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MondayFebruary 4, 2013

Latino Daily News: Bringing You the Latest Hispanic Current Events and News Stories 24/7

To reflect the dynamic interests of our audience, Latino Daily News is an online daily news source and virtual cultural center for and about Latinos. We offer the latest news headlines, as well as innovative and insightful Hispanic current events stories, photos, videos, and commentaries from a Latino perspective, 24/7.

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Simply Fresh Fruit Partners with Latino Green Project for “Eat Right, Be Bright” Campaign

Simply Fresh Fruit Partners with Latino Green Project for “Eat Right, Be Bright” Campaign

Photo: Simply Fresh Fruit Partners with Latino Green Project for "Eat Right, Be Bright" Campaign

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Inspired by Michelle Obama’s Healthy Eating Initiatives, Simply Fresh Fruit partners with Latino Green Project to develop standards-based STEM curriculum at LAUSD

Aligning with Michelle Obama ‘s Healthy Eating initiative, a grassroots effort by middle school teachers has evolved to an innovative pilot program integrating standards-based curriculum and activity-based participation to encourage healthy eating within the Los Angeles Unified School District.

The pilot program, a collaboration between Simply Fresh Fruit and the Latino Green Project, is being tested at Walnut Park Middle School STEM Academy, where the program integrates community involvement, science projects and healthy eating curriculum to battle the escalating epidemic of diabetes and high blood pressure and other ailments that affect the Latino and African American communities within the Los Angeles Unified School District.

The “Eat Right, Be Bright” program incorporates innovative education components that align with nationally established initiatives to improve awareness on healthy eating and augments classroom opportunities with the introduction of environmental-based studies to increase awareness of environmental concepts within the school’s geography.

According to Bill Sander , President of Simply Fresh Fruit, participating in this groundbreaking program is a natural collaboration for the company.

“We fully support a program designed to help young students learn the values of healthy eating habits and sustainability. Applying academic subjects such as Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics to everyday concepts will contribute to students’ academic success, as well as give them options for furthering their education and expanding their career goals,” said Sander.

The Latino Green Project, who is partnering with Simply Fresh Fruit, promotes community-based sustainability projects, college readiness and green economy career development.

According to Rob Harris of the Latino Green Project, programs like this are more important than ever because of decreased funding for school programs and education. The “Eat Right, Be Bright” program provides unique opportunities to engage students in environmentalism and technology while benefiting their communities and their health.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Freddy Martin Clings to Life After Allegedly Being Pushed From Apartment Roof

Freddy Martin Clings to Life After Allegedly Being Pushed From Apartment Roof

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A New York teen was arrested after allegedly throwing a 9-year-old boy from the roof of their apartment building on Friday.

Freddy Martin is said to be clinging to life after police believe he was pushed from the roof of his family’s Bronx apartment building.

After the boy was found on the sidewalk outside the building screaming in pain for his mother at around 8:30 p.m., neighbors called 911. As Martin was being rushed to the hospital with severe body trauma, he reportedly told a police officer a teenager named Casmine Aska, 17, had thrown him off the roof.

The teen is believed to have dragged Martin from his family’s third-floor apartment and taken him to the roof. Though his grandmother was keeping an eye on him, she said she lost sight of him after he got up to get a drink after he had been laying down for awhile.

A neighbor later told police she heard the sounds of rough housing and even recalled hearing the younger boy yell, “Stop!” Thinking they were just “boys being boys” she thought nothing of it.

After being given Aska’s name by Martin, officers began looking for Aska at apartment building. Aska was confronted as he tried to slip out of the building with his brother and mother.

Aska was charged with attempted murder on Saturday. Police say his story has changed several times. After denying he was even on the roof he back tracked and admitted to being there. He then changed his story again, claiming he was on the roof and even tried to help as Martin fell.

According to the New York Daily News, Aska has four prior arrests that include robbery, assault, harassment, and menacing.

Martin’s father, Juan, has said his son is “not doing so well” but added the family is “holding out hope.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Proposed Immigration Plan Calls for More Drones at Border

Proposed Immigration Plan Calls for More Drones at Border

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U.S. military and CIA drones have flown through foreign skies to inflict remote-controlled attacks on terrorist targets, but, as part of a plan for immigration reform, their increased use to ensure border security at home has set off a heated controversy.

The plan presented last week by a bipartisan group in the Senate proposes boosting the number of drones patrolling the border with Mexico and using them to block the illegal trafficking of drugs, persons, arms and money.

The bill does not stipulate how many of these unmanned aircraft would be added to the fleet of 10 Predator drones currently operated by the Department of Homeland Security.

But the idea has its critics.

“I’m not clear about the cost/benefit ratio of these drones. They’re very expensive and raise serious questions about protecting people’s private lives,” Jay Stanley, an analyst with the American Civil Liberties Union, told Efe.

States including Florida, Oregon, Virginia and Texas are weighing measures to regulate the use of drones for domestic law enforcement, Stanley said, and as he told Reuters, he doesn’t want police “using them routinely on the general public, collecting biometric information on innocent people.”

Criticism also comes from conservatives like David North of the Center for Immigration Studies, who has slammed the poor planning and financing of the DHS drones program.

A report by the DHS inspector general said the program launched in 2004 has shortcomings and lacks the budget it needs for the maintenance and repair of drones, which cost up to $20 million each.

Most Republicans in Congress insist that first of all the border must be secured before the eventual legalization and citizenship of the undocumented population can be considered.

President Barack Obama has begun pressuring for immigration reform and has said that, during his first term, the government achieved an almost 80-percent reduction in illegal entries compared with the year 2000.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Son of Venezuelan Opposition Leader, Alejandro Fermin, Murdered

Son of Venezuelan Opposition Leader, Alejandro Fermin, Murdered

Photo: Dr. Claudio Fermin son murdered

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Venezuela’s interior minister said Monday that he ordered the director of the CICPC investigative police to personally take charge of the probe into the murder of the son of prominent opposition figure Claudio Fermin.

“We deeply regret the death of Dr. Claudio Fermin’s son. The investigation will get to the bottom of what happened…we have designated the CICPC director himself,” Nestor Reverol said on Twitter.

The opposition leader told reporters that his son Alejandro, 34, was slain shortly before dawn in an apparent attempted car theft.

Several leaders of the MUD opposition coalition blamed President Hugo Chavez’s government for the country’s crime problem while expressing their condolences to Fermin.

“Necrophiles of the opposition are already beginning to appear, politicizing this terrible incident. We are all of us responsible for security together,” Minister Reverol tweeted.

The Chavez government has made “great efforts” to fight crime in Miranda state, which has jurisdiction over the Caracas area where Fermin was murdered.

Miranda’s governor is Henrique Capriles, who lost to Chavez in the Oct. 7 election.

Venezuela has one of the highest rates of citizen insegurity in Latin America, with an average of 50 homicides for every 100,000 inhabitants.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Water Rates Expected to Rise by 40 Percent in Puerto Rico

An increase in water rates set to take effect this summer in Puerto Rico could be as much 40 percent, the president of state-owned utility AAA said Monday.

The average AAA household customer, who consumes 15,000 liters (4,000 gallons) of water monthly, could see his or her bill increase from $29 to $50, Alberto Lazaro told WQAQ radio.

He said a process is underway to provide the public with better information about the rate hike and give notice that the increase will probably take effect next July.

He explained that the measure is necessary to deal with the AAA’s $350 million deficit and because of the inability of the island’s cash-strapped government to help.

Lazaro also said that Puerto Rican lawmakers should review the fixed rate applied to customers in public housing, which he blamed for encouraging waste.

The announcement of the possible escalation of water rates has set off a controversy, coming as it does on the heels of a 13 percent hike in electric rates for the next three months.

PNP opposition legislator Antonio Soto asked Monday in a communique to lawmakers of the ruling PPD to call off the water-rate increase.

He called it incomprehensible that with just one month in office, Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla wants to boost utility rates.

Garcia Padilla has said he will do everything possible to lower the price of water and described as irresponsible the measures taken over the past few years by the boards of directors of the AAA and state electric company AEE.

The governor says the AAA and AEE lowered rates artificially before the Nov. 6 election to favor the image of then-Gov. Luis Fortuño of PNP.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Expert Offers 3 Tips for Baby Boomers

Expert Offers 3 Tips for Baby Boomers

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The economy may be recovering, but some of the changes wrought by the Great Recession may be long-lasting. Anyone planning for retirement, no matter what their age, needs to take those changes into account, says financial advisor Philip Rousseaux, a member of the esteemed Million Dollar Round Table association’s exclusive Top of the Table forum for the world’s most successful financial services professionals.

“People in their 40s and younger have some time to retooltheir plan, but Baby Boomers need to think with more urgency,” says Rousseaux, founder and president of Everest Wealth Management, Inc., www.everestwm.com.

“A lot of boomers had all of their retirement investments in the stock market and, if they didn’t lose their principal, it will take some time for them to recoup their gains. Others moved their money to short-term savings, like CDs. But with interest rates so low, they’re actually losing money when you factor in inflation.”

Those are the two most common mistakes people make in retirement planning – having everything in either stocks or short-term savings is a bad idea, he says.

“Space your investments so they’ll come due as they’re needed,” Rousseaux says. “Plan some that can be available in the short term, for emergencies, and others that will be available as you age.”

Only 14 percent of Americans are very confident they’ll have the money to live comfortably in retirement, according to a 2012 survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

Here are Rousseaux’s suggestions for ensuring you’re part of that 14 percent.

  • Don’t take risks you can’t afford. This is another common mistake. “Don’t put the bulk of your assets into anything that makes your principal vulnerable. Gambling that you’re going to win big on the market, or any other investment, means you also risk losing big.” A portion of your investment should have a guaranteed return.

  • Seek any guidance from independent financial advisors. This has two benefits: Advisors who aren’t marketing their own products have no conflicts of interest. “You wouldn’t go to a commissioned salesman for advice on buying a high-tech product. Instead, you’d probably turn to a trusted friend or an independent expert source, like Consumer Reports. Take the same care with something as important as your retirement.” The second benefit is that independent advisors can devise creative, innovative solutions to meet the needs of individual clients. Those working for companies like MetLife are not free to think outside the box. And that’s especially important In this new, post-recession economy.

  • Consider alternatives to the stock market. One of the effects of the recession is that the public realizes Wall Street is not a safe retirement plan. Even if it can get you there, it’s not necessarily going to keep you there.“There are a number of great, safer alternatives,” Rousseaux says. One of those is fixed, indexed annuities. “You loan an insurance company money and it guarantees you payments over a specified length of time. It’s a contract between you and the company,” he explains. Fixed-rate indexed annuities have a minimum and maximum interest payment that’s linked to a common index, such as the Dow. When the Dow goes up or down, so does the interest rate, but it never go below the guaranteed minimum or above the guaranteed maximum. “Your principal is safe and you can ride an up market without the risk,” he says.

With pension plans a luxury of the past and Social Security not a guarantee for the future, Rousseaux says whatever your age, it’s important to start planning now for retirement by creating your own private pension.

“The good news is, our life expectancy grows every year,” he notes. “It’s up to you to ensure that you have a great quality of life when you decide you no longer want to work.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Brazilian Mogul Antonio Ermirio de Moraes Relative and 4 Others Killed in Plane Crash

Brazilian Mogul Antonio Ermirio de Moraes Relative and 4 Others Killed in Plane Crash

Photo: Jose Eduardo Ermirio de Moraes and Finance Die Plane Crash

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Five people, including a grandnephew of businessman Antonio Ermirio de Moraes, were killed when a small plane crashed in Brazil’s Sao Paulo state, emergency services officials said Monday.

The accident occurred around 8:20 p.m. Sunday in Candido Mota, a city in the interior of Sao Paulo state and some 428 kilometers (265 miles) from the city of Sao Paulo.

Air traffic controllers lost contact with the King Air about 40 minutes after it took off from Maringa, a city in neighboring Parana state.

A search started on Sunday night and the airplane’s wreckage was spotted on Monday morning at a soy farm.

A small plane flew over the area in circles and then there was an explosion, residents said.

The pilot dumped fuel and may have been attempting to make an emergency landing, police said.

One of the plane’s passengers was Jose Eduardo Ermirio de Moraes, a 29-year-old businessman and grandnephew of mogul Antonio Ermirio de Moraes.

Antonio Ermirio de Moraes, one of the richest people in Brazil, controls Grupo Votorantim, a conglomerate that has interests in the cement, cellulose, paper, mining and petrochemical industries.

Leticia Rogangnoli Assunçao, the girlfriend of Jose Eduardo Ermirio de Moraes, and her mother, Aparecida Romagnoli Assunçao, were also aboard the small plane.

The other two victims were identified as Luiz Marcondes Rodrigues Filho, the 54-year-old pilot, and co-pilot Luciana Aguiar de Costa e Souza.

Police, air force and National Civil Aviation Agency investigators will try to determine the cause of the crash.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Bus Crash in California Leaves At Least 8 Dead, Dozens Injured

Bus Crash in California Leaves At Least 8 Dead, Dozens Injured

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On Sunday night, a tour bus carrying people heading back to Mexico after a ski trip in California careened down a mountain road and collided with a pick-up truck at around 6:30 p.m.

At least 8 people have been confirmed dead and more than 40 were injured when their tour bus’ brakes reportedly malfunctioned and began speeding down the mountain road. It crashed after rear-ending another vehicle, flipping, and hitting a pick-up truck towing a trailer..

The California Highway Patrol has called it “a horrific scene,” adding that “there are victims inside the bus, outside the bus, personal belongings [everywhere].”

The crash occurred in San Bernadino County on State Route 38 near Forest Falls, about 80 miles east of Los Angeles. The bus was returning to Tijuana after passengers enjoyed a ski trip to Big Bear.

Though the bus company, Scapadas Magicas, reportedly had no listed accidents recently, it did fail more than a third of random federal vehicle safety inspections in the last two years.

The bus driver survived the horrific crash and told his rescuers the bus, made is 1996, had brake problems.

Investigators are still piecing together what happened, though at least one passenger reports hearing the bus driver yell something about the brakes just before the accident.

The injured were taken to various hospitals in conditions ranging from fair to critical. Those injured included men, women, and children.

Read more by HS News Staff →

International Conspiracy to Fix Hundreds of Soccer Matches Being Investigated

International Conspiracy to Fix Hundreds of Soccer Matches Being Investigated

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The European Union’s joint police agency said here Monday that investigators have detected an international conspiracy to fix hundreds of soccer matches, including three World Cup qualifiers and UEFA Champions League fixtures.

The Asia-based ring tried to fix at least 680 matches worldwide, Europol director Rob Wainwright said at a press conference in The Hague.

“We have evidence for 150 of these cases, and the operations were run out of Singapore with bribes of up to 100,000 euros ($135, 180) paid per match,” investigator Friedhelm Althans said.

Match-fixing rings are operating “on a scale and in a way that threatens the very fabric of the game,” Wainwright said.

Fifty people have already been arrested as a result of the probe and Europol has issued international arrest warrants for 28 other suspects, he said.

The investigation is ongoing in Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Britain, Hungary, the Netherlands and Turkey.

The findings so far point to “a big problem for the integrity of football (soccer) in Europe,” Wainwright said.

Europol estimates the betting profits from the scheme at $10.9 million and says criminals paid bribes totaling $2.7 million to players and officials.

The findings so far point to “a big problem for the integrity of football (soccer) in Europe,” Wainwright said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Shakira and Pique Give First (Full) Photo of Baby Milan

Shakira and Pique Give First (Full) Photo of Baby Milan

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Colombian songstress Shakira published Monday the first complete photo of her baby boy, who appears with his father, soccer player Gerard Pique, in an image posted on the couple’s Unicef Web site.

The international superstar posted on her Twitter profile the following message: “Visit page @unicef #babyshower to see 1st photo of my 2 angels and to help underprivileged children http://uni.cf/baby.Shak.”

The FC Barcelona defender appears in closeup holding little Milan and giving him a delicate kiss on the cheek.

This virtual “baby shower” is a project of the couple together with Unicef to collect funds for disadvantaged youngsters.

The couple chose this way to publish the first picture of the face of Milan Pique Mebarak, born Jan. 22, after his dad published earlier an image of his feet wearing expensive sneakers with his name embroidered in the red and blue colors of Pique’s soccer club.

Image

Read more by HS News Staff →

Michigan to Issue Driver’s Licenses to Undocumented Students

Michigan to Issue Driver’s Licenses to Undocumented Students

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Michigan will begin issuing driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants who qualify for delayed deportation under federal law.

The state had previously said it would bar all undocumented immigrants from receiving licenses, including veterans, students and recent college and high school graduates who have been granted two years to work in the U.S. under the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy. But on Friday (February 1), Secretary of State Ruth Johnson announced a reversal of that position after further review of the federal program.

“Michigan will only issue driver’s licenses to individuals who are here legally,” Johnson said. “The feds now say they consider these young people to be lawfully present while they participate in the DACA program, so we are required to issue driver’s licenses and identification cards. I will continue to follow the law.”

The decision came two weeks after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued further guidance on the policy, posting a document on its website.

About 15,000 people qualify for the federal program in Michigan, a fraction of the 1.76 million nationally who are eligible.

Read more at Jim Malewitz for Pew Stateline →

Latin America News: Bus Crash in Colombia Leaves 6 Dead

Latin America News: Bus Crash in Colombia Leaves 6 Dead

Photo: Norte de Santander, Colombia

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Six people, including a child, died when a small bus crashed on a highway in Norte de Santander, a province on Colombia’s border with Venezuela, the highway patrol said.

The accident occurred on the highway that links Cucuta, the capital of Norte de Santander, to Sardinata, Norte de Santander highway patrol commander Capt. Fabio Yañez said.

“Police were sent to the scene to recover the vehicle and the bodies of the people who, unfortunately, died in this incident,” Yañez said.

The driver lost control of the bus, went off the road and ended up in a ravine, residents told Colombian media.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Free Tax Return Preparation—See If You Qualify

Free Tax Return Preparation—See If You Qualify

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Do you need help preparing your tax return? Learn about the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs.

VITA Program: If you make $51,000 or less, IRS-certified volunteers can inform you about tax credits for which you may qualify, and prepare a basic tax return with electronic filing.


TCE Program: If you are 60 years of age or older, you may qualify for free tax help from IRS-certified volunteers who specialize in issues that pertain to seniors. 

There are thousands of locations across the United States where you can get free tax help through the VITA and TCE programs.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Did You Catch “Glee’s” Naya Rivera’s M&M Commercial During the Super Bowl? (VIDEO)

Did You Catch “Glee’s” Naya Rivera’s M&M Commercial During the Super Bowl? (VIDEO)

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With all the hoopla over Bar Refaeli’s sexy (and awkward) GoDaddy.com commercial, you may have missed the sexiness of Naya Rivera and her awkwardly sexy M&M commercial with Red as he sings “I Would Do Anything for Love”, originally sung by Meatloaf.

Red sings a love song to a girl who clearly wants more than just love. Watch the latest M&M’S commercial now!


Hmm. Looks like the Glee really loves her M&Ms.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Rep. Gutierrez and Sen. Durbin Meet In Chicago With Community Leaders on Immigration Reform

Rep. Gutierrez and Sen. Durbin Meet In Chicago With Community Leaders on Immigration Reform

Photo: Gutierrez and Durbin on Immigration Reform

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Today, Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL) participated in a community forum in Chicago hosted by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) at the Instituto del Progreso Latino, in the Congressman’s district.  The forum brought together leaders from a cross section of Chicago-area constituencies to update them and discuss progress being made in the House and Senate towards comprehensive immigration reform.  The Congressman and the Senator are deeply involved in on-going bipartisan discussions aimed at securing passage of a bill, which President Obama and Senate Majority Harry Reid (D-NV) have each identified as their number one legislative priority.

“Right now, the momentum gives me a great sense of optimism,” Rep. Gutierrez said. “Senator Durbin and I and a few other Democrats have been at the negotiating table for a long time and at times, we felt a little lonely,” Rep. Gutierrez joked.  “Now people in both parties are actually fighting to be at the negotiating table and I think we will get legislation passed and signed by the President this year.”

Both Senator Durbin and Congressman Gutierrez have been fighting for immigration reform for decades and leading the efforts for comprehensive immigration reform and the DREAM Act.  Participants in the Chicago community forum, who ranged from pro-immigrant advocates and religious leaders to business and labor leaders, asked the lawmakers about policy specifics being discussed in various plans under consideration in Washington.

“I am less interested in the policy specifics right this moment than the fact that things are moving forward steadily and sensibly,” Rep. Gutierrez said.  “Both parties are putting ideas on the table, but there is broad agreement that legalization needs to be part of any reform and most agree that the ultimate outcome of legalization is citizenship for those who choose to make the U.S. their permanent home.”

Rep. Gutierrez participated in a packed community forum in Denver, Colorado on Saturday hosted by Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) and attended by Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) and community leaders, advocates, business owners, religious leaders and immigrants themselves.  The event featured the stories of immigrants who would be most directly impacted by immigration reform.

“What everyone is asking me is how do we deal with the massive increase in deportations that are wreaking havoc on Latino communities,” Gutierrez said of his meetings in both Denver and Chicago.  “We deport 1,000 people per day and hundreds of them are the parents of U.S. citizens, leaving broken families, orphaned children and neighborhoods under siege.  We cannot afford to wait for another year or for another Congress.”

On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee, of which Rep. Gutierrez is a member, will hold its first hearing on immigration in Washington.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Death Toll from Deadly Brazil Fire Continues to Rise

Death Toll from Deadly Brazil Fire Continues to Rise

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The death toll from the fire last month at the Kiss nightclub in Santa Maria, a city in Brazil’s Rio Grande do Sul state, has risen to 237, health officials said.

The figure was revised upward following the death of Bruno Portella Fricks, a 22-year-old businessman, the Rio Grande do Sul Health Secretariat said.

Fricks, who had just earned a business administration degree, died Saturday night at a hospital in Porto Alegre, the capital of Rio Grande do Sul, the secretariat said.

The young man went to a party at the club with his 20-year-old girlfriend, Jessica Duarte, who remains hospitalized in Porto Alegre, the Zero Hora newspaper reported.

Nearly 100 people remain hospitalized, the secretariat said, adding that 16 patients were released on Saturday.

A total of 35 patients are on respirators in intensive care units, the secretariat said.

Many of the victims were students at the Federal University in Santa Maria who were attending a party at the club.

The blaze started around 2:30 a.m. on Jan. 27, when fireworks were set off inside the club.

The fire spread quickly and caused chemicals, especially cyanide, to be released from acoustics materials, police said.

The nightclub fire in Santa Maria was the worst blaze in Brazil in more than 50 years, media reports said.

The worst fire in Brazil’s history occurred on Dec. 17, 1961, during a circus performance in the city of Niteroi, where at least 503 people, the majority of them children, died.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Venezuelan Born American Chef George Duran Fiery Tomato-Basil Mac & Cheese

Venezuelan Born American Chef George Duran Fiery Tomato-Basil Mac & Cheese

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Venezuelan born American chef George Duran (host of TLC’s The Ultimate Cake Off), will be appearing on HSN this Monday, February 4th 9-10AM EST to share his twist on the average mac n’ cheese, with his recipe for Fiery Tomato-Basil Mac & Cheese.

Ingredients:

1 lb. macaroni (elbow)

Kosher Salt

2 14.5 oz. cans diced tomatoes

1 cup packed fresh basil, chopped

1 stick butter

½ cup flour

5 cups whole milk

4 cups (16 oz) sharp cheddar, grated

For Topping

1 ½ cup Italian Style breadcrumbs

4 Tablespoons butter, melted

1 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

Basil leaves for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 F.


Preparation:
Bring 6 quarts of water to a rolling boil and add salt to taste. Then, add macaroni and stir gently allowing it boil for about 7 minutes until “al dente”. Remove from heat and drain well and place in an extra large bowl. Add both cans of diced tomatoes and chopped basil and mix with a rubber spatula. Set aside. For béchamel sauce start by making a roux in a medium stock pot. Melt butter under medium heat and whisk in flour. Keep whisking for under medium heat until roux is browned, about 5-6 minutes. Add 2 tsp. salt. Gently whisk in the milk until properly combined. Constantly whisk the sauce until it thickens and begins to simmer, about 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat and add 4 cups of cheddar. Gently mix it with a rubber spatula until completely melted. Combine cheese sauce and macaroni and pour into a caldero (for best results use an IMUSA Evolution Nonstick Caldero). Make topping by combining all of the ingredients and spread it evenly on top of mac and cheese. Bake 15-20 minutes until top is golden brown. Serve and garnish with basil.

Read more by HS News Staff →

The Path to Citizenship Starts With An End to the Deportations

The Path to Citizenship Starts With An End to the Deportations

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Response to Federal Immigration Reform Proposals

In response to both the President’s speech on Tuesday and the bi-partisan Senate framework for immigration reform, Voces executive director Christine Neumann-Ortiz issued the following statement:

“Both the president’s leadership and bipartisan efforts to create a path to citizenship for New Americans represent a turning point in this movement, with new reason for hope. However, to realize this long overdue reform, new legislation must provide a working path to citizenship:

—A path to citizenship must be broad, simple, and affordable for the 11 million aspiring citizens in the US.  Employment restrictions referenced in the principles introduced threaten to exclude significant numbers of workers—such as day laborers, temporary agency workers, workers paid in cash in restaurants, landscapers and more, as well as stay-at-home fathers or mothers. 

Fines cannot be so steep that low income families are unable to afford the process, and the process should not be so cumbersome that workers with “probationary status” need to apply twice. 

There’s no need to make the path to citizenship conditional on increaded border enforcement, when we already have record low numbers of migration, and cruel enforcement policies which have only led to a human rights crisis at the border. 


—The president cannot propose legislation to create new citizens while simultaneously deporting at a record rate those he claims to want to legalize.  Each day that passes,1,000 families are separated from their loved ones and face economic hardship and emotional trauma—especially the children.

—Any future flow system needs to ensure strong worker rights protections regardless of immigration status, so some abusive employers cannot use immigrant labor as cheap labor or retaliation, undermining wages and conditions for all workers in the US. 


We know it can be done.

We are excited to work in support of a bill that will rise to our nation’s principles and ideals. But in order for a legislative solution that will keep families together, we need to do better.”


Voices- De La Frontera

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican President Peña Nieto Sends Condolences to PEMEX Victims Families, Death Toll at 36

Mexican President Peña Nieto Sends Condolences to PEMEX Victims Families, Death Toll at 36

Photo: Enrique Peña Nieto and Pemex Blast

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The death toll from the explosion last week at the Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, headquarters in Mexico City has risen to 36, President Enrique Peña Nieto said.

Rescue workers pulled three bodies out of the rubble over the weekend and are still searching for one person, the president said in a Twitter posting.

“My deepest condolences go out to the families of all the victims,” Peña Nieto said.

Pemex’s headquarters was torn by a blast last Thursday that occurred in the basement of one of the complex’s buildings.

“Regrettably, the number of people killed has risen to 36,” Pemex said in a statement.

Some 2,500 rescue workers - aided by specially trained dogs - sifted through the rubble at Pemex headquarters over the weekend.

The cause of the blast has not yet been determined and, according to official reports, investigators have not found indications of a fire, smoke nor an odor of flammable substances.

The main tower of the office complex, a 56-story structure, was not damaged in the blast.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Body of Missing New York Mother, Sarai Sierra, Found in Turkey

Body of Missing New York Mother, Sarai Sierra, Found in Turkey

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On Sunday, the husband of a missing New York woman who was visiting Turkey, had to identify her body.

After going missing more than a week before, the body of Sarai Sierra, 33, was found near ruins in Istanbul.

Steven Sierra, her husband, and David Jimenez, her brother, flew to Istanbul to assist in the search for their loved one

Sierra, who had been traveling alone 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 January 7, Sierra arrived in Istanbul. During most of her vacation, the 33-year-old mother of two stayed in contact with her family, which is why it came as a surprise when she was not on her schedule flight home.

For nearly two weeks, local authorities searched for Sierra, but it was not until Saturday that she was found.

Sierra was determined to have died as a result of a blow to the head, but did not appear to have been sexual assaulted. Police believe she was killed elsewhere and her body was moved near ancient stone walls in Istanbul’s Sarayburnu district.

Prosecutors are now asking the courts to allow blood and DNA samples to be taken from 21 people already questioned by authorities in Turkey.

Sierra was found wearing the same clothes she was wearing in surveillance footage which captured her on the day of her disappearance.

The New York mother leaves behind, two sons, 9 and 11. Their grandmother, Betsy Jimenez told the NBC’s Today show the boys do not yet know what has happened to their mother.

‘Their father is going to talk to them when he comes back and we’ll all be there to support him.’

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Superstar Beyonce Will Perform at Brazil’s Rock in Rio 2013

Superstar Beyonce Will Perform at Brazil’s Rock in Rio 2013

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Beyonce, one of the world’s top pop queens, will be the main opening-night attraction at Rock in Rio 2013, to be held between Sept. 13-22, the organizers said Monday.

Beyonce, winner of 16 Grammy Awards, confirmed her participation in the Rio de Janeiro festival in the wee hours Monday after her halftime performance at the NFL Super Bowl.

She was the winner of a survey taken by Rock in Rio organizers to find out which artists people in Rio de Janeiro would most like to see.

Beyonce, who has sold 75 million discs worldwide, showed her popularity in Brazil in 2010 when her five concerts were practically sold out.

The American pop sensation joins a lineup that includes Metallica, Alice in Chains, the Swedish group Ghost and the veteran bands Iron Maiden and Slayer.

The last time the festival was staged in Rio de Janeiro, in 2011, it attracted 700,000 people over seven days to see artists that included Coldplay, Mana, Snow Patrol, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Elton John, Stevie Wonder and Shakira.

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Fidel Castro Says Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez Is Doing Better

Fidel Castro Says Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez Is Doing Better

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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who remains in Cuba convalescing from his fourth cancer surgery since June 2011, “is much better,” retired Cuban head of state Fidel Castro said.

“It’s been a hard fight, but he’s been improving. We have to cure him. Chavez is very important for his country and for Latin America,” Castro said after casting his ballot in Sunday’s legislative elections, Communist Party daily Granma reported.

The leader of the Cuban Revolution added that he is briefed daily on Chavez’s condition.

The 86-year-old Fidel transferred power to younger brother Raul Castro in July 2006 due to a grave illness.

Chavez, 58, has been in Havana since last Dec. 11 when he underwent the latest of his four operations. The leftist president has also undergone courses of chemotherapy and radiation in Cuba.

In office since 1999, Chavez was re-elected last Oct. 7 by a comfortable margin and is supposed to serve until 2019.

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Spain Eliminated in First Round of Davis Cup Play by Canada

Spain Eliminated in First Round of Davis Cup Play by Canada

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Canada eliminated Spain in the first round of the Davis Cup over the weekend.

Canada’s No. 1 singles player, Milos Raonic, clinched the decisive point that put his team up 3-1 by beating Spain’s Guillermo Garcia Lopez 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 on Sunday.

Spanish Davis Cup captain Alex Corretja decided to play Garcia Lopez instead of Marcel Granollers against Raonic after the Spanish No. 1 teamed up with Marc Lopez to win in doubles on Saturday.

This is the first time that Canada, No. 12 in the Davis Cup rankings, has won in the first round of the tournament and advanced to the quarterfinals.

“I do not have any complaints about anybody, not the ones who didn’t come or the ones who played, who gave it everything they had and did the best they could. The Spanish team lost, Spanish tennis, not just those of us who are here, just like when we win, we all win,” Corretja said.

The Iberian nation was without the services of Davis Cup stalwarts Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer, as well as other key players who helped lead the country to nearly half a dozen titles since 2000, for its tie against Canada.

Spain has won the Davis Cup five times, with the country’s most recent victory coming against Argentina in Seville in 2011.

Spain won tennis’ premier international team competition in 2000 and 2009 in Barcelona against Australia and the Czech Republic, respectively; in 2008, in Mar del Plata, against Argentina and in Seville in 2004 against the United States.

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Protests in Mexico City Over Bullfighting Tradition

Protests in Mexico City Over Bullfighting Tradition

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Several hundred animal rights activists took to the streets of Mexico City over the weekend to call for an end to bullfighting in Mexico.

The demonstration was organized by animal rights group AnimaNaturalis, which contends that bullfighting subjects animals to torture and suffering.

Partially clothed protesters covered themselves with red paint to simulate bleeding during the demonstration.

The protesters symbolized “the deaths suffered by the bulls that are victims of bullfighting in this country,” AnimaNaturalis said in a statement.

AnimaNaturalis Internacional founder Leonora Esquivel Frias organized the protest “with the goal of drawing the attention of the political sectors and media to the need to abolish these cruel and bloody spectacles in which an animal is tortured to death,” the animal rights group said.

The protest took place Sunday around Mexico City’s iconic Monument to the Revolution and was once again the largest event of its type targeting bullfighting in the country.

Animal rights activists have now held protests against bullfighting for five straight years in the capital.

Activists formed a human wall, holding up signs and shouting slogans against bullfighting.

“Mexico is a country marked by violence, so making a spectacle of it takes us backward on our road to having a culture of peace and respect for other forms of life,” Esquivel said.

About 9,000 bulls are slaughtered every year at rings in Mexico, where bullfighting dates back to the 16th century, animal rights groups say.

Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Ecuador are the Latin American countries where bullfighting is most deeply rooted.

Chile, however, banned bullfighting shortly after it gained its independence from Spain in 1818, but rodeos, another target of animal rights activists, are popular in the South American country.

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Guatemala Builds Tallest Flagstaff in Central America, Visible from Anywhere in Capital

Guatemala Builds Tallest Flagstaff in Central America, Visible from Anywhere in Capital

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Guatemala now raises its national flag on a monument that has the tallest flagstaff in Central America, which makes it visible from any part of the capital, Defense Minister Ulises Anzueto said.

The monument, inaugurated over the weekend by President Otto Perez Molina, was erected by the Defense Ministry on the highest point of the Marshall Zavala Brigade’s training camp on the city’s mountainous north side.

The flagpole, cast in steel and weighing 25 tons, is 54 meters (177 feet) tall, which makes it the tallest in Central America and perhaps even in all of Latin America, Anzueto said.

The national flag measures 36 meters (118 feet) wide and 26 meters (85 feet) high, and weighs some 158 kilos (348 pounds), the reason it is raised by remote control.

The flagstaff will be illuminated at night so people can see the patriotic symbol from all around the capital.

The monument is in a mountainous area closed to the public, though the army is planning tours so that students can come see this new symbol of patriotism.

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U.S. and Mexico Tomato Trade Wars Appear Over

U.S. and Mexico Tomato Trade Wars Appear Over

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The United States and Mexico have reached an agreement in principle on terms for imports of Mexican tomatoes, preventing the trade war feared in the wake of Washington’s decision last year to suspend a 1996 bilateral accord.

The deal was reached over the weekend and raises the minimum price for Mexican tomatoes sold in the United States, U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sanchez said in a statement.

“The draft agreement raises reference prices substantially, in some cases more than double the current reference price for certain products, and accounts for changes that have occurred in the tomato market since the signing of the original agreement. This solution puts in place important mechanisms to attain increased signatory coverage and robust enforcement that will allow American workers and the U.S tomato industry to compete on a level playing field,” Sanchez said.

The Department of Commerce has opened the draft agreement for public comment until March 4.

The new agreement will replace the 1996 accord, which was suspended by the U.S. government last September amid pressure from tomato growers in Florida.

The growers complained that Mexican tomatoes were being sold below their production cost.

Nearly half of the tomatoes consumed in the United States are grown in Mexico.

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Hollywood Loves Jewelry Designer Daniel Espinosa

Hollywood Loves Jewelry Designer Daniel Espinosa

Photo: Designs by Mexico's Daniel Espinosa

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With a concept of jewelry based on a fusion of traditional craftsmanship and avant-garde design, Mexican Daniel Espinosa has beguiled with his baroque creations such stars as Madonna, Susan Sarandon, Halle Berry, Gwyneth Paltrow and actresses in the successful television series “Gossip Girl.”

In times of crisis and austerity, Espinosa, rather than conservatively sticking to discreet, unpretentious jewels, goes in for baroque creations with all the personality in the world.

“I like to make eye-catching jewels with geometric volumes,” the designer said.

Born to a family of jewelers in Taxco, home of Mexican silver, Espinosa, who has the profession and technique in his blood, preferred to concentrate more on design and moved to Los Angeles.

“Jewelry is in my DNA,” Espinosa said, adding that nowadays “I work to give my jewels a new kind of expression, but my starting point is always as the artisan.”

His necklaces, chokers, bangles, bracelets and earrings have caressed the skin of Nelly Furtado, Paulina Rubio, Madonna, Melanie Griffith, Gwyneth Paltrow, Halle Berry and Sharon Stone.

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Spanish Prime Minister Rajoy in Germany for 24th German-Spanish Summit

Spanish Prime Minister Rajoy in Germany for 24th German-Spanish Summit

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday welcomed Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to Berlin, where the two leaders are presiding over the 24th German-Spanish bilateral summit.

Merkel and Rajoy posed for photographers, listened to the playing of the national anthems and took part in a review of the troops.

The two leaders then headed off for their meeting, while the Spanish ministers accompanying Rajoy met with their German counterparts.

Merkel and Rajoy are expected to discuss the economic situation in Spain and the European Union, as well as this week’s Council of Europe meeting that will take up the bloc’s budget.

Rajoy has been calling on Germany and other EU members to support stimulus efforts, while Merkel has been defending German policy and arguing that her country was doing its part to promote a “robust” European economy.

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Body of Lino Oviedo Retrieved from Site of Crash in Paraguay

Body of Lino Oviedo Retrieved from Site of Crash in Paraguay

Photo: Lino Oviedo Killed in Paraguay Helicopter Crash

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The remains of Paraguayan presidential candidate Lino Oviedo, who died on the weekend in a helicopter crash, were delivered Sunday to the morgue in Asuncion, where on Monday forensic specialists will undertake their “reconstruction.”

Medical examiner Pablo Lemir said it was unlikely that the remains could be released on Monday to the family, who had requested them so that they could hold a wake.

“All the remains that we could (find) ... have been brought (here). It could be that there are more remains underneath the helicopter,” but the wrecked aircraft “cannot be moved until the ... accident investigation is concluded,” authorities said.

Oviedo, a 59-year-old former army general, his bodyguard and the helicopter pilot died Saturday night when the aircraft crashed in Presidente Hayes province, north of Asuncion, while the National Union of Ethical Citizens, or Unace, party’s candidate in the April 21 presidential election was returning to the capital after participating in a rally in the central city of Concepcion.

At this point, it is presumed that bad weather was the cause of the accident, although the government announced that foreign experts would be engaged to help conduct the investigation.

The helicopter wreckage was found on Sunday, with the remains of its occupants dismembered and severely burned, by a rescue team made up of air force and Voluntary Fire Department personnel.

The party has scheduled a wake at its headquarters for Monday, but Lemir said that he had informed the family that his forensic work will take time.

In the wake of the tragedy, Oviedo’s relatives received President Federico Franco and the full Cabinet at their home in the city of Luque, near Asuncion.

Franco decreed three days of mourning for the political leader and the country’s main parties cancelled their upcoming official events.

Paraguay is caught up in the campaign for the election in April, when Franco’s successor will be decided. Franco, elected vice president in 2008, is serving out the term begun by Fernando Lugo, who was impeached and deposed last June 22, although neighboring countries deemed that action a coup d’etat.

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Santa Catarina’s Tourist Region in Brazil Experiencing Wave of Violent Attacks

Santa Catarina’s Tourist Region in Brazil Experiencing Wave of Violent Attacks

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Brazilian police on Sunday killed an alleged criminal in the city of Joinville, in Santa Catarina state, a tourist region in southern Brazil that has been experiencing a wave of violent attacks in recent days, official sources reported.

The dead man, identified as Jean de Oliveira, evidently tried to shoot an off-duty policeman from a motorcycle at about 3:15 a.m. (0515 GMT) but was pursued by on-duty officers who ultimately killed him in an exchange of gunfire, according to a communique released by the regional government.

Police arrested Jaison Cordeiro, who was accompanying De Oliveira on the motorcycle.

On Sunday morning, authorities also reported the burning of three buses and two trucks, while unknown gunmen fired shots at two police stations, the home of a police officer and the government offices of three municipalities, namely Chapeco, Araquari and Itajai.

In Itajai, two men threw a Molotov cocktail against the wall of a building housing municipal offices and fled after the attack on a bicycle, a watchman told authorities.

Since last Wednesday night, there have been at least 43 attacks of this kind in the region and authorities have arrested 20 people for their alleged participation in the wave of violence.

To prevent attacks in the metropolitan region of Florianopolis, the regional capital, police on Saturday night provided escorts for a large number of buses between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. (2200 and 0000 GMT) and afterwards ordered the suspension of public transportation services until Sunday morning.

Authorities say the attacks appear to be a response to police operations against drug trafficking bands and to more stringent treatment of inmates in the state’s prisons.

Last November, a similar wave of violence occurred in the same region, lasting about a week and following a series of fires, shootings and murders that had occurred in Sao Paulo.

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Women Arrested for Taking $20,000 to Illegally Smuggling Ecuadorian Children into U.S.

Women Arrested for Taking $20,000 to Illegally Smuggling Ecuadorian Children into U.S.

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Peruvian police arrested two Ecuadorian and two Peruvian women who were trying to send two Ecuadorian children to the United States, police said Sunday.

Ecuadorian citizens Yolanda Vera, 48, and Karina Morales, 30, along with Peruvians Marina Miranda, 54, and Gisela Balladares, 36, were acting in complicity with an immigration official at the Jorge Chavez international airport to obtain fake passports in the name of the minors, according to the head of the police fraud division, Ruben Casas.

The women have been charged with human trafficking and falsification of passports, and they were presented to the media on Sunday at a press conference.

Casas added that the arrested persons had received $20,000 from the children’s parents to send them to New York, where the parents - apparently Ecuadorian emigrants - live.

Police are seeking an alleged accomplice, identified as Juan Jose Canales Duran, with the intention of charging him with falsifying documents in the case.

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Colombian Priest Killed by Unknown Gunmen While on Vacation

Colombian Priest Killed by Unknown Gunmen While on Vacation

Photo: Father Suarez Salazar Gunned Down, Colombia

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A Colombian priest on vacation was shot to death by unknown gunmen in Norte de Santander province, which borders on Venezuela, police said Sunday.

Luis Alfredo Suarez Salazar, 50, was shot dead in the town of Ocaña, according to the police commander in Norte del Santander, Col. Eliecer Camacho Jimenez.

The police official said that the attack on the vacationing priest occurred on Saturday and that the authorities are offering a reward of up to 20 million pesos (a little over $11,000) for information leading to the capture of the killers.

Colombian authorities are working the case on the statements of local residents who said that Suarez Salazar was attacked by two men riding on a motorcycle who - without saying a word - opened fire on him, hitting him multiple times.

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Mexico’s Tigres and Tijuana Remain Country’s Top Soccer Teams

Mexico’s Tigres and Tijuana Remain Country’s Top Soccer Teams

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Mexico’s Tigres soccer club, coached by Brazilian Ricardo Ferreti, and Tijuana - with Argentina’s Antonio Mohamed at the helm - battled to a 2-2 tie in a hard-fought match on the weekend, although both of them emerged leading the Clausura 2012 tourney in Mexican soccer.

Two goals by Lucas Lobos, or Argentina, for the Tigres and goals by Argentina’s Alfredo Moreno and Colombia’s Duvier Riascos for Tijuana brought the game to its final result before a full crowd at Universitario, the Tigres’ home stadium.

The tie, in a vibrant match with each team ahead in the score at times, meant that neither team has been defeated so far this year, and thus they lead the league, although the Tigres are ahead in terms of their goal differential.

Tijuana dominated the first period, featuring the excellent play of Ecuadorian Fidel Martinez, and they went into halftime with a 1-0 advantage due to Moreno’s goal in the 12th minute, although he was pulled later due to an injury.

However, Ferreti had deciphered his rivals’ style of play during the first period and in the second half staged a comeback, although it wasn’t enough to secure the win.

Meanwhile, America is presently in third place in the league after its 3-0 win over Queretaro on two goals by Mexican Raul Jimenez and another on a penalty kick by Ecuador’s Christian Benitez.

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MondayFebruary 4, 2013