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TuesdayFebruary 5, 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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EFE President Says Journalism is “More Alive Than Ever”

EFE President Says Journalism is “More Alive Than Ever”

Photo: EFE President Says Journalism is "More Alive Than Ever"

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The profession of journalism “is more alive than ever or, at least, as alive as it ever was,” the president of EFE, Spain’s international news agency, Jose Antonio Vera, said during the inauguration in Madrid of a series of discussions on the subject.

Also participating in the event were the president of the Federation of Journalists’ Associations of Spain, or FAPE, Elsa Gonzalez, and Jaime Brull, the head of IPECC-Comunicacion, Cultura y Audiovisuales.

Agencia EFE, FAPE and IPECC are organizing the discussion series.

“Sincerely, I believe that journalism is not going to disappear. It will have to adjust itself to the new media environment, as occurred in bygone days with the arrival of radio and television,” Vera said.

Good journalism is necessary, he said, if news media are to exercise “the ability to counteract the power of governments, of economic powers or of the pressure groups that try on many occasions to (determine the conduct of) the press.”

The profession of journalism is “indispensible” for exposing corruption and injustices and for confronting politicians with questions to allow the “free and truthful transfer of information to society” to be realized, FAPE’s Gonzalez said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Can You Help This Man Find his Birth Family?

Can You Help This Man Find his Birth Family?

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“Help Me Find My Birth Family” reads a sign being held by a young man in a photo now circulating on the internet.

The unidentified man was reportedly given up for adoption in New Mexico and is now searching for members of his biological family.

Here is the information given in the photo:

-He was born April 25th, 1991 at St. Joseph’s West Side Hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico
-His birth mother’s name is Theresa Moya, and was likely a young woman in her late teens when she gave him up for adoption.
-His father, who the young man believes may have died before he was born, has the last name Garduno.
-The young man also believes he may have a brother who is about 12 months older.

We are unsure how to contact him, but “Redditors” have posted the photo on Reddit in various subreddits.

Click below to share any information you may have about this young man’s biological family.

Link No. 1 from r/Albuquerque.

Link No. 2 from r/Pics.

Link No.3 also in r/Pics.


Image

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Mexico v Jamaica in World Cup Qualifier - Tough Match on Both Sides

Mexico v Jamaica in World Cup Qualifier - Tough Match on Both Sides

Photo: World Cup Qualifier: Mexico v Jamaica

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Jamaica is not an opponent to be taken lightly, Mexican coach Jose Manuel de la Torre said Tuesday ahead of the squads’ World Cup qualifying match here at Aztec stadium.

“We have rivals. Jamaica made things hard for the United States and won against Guatemala,” the coach told reporters following the team’s final practice before Wednesday’s qualifier.

The Jamaicans, he said, “have height, power, speed, order and skilled players.”

While determined to ensure Mexico gets a spot at next year’s World Cup in Brazil, De la Torre refused to predict where his squad will end up in the Concacaf rankings.

Mexico entered the 2002, 2006 and 2010 World Cup tourneys as the No. 2 team to emerge from Concacaf.

“I always try to win all the matches. It’s not always possible, but I always try to win them,” the Mexican coach said. “We are very emphatic about not under-estimating anybody.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Blog del Narco: Three Young Men Executed in Sinaloa (Picture Warning)

Blog del Narco: Three Young Men Executed in Sinaloa (Picture Warning)

Photo: Blog del Narco: Murders Sinaloa

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Three men were “shot” to death with assault rifles last night near the town Agua Salada, belonging to the township of Pericos, Mocorito.

Their hands bound with rope behind their bodies, they were found lying on the side of the road. The road led to a farm in the village of Agua Salada Bachoco.

The bodies were shattered with multiple gunshot wounds.


None of those executed were identified last night at the place where they were shot, which is located near the international road at kilometer 36, near the community of Agua Salada.
All of the victims appear youthful.

Read more at Blog del Narco in Spanish here


Read more Narco News at HS News here
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62-Year-Old Narco Smuggler Caught with $541,000 Worth of Coke

62-Year-Old Narco Smuggler Caught with $541,000 Worth of Coke

Photo: Coke seized at Border

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Gateway International Bridge in Brownsville discovered cocaine valued at approximately $540,800 hidden within a GMC Sierra.

On Feb. 4, at the Gateway International Bridge, CBP officers came in contact with a 1996 GMC Sierra being driven by a 62-year-old man, identified as a Mexican citizen and resident of Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico. A CBP officer referred the GMC for a secondary examination. In secondary CBP officers discovered seven packages hidden within the pickup. CBP officers removed the packages containing approximately 16.9 pounds of alleged cocaine.

The alleged cocaine from this seizure has an estimated street value of approximately $540,800. CBP officers turned the driver over to Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents for further investigation. CBP officers seized the narcotics and the vehicle.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Senior Citizen Narco Smuggler Stopped with Over 300 Pounds of Pot

Senior Citizen Narco Smuggler Stopped with Over 300 Pounds of Pot

Photo: Narco Senior Arrested with Pot

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at the Columbus port of entry seized 362 pounds of marijuana on Friday, Feb. 1. A 63-year-old man was arrested. The seizure was largest of six made by CBP officers working at area ports this weekend.

The seizure occurred just after 7:00 p.m., when a 1997 Dodge Ram pickup arrived from Mexico. CBP officers initiated an exam and detected a number of anomalies in the appearance of the vehicle. CBP officers x-rayed the vehicle and noted the appearance of a foreign object in the fuel tank. The tank was opened revealing several large metal boxes. The boxes were opened producing 362 pounds of tightly compressed marijuana.

CBP officers took custody of the driver, 63-year-old Luis Torres Torres of Chihuahua City, Chihuahua, Mexico. He was turned over to and arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement HSI agents in connection with the failed smuggling attempt.

CBP officers working at area ports of entry seized 757 pounds of marijuana in six seizures this weekend. They also recorded eight illegal export violations, seven fugitive apprehensions, five agriculture seizures, and one currency seizure.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Tech Company Dell Going Private with $24.4 Billion Payout

Tech Company Dell Going Private with $24.4 Billion Payout

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Computer maker Dell Inc. on Tuesday announced its exit from the stock market in a $24.4 billion buyout led by company founder and CEO Michael Dell.

Dell shareholders will receive $13.65 per share, which represents a 25 percent premium over the shares’ market price on Jan. 11, before rumors began circulating about the buyout.

Software giant Microsoft, whose software is used in the Texas company’s PCs, will loan the buyers’ consortium $2 billion, Dell said in a communique.

The rest of the financing will come mainly from a combination of cash and shares owned by Michael Dell and funds coming from the Silver Lake investment firm.

“I believe this transaction will open an exciting new chapter for Dell, our customers and team members,” Michael Dell said in a statement. “I am committed to this journey and I have put a substantial amount of my own capital at risk together with Silver Lake, a world-class investor with an outstanding reputation.”

Trading of Dell shares on the Nasdaq was temporarily halted on Tuesday morning when the news broke, but the previous day the stock closed the session down 2.64 percent at $13.27 per share. Over the past 12 months, the company’s share price has fallen by 24.35 percent.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latin America News:  Two Killed in Car Bombing in Colombia

Latin America News:  Two Killed in Car Bombing in Colombia

Photo: Colombia Car bombings and FARC

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At least two people died and three others were wounded Tuesday when a car bomb exploded in a rural part of the strife-torn Colombian province of Cauca, authorities told Efe.

A spokesman for the armed forces said that the people killed in the apparent rebel attack were civilians.

But the secretary of the provincial government, Edith Milena Cabezas, said by telephone from Popayan, Cauca’s capital, that an army captain was the only fatality.

The incident occurred at 12:45 p.m. near a military checkpoint in the municipality of Caloto, the armed forces spokesman said.

“The aim of the guerrillas was to park the car bomb in front of the Caloto police station,” but when they encountered the military checkpoint they detonated it there, the spokesman said.

Both the spokesman and Cabezas attributed the bombing to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

Cabezas also said that the incident occurred as fighting between FARC units and the army was under way in the vicinity of Caloto.

The attack took place amid an intensification of the armed conflict coinciding with the fourth phase of the peace negotiations between the government and the FARC, Colombia’s largest insurgency.

The FARC is holding hostage two police officers and a soldier, while the smaller ELN rebel group is holding eight civilians captive, including five foreign nationals.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Bruno Mars Releases Official Video for “When I Was Your Man” (VIDEO)

Bruno Mars Releases Official Video for “When I Was Your Man” (VIDEO)

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Tuesday, crooner Bruno Mars released the official video for his song “When I Was Your Man.”

The song, about looking back on a relationship and realizing you should have paid attention to your significant other when you still had the chance, is part of Mars’ most recent album Unorthodox Jukebox, which was released this past December.

Read more by HS News Staff →

STUDY:  Cash Payments to Modify HIV Risky Behavior Works in Mexico

STUDY:  Cash Payments to Modify HIV Risky Behavior Works in Mexico

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Studies have found that conditional cash transfer programs, in which governments pay citizens if they consistently practice societally beneficial behaviors, have improved pediatric health care and education in Mexico, increased HIV testing in Malawi, and reduced sexually transmitted infections in Tanzania. Public health researchers therefore investigated whether the idea could be applied to HIV risk behaviors among gay men and male sex workers in Mexico City. A new study reports not only that some members of those populations would change behavior for conditional cash payments, but the exact prices they would accept.

In Mexico, like many other Western nations, the HIV epidemic is especially concentrated within certain populations. Among the capital city’s young gay men and male sex workers, the estimated prevalence of HIV infection is about 20 and 30 percent respectively. The Mexican government’s health care policy, meanwhile, offers universal access to HIV therapy, which costs $5,000 to $7,000 a year.

Through detailed questionnaires administered to 1,745 gay men 18-25 years of age, Galárraga and his colleagues in Mexico’s Institute for Public Health (INSP) found that at a rate of $288 a year, more than three-quarters of the men would attend monthly prevention talks, engage in testing for sexually transmitted infections, and pledge to stay free of STI’s with testing to verify that. To obtain a similar level of participation among the 5.1 percent of the sample who were male sex workers, the price was much lower: $156 a year.

Read more at Brown University →

President Seeks Support from Unions on Comprehensive Immigration Reform

President Seeks Support from Unions on Comprehensive Immigration Reform

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President Barack Obama asked Tuesday for support from unions and activists to pressure Congress into approving comprehensive immigration reform this year.

Obama’s morning session with 16 labor and activist leaders was to be followed later Tuesday by talks on the same subject with the CEOs of a dozen top firms.

Participants at the first meeting thanked the president for his leadership on the issue, Janet Murguia, head of the National Council of La Raza, told reporters in front of the White House.

She praised the plan presented by Obama last week in Las Vegas, which, among other elements, includes a path to legalization for the undocumented, border security measures, and penalties for companies that hire workers “without papers.”

The discussion made clear how urgent it is to launch a “common sense” reform that includes a “broad path” toward citizenship, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said.

Cristina Jimenez, managing director of the United We Dream Network, said the activists told Obama of their concern about the continual deportations and the need for a path to citizenship “that is not going to take 20 or 30 years.”

Activists have called a national march in Washington on April 10 to keep up the pressure for reform, and in which, according to the organizers, some 200,000 people are expected to take part.

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: Mother Drives Drunk With Kids in Car, Kills Man

LATINO BLOTTER: Mother Drives Drunk With Kids in Car, Kills Man

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An aspiring model and mother was arrested after allegedly driving drunk and killing another driving while her children were in the car with her.

Reena Ashlie Sanchez, 24, was charged with manslaughter and child endangerment after she drove drunk early Sunday morning.

Police say Sanchez was traveling down El Camino Avenue near Colfax Street in Sacramento at around 3:45 a.m. when she rear-ended a SUV carrying four men. Having been hit by Sanchez’s sedan, which was traveling at a high speed, the SUV spun out and hit a tree.

Two passengers in the backseats of the SUV were ejected from the vehicle, and 30-year-old man died at the scene. The only SUV passenger not needing medical attention was the driver.

Sanchez was taken to the hospital as well, but released around 11:30 a.m. the same day. She was immediately booked into the Sacramento County jail on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and child endangerment.

Her children, 1 and 2, were thankfully strapped into their car seats at the time of the collision. They have been placed with Child Protective Services.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Signs and Symptoms of a Heart Attack

Signs and Symptoms of a Heart Attack

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Symptoms of a Heart Attack

The five major symptoms of a heart attack are—
Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back.
Feeling weak, light-headed, or faint.
Chest pain or discomfort.
Pain or discomfort in arms or shoulder.
Shortness of breath.


Heart Attack Signs

If the blood supply to the heart muscle is cut off, a heart attack can result. Cells in the heart muscle do not receive enough oxygen and begin to die. The more time that passes without treatment to restore blood flow, the greater the damage to the heart. Having high blood pressure or high blood cholesterol, smoking, increased age, physical activity, unhealthy diet, and having had a previous heart attack or family history of stroke, obesity, or diabetes can increase a person’s chances of having a heart attack.
According to the American Heart Association, about 785,000 Americans have an initial heart attack and another 470,000 have a recurrent heart attack each year.1 According to a CDC report,2 almost half of the cardiac deaths in 1999 occurred before emergency services and hospital treatment could be administered.
It is important to recognize the signs of a heart attack and to act immediately by calling 9–1–1. A person’s chances of surviving a heart attack are increased if emergency treatment is given to the victim as soon as possible.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Meet In-N-Out Burger’s Quiet Billionaire Heiress, Lynsi Torres

Meet In-N-Out Burger’s Quiet Billionaire Heiress, Lynsi Torres

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You may not know her by name, but if you live in the western United States you probably know the restaurant that’s made Lynsi Torres America’s youngest female billionaire.

A brief history of In-N-Out Burger:

1948: Harry and Esther Snyder open California’s first drive-thru hamburger stand, naming it In-N-Out Burger. That same year, Harry creates the speaker system we all use in drive-thrus today.

1958: Snyder now has 5 restaurants in Southern California, and switches to fountain drinks rather than bottles

1963: Snyder no longer has Esther press each burger patty, as he opens a patty-making facility

1973: In-N-Out Burger celebrates 25th anniversary and now has 13 restaurants

1976: Harry Snyder passes away at the age of 67, leaving son Rich Snyder as president. Rich runs In-N-Out with brother Guy

1984: In-N-Out Child Abuse Foundation started

1988: 50th restaurant opens

1992: First non-California restaurant opened in Las Vegas, Nevada

1993: Rich Snyder dies in a plane crash. Under Rich’s leadership, In-N-Out Burger expands to more than 90 restaurants. His brother Guy takes over as president.

1994: 100th restaurant opens

1999: Guy Snyder dies from an overdose of painkillers at 49. Under his leadership, In-N-Out expanded to 140 locations. Esther Snyder and two co-founders take over In-N-Out presidency.

2005: 200th location opens

2006: Esther Snyder passes away at 86. Presidency is given to first non-family member Mark Taylor, former vice-president of operations.

Over the next decade, In-N-Out would expand to Utah, Arizona, and Texas.

Today, Lynsi Torres (formerly Martinez), daughter of Guy, and only grandchild of Esther and Harry runs the company as president at just 30 years old.

Born Lynsi Lavelle Snyder, Torres was to take ownership of her father’s share of In-N-Out on her 30th birthday, but inherited the share of the company that was not already in trust for her when her grandmother Esther died. She will reportedly gain access to the remaining half of the company when she turns 35.

Bloomberg recently profiled Lynsi and In-N-Out and estimates the company is valued at about $1.1 billion, though others have said it’s worth more than $2 billion. Even famed billionaire Warren Buffet has mentioned he’d like to buy the company.

Interestingly, Torres, has managed to stay off most “world’s richest” lists and mostly shies away from interviews and the media attention.

As for her personal life, shortly after her father Guy died in 1999, she married her high school sweetheart Jeremiah Seawell. Her marriage to Seawell lasted only two years. In 2006, she married Richard Martinez and they had fraternal twins. In 2011, she officially divorced Martinez. She is now married two her third husband, contractor and drag racer, Val Torres Jr.

The hamburger heiress recently purchased a $17 million home in Bradbury, California.

Read more by HS News Staff →

PEW RESEARCH: The Path Not Taken: Two-thirds of Legal Mexican Immigrants are Not U.S. Citizens

PEW RESEARCH: The Path Not Taken: Two-thirds of Legal Mexican Immigrants are Not U.S. Citizens

Photo: Pew Research Center

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Nearly two-thirds of the 5.4 million legal immigrants from Mexico are not citizens of the United States, even though they are eligible to naturalize. Their rate of naturalization——36%——is only half that of legal immigrants from all other countries combined, according to an analysis of Census Bureau data by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center.

This naturalization rate of Mexican immigrants in 2011 compared with 61% for all immigrants and 68% for all non-Mexican immigrants. The naturalization rate of Mexican legal immigrants is also lower than that of immigrants from Latin America and the Caribbean——36% versus 61% in 2011.

Creating a pathway to citizenship for immigrants who are in the country illegally is expected to be one of the most contentious elements of the immigration legislation that will be considered by the U.S. Congress this year. Mexican immigrants are by far the largest group of immigrants who are in the country illegally——accounting for 6.1 million (55%) of the estimated 11.1 million in the U.S. as of 2011.

Mexicans are also the largest group of legal permanent residents, accounting for 3.9 million out of 12 million. The Center’s analysis of current naturalization rates among Mexican legal immigrants suggests that creating a pathway to citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally does not mean all would pursue that option. Many could choose an intermediate status——legal permanent resident——that would remove the threat of deportation, enable them to work legally and require them to pay taxes, but not afford them the full rights of U.S. citizenship, including the right to vote.

The last time the United States government created a pathway to citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally was in 1986 with the passage of the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA). A 2010 study by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security found that about 40% of the 2.7 million immigrants who obtained a green card derived from IRCA had naturalized by 2009.

A nationwide survey of Hispanic immigrants by the Pew Hispanic Center explored the reasons Hispanic immigrants who are legal permanent residents haven’t yet tried to become citizens: 26% identified personal barriers such as a lack of English proficiency and another 18% identified administrative barriers such as the financial cost of naturalization. The survey also finds that more than nine-in-ten (93%) Hispanic immigrants who have not yet naturalized say they would if they could.

The Pew Hispanic survey also explored the reasons naturalized Latino immigrants give for becoming U.S. citizens. Almost one-in-five (18%) cite civil and legal rights, such as the right to vote, as their main reasons for obtaining U.S. citizenship. Another 16% cite an interest in having access to the benefits and opportunities derived from U.S. citizenship and 15% give family-related reasons. Mexican naturalized citizens are more likely to say they became citizens for practical reasons such as obtaining civil and legal rights (22%) or specific benefits or opportunities derived from citizenship (20%). Among non-Mexican naturalized Latinos, family reasons are most often cited (16%).

The report, “The Path Not Taken; Two-Thirds of Legal Mexican Immigrants are not U.S. Citizens,” authored by Research Associate Ana Gonzalez-Barrera, Pew Hispanic Center, Mark Hugo Lopez, Associate Director, Pew Hispanic Center, Jeffrey Passel, Senior Demographer, Pew Hispanic Center and Paul Taylor, Director, Pew Hispanic Center, is available at the Pew Hispanic Center’s website, www.pewhispanic.org.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Another Death Attributed to Brazil Deadly Nightclub Fire, Death Toll Now at 238

Another Death Attributed to Brazil Deadly Nightclub Fire, Death Toll Now at 238

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The number of fatalities from the discotheque fire in the southern Brazilian city of Santa Maria rose to 238 with the death in hospital of a 20-year-old man, authorities said.

The latest fatality, who was admitted to Santa Casa de la Misericordia Hospital in Porto Alegre, was identified with the initials P.A., since his family asked that his name not be revealed.

At the moment, 81 patients remain in hospital, of whom 23 are in critical condition, according to the latest bulletin.

The blaze occurred during a university party at the Kiss discotheque on the night of Jan. 27, apparently due to the use of fireworks during a concert.

The fire spread rapidly through the inflammable foam used as soundproofing in the ceiling, which also generated a toxic gas that caused most of the deaths, police said.

The Safety Secretariat in the state of Rio Grande do Sul estimates that on the night of the fire there were between 750 and 800 people in the discotheque, well above the official capacity of 691.

Authorities are also investigating the lack of fire extinguishers and emergency exits.

The two owners of the discotheque and two members of the Gurizada Fandangueira band, which was playing at the moment of the blaze, are being held in custody.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Shining Path Leader Tied to Narco Trafficking

Shining Path Leader Tied to Narco Trafficking

Photo: Shining Path Ties to Narcos

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The last of Peru’s original Shining Path guerrilla leaders had ties to drug traffickers and ordered the murders of a family that failed to make payments to the group, a witness told a Lima court, judicial officials said.

Florindo Eleuterio Flores Hala, known as “Comrade Artemio,” took part in a meeting a day before the massacre of the family, the witness, identified only by the code CDT1011, said.

The trial is being held in a courtroom at the Callao naval base.

The guerrilla leader ordered the killings of the Rodriguez Figueroa family members because they were “traitors,” the witness told the court.

Flores Hala had links to drug traffickers in the Huallaga River Valley, where some of the remnants of the Shining Path guerrilla group operate, the witness said.

Drug traffickers had to pay the guerrilla group a certain amount of money based on the quantity of drugs produced, the witness said, adding that anyone who refused to pay faced losing their drugs or being killed, the witness, identified by prosecutors as a former rebel, said.

Prosecutors are seeking life imprisonment and the payment of $2.7 billion in reparations from Flores Hala, who is accused of staging attacks in the Huallaga River Valley region and killing some 60 police officers, a prosecutor and an undetermined number of civilians.

The Maoist-inspired Shining Path launched its uprising on May 17, 1980, with an attack on Chuschi, a small town in Ayacucho province.

A truth commission appointed by former President Alejandro Toledo blamed the Shining Path for most of the nearly 70,000 deaths the panel ascribed to politically motivated violence during the two decades following the group’s 1980 uprising.

The guerrilla group, according to commission estimates, also caused an estimated $25 billion in economic losses.

Shining Path founder Abimael Guzman, known to his fanatic followers as “President Gonzalo,” was captured with his top lieutenants on Sept. 12, 1992, an event that marked the “defeat” of the insurgency.

The guerrilla leader, who was a professor of philosophy at San Cristobal University before initiating his armed struggle in the Andean city of Ayacucho, once predicted that 1 million Peruvians would probably have to die in the ushering-in of the new state envisioned by Shining Path.

The group became notorious for some of its innovations, such as blowing apart with dynamite the bodies of community service workers its members killed, or hanging stray canines from lampposts as warnings to “capitalist dogs.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

GOP Tone Important in First House Judiciary Hearing of the 113th Congress


“Whatever the reason that brings Republicans back to the immigration negotiating table, I am glad they are back and look forward to working with them to resolve this issue for the American people.”

Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL) participated in his first hearing since rejoining the House Judiciary Committee and the topic was right up his alley: America’s Immigration System: Opportunities for Legal Immigration and Enforcement of Laws against Illegal Immigration.  Gutierrez said the fact that the first hearing of the full Judiciary Committee was on immigration was a sign that the Republicans are changing their tune on the issue.

“For years we have been talking about electrified fences, overblown stereotypes of criminals and gangbangers, and mass deportation fantasies in Republican-controlled immigration hearings,” Rep. Gutierrez said.  “Most Republicans I talk to understand that 11 million people here illegally will not be leaving the country and that holding out for their ‘self deportation’ puts Republican lawmakers out of step with the country as a whole.”

Rep. Gutierrez noted that his parents, who were U.S. citizens who migrated from Puerto Rico to Chicago in the 1950s, were not highly educated, but were given a chance to raise a family and sent two kids to college and one to the United States Congress.

“There is a lot of talk about high skilled immigration and I support legal immigration for highly skilled immigrants,” Gutierrez said.  “The beauty of the American experience with immigration is that it does not and should not have income tests, education barriers, and exclusions for humble people like my parents and the parents of a lot of Members of Congress.  We need ‘both-and’ not ‘either-or’ when it comes to the mix of family and business immigration when we reform the system.”

“Some of the Republicans cannot help themselves when talking about immigrants and gravitate to a stereotypical discussion of gangs, criminals, and the boogie-man of open borders,” Rep. Gutierrez said. “Despite this, we are starting in a different place this year in Congress, with much less grandstanding and fear mongering by the anti-immigration wing of the Republicans.”

“The issue of citizenship for immigrants currently in the U.S. illegally is a much bigger issue for Republican elected officials than it is for the American people,” Gutierrez said.  “For the American people, citizenship means you are sharing the load, making the same sacrifices, having the same rights and the same responsibilities.  Republicans who are shying away from citizenship as a goal now will learn that citizenship strengthens their position with their base and the rest of America, not weakens it.”

The make-up of the two panels of witnesses at the hearing gave Rep. Gutierrez some hope that Republicans are serious about working towards immigration reform.  The three Republican witnesses on the first panel are generally supportive of legal immigration for highly skilled and highly educated people, and were joined by Mayor Julian Castro of San Antonio, who supports legal immigration across education and class levels.

“Look, we need legal immigration across skill and education levels so that we do not create an underground for workers after reform,” said Rep. Gutierrez.  “I think Mayor Castro’s remarks make clear the goal of keeping families together in our immigration system, because it makes sense from a social and an economic point of view.”

But, Gutierrez noted: “The hearing’s second panel was more of a throwback to the Republicans’ default position that calls for more deportations and more enforcement first, last and always.  The deportation-only approach has not worked for two decades and most of us on Capitol Hill take the view that enforcement must be combined with legalization, legal immigration, and other reforms in order fix our immigration system.”

Rep. Gutierrez said he is optimistic that House Republicans will follow the lead of key GOP leaders like Speaker John Boehner, Rep. Paul Ryan, and Sen. Marco Rubio in remaining open to immigration reform that includes legalization leading to citizenship and wider legal immigration avenues so that we get control over immigration.

“Many of the House Republicans I talk to understand that they have mishandled the immigration issue and that their approach has alienated voters,” Rep. Gutierrez said.  “Other Republicans see the wisdom of legalizing people who have lived and worked here for a long time and ensuring that the people who come in the future come legally in a controlled and orderly manner with basic rights and visas.  Whatever the reason that brings Republicans back to the immigration negotiating table, I am glad they are back and look forward to working with them to resolve this issue for the American people.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Gloria & Emilio Estefan to Develop and Produce a New Broadway Show Inspired by Life Story

Gloria & Emilio Estefan to Develop and Produce a New Broadway Show Inspired by Life Story

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Today, the Nederlander Organization and Estefan Enterprises jointly announce they have engaged in the process of developing and producing a new Broadway show inspired by the music made famous by International superstar Gloria Estefan and her husband musician/producer and entrepreneur Emilio Estefan.

The musical will be set in a way that tells the Estefans’ riveting life story detailing their journey all the way from Cuba to superstardom. Additional elements will be announced and worked through with a creative team that will be assigned at a later date.

“I am thrilled to collaborate with Gloria and Emilio to see their amazing story come to fruition on the Broadway stage,” said Jimmy Nederlander, President of the Nederlander Organization. “The Estefans’ journey of success, led by raw talent and passion, is captivating as it drove them from relative obscurity to global sensations.”

With seven Grammy Awards and over 100 million albums sold worldwide, Gloria Estefan is the most successful crossover performer in the history of Latin music. In addition to her chart-topping hit songs “Conga,” The Rhythm is Going To Get You” and “1, 2, 3,” among others, Gloria has received numerous honors and awards over the course of her illustrious career. She recorded the Oscar-nominated song, “Music Of My Heart,” received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Ellis Island Congressional Medal of Honor, which is the highest award that can be given to a naturalized U.S. citizen.  She won the Hispanic Heritage Award, an MTV Video Music Award, two ACE Awards and the National Music Foundation’s Humanitarian of the Year Award. She was also honored with the American Music Award for Lifetime Achievement as well as being named BMI Songwriter of the Year. She was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and has received multiple Billboard Awards for her many chart-topping hits. 

Emilio Estefan is a world-renowned music, television and film producer who has been instrumental in shaping, developing and directing the careers of his superstar wife, Gloria, as well as Shakira, Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony and Jon Secada among many others.  With a resume that includes over 30 Grammy nominations and 19 Grammy Awards, Estefan has experimented and pushed the envelope of blending Latin, pop and world rhythms creating a unique style and personality that has created chart-topping worldwide hits.  It is this vision that transcends the music field and spills over into film, television, hotels and restaurants, among other business endeavors including being the first Cuban born couple to own a minority stake in the Miami Dolphins, a major NFL Franchise. 

The Nederlander Organization will be producing in partnership with Bernie Yuman.  As producer and manager for one of the most successful and longest running shows in Las Vegas, Siegfried & Roy,  Bernie Yuman, an illustrious figure in the entertainment business and long-time friend and business associate of the Estefans, has been tapped as Executive Producer.

“We are very excited to partner with the Nederlander Organization and Bernie Yuman to, after almost a decade of planning and developing, bring our music and life story to Broadway,” said Gloria and Emilio Estefan. “We are very excited to share this story, which is based on hope, determination and the belief that with hard work and passion, our dreams can become our reality. Our music has been a true reflection of who we are, where we came from and the journey that has brought us to where we are today. Our cultural roots, our life-defining challenges and the rewards that come with believing in yourself and striving for that which you believe in wholeheartedly, will be the foundation for this theatrical production. Sharing our life story through music will give us a new opportunity to honor our roots and, hopefully, to be able to inspire generations to come.”

About James L. Nederlander
James L. Nederlander, President of The Nederlander Organization, leads a family business that began in 1912 and now encompasses every aspect of the live entertainment industry from venue ownership and management, theatrical producing and concert presentation, to patron services, with venues in New York, Chicago, Durham, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose and London. Jimmy is an innovative producer who is represented on Broadway by Spider-Man: Turn off The Dark and the up and coming I’ll Eat You Last starring Bette Midler. With a keen eye for popular entertainment for audiences of all ages, he has also produced dozens of distinguished, award-winning musicals and plays including Next To Normal; Movin’ Out; La Cage aux Folles; Million Dollar Quartet; Fiddler on the Roof; The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee; Legally Blonde; West Side Story, and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Jimmy is also one of the country’s most astute presenters of headline talent such as Adele, Billy Joel, Harry Connick Jr., Neil Diamond, U2, Paul McCartney, Florence and the Machine, Pink Floyd, Sting, U2, and the Rolling Stones to mention a few. In addition to being a business innovator, Jimmy is also a committed leader and philanthropist who sits on the Board of Trustees of many leading organizations.

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Demi Lovato On Crutches After Falling at Home (PHOTOS)

Demi Lovato On Crutches After Falling at Home (PHOTOS)

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Demi Lovato is now recovering after taking a nasty tumble at her home in Los Angeles.

The singer-actress posted a few photos following the fall, one of her very bruised foot and ankle and another with her sitting with a boot cast and crutches.

Last week Lovato tweeted:

Earlier that same day she tweeted a link to a YouTube video of her many falls on stage. She laughed it off saying, “only. me. hahahaha this video never gets old.”

Here’s wishing Ms. Lovato a speedy recovery.


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Latin America News: Bolivia Bus Crash Leaves 7 Dead, 23 Injured

Latin America News: Bolivia Bus Crash Leaves 7 Dead, 23 Injured

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Seven people died and 23 were injured Tuesday when a bus overturned on a road in southwestern Bolivia, police said.

The crash occurred on the highway linking the towns of Tupiza and Villazon, some 800 kilometers (500 miles) south of La Paz.

The bus, which was traveling from the central province of Cochabamba to Villazon, apparently was going too fast causing it to flip over and skid for about 50 meters (163 feet) near Tupiza, police Capt. Waldo Vera told the media.

Last month, traffic accidents in Bolivia killed almost 100 people and reportedly injured 303, prompting the authorities to announce that they will increase the punishments for negligent transport companies and drivers.

Among other measures, the authorities will increase fines and suspend operating licenses for companies and drivers found to be at fault in accidents.

In particular, the government will push for such penalties in manslaughter cases.

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Bolivia Unveils World’s Largest Virgin Mary Statue

Bolivia Unveils World’s Largest Virgin Mary Statue

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The largest statue of the Virgin Mary in the world, dedicated to Our Lady of Socavon, was inaugurated at a Feb. 1 ceremony in the city of Oruro, Bolivia.

Towering at 149 feet, the statue is located on a 12,000-foot mountain south of La Paz, the country’s second largest city. It stands 22 feet taller than the Christ the Redeemer statue atop Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The statue’s unveiling ceremony was attended by both Bolivian president Evo Morales and Oruro mayor Rossio Pimentel.

Rolando Rocha was the lead sculptor for the project. 

Our Lady of Socavon is the patroness of miners. The original statue is kept at the Diocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Socavon in the city of Oruro.

The presentation of the $1.2 million statue also marked the beginning of Carnaval in Orugo. The city’s festival is the only Carnaval celebration that includes a dance in honor of the Virgin Mary.

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Ecuador Presidential Campaign Suspended After 2 Die, 4 Wounded at Political Rally

Ecuador Presidential Campaign Suspended After 2 Die, 4 Wounded at Political Rally

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Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa’s MAP party announced Tuesday that it is suspending the campaign for the Feb. 17 election after two people were killed and four others wounded in an attack on a rally where the head of state was due to speak.

The incident occurred Monday in Quininde, a town in the northern coastal province of Esmeraldas, which borders Colombia.

A knife-wielding man waded into the crowd waiting for Correa’s arrival and began striking out indiscriminately at people in front of the stage.

The stabbing went on for about 20 seconds before several men reacted by striking the assailant with the flagpoles they were carrying. The murderer ran away and was able to escape.

Interior Minister Jose Serrano announced later that a suspect had been detained, but has not yet been identified as the killer with any certainty.

“An embrace of solidarity for the families of the victims at Quininde. The video of the incident is really horrifying,” Correa posted on his Twitter account.

A poll released Jan. 18 by survey firm Market shows incumbent Correa leading the eight-person presidential field with support from 49 percent of eligible voters, followed by banker Guillermo Lasso with 18 percent, and former President Lucio Gutierrez with 12 percent.

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7 Spanish Tourists Raped by Gunmen in Acapulco

7 Spanish Tourists Raped by Gunmen in Acapulco

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Gunmen raped seven Spanish tourists on the outskirts of the Mexican Pacific resort city of Acapulco, an official in the prosecutor’s office told Efe.

The sexual assaults occurred around 3:00 a.m. Monday in Playa Bonfil, located in the eastern section of Acapulco, one of Mexico’s most popular tourist destinations.

The tourists were attacked by several armed men at a bungalow, the official said on condition of anonymity.

Officials launched an operation in the area to try to capture the gunmen.

Spanish diplomats and consular personnel in Mexico are assisting the victims, Foreign Ministry officials told Efe Tuesday.

An “attack on a group of Spanish nationals” occurred in Mexico’s Guerrero state, where Acapulco is located, the Foreign Ministry officials said.

Acapulco, one of Mexico’s most famous tourist destinations, has been plagued by drug-related violence in recent years.

The Guerrero state government launched a security operation in 2011 with the support of the federal government to step up security in areas frequented by foreign and domestic tourists.

“Operation Safe Guerrero” was launched on Oct. 6, 2011, in an effort to reduce the soaring crime rate in the state.

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Puerto Rican Actress Roselyn Sanchez to Wear Red for Heart Health Awareness

Puerto Rican Actress Roselyn Sanchez to Wear Red for Heart Health Awareness

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Puerto Rican actress Roselyn Sanchez will participate this week along with other celebrities in The Heart Truth® Red Dress Collection Fashion Show in New York to raise awareness among women about heart health.

“It’s super important to raise awareness among women of the terrible disease which is heart problems. It’s a silent disease where one doesn’t know when it will explode,” Sanchez told Efe, adding that she will model an outfit by designer Tadashi Shoji at the event.

The fashion show, which will be held on Wednesday and will serve as a preface to New York Fashion Week, is aimed at encouraging women to prevent heart problems, the main cause of death among women in the United States.

Sanchez said that before agreeing to participate in the project she did not know that cardiovascular problems were the No. 1 cause of death among women or that among the Hispanic community the percentage is so high, and so she said she was very happy to be able to take part in the event and to have learned so much about heart health.

Currently, the actress is at a high point in her professional and personal life, given that a year ago she gave birth to her first child, Sebella Rose, whom she had with her husband, actor Eric Winter.

Sanchez is presently immersed in taping the first season of the comedy “Devious Maids,” which will air next summer on ABC.

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Bruno Mars to Perform with Rihanna and Sting at Grammys

Bruno Mars to Perform with Rihanna and Sting at Grammys

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Rihanna, Bruno Mars and Sting will offer a special performance together at the 55th Grammy Awards, the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences said.

Kelly Clarkson will also be one of the voices heard at Sunday’s ceremony at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Beyonce, Hunter Hayes, Jennifer Lopez, Pauley Perrette and Prince will likewise be on hand as hosts of the evening event.

The Lumineers, Carrie Underwood and Jack White were previously confirmed for the gala, which will feature a special performance by Dierks Bentley and Miranda Lambert plus a duet by Elton John and Ed Sheeran.

Chief host of the show will be LL Cool J.

The kings of hip-hop Kanye West and Jay-Z, R&B singer Frank Ocean, the rock band The Black Keys, folk group Mumford & Sons and indie pop band FUN start out as favorites to take home some Grammys with six nominations each.

The Black Keys with “El Camino,” Mumford & Sons with “Babel,” and Jack White for “Blunderbuss” are competing for the most prestigious of all the awards, Album of the Year, along with Frank Ocean for “Channel Orange” and FUN with “Some Nights.”

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Latin America News: Brazil’s Petrobras Profit Decline 36 Percent

Latin America News: Brazil’s Petrobras Profit Decline 36 Percent

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State-controlled oil giant Petrobras said it posted net income of 21.18 billion reais ($10.61 billion) in 2012, down 36 percent from the prior year.

Profits in the fourth quarter, however, hit 7.74 billion reais ($3.88 billion), up 53 percent from the same period in 2011, thanks to improved financial results.

The company’s sharp drop in profits last year was caused by fuel prices that are out of step with the market, an increase in imports and the appreciation of the dollar against the real, Petrobras CEO Maria das Graças Foster said Tuesday.

“The drop in the company’s profits to their lowest level since 2004 can be explained by the rise in imports of derivatives and a reduction in profit margins from marketing due to prices that are out of line,” Foster said in a teleconference with investors.

Lower production due to technical problems and strong fuel demand in Brazil forced Petrobras to increase its imports of petroleum derivatives from 749 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2011 to 779 million bpd in 2012, Foster said.

Gasoline imports soared 112 percent, the Petrobras CEO said.

Petrobras’s exports, meanwhile, fell 13 percent to 548 million bpd, leaving the company with a deficit that rose from 118 million bpd in 2011 to 231 million bpd last year.

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Cervantes Institute Wants Spanish Language to Go Global

Cervantes Institute Wants Spanish Language to Go Global

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The head of the Cervantes Institute, Victor Garcia de la Concha, defended here on Tuesday the need to cooperate with institutions inside and outside Spain to spread the Spanish language throughout the world.

“Languages do not compete, languages do not fight. We’re open to dialogue with the whole world,” said Garcia de la Concha at a meeting organized by the New Communication Forum.

Garcia de la Concha discussed the upcoming inauguration of a new headquarters for the Institute at “a big university in the United States,” where a permanent Observatory for the Spanish language and Hispanic cultures will be established that “will serve as a reference point for all the universities of that country.”

That ongoing project already has acquired sponsorship, although the Cervantes chief was very cautious in his remarks and said he did not yet want to reveal who will finance the initiative and which university will be involved.

“In the United States, we’re taking the plunge to consolidate Spanish as the second language of international communication,” he added.

“Just with the Ibero-American countries, Spanish can be made into a global tool,” Garcia de la Concha said.

“We have to act with all the Ibero-American countries in the United States. It would be an historic mistake not to join together at this time to expand the language in that country,” he said.

In addition, the Cervantes Institute is collaborating with the language institutes of other countries - including the British Council, the Goethe Institut and the Alliance Francaise - in those parts of the world where it does not have much of a presence.

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U.S. Hispanics Trail in Gun Ownership, Whites Lead

U.S. Hispanics Trail in Gun Ownership, Whites Lead

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Just 18 percent of U.S. Hispanics own firearms, compared with 21 percent of African Americans and 33 percent of non-Latino whites, according to a new report from Gallup based on surveys during the period 2007-2012.

Amid a national debate about the possibility of enacting laws to control the sale of arms, Gallup has identified conservative white males over age 30 as the main obstacle to President Barack Obama in this matter.

Forty-five percent of male respondents said they own guns, while only 15 percent of women did.

In terms of ideology, 39 percent of conservatives identified themselves as gun owners, compared with 17 percent of progressives, while 37 percent of married people have guns, as opposed to 22 percent of the unmarried.

Regarding geographical factors, the South stands out as the region with the country’s highest percentage of gun owners - 38 percent - followed by the Midwest, where 29 percent own guns, the West with 27 percent and the East with 21 percent.

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Puerto Rico Olympic Committee Presents Its Training Strategy for 2016 Olympics

Puerto Rico Olympic Committee Presents Its Training Strategy for 2016 Olympics

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The Puerto Rican Olympic Committee presented its “Destination Rio 2016” plan for training the Caribbean island’s athletes by having them take part in all competitions leading up to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Among the next international contests in which the Puerto Rican delegation will compete will be the Central American and Caribbean Games in Veracruz and the Youth Olympics in China, both in 2014, and the Pan American Games at Toronto in 2015.

“Our Olympic agenda is ambitious. But it has to be. Sports are a national project that unites us, fills us with optimism, gets us working together, moves the economy and and gives us a growing international reputation,” Puerto Rican Olympic Committee president Sara Rosario said.

The committee opens Tuesday in San Juan’s Casa Olimpica an exhibition that forms part of the International Olympic Committee’s honoring of Puerto Rico’s medalists at the last Olympic Games in London, Jaime Espinal and Javier Culson, Rosario said.

The committee will also give continuity to Puerto Rico’s application to host the Pan American Games in 2023, Rosario said.

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Brazilian Bus Attack Continue, Latest Set on Fire

Brazilian Bus Attack Continue, Latest Set on Fire

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A bus was set on fire Monday morning by armed men and another was shot at in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina, which has been experiencing a wave of violent attacks in recent days, police said.

Police reinforcements made available by the state government to attempt to quell the attacks did not prevent attackers from setting a bus ablaze in the city of Navegantes or masked gunmen from opening fire on another in Itajai.

Nobody was hurt in either incident.

The Navegantes attack raises to 18 the number of public buses set on fire in the past five days by criminal groups, who have also burned trucks and private automobiles and have shot up police stations.

Since last Wednesday night there have been more than 40 attacks of this kind in Santa Catarina and authorities have arrested 20 suspects.

This is the second wave of attacks in three months in this state with another 60 similar attacks being registered in a seven-day period last November.

Besides increasing the presence of law enforcement personnel in the cities most heavily affected by the attacks, police are providing escorts for some buses as they ply their routes.

Authorities say the attacks are being staged in response to police operations against drug trafficking bands and more stringent treatment of inmates in prisons in the state.

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Over 20 Latino Organizations Urging Supreme Court to Uphold Voting Rights of Underrepresented Voters

Over 20 Latino Organizations Urging Supreme Court to Uphold Voting Rights of Underrepresented Voters

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The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund has signed on to an amicus brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, the challenge to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

NALEO Educational Fund is joining 21 other leading national Latino organizations on the brief. The groups are urging the U.S. Supreme Court to protect the voting rights of Latinos and other underrepresented voters by upholding Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.  Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act requires jurisdictions in 16 fully or partially covered states to submit proposed changes in voting procedures to the U.S. Department of Justice or a federal district court in D.C. before it goes into effect.

Analysis from a NALEO Educational Fund policy paper on voting rights found that more than one million Latino voters were at risk of being negatively affected in 2012 and beyond by restrictive voting laws at the state level.

Under Section 5, federal courts and the U.S. Department of Justice have halted the implementation of unfair voter identification laws, discriminatory redistricting plans and other measures in states like Arizona, Florida and Texas.

The Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments in the case on February 27.

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Argentina Freezing Supermarket Chains’ Prices for Two Months

Argentina Freezing Supermarket Chains’ Prices for Two Months

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Argentina’s major supermarket chains reached agreement with the government to freeze prices for two months, the head of the association representing the retail giants told Efe Monday.

Signatories to the accord include Coto, Carrefour, Jumbo, Disco, Libertad, Vea, La Anonima and Walmart, ASU director Juan Carlos Vasco Martinez said.

“We are the most visible face of retail selling, but not the only price-makers,” he said, suggesting the pact may help reveal which link in the production and distribution chain has the most influence on prices.

The accord with the ASU comes amid a push by President Cristina Fernandez’s government to get a grip on inflation, even as academic and private-sector analysts continue to dispute the official figures on prices.

While the Argentine government says inflation was 11 percent last year, unofficial estimates range from 20 percent to 25 percent.

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German National Sentenced to 4 Years in Ecuador For Stealing Galapagos Iguanas

German National Sentenced to 4 Years in Ecuador For Stealing Galapagos Iguanas

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A court handed down a four-year prison term to a German citizen caught trying to smuggle four iguanas out of the Galapagos islands, the directors of Ecuador’s Galapagos National Park said.

Dirk Bender, a 32-year-old lifeguard, was convicted last month after he violated the ban on removing plants or animals from the archipelago.

He was arrested in July 2012 as he prepared to board a commercial flight at the airport on Baltra island. The security scanner detected a suspicious item in one his bags, which on examination turned out to contain two iguanas.

The other two iguanas were found after a sniffer dog alerted guards to the presence of something unusual in another piece of Bender’s luggage.

The creatures belong to the species Conolophus subcristatus, listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as “vulnerable,” one step short of endangered.

Bender admitted during his trial that he had been detained in Fiji in 2001 for attempting to smuggle iguanas, the park directors said.

He will serve his sentence at a prison in the mainland coastal city of Guayaquil.

The Galapagos Islands, which lie in the Pacific Ocean some 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) west of the Ecuadorian mainland, served as a natural laboratory that inspired English scientist Charles Darwin to develop his theory about evolution, natural selection and the origin of species.

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Spanish Point Guard Jose Manuel Calderon’s Debut Doesn’t Garner a Win for Pistons

Spanish Point Guard Jose Manuel Calderon’s Debut Doesn’t Garner a Win for Pistons

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Spanish point guard Jose Manuel Calderon made his debut in a losing effort with the Detroit Pistons, who were beaten 99-85 by the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.

The Spanish player, who has now resolved his U.S. visa problems, started for Detroit and led the Pistons with 15 points.

Detroit, however, had a lackluster showing and could not dent the powerful Knicks.

Calderon, who was traded to Detroit from the Toronto Raptors in a three-way deal that also involved the Memphis Grizzlies, was unable to change the losing ways of the Pistons (18-31).

Detroit lost its second consecutive game and has lost seven out of 11 games.

Calderon played 27 minutes and scored on seven of 12 field goals, with one three-pointer out of four attempts, three assists and a rebound.

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French Spiderman Alain Robert Scales Habana Libre Hotel, Tallest Building in Cuba

French Spiderman Alain Robert Scales Habana Libre Hotel, Tallest Building in Cuba

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Alain Robert, known as the French spiderman, once again defied the danger of the heights by scaling the front of the Cuban capital’s iconic Habana Libre Hotel, one of the tallest buildings on the island.

With agility, skill, fearlessness and humor, the French climber took just 30 minutes on Monday to achieve his goal of climbing 22 stories or a total of 70 meters (230 feet) to the top of the hotel.

Dressed in black tights, a white T-shirt and sports shoes, the 50-year-old Robert, not very tall and weighing some 50 kilos (110 pounds), moved easily from one balcony to another from the fourth floor, with brief stops to enjoy the applause and cheers from the crowd watching his ascent to the 26th floor balcony.

“I tried to please the people who were watching me so they’d be happy with my climb,” Robert told reporters after a toast with champagne for achieving his goal, adding that “it wasn’t all that complicated.”

The Habana Libre Hotel was selected because it is a “symbol” of Cuba, “it was visited a lot by the Cuban leader Fidel Castro, a man who won the revolution in 1959 and who is known by many people in the world,” Robert said.

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PEMEX Blast Likely Caused by Accumulation of Gas, No Trace of Explosives Found

PEMEX Blast Likely Caused by Accumulation of Gas, No Trace of Explosives Found

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The explosion that killed 37 people and injured more than 100 others last week at the Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, headquarters in Mexico City was caused by an accumulation of gas, officials said.

“The cause is clear. It was a gas explosion,” Attorney General Jesus Murillo said, citing investigators’ conclusions.

The blast was not caused by a bomb because laboratory tests found no traces of explosives, the AG said.

The explosion was likely caused by an accumulation of methane gas ignited by a spark, Murillo said.

Investigators, however, have not determined where the gas leak occurred in the building’s basement, the AG said.

Workers were doing maintenance on the structure’s support columns when the blast happened.

“Several sources are possible” for the gas, Murillo said.

Investigators will continue trying to determine who was responsible if negligence was involved, the AG said.

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

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

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Latin America News: Ecuador Seizes Peru Fishing Vessels for Border Violations

Latin America News: Ecuador Seizes Peru Fishing Vessels for Border Violations

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The Ecuadorian navy last week intercepted four Peruvian boats with 10 citizens of that nation aboard that were fishing in its territorial waters, the National Directorate of Aquatic Areas, or Dirnea, announced Monday.

The vessels were detected in the waters bordering on Peruvian territorial waters off the coast of the Ecuadorian province of El Oro.

On Jan. 31, an Ecuadorian coast guard vessel apprehended two of the Peruvian boats with four crewmembers on board as they were throwing part of their fish catch overboard, Dirnea said in a communique.

The next day, the navy came across two other Peruvian fishing boats, along with one flying an Ecuadorian flag, each of them with three Peruvian crewmembers on board.

“The boats and the crews were apprehended for being found fishing within (Peruvian) territorial waters and for not having the proper registration ... to carry out (that activity),” Dirnea said.

Ecuadorian authorities turned the Peruvians over to their country’s consulate in Machala, the capital of El Oro, while the boats remained in the custody of the Regional Fishing Directorate.

Dirnea said in its communique that recently there has been an increase in fishing activity by Peruvian boats in Ecuadorian waters.

In mid-December, Ecuador detained five Peruvian fishing boats - and 18 crewmembers - in the holds of which were found a substantial number of fish.

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TuesdayFebruary 5, 2013