not for me to comment on the content of the France Football article,” the FIFA No. 2 said.
While acknowledging that he read the article, Valcke said he did not discuss the matter with FIFA President Sepp Blatter.
The magazine’s 20-page piece suggested that the heads of the Argentine, Paraguayan and Brazilian soccer federations - Julio Grondona, Nicolas Leoz and Ricardo Teixeira, respectively - were on the receiving end of Qatari largesse.
The president of FC Barcelona, Sandro Rosell, may also have influenced the decision to award the 2022 tournament to the gas-rich Gulf emirate, according to the article, titled “Qatargate.”
The other finalist to host the 2022 World Cup was the United States, which lost out to Qatar 14-8 in the FIFA Executive Committee’s December 2010 vote on the selection.
Raymond Ayala took advantage of a press conference to send the message to young people that instead of seeing life in an individualistic way, one should do things that are of service to others.
“And therefore, I’m part of the Red Cross, because I love service. Personally, serving others fills me up. The great example here is Jesus, who ... came to serve,” said Daddy Yankee at the San Juan headquarters of the Red Cross Puerto Rico Chapter.
The performer of hits such as “La gasolina” and “Lo que paso, paso” said that he had performed part of his service to the neediest in society after establishing the Warrior’s Heart Foundation, which devotes itself to helping young incarcerated people continue their studies.
The rapper said that he has been a faithful supporter of the Red Cross since he was young.
“The message is simple: trying to raise awareness among the youth and have them be better acquainted with the Red Cross, and through the social networks I always try to (help) people know more,” he said.
The “Unete al movimiento” (Join the movement) campaign will also include a competition among all Puerto Rico’s public schools with the one selling the most Red Cross bracelets winning a visit by Daddy Yankee, who is a member of the organization’s National Celebrity Cabinet.
Undocumented students in California feel a sense of relief now that they are eligible for financial aid from the state’s public universities.
Law AB131, known as the California Dream Act, took effect Jan. 1.
The legislation makes aid available to undocumented high school graduates who qualify for admission to the University of California and California State systems, as long as they were 15 or younger when they were brought to the United States.
“I cried for joy when they approved the California Dream Act, because my dream of being a pediatric doctor will be a reality with the financial aid,” Salvadoran-born Graciela Ruiz told Efe.
“I graduated from John Marshall High School in Los Angeles in 2010 and since then I have dedicated myself exclusively to work, because the medical degree program is very expensive,” she said.
The aspiring physician expects to enter UCLA in the fall.
The California state government estimates the initiative could benefit as many as 20,000 “Dreamers,” so called after the long-stalled federal DREAM Act.
Uriel Rivera, a junior at UC Berkeley, told Efe the enactment of the aid program takes a load off his mind.
“In my case, I’ve been working and with some small private scholarships I have made up the rest,” the Mexican immigrant said. “But starting this year, I qualified to receive around $14,000 annually, which is more or less what I need to pay the price of the university.”
“We’re not taking anything away from anyone, rather we’re only receiving the benefits for which our families pay, the money that those of us who are awaiting a path to legalization pay,” Rivera said.
Sergio Dominguez, another Mexican native, has been taking community college courses for the past two years after graduating from a Los Angeles high school and now hopes to transfer to a university.
“I currently work at a gas station and with the approval of the financial aid to continue studying it facilitates access to the education I want to have,” he said.
Brazil last year granted 73,022 work visas for foreigners, 3.54 percent more than in 2011 and a 70.15 percent increase since 2009, the Labor and Employment Ministry announced here Wednesday.
“The professionals are highly qualified and came to engage in professions in the areas of management and supervision of companies,” said a ministry communique.
Of the total visas granted, 64,682 were temporary and 8,340 were permanent.
The main areas of activity for the foreign workers, the ministry said, were engineering, technology, systems analysis, petroleum and natural gas, civil construction and infrastructure projects.
Portugal, Spain and China were the countries that benefitted most from Brazilian work visa authorizations.
In 2012, the number of work visas for Portuguese citizens jumped by 81 percent, while Spaniards received 53 percent more such visas and Chinese 24 percent.
However, in terms of gross numbers, the United States led all nations in its receipt of Brazilian work visas with 9,209, followed by The Philippines with 5,179 and Haiti with 4,860, with most of the visas authorized for Haitians going to people who came to Brazil illegally after their homeland was devastated by the 2010 earthquake.
The granting of permanent visas for investors increased by 15 percent last year and the ministry said that the government’s provision of such visas generated investments of 286 million reais (about $143 million), 40 percent more than in 2011.
Archrivals Real Madrid and FC Barcelona put on a magnificent display of soccer here Wednesday in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semifinal, which ended in a 1-1 draw.
The home side, already out of contention in La Liga, regained a measure of self-esteem by holding their own in the battle with first-place Barça in front of 83,000 fans in Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu stadium.
After a scoreless first half, the teams picked up where they left off, trading offense forays until a mistake by Callejon sent the ball to Messi and from him to Cesc Fabregas, who beat Real Madrid goalkeeper Diego Lopez to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
The Blancos were briefly dazed, but survived thanks to skillful defending by Varane, who thwarted Cesc’s bid to make it 2-0 and went on to get the equalizer in the 81st minute.
An ad that has landed in the highly coveted Super Bowl time slot has garnered a lot of attention for being accused of racism.
Volkswagen’s ad, which made its debut on Monday, is already being criticized for being racist by Tuesday.
In the one-minute commercial, which cost the company $8 million to air this Sunday, a white actor who’s excited about his Volkswagen is using a Jamaican accent and he’s trying to cheer up his co-workers on a Monday morning, The Huffington Post reports.
Editor-at-large of Mediapost.com, Barbara Lippert, said on the Today show today, “It’s just saying, ‘Black people are happy.’ Didn’t anyone look at this? This is so racist.”
“I don’t like it all,” New York Times columnist Charles Blow said on CNN’s Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien, Daily Mail reports. “It’s like blackface with voices. I don’t like that.”
However, Volkswagen has defended the ad, with Tim Mahoney, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Volkswagen of America, saying they “did their homework.”
He said the company used a dialect coach to make sure the Jamaican accent was authentic and that they tested the commercial on 100 Jamaican people.
“We obviously did our homework to make sure that we weren’t offensive,” he said.
The colors, tastes, accents and music of Latin America are being seen and heard again at the Fitur tourism fair in Madrid, whose 33rd edition was kicked off on Wednesday by Spain’s Crown Prince Felipe.
The Latin American countries are bringing the best that they have to Fitur, making their presentations with a combination of traditional, new and ingenious promotional formulas aimed at attracting the attention of tour operators and the public.
The big and colorful sales stands of Mexico and Brazil welcome the visitor at the entrance of the Americas pavilion, which also houses the booths of the United States and Canada.
Inaugurating her country’s exhibit was Mexico’s tourism secretary, Claudia Ruiz Massieu.
Fitur “is very important” because the year and the strategy for the tourism sector begin here in Madrid, the president of Proexport Colombia, Maria Claudia Lacouture, told Efe.
Colombia has brought to Fitur a virtual “experience” of its trails, rivers and music, including a performance by the popular duo Cali & El Dandee.
From a stationary bike or raft, visitors can make a virtual trip through Colombia’s jungle or along its rivers.
Peru’s presentation is entitled “Empire of Hidden Treasures” and with its “unique mixture of culture and modernity” the country has transformed itself into a “trendy destination,” Maria del Carmen Reparaz, the director of tourism promotion for PromPeru, told Efe.
Brazil’s sales stand was one of the most heavily visited on Wednesday.
Accompanied by his wife, Princess Letizia, Crown Prince Felipe inaugurated Fitur on his 45th birthday.
The prince made a tour of various countries’ booths and exhibits, including Colombia’s, and a group of mariachis serenaded him with “Mañanitas,” the Mexican version of “Happy Birthday.”
Hispanics, who represent about 60 percent of New Mexico’s student population, have one of the highest high school dropout rates.
“The future of our state depends in large part on what happens with our young students,” Diane Torres-Velasquez, the director of the Latino Education Task Force, told Efe.
The problem could be bigger in the future, given estimates that by 2020 the number of Hispanic students in New Mexico public schools will increase by 27 percent.
“This affects not only their education, but their finances and their social development as human beings, and that is what concerns us,” said the chief of the task force, which is made up of academicians and activists.
One of the main obstacles facing Hispanic students in the public schools is a lack of the support they need to be able to fulfill their goals and dreams.
“This means that, although they may have an idea of what they want to do in their lives, it could be that they are not finding the support they need in school, the guidance they require to take classes that they need to get to their objective,” Torres-Velasquez said.
Another problem is lack of self-esteem.
“A study found that in other states scholastically successful Hispanic students have a tendency to hide their cultural identity, something that we would like to analyze in New Mexico,” said Torres-Velasquez.
“What message is being sent to our students if they believe that the only way they can be successful is by hiding what they truly are?” the educator asked.
Just 59 percent of Hispanic students in New Mexico’s public schools will finish high school in four years.
The task force is currently working with state lawmakers and other organizations to draft a state law supporting cultural worth and proposing the creation of classes in the public schools that focus on Hispanic culture, Torres-Velasquez said.
After three days of searching for human remains in a water well in the town of Mina, the Medical Examiner today reported that the bodies of the 17 staff members and Kombo Kolombia musical group, were returned to their families.
The recovery of the bodies began last Sunday, after one of the kidnapped musicians fled captivity and went to the authorities of the State Attorney.
According to official information, the murders occurred early Friday, after attending a private event at a site known as La Carreta cellar, where there were at least 50 attendees.
Apparently the club erupted when about 10 armed criminals, fired their rifles into the air and kidnapped the musicians and part of the support team.
Yesterday ended authorities work to recover the bodies from the water hole that is 75 inches wide and 15 feet deep.
The state government revealed the names of 14 of the 17 musicians and helpers of the Kolombia Kombo group who have been identified by their relatives.
Cuban-born pop star Jon Secada said that he finds himself at a moment of fulfillment in his professional career as a composer, singer-songwriter and actor.
“I’ve had the blessing of having an international career ... (and being able to develop myself as a) composer, musician and actor in musicals,” the singer told Efe.
Secada participated this week in a ceremony in Miami to announce the first six artists to be inducted into the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame and he will perform Wednesday night at South Florida’s Hard Rock Live.
The creator of hits such as “Angel” and “Otro dia mas sin verte,” said that he is presently immersed in a television project in Chile and in the production of two new albums, one in Spanish and the other in English, with well-known producer and composer Rudy Perez.
“I’m working with Rudy and we’ve just (released) a song in English with the title ‘I’m Never Too Far Away’ and its Spanish version ‘Yo nunca te olvidare,’” said Secada.
The singer’s 1991 debut album, “Jon Secada,” sold more than 6 million copies and went triple-platinum in the United States while picking up a Grammy for best Latino pop album.
Secada has sold about 20 million records, has recorded duets with Frank Sinatra and Luciano Pavarotti and has composed hits for Gloria Estefan, Ricky Martin and Jennifer Lopez.
The artist has also acted on Broadway stages in revivals of “Cabaret” and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”
The team representing the FARC guerrilla group in peace talks with the Colombian government said Wednesday that insurgents have the right to hold police and soldiers who are fall into their hands in combat.
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, is currently holding two police officers grabbed by rebel fighters last Friday in the southwestern province of Valle del Cauca.
“We reserve the right to capture as prisoners those members of the public force who have surrendered in combat. They are called prisoners of war and this phenomenon occurs in any conflict in the world,” FARC negotiators said in a statement posted online.
The message also pointed out that in its February 2012 pledge to abandon kidnapping for ransom, the FARC included an exception for wealthy individuals - defined as anyone with a net worth of more than $1 million - who refuse to pay the “war tax” levied by the rebels.
The two officers seized by FARC fighters last Friday have been spotted alive and their approximate location is known to police intelligence, authorities say.
The FARC, which has battled a succession of Colombian government since the mid-1960s, once held dozens of police, soldiers and politicos they hoped to trade for jailed rebels.
But after 15 of the “exchangeables” were liberated in a rescue operation, the guerrillas embarked on a gradual process of releasing the rest in small groups and the last of those captives were freed in 2012.
El Diario, the oldest Spanish-language newspaper in the United States, this year will celebrate its 100th anniversary as the voice of Latinos in the Big Apple.
“During these years, we’ve been the voice of New York Latinos, especially during the times when we didn’t have a voice,” the paper’s publisher, Rossana Rosado, who proposes to take advantage of this anniversary to ensure that non-Hispanic New Yorkers may understand that El Diario is a city “institution,” told Efe on Wednesday.
The paper was established in 1913 as La Prensa, a small weekly directed at the time at the city’s Spanish community, but it merged a half a century later with El Diario de Nueva York.
“The history of El Diario is not only that of this company, it’s the history of Latinos in New York. Every achievement, every one of their struggles, has been documented by our newspaper. Those here and those of other countries,” Rosado emphasized.
City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez told Efe that El Diario has played a very important role in the empowerment of Latinos.
“They’ve always been present in the most important initiatives affecting our community, whether it be pushing the agenda against domestic violence or demanding that minorities have more opportunities in the area of quality education, housing or employment,” Rodriguez said.
To mark the anniversary, El Diario has organized an extensive schedule of cultural, journalistic and artistic events, including a photographic exhibition at New York University’s King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center.
“Besides the celebration, the important thing for us is for it not to be just a nostalgic review of how we were or where we came from, but for it to stimulate a conversation about where we’re going,” said Rosado.
Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, badly wounded two years ago in a mass shooting that left six people dead, made a surprise appearance at a Senate hearing on Wednesday to ask her erstwhile colleagues for action on gun control.
“Speaking is difficult, but I need to say something important. Violence is a big problem. Too many children are dying. Too many children. We must do something,” she told the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Giffords, whose recovery from a gunshot to the head was described by doctors as miraculous, continues to have difficulty talking.
“You must act. Be bold, be courageous. Americans are counting on you,” the former representative from Arizona said with husband Mark Kelly at her side.
Wednesday’s hearing was called to consider proposals drafted by the Obama administration in the wake of the Dec. 14 shooting deaths of 20 children at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.
“We are simply two reasonable Americans who have said ‘Enough,’” Kelly, a former NASA astronaut, said in explaining why he and his wife - both gun owners - founded Americans for Responsible Solutions.
The organization wants measures to protect legitimate gun ownership while curbing firearms violence.
The death toll from last weekend’s fire at a discotheque in this southern Brazilian city rose to 235 and 143 other people remain hospitalized, authorities said Wednesday.
Three days after the deadliest blaze in Brazil in the past 50 years the number of fatalities keeps rising because many of the people who initially did not need medical attention are starting to suffer the effects of respiratory poisoning
On Tuesday alone, 22 people were admitted to hospitals for treatment.
They are people who emerged apparently unhurt from the Kiss nightclub in Santa Maria but who later began to experience symptoms like shortness of breath, difficulty breathing and fatigue, all of which are typical of chemical pneumonia and which can arise up to five days after inhaling toxic substances.
Chemical pneumonia, or aspiration pneumonitis, is the non-infectious inflammation of the lung caused by aspirating or inhaling irritants.
The number of injured people in critical condition remains at 75, health officials said.
Preliminary investigation of the tragedy indicates that the fire began when one of the members of the Gurizada Fandangueiras band ignited fireworks, the sparks from which came in contact with the flammable foam used as acoustic insulation on the disco’s ceiling.
In addition to the use of a prohibited item within an enclosed establishment, the panic that spread through the crowd due to the heavy output of smoke - along with the decision by security guards to close the doors to prevent the public from leaving without paying - contributed to the heavy loss of life, firefighters said.
Police on Monday arrested four of the people under investigation for possible responsibility in the tragedy, among them the two owners of the disco and two of the musicians who were on stage when the fire started.
The violence associated with organized crime that is besetting Mexico has spurred a Catholic priest to write and produce a series of short film features that he hopes will touch the hearts of both victims and victimizers.
The project, in which a group of communications students is participating, seeks “to prevent the spilling of more blood” in a country where more than 70,000 people have lost their lives over the past six years in the multi-faceted conflict among rival drug cartels and between the criminals and security forces.
“Enough of injustices, of rancor and revenge,” the Rev. Omar Sotelo Aguilar told Efe.
The aim is “to do our bit and contribute to the repair of a society that has been seriously hurt by the wave of violence that, marked by thousands of deaths, has given rise to chains of hatred, rancor and revenge,” he said.
In the short film, 13-year-old Miri tells of how a group of drug traffickers comes to her house in the middle of the night to murder her parents.
During her parents’ funeral, the young girl runs into the chief of the drug traffickers, who is carrying a wreath of flowers, and she embraces him as a sign of forgiveness.
“Forgiveness is the Achilles heel against violence and that is the message that we’re wanting to give to society,” in addition to depicting those who have caused deadly harm as human beings and calling upon them to repent, Sotelo said.
It’s been a busy week on immigration, with President Obama delivering an immigration speech yesterday, following the unveiling of bipartisan Senate principles on Monday. The nation’s leading editorial pages have been following this issue for years, and are weighing in with optimism that the stalemate in Washington may finally clear this year. They are also near unanimous in insisting that the citizenship provision of any reform bill be viable and straightforward for reform to work. Among the key editorials today:
· La Opinión: In an editorial titled, “The Path to Citizenship,” the nation’s largest Spanish language daily newspaper today writes, “The path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who benefit from an immigration law is an essential principle for comprehensive reform. Not giving them a clear, concrete opportunity to become citizens is an insult to our history and a betrayal of our pride as a nation of immigrants….The United States cannot have millions of people working in the shadows, just like it cannot have them as second-class individuals with duties like paying taxes, as residents do, but without the benefits of residency. A nation that prides itself on its immigrant origins must remain faithful to its history of embracing immigrant workers so they can give the best of themselves and be treated in a way that recognizes their efforts. An immigration reform without a clear path to citizenship is a system that legalizes the exploitation of cheap labor. It is a reform that does not fulfill its mission.”
· New York Times: Titled “A Better Immigration Plan,” the Times editorializes in favor of President Obama’s vision of reform, writing: “Given existing immigration backlogs and the possibility of other administrative hurdles being placed in the way, any future path to citizenship could be so long and burdensome as to be all but imaginary. Mr. Obama, to his credit, made the citizenship path a central part of his plan and did not make it contingent on adding still more troops, border fencing and aerial drones…Mr. Obama said on Tuesday that if Congress gets bogged down, he will be ready to offer his own bill and ‘and insist that they vote on it right away.’ We hope that won’t be necessary and that Congress gets the message, adopts the best of his stated principles and keeps the process moving, on the rails, in the right direction.”
· Washington Post: The Post editorial “Leading from Behind on Immigration” states, “As the White House holds its powder, Congress must grapple with some harsh realities. If illegal immigrants are to gain traction on a path to citizenship, Congress must find a way to clear the nation’s current waiting list for permanent-resident visas, which now includes applicants who have been waiting for nearly 25 years. It makes no sense to require illegal immigrants to wait at the back of a line that may exceed their life expectancy. And while Republicans may reasonably insist on measures to tighten security at the border — which is already more secure than at any point in recent decades — they should not be allowed to use it as an excuse to further delay sweeping reform.”
· Los Angeles Times: Titled “Immigration Reform, Now,” the Times editorializes, “meaningful reform must provide an opportunity for those undocumented immigrants already in the country to secure citizenship, and that route cannot be so tortuous or punitive that it defeats the goal. Those who are illegally in the country ought to pay a penalty and be made to wait for a green card. But the wait must not punish immigrants based on their country of origin or be so long that it discourages them from seeking citizenship… For once, all sides recognize that political advantage, economic opportunity and human decency demand comprehensive immigration reform.”
· Boston Globe: The Globe editorial, titled “Immigration Reform: Encouraging Signs at Last,” notes that we need more details regarding the border triggers in the Senate framework, cautioning that “t could end up giving veto power over the whole plan to local politicians like Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, whose career is based on her Draconian crackdown on illegal immigrants. Without a clear promise of a path to citizenship, many illegal immigrants will refuse to come forward, undermining the whole process. But the language of the Senate proposal is still quite vague — a sketch of agreed-upon points rather than an actual plan. Now, the focus has to be on the details. And the Senate deserves a chance to take the lead, as Obama vowed on Tuesday. If the “gang of eight” senators who came forward earlier in the week fail to build upon their proposal, the White House can step in. With so much already agreed upon, the fate of so many ¬¬people — and this nation’s economic competitiveness — should not come down to a game of dare.”
In addition, a number of editorial pages across the country have weighed in about the need for commonsense immigration reform, praising the leadership of the Senate bipartisan group and the President. See editorials from the Miami Herald, Houston Chronicle, Arizona Republic, San Francisco Chronicle, and the Chicago Tribune, which captured the momentum behind immigration reform: “Americans support it. Latino voters expect it. Democrats want it. Republicans need it.”
After a sad year without their beloved dog, a military family in Kentucky is being reunited with her after she was found wandering the streets of New Mexico.
In 2011, the family’s dog, Pooka, was stolen from their backyard. For more than a year the family was left wondering where their beloved dog had been taken.
A few weeks ago, however, Pooka was found wandering in the New Mexico town of Espanola. Someone spotted her and took her to a shelter and were able to scan her microchip. While the family was being tracked down, doggy foster mother Melanie Lopez took Pooka in her in as her 29th foster dog.
On Wednesday, one of Pooka’s owners in Kentucky, Mandy Smith, flew across 5 states to New Mexico to be reunited. The flight was made possible thanks to donated frequent flier miles from a local pet advocate.
In case you were wondering, the adorable Pooka is a Chiweenie, a Chihuahua – Dachshund (wiener dog) mix.
Authorities in the northern Mexican state of Nuevo Leon have concluded the work of recovering and identifying a total of 17 bodies found in a well, officials said Wednesday.
All of the victims were associated with the band Kombo Kolombia.
The bodies, the last of which were recovered Tuesday afternoon, were found inside the well at an abandoned ranch in the town of Mina thanks to information from a band member who had escaped from the gunmen that abducted the group last week.
The bodies of the victims - 13 musicians, one of them a Colombian citizen; three assistants; and one sound engineer - have already been handed over to their relatives, the state Attorney General’s Office said.
The group performed at a private function at the La Carreta bar - in Hidalgo, a town next to Mina - on Thursday night, just hours before a group of roughly 10 gunmen showed up in four SUVs and kidnapped 18 musicians and crew.
Their relatives reported them missing on Friday and authorities launched an investigation. A Kombo Kolombia member who managed to escape from the captors subsequently led police to the well where he said the gunshot victims’ bodies had been tossed.
Kombo Kolombia was known for its performances of Colombian music and appeared at the popular Internacional, La Eternidad and El Sabino Gordo clubs, all of which have been attacked by drug cartels.
Authorities have not yet identified a motive.
The main criminal outfits operating in Nuevo Leon are the Gulf and Los Zetas cartels, which have been locked in a years-long, brutal turf war across northern Mexico, Nuevo Leon state security spokesman Jorge Domene said Tuesday.
We are one month into 2013 and if there’s one trend that is very clear in the marketplace these past four weeks, it is the significantly growing importance of Hispanics and digital. We marked a milestone today launching a new partnership with BlackBerry. The much anticipated BlackBerry 10 will be unveiled this evening during an industry event in New York City. UVideos as well as Univision’s Deportes and Marcador apps will now be available in the BlackBerry World app store.
Hispanics are leading the consumer marketplace when it comes to mobile. More than 75% of the U.S. Hispanic population own a smartphone and they outpace their Non-Hispanic counterparts in mobile video consumption by double digits. In fact, their consumption of online video has soared 282% over the last five years and the desire for Spanish-language digital video is at its peak.
Our audience will now be able to enjoy thousands of hours of daytime, primetime, entertainment, sports and news programming in both Spanish and English. They will also be able to keep up with the day’s top soccer scores and updates as well as other relevant sports stats and news.
Mobile is where Hispanic America lives and this product launch extends Univision’s commitment to deliver the content and information Latinos love anytime, anywhere and on any device.
By: Kevin Conroy, president, Univision Interactive and Enterprise Development
A 22-year-old Colombian immigrant in Georgia was shot and killed over the weekend after a GPS unit gave him incorrect directions and sent him and his passengers down the wrong driveway.
On Saturday, Rodrigo Abad Diaz and three of his friends were following their GPS’s directions to a friend’s house in Lilburn, Ga.. The group was on their way to go ice skating when the GPS unit sent them down the driveway of 69-year-old veteran and former missionary Phillip Walker Sailors.
The group said they waited in the driveway for a few minutes, expecting their friend to come out, when Sailors emerged from his home with a gun and fired into the air.
One of the passengers said Diaz was turning the car around to leave when Sailors, who said nothing to the group before he began shooting, fired at Diaz. The bullet from Sailors’ .22 caliber pistol hit Diaz on the left side of his head.
Sailors reportedly held the others in the car at gunpoint until police officers arrived. Diaz was found slumped over with blood covering his face and struggling to breathe. He later died at the hospital after surgery was unable to save him.
Sailors was arrested on Sunday and charged with malice murder. His family and friends say Sailors only opened fire because he feared for his life after he and his wife, who was home at the time of the shooting, had heard about the recent robbery of a neighbor.
The former missionary claims he fired at Diaz because Diaz, who was behind the wheel of the car, accelerated and tried to run him over. Police reports, however, have clarified that Diaz was not driving the car towards Sailors and was in fact, moving in the opposite direction down the driveway, away from the Sailors’ home.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Sailors on Thursday. He is currently being held at Gwinnett County jail without bond.
A man and a woman were murdered and a 1-year-old baby was seriously wounded in a new criminal incident in the central Puerto Rican town of Cayey bringing to 63 the island’s homicide total so far in 2013.
Police said that the killings occurred in the Montellano neighborhood of Cayey, where Juan Claudio Torres, who had a criminal record for gun possession and murder, and his wife Denisse Torres Rodriguez, were shot to death.
The pair were gunned down as they were getting into a vehicle and were surprised by several individuals who opened fire on them.
During the incident, the baby the couple had with them was also shot in the left thigh.
The child underwent surgery for the through-and-through bullet wound, according to Dr. Israel Ayala of Puerto Rico’s Medical Services Administration.
Defying their country’s economic crisis, Spanish TV producers are creating series with international appeal, as demonstrated here at the annual conference of the National Association of Television Programming Executives.
Historical dramas “Isabel” and “Toledo” and lighter fare such as “El Hormiguero” and “21 dias” have gotten a warm reception at this week’s Natpe gathering in Miami.
“Fiction series, features, animation and documentaries” from Spain are all finding a market at the conference, the head of international relations for the FAPAE federation of Spanish production companies, Maria Jose Vadillo, told Efe Wednesday.
“Isabel,” from Spain’s TVE public television, is among the big hits at the 2013 Natpe event.
“The most requested title is ‘Isabel.’ It has been a success with audiences and is generating a lot of expectation,” TVE sales director Toni Perez Bonilla said.
Shot in HD and featuring high production values, the series has already found buyers in several former Soviet republics and Colombia.
Defying their country’s economic crisis, Spanish TV producers are creating series with international appeal, as demonstrated here at the annual conference of the National Association of Television Programming Executives.
Historical dramas “Isabel” and “Toledo” and lighter fare such as “El Hormiguero” and “21 dias” have gotten a warm reception at this week’s Natpe gathering in Miami.
“Fiction series, features, animation and documentaries” from Spain are all finding a market at the conference, the head of international relations for the FAPAE federation of Spanish production companies, Maria Jose Vadillo, told Efe Wednesday.
“Isabel,” from Spain’s TVE public television, is among the big hits at the 2013 Natpe event.
“The most requested title is ‘Isabel.’ It has been a success with audiences and is generating a lot of expectation,” TVE sales director Toni Perez Bonilla said.
Shot in HD and featuring high production values, the series has already found buyers in several former Soviet republics and Colombia.
“And we’re at the point of closing deals in Mexico and Uruguay,” Perez Bonilla revealed to Efe.
Famed director Robert Rodriguez is being sued for millions by a producer claiming Rodriguez used “threat and intimidation” to keep a game app and film featuring Danny Trejo from being released, believing it would take away from his upcoming film Machete Kills starring Trejo.
Rodriguez is also accused of bullying Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak into pulling out from app.
The independent producer, ITN Flix, of the movie Danny Trejo’s Vengeance claim “Rodriguez feared that the promotion of another film starring Danny Trejo would diminish the Machete Kills brand and would threaten box office numbers and thus set in motion a plan to diminish ITN’s reputation and stifle the success of the film and the App Game.”
The related app, “Danny Trejo’s Vengeance: Woz With a Coz”, featured Wonziak as well as Trejo. According to ITN’s five-part suit, just before the game app was to launch (November 22, 2012) Gloria Hinojosa of Amsel, Eisenstadt & Frazier, Trejo’s longtime talent agent, called Wozniak and told him ITN’s CEO was a “con man” who had no actual contract with Trejo.
ITN claims Hinojosa knew the claims were true, as she was his agent and saw the contract and paperwork herself.
ITN’s lawsuit claims that when Wozniak backed out of his dealings with the producer it cost them around $5 million a month starting in November 2012.
According to Deadline, ITN is “seeking financial damages, ITN wants an injunction and a restraining order against all the defendants from making any more defamatory statements and further interfering with ITN’s business relations.”
Machete Kills is scheduled to hit theaters September 13, 2013.
ITN is accused of creating the game app and the movie to profit on the success of the Rodriguez and Trejo’s Machete franchise.
Yesterday, President Obama spoke from Las Vegas about creating a fair and effective immigration system that lives up to our heritage as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.
“I’m here because most Americans agree that it’s time to fix a system that’s been broken for way too long.” President Obama said. “I’m here because business leaders, faith leaders, labor leaders, law enforcement, and leaders from both parties are coming together to say now is the time to find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as the land of opportunity. Now is the time to do this so we can strengthen our economy and strengthen our country’s future.”
The good news, President Obama said, is that for the first time in many years, there is bipartisan support for comprehensive immigration reform. But action must follow.
“We can’t allow immigration reform to get bogged down in an endless debate. We’ve been debating this a very long time,” he explained. “As a consequence, to help move this process along, today I’m laying out my ideas for immigration reform.”
President Obama’s proposal for immigration reform has four parts. First, continue to strengthen our borders. Second, crack down on companies that hire undocumented workers. Third, hold undocumented immigrants accountable before they can earn their citizenship; this means requiring undocumented workers to pay their taxes and a penalty, move to the back of the line, learn English, and pass background checks. Fourth, streamline the legal immigration system for families, workers, and employers.
Venezuelan state-owned oil company PDVSA has signed a series of offshore gas development and drill-rig import agreements with Russian state-controlled Rosneft, bolstering an alliance with a country that Caracas expects will be its top oil partner by 2021.
The CEOs of PDVSA, Rafael Ramirez, and Rosneft, Igor Sechin, signed the accords, including a memorandum of understanding for the joint development of the Rio Caribe and Mejillones offshore gas fields, part of the Mariscal Sucre liquefied natural gas project off Venezuela’s northeast coast.
Ramirez, who is also Venezuela’s energy minister, said joint ventures between PDVSA and Russian oil and gas companies Rosneft, Gazprom, Surgutneftegaz and Lukoil currently account for total output of 230,000 barrels of crude per day.
He said the goal is to boost that production to 913,000 bpd by 2019 through a $46.9 billion joint investment program in which the Russian firms will contribute $17.6 billion, more than half of which is to come from Rosneft.
“We’ll have joint production of 1,123,000 barrels per day by 2021, which would make the (group of) Russian companies our country’s largest oil partner,” Ramirez said.
Sechin, meanwhile, announced that Rosneft has become operator of the vast Orinoco oil belt’s Junin-6 block, which it and the other Russian firms that make up the Russian Oil Consortium are developing in a joint venture with PDVSA.
Rosneft took the lead role after buying out Russian oil company TNK-BP’s stake in the consortium from Britain’s BP.
Toyota will conduct two separate safety recalls involving approximately 752,000 Corolla and Corolla Matrix vehicles and approximately 270,000 Lexus IS vehicles.
The airbag control module for the supplemental restraint system (SRS) in the Corolla and Corolla Matrix vehicles could have been manufactured with application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) that are susceptible to internal shorting. These ASICs could experience an internal short that creates abnormal current flow and increased heat. If this occurs, there is a possibility that the ASIC could become damaged. In some instances, the front airbags could inadvertently deploy.
The second safety recall involves the front wipers on certain Lexus IS vehicles where the wiper arm nut might not be sufficiently tight. If movement of the wipers is restricted by an external load, such as a buildup of heavy snow on the windshield, one or both of the wipers could become inoperative.
Owners of vehicles covered by these safety recalls will receive an owner notification letter via first class mail.
Any authorized Toyota or Lexus dealer will perform this recall at no charge to the vehicle owner.
The judge investigating a corruption case implicating Iñaki Urdangarin has ordered the Spanish king’s son-in-law and his co-defendant, former business partner Diego Torres, each to post an 8.1-million-euro (nearly $11-million) civil bond.
The amount covers possible legal liabilities in the case of alleged diversion of public funds to the now-defunct Noos Institute, a purportedly non-profit entity once headed by Urdangarin, who is married to King Juan Carlos’s youngest daughter, Princess Cristina.
Jose Castro, a judge in the Balearic Islands, said in his ruling issued Wednesday that assets in that same amount would be seized if the defendants do not post the required bond within five days.
Urdangarin is scheduled to appear before the judge to answer charges of tax fraud on Feb. 23, nearly a year after testifying regarding the alleged siphoning off of some 6.1 million euros in Balearic Islands and Valencia regional government funds to the Noos Institute between 2004 and 2007.
The royal son-in-law and his business partner also are under investigation for alleged breach of public duty and other crimes.
The soap opera, or “telenovela,” continues to be the star television product throughout Latin America and is making inroads in the United States and Europe.
At least, that is the opinion of experts in the sector who gathered at this week’s conference of the National Association of Television Programming Executives in Miami.
Rafael Fusaro, the president of APA International Film Distributors, said that the soap opera “does not disappoint” when it comes to responding to audience expectations.
Some channels “have up to seven or eight hours of soaps per day, and they solve a lot of things in that way,” he said.
In addition, Jose Escalante, the director of Latin Media Corporation, said that in Latin America “the dramas, the soaps, the stories of love, passion and hatred work very well” and practically “all the television stations are including this type of format in their programming.”
Production and distribution companies also agree that the quality of these productions has improved significantly in recent years, contributing to greater export of the TV productions all over the world.
Mario Rodriguez, the president of Filmedia World Entertainment, noted that “telenovelas” are expanding beyond the traditional love story.
With the passage of the years, “the ... Latin telenovelas are being made with greater quality, 100 percent in HD, without taping so much in the studio and filming on location,” he said.
A man and his two sons were executed, each shot in the head, in the Colony Rene Alvarez, on the streets of Cerro del Topo Chico, where the bodies were naked. Last night neighbors reported gunfire in the Street, between Tang and Norias, in the San Bernabe, a source.
When Police arrived they found three men were bleeding from the head shortly there after all three died.
One of those killed was identified unofficially as Alfonso Ibarra Velázquez, 52, along with their children and Santiago Jorge Ibarra, 26 and 28, respectively.
The source revealed that a woman who claimed to be the wife of one of the young men provided the identity.
The woman said her husband, his brother and his father were engaged in commerce, but failed to explain neither what he said nor where and when an armed group kidnapped them. The victims were naked and barefoot.
“We heard three shots, paused, and then the screeching tires from when you step on the accelerator and burn tire,” said a witness.
The armed group was traveling in a minivan and a compact car, allegedly a Chevy. Apparently the gunmen in the minivan shot the brothers George and James and the other vehicle occupant shot the father.
The brothers, after being killed by a bullet in the head, were on top of each other, while their father lie a meter away.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Office of Field Operations (OFO) on Friday discovered and seized a substantial load of alleged marijuana weighing more than 2,500 pounds at the Pharr International Bridge cargo facility in Texas.
The seizure occurred on Friday morning, Jan. 25, when a red 2004 Freightliner tractor pulling a white Utility trailer carrying a manifested commercial shipment of fresh watermelons arrived at the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge cargo facility. The conveyance was referred to the commercial vehicle X-Ray system and subsequently to the secondary enforcement dock for a more thorough examination of commodity and conveyance.
With the use of all available tools and assets, CBP officers discovered 431 packages containing alleged marijuana which were concealed within the trailer’s floor and had an approximate weight of 1,148 kilograms (2,530 pounds). CBP seized the marijuana which has an estimated street value of $2,530,000 and the tractor/trailer as well.
The Los Angeles Lakers won their third straight game thanks to another unselfish performance from Kobe Bryant, who handed out 11 assists to lead his team to a hard-fought 111-106 victory over the New Orleans Hornets.
Bryant, who went over the 30-point mark in numerous losses earlier in the season, finished Tuesday night’s contest with 14 points and also grabbed eight rebounds, while star center Dwight Howard contributed 24 points, four rebounds, five steals and four blocked shots.
In his reincarnation as a ball distributor, the veteran Bryant has dished out a whopping 39 assists during the Lakers’ winning streak, the most in his 17-season career over any three-game stretch.
The Lakers held an 18-point lead with around six minutes to go in the game at Staples Center, but had to hold off a furious rally by the Hornets, who cut the lead to one in a span of four minutes.
A clutch 3-pointer by point guard Steve Nash, however, secured the victory for the home team.
Pau Gasol also had a strong all-around performance in a reserve role for the Lakers, notching seven points and an equal number of assists and rebounds.
Hornets guard Eric Gordon had a game-high 25 points in a losing effort, while highly touted rookie Anthony Davis added 18.
The Lakers came into the season with sky-high expectations after the offseason acquisitions of Howard, a three-time defensive player of the year, and Nash, a two-time league MVP.
But despite this recent run of good form, their record stands at just 20-25 and they are struggling to make the playoffs in the Western Conference.
In other action Tuesday night in the NBA, Klay Thompson scored a career-high 32 points in the Golden State Warriors’ 108-95 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Milwaukee Bucks routed the Detroit Pistons 117-90 and the Portland Trail Blazers edged the Dallas Mavericks 106-104.
MALDEF President and General Counsel, Thomas A. Saenz, issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s speech on immigration today:
“The goal of achieving federal immigration reform in 2013 that will provide legal protection for the millions of hardworking immigrants who have been raising families and contributing to the development of our economy and our society received a significant boost today. President Obama directly challenged all of us to put aside exclusionary xenophobia and to recognize our common immigrant heritage and our common mission of serving family and country. The President called upon congressional leadership to move swiftly toward enacting reform that would protect peaceful immigrants and provide a pathway to citizenship. By recognizing the negative impact of having so many unprotected workers in our economy and contrasting the positive contributions that immigrants have made and will make with full integration, the President captured the importance of reform to the entire nation.
After this boost of national leadership for immigration reform, MALDEF looks forward to working to ensure swift enactment of legislation that heightens our nation’s fidelity to its most important constitutional principles, including a shift to smarter and fairer enforcement, incorporation of broad protections against employment and other economic discrimination, and a future immigration system that is equitable and respectful of civil and human rights.”
Founded in 1968, MALDEF is the nation’s leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Often described as the “law firm of the Latino community,” MALDEF promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community education, and litigation.
Consul General of Mexico in Sacramento, Carlos Gonzalez Gutierrez made the following announcement today on behalf of the Steps to College 2013 Steering Committee:
“We are honored to have the two great public university systems, the California State University and the University of California as major partners in this event. Their support, as well as that of numerous school districts and migrant-support organizations in the region, has allowed us to reach out to hundreds of low-income students from rural areas throughout Northern California, who will be attending the fair for the first time in chartered buses provided by Steps to College.”
Steps to College 2013 is a higher education event presented in both English and Spanish, on February 2nd from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Consulate General of Mexico in Sacramento, located at 2093 Arena Boulevard.
The objectives of Steps to College 2013 are to:
Explain the full array of resources available for Latino students to finance their higher education
Introduce Latino families to the admissions process on Northern California higher education institutions
Assist Latino students in completing their student aid applications
Student workshop topics will include Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA); DREAM Act Financial Aid Opportunities; and College and University Admissions.
Students will learn more about available scholarships and the Cal Grant program and will have the opportunity to apply on-site for the California Dream Act financial aid.
High school seniors could also qualify for an extra $1,000 Dream in Action scholarships just by attending and applying for a Cal Grant by the March 2nd deadline.
Steps to College 2012 attracted over 1,200 Latino high school students from over 40 different high schools, this year Steps to College is expected to have 2,500 students in attendance. For more information and to register for the fair, please visit the Steps to College website.
Known as a pop star hit machine, Justin Bieber has had his share of chart-toppers, but it’s his latest acoustic song about his break-up with Selena Gomez that has really grabbed our attention.
The Canadian singer may have fans all over the world, but his harshest critics have long questioned if the 18-year-old is a “real singer” and not just a pop star. Anyone questioning his talent may actually change their tune after hearing his heart-breaking acoustic track “Nothing Like Us.”
Asked about going the sweet and sad route with his break-up song instead of the angry, Bieber told Billboard, “...At the end of the day, there’s nothing like us, you know? That’s just it. It is what it is. People are going to relate to that.’
Bieber may only be 18, but his voice seems to have finally matured. Can we finally say “so long” to the adolescent voice singing about love?
Check out “Nothing Like Us” below and tell us what you think? Are you still sad about the end of “Jelena”?
The cofounder and musical director of the legendary Puerto Rican salsa orchestra El Gran Combo, Rafael Ithier, denied on Tuesday firing a fellow original member of the group, saxophonist Eddie “La Bala” Perez.
“Last Friday, on a news segment, I saw with great surprise and sorrow how one of my companions announced that I had fired him. ... I’m telling you that’s completely false,” Ithier said at a press conference in San Juan.
Perez, who is convalescing after having part of his right leg amputated, told the press last week that he had received a letter that he interpreted as constituting the end of his working relationship with the band.
“I never fired Eddie Perez nor did I think about doing so. I’m asking him to recover quickly, to take care of himself and when he feels recovered to return - the doors are open in El Gran Combo,” Ithier said Tuesday.
He said that he and other band members drafted a letter to Perez in which, he said, they questioned if he was able to continue with the group and if he thought that his physical condition would allow him to remain with the orchestra.
“He interpreted that letter wrongly. The interpretation is that they fired him, but no. He has always been ... a member of El Gran Combo,” said Ithier at San Juan’s Pavia Hospital, where he is recovering from an operation for throat cancer.
A 54-year-old male Mexican national was arrested Saturday for attempting to smuggle $302,800 in unreported U.S. currency into Mexico through the Dennis DeConcini Port.
Customs and Border Protection officers conducting outbound inspections selected a Jeep SUV, driven by Elifonso Pillado Sanchez, for further inspection. During the search, a CBP canine alerted officers to the unreported money hidden in the vehicle’s roof hatch. The vehicle and cash were processed for seizure.
Pillado was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigation.
The run-up to the 2012 elections was one of court battles and legislative jockeying over Republican-backed voter ID and elections laws that critics called bald-faced attempts to suppress turnout and disenfranchise Democratic voters.
Now with 2013 legislative sessions getting under way, those fights show no signs of slowing.
Lawmakers in as many as a dozen states are considering new or tougher voter ID laws this year, many of which are expected to become law despite criticism similar moves received in 2012. Indeed, it already seems likely more states will have stricter elections administration schemes come 2014 than there were just last year.
In North Carolina, for example, a voter ID requirement is expected to easily pass the GOP-dominated legislature and gain the favor of new Republican Governor Pat McCrory this session. Former Democratic Governor Bev Perdue vetoed a similar measure last year. In Virginia, Republican lawmakers, including two GOP candidates for attorney general, are proposing to strengthen the state’s identification requirement that currently allows utility bills, bank statements or other paperwork.
Lawmakers in Montana, Nevada, Iowa, Idaho, Missouri, West Virginia, Arkansas and elsewhere are also considering voter ID proposals of varying scope this year.
The movement in the states comes as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments on a pair of elections cases in coming weeks, ensuring that tension over elections law will remain in the months ahead.
In late February, the court will hear a challenge to a key provision of the Voting Rights Act that gives the federal government preclearance authority over elections law changes in jurisdictions with a history of voter discrimination. That provision has proven significant in either forcing states to moderate voter ID laws (such as in the case of South Carolina) or in blocking particularly harsh ones (as happened with Texas’ law).
A federal judge on Tuesday accepted the agreement between BP and U.S. authorities under which the company agreed to pay $4.52 billion to settle criminal charges arising from the April 2010 crude spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The British oil firm, which operated the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform, agreed to plead guilty to 14 criminal charges, including manslaughter in the deaths of 11 of its employees in the explosion at the rig.
Before ruling, U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance heard emotional testimony from relatives of the 11 workers who died.
The Justice Department managed to get BP to commit to pay $4 billion over five years, while the firm will pay another $525 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission for hiding information from investors.
BP now has 60 days to remit a plan in which it specifies how it will comply with the requirements imposed by the court.
Once remitted, the plan will be reviewed and sent back to the oil company with the changes proposed by the Justice Department and Environmental Protection Agency.
Other federal cases against BP will continue to follow their courses along with the civil lawsuits against the firm that still have not been resolved.
The greater part of the fines, $2.4 billion, will go to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to pay for restoration work in the Gulf’s coastal areas.
The accident on the drilling platform allowed 4.9 million barrels of crude to gush out into the Gulf, harming wildlife and causing extensive damage to coastal habitats.
Sen John Kerry will succeed Hillary Clinton as U.S. secretary of state after being confirmed Tuesday in a Senate vote.
The Massachusetts Democrat, nominated by President Barack Obama in mid-December, was confirmed by a vote of 94-3.
The “no” votes were cast by Republicans Ted Cruz, John Cornyn - both of Texas - and Oklahoman James Inhofe.
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), who will replace Kerry as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he felt the lack of opposition to the nomination during the debate prior to the vote demonstrates his “tremendous reputation.”
A few hours earlier, the committee on which Kerry served for 28 years had approved his nomination unanimously.
Kerry was expected on Tuesday afternoon to present a letter resigning his Senate seat, a move that triggers a special election scheduled for June 25 to fill it.
President Barack Obama said Tuesday that if the U.S. Congress does not act quickly on immigration reform, he will send his own proposal that guarantees “a fair process” for undocumented immigrants “to earn their way” toward legalization and citizenship.
Obama used a speech in Las Vegas to lay out a plan that includes strengthening border security, a clear path to legalization and citizenship, plus penalties for companies that knowingly hire those in the country illegally.
Obama said that whoever wishes to take advantage of the legislation must have his or her criminal record checked, pay a fine and back taxes, learn English and go “to the back of the line, behind all the folks who are trying to come here legally.”
The president acknowledged that immigration has always caused great divisions, but believes immigration reform “is within our grasp.”
“(T)hese 11 million men and women are now here,” Obama said. “They’re woven into the fabric of our lives.”
He pointed out that immigrants contributed to the founding of companies like Intel, Google and Yahoo, and that immigrants are behind one out of every four new technology companies.
Obama defended the achievements of his first administration in strengthening security on the southern border, with more agents on the ground and a drop in illegal crossings of almost 80 percent compared with the year 2000.
The proposals outlined by Obama come from the “road map” he presented in May 2011, but, unlike the plan being promoted by a bipartisan group of eight senators, the president prefers a more direct path to legislation.
His hope, he said, is that his proposals will serve as a guide to help Congress take action on immigration reform this year, though he acknowledged that “there will be a rigorous debate” on the details.
Immigration reform, a promise Obama made in 2008 but never kept, has the backing of a wide coalition of Hispanic, civic, academic, religious, union and business groups.
Known mostly for her roles on HBO’s hit drama The Sopranos and Entourage , Jamie-Lynn Sigler has announced she is engaged.
Sigler posted a photo on Twitter of her and now fiancé, Cutter Dykstra, smiling as she showed of her engagement ring.
Dykstra is a league baseball player with the Washington Nationals and son of former MLB player Lenny Dykstra. Sigler and Dykstra met and began dating in 2012.
This will be Sigler’s second marriage, as she was married to former agent A.J. Discala in 2003. They filed for divorce in 2005. Since her marriage to Discala, Sigler has been linked to Entourage star Jerry Ferrara and footballer Mark Sanchez.
Sigler, 31, is currently starring on the NBC comedy Guys With Kids.
Appropriately, one of her most recent film’s was 2012’s “I Do”.
Sigler and Dykstra reportedly met through her friend and fellow half-Cuban actress, Joanna Garcia. Garcia is married to the Yankees’ Mark Swisher. In November, Garcia and Swisher announced they are expecting their first child, a baby girl.
The nation’s immigrant population reached a record 40.4 million in 2011, including an estimated 11.1 million who are unauthorized, according to a new analysis of Census Bureau data by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center.
The overall number of immigrants in the U.S. continues to grow steadily; it is up by more than 9 million since 2000. By contrast, the number of unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. grew for decades before peaking at 12 million in 2007. It was 11.1 million as of 2011, the last year for which an estimate is available.
The 40.4 million total, which includes legal as well as unauthorized immigrants, made up 13% of the total U.S. population in 2011. While the 40.4 million is a record, immigrants’ share of the total population is below the U.S. peak of just under 15% during the period from 1890 to 1920 — a high-immigration era dominated by arrivals from Europe. The modern wave, which began with the passage of border-opening legislation in 1965, has been led by arrivals from Latin America (about 50%) and Asia (27%).
Besides this new analysis of the nation’s immigrant population, the Pew Hispanic Center also is publishing today a statistical portrait of the nation’s foreign-born population. It is based on the Census Bureau’s 2011 American Community Survey and features detailed characteristics of the U.S. foreign-born population at the national level, as well as state population totals. Topics covered include age, nativity, citizenship, origin, language proficiency, living arrangements, marital status, fertility, schooling, health insurance coverage, earnings, poverty and employment.
The Pew Research Center also has published a number of reports on the size and characteristics of the nation’s unauthorized immigrant population and on the public’s attitudes towards immigrants and immigration policy. The key findings are:
Trends in unauthorized immigration: The most recent Pew Hispanic Center estimate is that 11.1 million unauthorized immigrants lived in the U.S. in 2011. Unauthorized immigration peaked at 12.0 million in 2007, and fell since then mainly because of less immigration from Mexico, the largest source of U.S. immigration. In 2010, unauthorized immigrants from Mexico made up 58% of all unauthorized immigrants.
Unauthorized immigration and children: In 2010, there were 1 million unauthorized immigrants under age 18 in the U.S., as well as 4.5 million U.S.-born children whose parents were unauthorized. These details are included in a report based on 2010 data that also estimates births to unauthorized immigrants; region of origin for unauthorized immigrants; state populations of unauthorized immigrants and unauthorized workers; and overall labor force participation.
Characteristics of unauthorized immigrants: In 2010, nearly two-thirds of unauthorized immigrants had lived in the U.S. for at least a decade and nearly half (46%) were parents of minor children. This Census Bureau data-based report also includes data comparing the length of U.S. residence for unauthorized immigrants in 2000, 2005 and 2010. It estimates that 9 million people lived in “mixed-status” families.
Migration from Mexico: Immigration from Mexico has declined since 2007, largely because of the first decrease in unauthorized immigration in at least two decades. This report includes Mexican data about the characteristics, experience and future intentions of Mexican migrants handed over to Mexican authorities by U.S. law enforcement agencies; and U.S. data on border enforcement as well as characteristics of Mexican-born immigrants in the U.S.
Unauthorized immigrant worker characteristics: Unauthorized immigrants make up 25% of farm workers (not including temporary workers), according to 2008 data in a Pew Hispanic Center report that also includes estimates of unauthorized immigrant shares of other occupations and industries. This report includes details on school enrollment by unauthorized immigrant children and by U.S.-born children of unauthorized immigrants; and estimates of educational attainment, income, poverty rates and health insurance status of unauthorized immigrants.
Attitudes about Immigrants and Immigration Reform
Public attitudes about immigration: Immigration policy is not a top priority for the U.S. general public or for Hispanics. According to a recent survey of U.S. adults, 39% said that dealing with the issue of illegal immigration should be a top priority for the president and the Congress, placing 17th on a list of policy priorities. For Hispanics, one-third said the issue of immigration was extremely important to them personally, behind issues like the economy and jobs, education and health care.
Attitudes about immigration policy priorities: Among U.S. adults, 28% say the priority for dealing with illegal immigration should be given to tighter restrictions on illegal immigration while 27% say creating a path to citizenship should be the priority. A plurality (42%) says both tactics should be given equal priority. Latinos are more likely than the general public (42% versus 27%) to say the priority should be a path to citizenship for immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally. Just 10% of Latinos say priority should be given to better border security and enforcement. Latinos (46%) and the general public (42%) are about equally likely to say priority should be given to enforcement and legalization.
Hispanic Views of Obama’s Deportation Policy: In a 2011 survey of Hispanic adults, by a ratio of more than two-to-one (59% versus 27%), Latinos disapproved of the way the Obama administration was handling deportations of unauthorized immigrants. Nearly 400,000 unauthorized immigrants were deported annually since 2009.
Hispanics’ experiences with deportation: One-in-four (26%) Hispanic adults, and one third (32%) of Hispanic immigrant adults who are not a U.S. citizen or a legal resident, say they personally know someone who has been deported or detained by the federal government for immigration reasons in the past 12 months. Among Hispanic registered voters, 22% say the same.
Mexican public opinion: According to a 2012 survey of Mexican adults, more than half (53%) believed that Mexicans who move to the U.S. have a better life there. And among Mexican adults, 38% said they would move to the U.S. if they had the means or opportunity to do so — 8% would come with authorization while 19% would come to the U.S. without authorization.
Spanish hoteliers, who have enjoyed a significant presence in Latin America for decades, see in Brazil, Chile and Colombia the best growth potential in a region that is already home to some 700 Spanish-owned hotels.
“Twenty-five years ago there were practically no Spanish hotels outside our borders. At this time, there are more than 1,500, above all in Spanish-America,” the president of the Spanish Hotel Confederation, Juan Molas, told Efe on Tuesday after participating in the 16th Ibero-American Conference of Tourism Ministers and Businessmen.
Besides Brazil, Chile and Colombia, other Latin American countries with excellent tourism potential include Uruguay and Peru, Molas said.
Tourism officials from the six Latin American countries who participated in the conference - Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua - emphasized the benefits and guarantees their nations offer to Spanish investment.
Cuba’s deputy tourism minister, Xiomara Martinez, said that “the most important potential” of her country, where about a dozen Spanish hotel chains operate, is “the security, not only legal” and the fact that it is a “transparent (nation) for negotiations.”
Spain’s industry, energy and tourism minister, Jose Manuel Soria, who inaugurated the conference, emphasized the willingness of his government to build relations with Ibero-American countries “on the basis of the strengthening of the Spanish tourism sector inside and outside our borders.”
He also defended on Tuesday the cooperation between the public and private sectors as the key to propelling growth and creating jobs, both in Spain and throughout the Ibero-American community.
Queen Beatrix announced Monday that she will step down in April after nearly 33 years on the Dutch throne, which means her son Willem-Alexander is set to become the country’s first king since the 19th century.
“Responsibility for our country must now lie in the hands of a new generation,” the monarch said in a brief televised address.
Beatrix recalled that she is about to turn 75 and said that this is “the moment to lay down my crown” in favor of Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, 45.
The queen’s first-born has been married since 2002 with Argentine investment banker Maxima Zorreguieta, with whom he has three young daughters.
The couple are the most popular figures in the Dutch royal family, above all thanks to Maxima’s spontaneous charm.
Beatrix was married in 1966 to the German Claus van Amsberg, who died in 2002. The second of their three sons, Prince Friso, has been in a coma since February 2012, when he was buried under an avalanche on a ski slope in Austria.
The President was expected to endorse the bipartisan immigration reform proposal announced yesterday by Senate members and he did not disappoint. He viewed the bipartisan effort as a sign that “differences were dwindling” on the contentious issue of immigration reform.
Obama felt the time was now to act and move forward on a comprehensive plan that included taking the estimated 11 million undocumented out of the shadows and putting them on a path to citizenship that is fair to all.
In his speech he often cited the great contribution immigrants have made to the country and especially to the economy. Obama noted that 1-in 4 new small business owners are immigrants and that 1-in-4 high-tech start ups are started by immigrants.
Obama promised to help move along the Senate bipartisan plan which he noted was “very much in line with my principals” and the immigration position he campaigned on. He affirmed his commitment to border security citing his record number of deportations and illegal border crossings at a record low level since 2000.
A New York woman has disappeared after flying to Turkey on vacation and her brother and husband are now flying oversea to be closer to the search.
On January 7, Sarai Sierra arrived in Istanbul. She was originally going to travel with a friend, but the friend was no longer able to go, so she was traveling alone. During most of her vacation, the 33-year-old stayed in contact with her family, so it came as a surprise when she was not on her return flight.
Sierra was scheduled to return to the U.S. on January 22, but when she failed to arrive at New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport, her husband called the airline and discovered she had never boarded the plane home.
On Monday Sierra’s husband, Steven, and her brother, David Jimenez, flew to Istanbul to assist in the search for their loved one.
Before leaving for Turkey, Jimenez told the Associated Press, ‘I don’t want to come home without my sister.’
Sierra is the mother of two sons, ages 9 and 11.
During their search for the missing mother, investigators found her Sierra’s passport, clothes, phone chargers, and medical cards were left in her hostel room in Beyoglu.
Investigators say they are also searching hospitals and police stations just to be sure she hasn’t somehow been injured, misidentified, or arrested.
The cost of crimes against property and people in Uruguay in 2010 totaled at least $1.2 billion, which was equivalent to 3.1 percent of the country’s gross national product.
This was the conclusion of a new study carried out at the country’s Economic Research Center by researchers Aboal Diego, Jorge Campanella, and Bibiana Lanzilotta, with the collaboration of Magdalena Dominguez and Maren Vairo.
The study is one of eight selected in a competition organized by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to measure with appropriate methodologies and innovative the cost of crime and violence in Latin America and the Caribbean, which are being presented by the authors in a seminar held on January 24-25 at IDB headquarters.
Crime rates in Uruguay are generally lower than in other Latin American countries. However, the growth of certain crimes over the past 20 years has put the subject at the top of the public agenda, according to the study. It adds that cost calculations for crime can be a useful input for formulating public policy and public debate.
The research analyzes kinds of criminal activities as follows: property crimes (76 percent in 2010), personal injury crimes (14.4 percent), sexual crimes (0, 6 percent), smuggling (0.1 percent), and other offenses (8.8 percent).
The study’s calculations include the cost of security and crime prevention,the criminal justice system, incarceration and rehabilitation of criminals,stolen goods, health, loss of life, and loss of productive time of prison inmates.
The Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) commends the announcement by the Senate group of eight proposing a bipartisan framework for immigration reform. The proposal provides a pathway to citizenship for those here in the U.S., while also providing for stronger border enforcement efforts. In addition it addresses the status of undocumented children, as well as providing for a guest worker program and visas and green cards for skilled workers.
The Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) is an incorporated, not-for-profit, national membership organization that represents the interests of the more than 100,000 Hispanic attorneys, judges, law professors, legal assistants, and law students in the U.S.
The HNBA has long worked with bipartisan partnerships to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation. Just as in 2006 and 2007, when the HNBA established a task force of legal experts to review the numerous amendments and legal provisions of proposed initiatives, HNBA President Peter Reyes has established an HNBA Immigration Reform Task Force this year as well.
WARNING: The video below may be hard to watch as it contains child abuse.
Sometimes people make it very clear they should not have children in their care, and a recently discovered video is evidence of just that.
A video uploaded to YouTube shows a mother holding a child, approximately 3 years old, against her chest and holding his arm as a tattoo “artist” puts the needle to the child’s skin over and over again.
According to commenter victoriaadriana2010:
This happened in Havana, Cuba. It’s not clear what the tattoo’s of, but a website in the Dominican Republic claims it’s a “666” tattoo, and that his_ mom is a member of a cult called the Growing in Grace International Ministry. They’re based around a guy who claims he’s the second coming of Jesus and the Antichrist, but supposedly it’s not a Satanic thing.
All we can say is these are not the actions of mother or a true tattoo artist, these are the actions of child abusers.
Mexico’s federal government and officials from the central state of Queretaro signed an agreement to build a high-speed rail system, Communications and Transportation Secretary Gerardo Ruiz Esparza said.
The train will be able to cover the approximately 200 kilometers (124 miles) from Mexico City to Queretaro city in less than two hours, Ruiz Esparza said.
The train will have state-of-the-art technology and operate at speeds of up to 180 kph (112 mph), the communications and transportation secretary said.
The project will cost between 25 billion and 32 billion pesos ($1.95 billion and $2.5 billion), with the federal and state governments funding the project, Ruiz Esparza said.
Engineeering studies are to be completed in late February or early March, with the train expected to start operating between 2015 and 2016.
Professional wrestler “RJ Brewer” is El Mero Malo, the chief bad guy on “Lucha Libre USA,” a Mexican-themed wrestling tour.
Unmasked and unapologetic, RJ Brewer is an unlikely crusader against illegal immigration on the tour who has become a metaphorical punching bag for U.S. Latinos frustrated and outraged over immigration policy. Holding an Arizona flag over his head, Brewer’s job as the anti-immigrant character in the ring is to heckle the crowd. But for him, it’s not all an act.
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Manchester City and AC Milan reached an agreement that will send Italian international Mario Balotelli home to play for the Rossoneri, the acquiring club said Tuesday.
“Transfer agreement for Balotelli signed with Manchester City. Medicals tomorrow in Milan, then personal terms until 2017,” club director Umberto Gandini said on Twitter.
AC Milan will pay a transfer fee of 20 million euros ($26.92 million) to Man City, where the talented but volatile Balotelli was supposed to play through 2015, Italian media said.
The 22-year-old striker will reportedly receive a salary of 4 million a year in Milan.
Balotelli, who went to City in 2010 after a stint with Inter Milan, has scored only 20 goals with Manchester - which paid 22 million euros for the forward - and made the headlines in England more often for his odd behavior than for his performance on the pitch.
Gangs kidnap, exploit and murder migrants, who are often targeted in extortion schemes, Mexican officials say.
Central American migrants follow a long route that first takes them into Chiapas state, which is on the border with Guatemala, walking part of the way or riding aboard freight trains, buses and cargo trucks.
The flow of migrants has increased markedly in the northern and northeastern parts of Mexico since U.S. officials increased security along the border in the northwestern part of the country.
The Center for Investigative Reporting is reporting that since Oct. 1, 2004, 147 Customs and Border Protection officers and agents have been charged with or convicted of corruption-related offenses, ranging from taking bribes to stealing government money
According to an internal agency study reviewed by the Center for Investigative Reporting, “turf battles, internal dysfunction and other troubles have left U.S. Customs and Border Protection grasping to get a handle on corruption and other misconduct within its ranks.” The internal study that has been kept secret for more than a year.
The 80-page unclassified report highlights nagging problems including how the agency has struggled to streamline its own disciplinary system, to stamp out an internal “code of silence” that protects corrupt co-workers from exposure or even to fully understand how bad the corruption problem is, says the Center
A Catholic samba group in Rio de Janeiro changed its parade plans after the nightclub fire that killed more than 230 people, most of them students from the local university in Santa Maria.
The Catholic samba block group known as Revelry for Christ was scheduled to parade through downtown Rio Jan. 27. Instead, the group turned its parade into a religious procession, with approximately 30,000 would-be party-goers singing Catholic hymns and making their way to Rio’s metropolitan cathedral, where Archbishop Orani Tempesta celebrated Mass.
“Many of you left your homes early this morning for this annual youth parade which is the Revelry for Christ,” said Archbishop Tempesta, “but the Lord reserved another moment for you to show the world that the youth of today can show solidarity.”
This year’s theme for the parade was World Youth Day, scheduled to be held in Rio de Janeiro July 23-28.
Sao Paulo Cardinal Odilio Pedro Scherer asked Catholics in his archdiocese to celebrate Mass for the victims of the fire.
“The sadness increases with the awareness that the tragedy was a consequence of a series of errors and omissions, certainly avoidable, if security norms had been observed,” said the archbishop.
Officials said several factors contributed to the tragedy, including only one exit door, no sprinklers and the fact that the lead singer of the band was allowed to fire a flare during his performance. The flare ignited the ceiling, and fire quickly spread. Most victims died of smoke inhalation, according to Brazilian officials.
Pope Benedict XVI sent a message to Santa Maria Archbishop Helio Rubert, asking him to express his condolences to the families of the victims.
Taco Bell recently pulled an ad after some complained it mocked vegetables and the people who bring them to parties.
The ad was to promote the fast food restaurant’s 12-taco variety pack. In the ad, the voiceover says, “Veggies on game day is like punting on fourth and one - it’s a copout, and secretly, people kind of hate you for it.”
A Taco Bell spokesperson has since come out saying the ad has been pulled because they “didn’t want anyone to misinterpret the intent of the ad.”
In response, health advocates like those at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, has thanked Taco Bell for the removal of the ad.
So what do you think? Does the ad mock veggies or send an anti-veg message?
This southern Brazilian city, where 231 people died last weekend in a discotheque fire, struggled to recover Tuesday despite having 118 injured in hospitals, 75 of them in critical condition.
The general feeling in Santa Maria was almost back to normal, except for black crepe still hanging from a few balconies, while stores were open again after many remained closed Monday in mourning for Brazil’s worst disaster in more than 50 years.
Gone from the empty cemeteries were the hundreds of cars parked at their gates Monday and the thousands of people who attended the burials of close to 100 victims.
The tragedy could only be felt fully at the doors of the Kiss discotheque, where dozens of curiosity-seekers gathered, many carrying flowers and photos in commemoration of the victims, who were mostly university students.
“All of the Brazil feels the sorrow here, the whole world feels it,” the Bolivian nurse Isabel Mejia, who has lived 32 years in Santa Maria, told Efe at the entrance to the discotheque.
Mejia said her son had wanted to go to the party but she didn’t let him, saying it would cost too much money as one excuse, and mentioning his back problems as another.
“Mothers have an instinct and I was right,” said Mejia, whose son thanked her deeply for having stopped him from going out that fateful night.
The gymnasium where the dead were taken, and where a vigil was held by most of the families, was practically empty on Tuesday.
Remaining as a sad reminder was an altar around a table with photos, letters, flowers and white balloons that were used Monday night in a demonstration of mourning that brought some 30,000 people together.
Hospitals on Tuesday were the gathering place for journalists who had traveled from around the world and for families of the injured.
The commemoration of the anniversary of the discoveries of the Pacific Ocean and Florida and the Year of Spain in Japan are some of the activities scheduled by the Cervantes Institute for 2013, a year that will be marked by austerity.
Cervantes Institute director Victor Garcia de la Concha discussed the year’s upcoming program during a presentation that featured musical performances by Rosa Torres-Pardo and Rocio Marquez.
“These are not easy years and we have to tighten our belts, but all the activities that have been created for this year feature excellence,” said De la Concha.
The state-supported Cervantes Institute has seen its budget cut by 14 percent as a result of Spain’s economic woes.
Montserrat Iglesias discussed the general outline of the programming that will be offered at the Institute’s more than 70 centers around the world as well as the activities in keeping with its task of promoting the Spanish language and culture.
The 500 years since the discovery of the Pacific Ocean by Vasco Nuñez de Balboa will be celebrated with conferences, meetings and musical activities in Madrid, Tokyo, Manila, Utrecht, Brussels, London and Dublin.
The 500th anniversary of the discovery of Florida will also be a central element in downtown Miami, where various events regarding Ponce de Leon will be held.
The Year of Spain in Japan is another of the important activities scheduled for 2013, and the Cervantes Institute will hold assorted events in Tokyo, including the 2nd Flamenco Summit and featuring the presence of dancer and choreographer of contemporary dance Cesc Gelabert.
A legislative proposal out of Washington may soon give hope to millions of illegal immigrants living in the United States, while at the same time sparking renewed fears of a system run amok and warnings that years of inaction have made the problem only more complex.
The plan, being floated by a group of Democratic and Republican senators, calls for a “tough but fair” path to citizenship that helps attract and retain high-skilled workers while ensuring immigrants who apply for jobs are in the country legally.
Groups like the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) are not impressed.
“To a certain extent this is déjà vu,” said Special Projects Coordinator Jack Martin. “It basically is a rehash of the push that was made in 2007 to come up with a comprehensive immigration reform that could pass. And it did not pass Congress.”
FAIR’s biggest objection is the plan’s path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants, a provision it sees as nothing more than a general amnesty.
“The public basically opposes that because of the fact that they want people to come into our country legally, and they see the amnesty-type proposal as encouraging more illegal immigration,” Martin said.
Yet that “tough but fair path” to citizenship is exactly what many groups that work with undocumented workers have been clamoring for, and something they say has been sorely lacking from the country’s intense focus on immigration enforcement.
“It’s almost like the Wild West where workers are isolated and they have very little rights and protection,” said Ai-jen Poo, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and co-director of the Caring Across Generations Campaign.
Oil giant Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, said it took delivery of two ships from South Korea’s SPP Shipbuilding Group.
The vessels are designed to meet the highest environmental and technology standards, allowing for an upgrade of the existing fleet, Pemex said.
Pemex CEO Emilio Lozoya Austin took delivery in Pusan of the ships, which are called the Centla and the Jaguaroundi, the state-owned energy company said.
Two more ships are scheduled to be delivered soon, Pemex said.
The Texistepec is set for delivery in February and the Raramuri a month later.
The ships are custom-designed to meet company needs and are environmentally friendly, Pemex said.
The ships were acquired as part of the overhaul of Pemex Refinacion’s fleet and were designed to help meet the environmental sustainability targets established in the business plan, the state-owned energy company said.
From figurines crowding grandma’s shelves to spectacular necklaces. Such is the evolution porcelain is undergoing thanks to the emergence of young designers who are turning it into jewelry.
The super-ceramic was invented in China 4,000 years ago, and historically has been considered a luxury that the best tables cannot possibly do without.
Porcelain is still a luxury product, but has taken another turn and is making its name in the world of jewelry because of its outstanding properties - it is strong, light, hard and translucent.
Properties that have allowed many figurines to survive through the years as if on an eventual mission to be transformed into stunning necklaces, cameos, earrings and bracelets.
“We’ve always collected pretty figurines, rare and curious, and that gave us the idea of breaking up the figurines and making compositions out of the pieces. It gave us the feeling that each figurine had a history and that by breaking it and combining it with others we wrote a new chapter in its story,” Andres Gallardo, founder of the eponymous firm, told Efe.
Jewels by Gallardo and Marina Casal have found their way beyond Spanish borders and now artists - songstress Lana del Rey for one - are wearing their designs.
Jewelry designer Maria de Frutos has also made porcelain one of her signature materials.
“My great-grandfather was the owner of a porcelain factory in Madrid that my grandmother continued until the (1936-1939 Spanish Civil) war destroyed everything, and then it was looted,” De Frutos recalled.
Her grandmother passed along to her some 150 porcelain cameos and, under her brand Oh La La Jewelry, has taken them and made them into items of finery that mix delicacy with history.
Celebrity Paris Hilton is currently accompanying her boyfriend, Spanish model River Viiperi, as he takes to the runway to show off designer collections at 080 Barcelona Fashion.
The millionaire turned up as just one more fashionista at Barcelona’s new DHUB Design Center to preview the designers’ new looks “backstage.”
More discreet than usual, Paris Hilton went Monday night by surprise to the Mango runway show to see her 21-year-old boyfriend strut the new styles, without passing “photocall” where all the famous front-row guests had their pictures taken.
In fact, the rich American heiress ensured her anonymity by arriving when the lights were already turned down and the fashion show was about to start, and slipped into a row where the youngest guests were seated, taking a place beside Jonathan Andic, the son of the president of Mango.
Dressed in a red suit, she watched each time River Viiperi passed by, with whom she has been going out since September 2012, and who has worked with the likes of Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and H&M, and has been photographed by Mario Testino for the most prestigious fashion magazines.
Viiperi, son of a Spanish father and a Finnish mother, has lived in Ibiza, where he was born, as well as in the Canary Islands, Finland and Madrid, and according to the authoritative Web site models.com, is one of the 50 best-paid models in the world.