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



FridayFebruary 8, 2013

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

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

Read More


MEXICO: Prosecutor’s 3 Boydguards Killed by Police in Odd Confrontation

MEXICO: Prosecutor’s 3 Boydguards Killed by Police in Odd Confrontation

Photo: MEXICO: Prosecutor's 3 Boydguards Killed by Police in Odd Confrontation

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Three bodyguards were killed Friday when police attacked the motorcade of the attorney general of the central Mexican state of Morelos, the state’s governor said.

Ten state police officers were taken into custody after the incident, Gov. Graco Ramirez told Radio Formula.

The assault occurred after midnight Thursday in Cuernavaca, the state capital, as Attorney General Rodrigo Dorantes Salgado was en route to his home, the governor said.

The “absurd confrontation” - as the Morelos government called it in a statement - erupted when state police officers in several patrol cars overtook the AG’s motorcade, isolated Dorantes’ vehicle from those of his bodyguards and began shooting.

Asked whether the cops were trying to kill Dorantes, who escaped unhurt, Gov. Ramirez said the hypothesis of a deliberate attack is as valid as that suggesting confusion on the part of the police

“The confusion should not have existed,” the governor said, noting that the attorney general travels in a clearly marked vehicle which is known to the state police.

It appears the shooting continued until around 1:00 a.m., when state Public Safety Secretary Alicia Vazquez Luna arrived at the scene to find three of Dorantes’ bodyguards dead.

Read more by HS News Staff →

9-Year-Old Mexican Mother May Actually be Older

9-Year-Old Mexican Mother May Actually be Older

Photo: 9-Year-Old Mexican Mother May Actually be Older

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Mexican authorities are trying to clear up doubts in the case of a 9-year-old girl who gave birth in order to determine, among other things, whether that is really her age, an official at the Jalisco state Attorney General’s Office told Efe on Friday.

“A forensic medical exam” has been requested “to estimate her probable age as indicated by her physical development,” the official said.

Doctors who attended the girl at Guadalajara’s Hospital General de Occidente and neighbors of the family say the girl appears older than her birth certificate indicates.

Jalisco Health Secretary Jose Antonio Muñoz said she might be 12 or 13, but added that it would require a series of exams to know her age with any certainty.

On Jan. 27, doctors performed a Cesarean section on the girl, and last weekend both mother and baby were released from hospital.

As to the whereabouts of the new mother, the official at the AG’s office said that she and her family left their home to escape reporters.

Several irregularities must be investigated, Muñoz said, including the fact that the family never reported that the girl was expecting, even though they knew about it from her third month of pregnancy.

About who got the minor pregnant, prosecutor Tomas Coronado said they are looking for the youth that the girl says is the baby’s father.

If the father is a minor, he could be accused of child sex abuse, but if he is older than 18 he would be charged with rape, the prosecutor said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Boca Juniors Welcomes Back Riquelme

Boca Juniors Welcomes Back Riquelme

Photo: Juan Roman Riquelme

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Midfielder Juan Roman Riquelme has agreed to return to Boca Juniors seven months after he abandoned the team, the club said Friday.

The 34-year-old Riquelme left Argentina’s most popular side after Boca lost to Brazil’s Corinthians in the 2012 Copa Libertadores final, saying that he felt “empty” and unmotivated.

He said much the same last month after several fruitless attempts to find a spot with another club in Argentina or Brazil.

But after Boca lost 2-1 last weekend in a pre-season friendly against archrival River Plate, Riquelme telephoned coach Carlos Bianchi and offered to return.

Riquelme, who has been part of six championship squads at Boca, will resume training with the team next Monday and start collecting a paycheck in March under his existing contract, club President Daniel Angelici said during a press conference late Friday.

Read more by HS News Staff →

AMERICAN IDOL: Judge Nicki Minaj Tells Matheus Fernandes Stop Seeking “Pity Party”

AMERICAN IDOL: Judge Nicki Minaj Tells Matheus Fernandes Stop Seeking “Pity Party”

Photo: Nicki Minaj Tells Matheus Fernandes Stop Seeking "Pity Party"

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Judges on reality television can be contestants’ harshest critic or their biggest fan.

It is unclear what side American Idol judge Nicki Minaj was on however, when she told singer Matheus Fernades to stop using his short stature to seek a “pity party.”

Fernandes, at 22, stands at 4 feet, 9 inches, and said he is often overlooked because he looks like a 10-year-old.

After hearing him sing at his audition however, judge Randy Jackson said, “To me, you’re 10 feet tall.”

During Hollywood though, judge Nicki Minaj, was showing little sympathy, telling him, “Sometimes things can go from being inspiring to becoming you wanting a pity party,” telling him not to “milk that ever again.”

Depsite the criticism, Minaj did go on to encourage him to be himself, “Be great.”

Sadly, Matheus’ American Idol journey ended in Hollywood after he had trouble during his first performance with a band.

The devastated singer was brought to tears at the judges decision to send him home, but we have a feeling the former Glee Project contestant will continue to sing.

During his first audition, diva judge Mariah Carey told him, “Regardless of the height, race, sex, whatever, you hit me in the heart and you brought me to tears, which I’m holding back currently ... And I want you to know you can sing anything for me, any day of the week.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Employees of Mexican Newspaper Briefly Kidnapped, All Returned Safely

Employees of Mexican Newspaper Briefly Kidnapped, All Returned Safely

Photo: El Siglo de Torreon Employees Kidnapped

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

A criminal group kidnapped five workers at Mexican daily El Siglo de Torreon and held them for several hours, a spokesman for the northern state of Coahuila’s Attorney General’s Office told Efe.

“They’re in good condition,” the spokesman said.

He confirmed that the workers were abducted on Thursday afternoon and were freed around 3:00 a.m. Friday.

Media outlets reported that the five kidnap victims were beaten, but the spokesman said that for the moment those versions could not be verified or denied.

El Siglo said on its Web site that it would not provide details on the abduction to ensure its workers’ safety and protect the victims, but it acknowledged that the kidnapping “shook” the newspaper and demonstrates the “total lack of security” for members of the media.

The paper said media outlets have been left defenseless amid the epidemic of violence that has swept Mexico in recent years, even though their only aim is to report on the events battering their communities.

The daily noted that investigations into attacks on its offices by gunmen in August 2009 and November 2011 have gone nowhere, although it pledged not to be silenced and to continue reporting the news in that violence-wracked northern region.

Mexico, where more than 80 journalists have been murdered and 18 others have gone missing since 2005 and reports of aggression and harassment are commonplace, is considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world for members of the media.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Undocumented Immigrant Sues After Being Denied Driver’s License in North Carolina

Undocumented Immigrant Sues After Being Denied Driver’s License in North Carolina

Photo: North Carolina Driver's Licenses for Undocumented

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

An undocumented immigrant in North Carolina has sued the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles for denying him a driver’s license despite having the required documents and passing all the tests.

The law firm McKinney Perry & Coalter filed suit Thursday on behalf of Erick Renteria, an 18-year-old resident of Greensboro.

“What happens here is that the DMV is not interpreting state law correctly, since my client fulfills all the requisites and I hope this lawsuit speeds up the department’s process so it takes the relevant decision,” Jeremy L. McKinney, Renteria’s attorney, told Efe.

He said that Renteria, who was accepted into the immigration program Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, went last month to an office of the DMV with his work permit and Social Security card.

“He passed the respective exams and even received a temporary license in the mail, but later got a letter notifying him that the license had been canceled,” he said.

Renteria, brought to the United States when he was barely a year old, told Fox 8 television that he needed the license to help his family run errands and in case of emergencies.

“I’m not the only one in this situation. I’m sure there are people who need their license more than me and can’t get it because of this,” he said.

This is the first lawsuit filed against the North Carolina DMV since it decided to withhold licenses from Deferred Action beneficiaries.

In September 2012, DMV then-chief Michael Robertson sent a letter to state Attorney General Roy Cooper asking for a legal opinion on the validity of issuing licenses to Deferred Action recipients.

Cooper answered on Jan. 17 that immigrants with Deferred Action had a “legal presence” in the United States and fulfilled all the requirements of the state law on obtaining licenses.

North Carolina, Nebraska and Arizona are the only states in the country that refuse to issue licenses to Deferred Action beneficiaries.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spain Apprehends Moroccan Terror Suspect

An Islamist militant from Morocco was arrested in the eastern city of Valencia on suspicion of planning terrorist attacks in Spain and other European countries, the Spanish Interior Ministry said Friday.

Mohamed Echaabi, described as a “lone wolf,” was detained Thursday after he was detected trying to obtain guns and explosives.

Investigators saw similarities between Echaabi and Mohamed Merah, author last year of a series of terrorist killings in the French city of Toulouse, the ministry said.

Echaabi traveled from Spain to Gaza in January 2011 with plans to carry out a suicide attack against Israeli interests, according to the official statement.

“Lone wolf” operatives are typically Western in their dress and appearance and often flout Islamic strictures against alcohol and pork with the aim of “passing unnoticed” in the societies where they intend to mount attacks, the interior ministry said.

That approach has been endorsed by Ayman al-Zawahiri, who took charge of al Qaeda after the death of Osama bin Laden, the ministry said.

Nearly 200 people were killed and some 1,500 injured on March 11, 2004, when Muslim militants detonated backpack bombs on Madrid commuter trains at the peak of the morning rush hour.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Rio Carnival Kicks off in Brazil

Rio Carnival Kicks off in Brazil

Photo: Rio Carnival Kicks Off

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Mayor Eduardo Paes presented the keys to Brazil’s second-largest city on Friday to King Momo, the traditional sovereign of the Rio de Janeiro Carnival.

The ceremony was held at city hall, a large colonial building which on Friday was the scene of a samba parade, a prelude to the wild partying with that will fill the streets until Ash Wednesday.

King Momo, a jolly fat man who reigns over the city during Carnival, arrived at city hall in a 1929 Ford Phantom convertible, accompanied by the Carnival queen and princesses, already wearing his blue crown and an impeccable white suit aglitter with sequins.

The Carnival king has been acted since 2009 by bank employee Milton Rodrigues da Silva Junior, 33.

Paes, with a white Panama hat and a wreath of blue feathers around his neck, kissed King Momo’s hand and, with one knee to the ground, handed him the keys to the city with the notes of “Cidade Maravilhosa” (Marvellous City), the unofficial anthem of Rio de Janeiro, playing in the background.

Two municipal guards in formal garb then lowered the Olympic flag, which had waved in front of city hall since last August when Rio took over from London as Olympics organizer to prepare for the next Games in 2016.

The municipal guards folded the flag into a wooden box and took it to the Sambadrome, where the samba school parades will take to the streets on Sunday and Monday nights.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Los Zetas Cartel Tied to Murder of 13 Kombo Kolombia Musicians

Los Zetas Cartel Tied to Murder of 13 Kombo Kolombia Musicians

Photo: Kombo Kolombia Killings Linked Los Zetas

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Mexican authorities said a suspect has been arrested in connection with the massacre of 17 members and employees of the band Kombo Kolombia, a crime they attribute to the Los Zetas drug cartel.

“The main line of investigation is that the Los Zetas killed them,” Nuevo Leon state security spokesman Jorge Domene told reporters Friday in a press conference.

The suspect was not identified, but Domene said he had been working as an informant for the Zetas, considered Mexico’s most violent crime outfit.

Domene said the detainee did not participate directly in the massacre but is believed to have acted as a lookout for the perpetrators.

The 13 members of Kombo Kolombia, three assistants and the band’s sound engineer were slain on Jan. 25 and their bodies were dumped in a well in the town of Mina, Nuevo Leon.

State investigators suggest the Colombian-style band may have been targeted because they gave concerts in areas controlled by the Gulf cartel, a rival of Los Zetas.

Kombo Kolombia performed the night of Jan. 24 at the La Carreta bar - in Hidalgo, a town next to Mina - just hours before a group of roughly 10 gunmen showed up in four SUVs and kidnapped 18 musicians and crew.

A band member who managed to escape from the captors subsequently led police to the well where he said the gunshot victims’ bodies had been tossed.

Read more by HS News Staff →

See Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady’s Adorable Daughter (PHOTO)

See Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady’s Adorable Daughter (PHOTO)

Photo: See Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady's Adorable Daughter (PHOTO)

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

On Friday, Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen introduced the world to her baby daughter.

Vivian Lake was born in December and is Bundchen’s second child with husband Tom Brady, a quarterback for the New England Patriots. The couple also have a three-year-old son named Benjamin. This was the third child for Brady, as he has a 5-year-old son, John, from a previous relationship with actress-model Bridget Moynahan.

Bundchen posted the photo below saying, “Love is everything!!! Happy friday, much love to all.”

As of Friday afternoon, the photo has already been “liked” on Facebook almost 48,000 times, been “shared” more than 1,700 times, and has nearly 3,000 comments.

Image

Read more by HS News Staff →

Group of Brazilians Take a Stand Against Effort to “Privatize” Rio Carnival

Group of Brazilians Take a Stand Against Effort to “Privatize” Rio Carnival

Photo: Rio de Janeiro Carnival (rio-carnival.net)

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

A group of Rio de Janeiro street troupes are crying foul over the numerous multi-million-dollar contracts with carnival sponsors and municipal authorities’ growing control over the festivities.

This movement wants the “blocos,” as the street samba parades are known locally, to have total freedom to enjoy carnival without submitting to scheduling, route and sponsor restrictions that the Rio government imposed in 2009.

“They want to privatize and sell the right to enjoy ourselves to third parties,” Thay Chavez, a member of the Cordão do Boi Tolo, one of the 16 blocos that have joined the movement, told Efe.

Rio Deputy Tourism Secretary Pedro Guimarães, however, told Efe that the city government’s goal is to turn the street carnival into “a tourist product” that does not disrupt traffic and is equipped with adequate public health and safety infrastructure.

In tandem with the effort to regulate the troupes, a deal was reached under which only the “official” beer of Carnival can be sold by street vendors.

The movement, meanwhile, contends that the Rio government, as part of its bid to defend sponsors’ interests, is promoting the biggest street parades to the detriment of the smaller blocos.

“In deciding who can participate and who can’t, the municipal government is ... giving priority to ‘megablocos’ and prohibiting the small ones. It’s much more lucrative to have 20,000 people consuming than 100,” Raquel Freire, who is also a member of Cordão do Boi Tolo, said.

The vast majority of the 492 officially recognized blocos defend their reliance on sponsorships and other sources of financing, such as T-shirt sales, saying the parades would be cost-prohibitive without them.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spain’s Chef Jose Andres to Open “Cocktail Lab” in DC

Spain’s Chef Jose Andres to Open “Cocktail Lab” in DC

Photo: Spain's Chef Jose Andres to Open "Cocktail Lab" in DC

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Famed chef José Andrés (born José Roman Andrés Puerta), recently announced he would opening an experimental “cocktail lab” in Washington D.C., next to his popular Minibar.

At the appropriately named, barmini, chef-driven libations get whimsical and inventive twists, using state-of-the-art technology. Physically, they are in adjoining rooms with Minibar, with a window allowing patrons to watch the action on the other side.

At barmini, patrons can order reimagined classics in vintage glassware, and can order Spanish infused takes on ham and cheese sandwiches as well as a Philly cheesesteak. Interestingly, hands sticking out of the walls hold fruit for patrons to snack on.

Reservations are already being taken.

 

José Andrés presents barmini from Jose Andres ThinkFoodGroup on Vimeo.


Andres is the chef often credited with bringing the small plates dining concept to America. The married father of three owns several other concept restaurants in the Washington D.C. as well as restaurants in Las Vegas, Nevada, California, Virginia, and Maryland.

He also operates the Bazaar by José Andrés at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills, California and é by José Andrés and China Poblano by José Andrés, both at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Border Patrol at Arizona Border Seize Cocaine, Meth Valued at $551K

Border Patrol at Arizona Border Seize Cocaine, Meth Valued at $551K

Photo: Border Patrol

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations officers at the Nogales Port arrested two Mexican nationals in separate incidents Tuesday for attempting to smuggle approximately $551,000 worth of cocaine and methamphetamine into the United States.

After Carlos Ramos Jaramillo, 45, was referred for a secondary inspection of his Chevrolet sedan, a CBP narcotics detection canine alerted to the presence of drugs. Officers then located six packages of methamphetamine and four packages of cocaine from a compartment near the gas tank.

Earlier Tuesday, officers arrested Alvaro Aglaidel Arellano Carvajal, 30, of Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, after a CBP canine alerted to 12 packages of methamphetamine below the windshield of his Nissan van.

In both cases, the drugs and vehicles were seized and the subjects were turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.


CBP’s Office of Field Operations is the primary organization within Homeland Security tasked with an anti-terrorism mission at our nation’s ports. OFO officers screen all people, vehicles and goods entering the United States while facilitating the flow of legitimate trade and travel. Their mission also includes carrying out border-related duties, including narcotics interdiction, enforcing immigration and trade laws, and protecting the nation’s food supply and agriculture industry from pests and diseases

Read more by HS News Staff →

Fake Mexican Journalists Appeal Drug Convictions in Nicaragua

Fake Mexican Journalists Appeal Drug Convictions in Nicaragua

Photo: Fake Mexican journalists

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Appeals have been filed by attorneys representing 18 Mexicans who posed as Televisa journalists and were convicted on drug charges in Nicaragua, judicial officials said Thursday.

The Mexicans, who were arrested last summer in Nicaragua while carrying $9.2 million in cash, are appealing the 30-year prison sentences and fines imposed on them.

The appeals were filed on Wednesday in Managua by a legal team led by attorney Ramon Rojas, the judicial press office told Efe.

La defensa hizo una solicitud de anulación del fallo o, en su defecto, la reducción de las penas y devolución de lo incautado.

The group, led by Raquel Alatorre Correa, were found guilty of drug trafficking, money laundering and participating in organized crime by a court in December.

Judge Edgard Altamirano handed down the maximum 30-year prison sentences to the Mexicans on Jan. 18.

The Mexicans were arrested on Aug. 20, 2012, at a checkpoint near Nicaragua’s border with Honduras while posing as Televisa reporters.

Police found the cash and traces of cocaine in the six SUVs being used by the Mexicans, who prosecutors said were posing as journalists to hide their illegal activities.

The vehicles being used by the Mexicans had Televisa emblems on them and were equipped to make international transmissions.

The Mexicans’ defense attorneys contend in their appeal that the evidence presented to Judge Altamirano was insufficient to prove guilt, judicial officials said.

The case garnered broad coverage in Mexico because the group was carrying letters of accreditation allegedly signed by Televisa vice president for national reporting Amador Narcia.

Narcia owned a cell phone that received calls from Alatorre Correa, investigators said.

Televisa asked Nicaragua to investigate the links between the group and Narcia, but authorities in the Central American country have not yet determined whether the signatures are authentic.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Statement on Immigration ReformChristian Churches Together in the U.S.A.

Statement on Immigration ReformChristian Churches Together in the U.S.A.

Photo: Christian Churches

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Christian Churches Together in the U.S.A., representing the breadth of Christian churches and denominations in the U.S., gathered in Austin, Texas, for its annual meeting to focus on the challenge of immigration reform. We heard from “dreamers,” a variety of immigrants and experts on immigration issues. Through a process of prayer, reflection and discernment of God’s call, we agreed on a statement that provides principles for just and humane immigration reform. In this hour, as our nation launches a national debate seeking immigration reform, we call upon people of faith, people of good will, elected officials in Congress and the President of the United States to work together to enact just and humane immigration reform legislation in 2013.

As Christian leaders and Christian communities, we engage in this debate as followers of Jesus Christ, who commanded us to “welcome the stranger,” (Matthew 25:35) and advised that “just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:40)

As Christians we believe that all will be judged, in part, by the way they treat strangers in their midst. “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left.” (Matthew 25: 31,32a) We acknowledge that members of our own faith communities have been complicit in the establishment and reinforcement of our current system through active political engagement and apathetic inaction. As a moral matter, we cannot tolerate an immigration system that exploits migrants, is inhospitable, and fails to offer immigrants the full protection of the law.

While immigration is often viewed as an economic, social, or legal issue, it is ultimately a humanitarian and spiritual issue that directly impacts millions of unauthorized immigrants and the entire fabric of our society. The Bible frequently commands us to treat the immigrant justly. Further, every person is created in the image of God and possesses inestimable value. It is therefore paramount that our national immigration system protects the basic human rights and dignity of all persons. Sadly, our current system fails to meet this test and requires comprehensive reform now.

The timing of our statement on immigration is ever more poignant given that our country is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. We are reminded that there are those in our nation whose forebears were brought here involuntarily through the unjust institution of slavery. There are also those who lived here long before others arrived who experienced the denial of their basic human rights. Each day in our congregations and communities, we bear witness to the effects of a system that continues this legacy of separation of families and the exploitation, abuse, and deaths of migrants. This suffering must end. Therefore, in our relentless effort to achieve a more perfect union, we urge our elected officials to enact immigration reform consistent with the following principles and policies:

Pathway to Citizenship
The 11 million individuals now in the U.S. without authorization should be given an opportunity to earn citizenship, if the individual chooses. Many have built equities in our nation and have contributed to the economic and social fabric of this country. Such reforms would ensure that families are not separated and that the undocumented population can fully enjoy the rights and responsibilities of U.S. citizenship. (Leviticus 18:33-34)
Family reunification
Family reunification should be the cornerstone of our nation’s immigration policy. Immigrant families have helped build this nation economically and socially, and will continue to do so. We support changes to the family-based immigration system, which expedite the reunification of families. Family-based visa categories should not be eliminated or reduced and the current lengthy backlogs should be addressed. (Mark 10:9)

Enforcement and due process
Enforcement measures should be just and include due process protections for immigrants. We support the right of our nation to defend our borders and to ensure the integrity of the workplace through immigration enforcement. However, for over twenty-five years, our nation has pursued an enforcement-only policy toward immigration, with severe humanitarian consequences. At the same time that our nation has spent billions of dollars on immigration enforcement, the number of undocumented in the nation has more than tripled. Millions have been incarcerated unnecessarily, thousands of families have been separated, and thousands have died attempting to enter the United States. We urge Congress to review our enforcement policies and restore due process protections to immigrants and their families in a way that respects their God-given dignity, including reform of our detention laws. (Exodus 1:1-22)

The human dignity and image of God has been further violated as a result of the cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration agencies that leads to racial profiling of people suspected of being in the U.S. without authorization. Immigration laws should be reformed and implemented in a way that does not facilitate racial profiling. Enforceable detention standards and reforms should be established and include the review of partnerships between the federal government and for-profit prison corporations.

Refugees and Asylum Seekers
Refugees and asylum-seekers should receive special protection as particularly vulnerable migrants because they are fleeing persecution. The United States has a moral obligation to continue to provide protection to ensure refugees and asylum-seekers are able to find safety in the United States through the appropriate processes and not at heightened risk of being returned to their persecutors. There should be improvements to the asylum process to ensure asylum-seekers are not detained upon arrival and are given a fair opportunity to express a fear of persecution. There should also be more robust support of the refugee resettlement program and adequate resources to help refugees integrate upon their arrival to the United States. We are also mindful of the millions of families and individuals waiting for resettlement, living, raising families, and dying in temporary refugee camps and the many who perish attempting to reach those camps. (Matthew 2:13-18)

Root Causes
In order to find a long-term solution to the problem of unauthorized immigration, the root causes of such migration should be examined. Persons should be able to find employment in their home countries in order to sustain their families in a place that is free from fear and violence. At a minimum, Congress and the Administration should review our international economic policies to ensure that they do not encourage unauthorized migration and do not eliminate living wage jobs in sending countries. Our country should help to foster job opportunities and respect for human rights in the countries from which many immigrants come. (Isaiah 2:1-4; Micah 4:1-5)

As Christian Churches Together, we recommit ourselves to be promoters and examples of justice, showing hospitality and love for the immigrant; for we know we may be “entertaining angels without knowing it.” (Hebrews 13:2) We call for our nation to engage in an immigration debate that is conducted in a civil manner and does not dehumanize immigrants. We will speak out and educate communities about the past and current contributions of immigrants in building and growing this nation. Finally, we will work with our elected officials to ensure that, consistent with the aforementioned policies and principles, the human rights of immigrants are protected in any final legislation.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Miguel Ferrar to Become Regular on NCIS: LA Spin-off

Miguel Ferrar to Become Regular on NCIS: LA Spin-off

Photo: Miguel Ferrar to Become Regular on NCIS: LA Spin-off

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Seasoned actor Miguel Ferrer will soon be taking on a bigger role in the NCIS television franchise, as he will join the an NCIS: LA spin-off with a regular role as opposed to previous role on LA in which he only had a recurring role.

The spin-off (yes, of a spin-offwill reportedly be launched through an upcoming episode of LA. Ferrer, 58, will continue his role as NCIS Assistant Director Owen Granger.

The new series is to begin this fall, and John Corbett has also signed on for the spin-off. Corbett will play Roy Quaid, a former NCIS agent forced to retire from active service who now works as an analyst.

Ferrer’s other work television work includes Crossing Jordan (2001-2007), Bionic Woman (2007), The Protector (2011), and Desperate Housewives (2011). He also has an extensive list of both movie roles and voiceover roles.

Ferrer also comes from a successful family, as his Puerto Rican father, Jose Ferrer, was he first Hispanic actor to win an Oscar. His mother was the famed American singer Rosemary Clooney, making him the cousin of George Clooney. He and George are said to be very close.

Read more by HS News Staff →

American Woman Stabbed 40 Times in San Miguel de Allende, Daughter Implicated

American Woman Stabbed 40 Times in San Miguel de Allende, Daughter Implicated

Photo: San Miguel de Allende Murder

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

A 59-year-old American woman was found dead of multiple stab wounds inside her home in San Miguel de Allende, a city in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato, the Correo newspaper said on its Web site.

The Guanajuato state Attorney General’s Office said agents from its serious crimes unit were investigating the murder of Joyous Heart, the daily reported.

The woman’s body was found on the night of Feb. 1 with 40 stab wounds, according to the paper, which added that the woman’s adoptive daughter - with whom Heart frequently argued, according to neighbors - is missing.

Correo said the woman was the owner of the house and was renting out rooms to two other foreigners. Those renters told the daily there had been a heated altercation between Heart and her daughter and that they did not see her leave the home afterward, adding that that was unusual.

The daughter was not found at the home and thus far investigators have only learned that she was adopted four years ago at the age of 14 and has been diagnosed with RAD, reactive attachment disorder, the daily reported.

Correo said Heart’s jugular vein had been slashed by a sharp weapon.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Courtship in the Modern World-  77% of men and 70% of women Think Either Can Initiate a Date & More

Courtship in the Modern World-  77% of men and 70% of women Think Either Can Initiate a Date & More

Photo: Courting

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Queendom.com, a pioneer in online personality, IQ, and career tests, has released its newest study on gender roles in courtship behavior. Pulling up on a white horse this Valentine’s Day isn’t necessary, but at least some chivalry is a heart-melting must.

Some men hurtled, on horseback, with a giant stick in their hands. Emperor Shah Jahan built The Taj Mahal as a final resting place for his most beloved wife. Both Cleopatra and Juliet refused to live in a world where they couldn’t be with the one they loved. Thankfully, courtship conventions and romantic gestures need not be this extreme. According to Queendom’s data, most men and women take a modern approach to dating, but a little chivalry can still go a long way.

Collecting data from 950 men and 1621 women, Queendom’s research on gender roles and courtship reveals that:

·      77% of men and 70% of women feel that a date can be initiated by either gender. In fact, 65% of the women have either asked a man out on a date, or would be willing to do so.

·      67% of men and 60% of women believe that chivalry is important (e.g. opening doors, pulling out chair, etc.).

·      60% of women still like to be wined and dined, at least in the initial stages of dating.

·      26% of men want to be the one who controls how the relationship plays out (i.e. how many dates they should have, how fast the relationship moves, when to meet each other’s family). 39% of men would prefer to let the woman control the direction of the relationship, 35% prefer it to be a mutual decision. For women, 27% want to be in full control, 31% prefer to let men decide; 43% prefer it to be mutual.

·      When it comes to popping the question, 66% of men and 65% of women think it’s fine for the woman to do the asking.

In terms of who pays for the first date (a long-standing debate), 47% of men feel that the man should pay; 24% feel that the bill should be split; 29% stated that whoever initiated the date should pay. On the women’s side, 31% feel the man should pay, another 31% feel that the bill should be split, and 38% indicated that whoever initiated the date should pay. And that old “play-hard-to-get” theory? Still just a theory. Only 19% of men and 28% of women believe that a woman should be mysterious and play hard to get for the first few dates.

“Women no longer need to play the more submissive, demure role – and it’s nice to see that both genders support this progress,” states Dr. Ilona Jerabek, president of PsychTests. “This doesn’t mean that men are off the hook and don’t need to put an effort into romance anymore. The modern woman still likes romance, but it’s now a shared endeavor, with both genders putting an effort into the relationship. What fascinated us most about this study was that younger men and women had somewhat more traditional courtship views than older age groups.”

Queendom’s age comparisons reveal several interesting differences:
·      28% of men under 30 and 22% of men over 30 feel that the man should plan most of the dates.

·      60% of men under 30 and 76% of men over 30 feel that a woman should be able to propose to a man.

·      20% of men under 30 and 13% of men over 30 said that they would feel threatened by a woman who took control of what they did on the first date.

·      26% of men under 30 and 14% of men over 30 believe that it should be the man who asks the woman out, not vice versa.

·      51% of men under 30 and 39% of men over 30 believe stated that the man should pay for the first date.

·      66% of women under 30 and 71% of women over 30 have either asked a man out or would consider doing it.

·      64% of women under 30 and 72% of women over 30 think it’s ok to be the one to ask a man to marry them.

Here are some Valentine’s tips with a twist from Queendom:

·      Forget the dozen roses. Buy one, wrapped with a ribbon.

·      Show up at your partner’s workplace and whisk him or her away for lunch.

·      Place a love note in your partner’s lunch bag or on the bathroom mirror.

·      Grab a blanket, a bottle of wine, and drive out to a place where you can see the stars.

·      Slow dance in your living room.

·      Avoid embarrassing lingerie no-nos. Take him to a lingerie store and show him all the naughty things you like.

·      Meet at a local hang-out and pretend you’re two strangers flirting with each other.

·      Build a little bonfire in your backyard and make chocolate Smores.

·      Get tango or salsa lessons together.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Super Bowl XLVII Most-Viewed TV Show on Record Among Hispanic Viewers

Super Bowl XLVII Most-Viewed TV Show on Record Among Hispanic Viewers

Photo: Superbowl

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Super Bowl XLVII ranks as the most-viewed show on record among Hispanic Americans reaching a total audience of 17.7 million Hispanic viewers, based on Nielsen demographic data (available since 1994). In addition, Super Bowls rank as the top five and six of the top seven most-viewed shows among Hispanic Americans.

Image

Read more by HS News Staff →

Investigators No Closer to Discovering Cause of Dreamliner Battery Fire

Investigators No Closer to Discovering Cause of Dreamliner Battery Fire

Photo: 787 Dreamliner

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Investigators have yet to pinpoint the cause of a battery fire on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner sitting on a runway in Boston, the head of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board said Thursday.

“We are now working to identify the cause of the short circuit on cell six,” Deborah Hersman told a press conference in Washington. “We have not reached any conclusions at this point.”

The fire in Boston and other incidents prompted the Jan. 16 grounding of all 50 Dreamliners in service worldwide.

Hersman said the NTSB probe was far from finished.

Almost a month after the Federal Aviation Administration decided to ground Boeing’s new jets, officials are remaining mum about the causes of the fire and no date has been set for getting the Dreamliners back into the air.

The certification performed by Boeing determined that the probability of a fire in the Dreamliner’s batteries was less than 1 per 10 million flight hours, yet two such events occurred in less than 100,000 flight hours, Hersman noted.

“The assumptions used to certify the battery must be reconsidered,” the NTSB director said.

U.S. regulators are working jointly with those of Japan and France to determine the causes of the fires.

Meanwhile, on Thursday the FAA authorized a Dreamliner crew-only test flight between Dallas and Everett, Washington.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Leader of Cuban Dissident Group, Berta Soler, Obtains Passport

Leader of Cuban Dissident Group, Berta Soler, Obtains Passport

Photo: Berta Soler, Ladies in White with Passport

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

The leader of the Cuban dissident group Ladies in White was issued a passport Friday and said she hopes to travel outside the country for the first time next month.

“They gave me (the passport) today at 9:00 in the morning. I went in immediately, I signed, it was very fast,” Berta Soler told Efe by telephone.

Soler had applied for the document shortly after an overhaul of Cuba’s highly restrictive migration policies went into effect on Jan. 14.

She plans of visit Spain next month and to attend a regional conference on human rights in Panama next April.

“But having a passport in hand is no guarantee that I’ll be able to leave,” Soler said after some dissidents complained that the government had denied them permission to travel abroad.

Such is the case of Angel Moya, Soler’s husband, and of Jose Daniel Ferrer, both former political prisoners, who say the authorities refuse to process their passports for reasons “of public interest,” and because their sentences have not been fully served.

Both men are free on parole.

Lady in White Gisela Delgado said this week that, despite having a passport and having traveled abroad, authorities told her that she is no longer authorized to go outside the country because she appears on a “list of people who belong to counterrevolutionary cells.”

In contrast, Cuban authorities granted a passport last week to dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez after having denied her an exit permit on 20 separate occasions over the past five years.

Sanchez said this week that her first trip will be to Salvador, Brazil, where she hopes to be attend the Feb. 18 presentation of a documentary in which she appears.

Read more by HS News Staff →

MEXICO: President Vows to Solve Spanish Tourist Rape Case

MEXICO: President Vows to Solve Spanish Tourist Rape Case

Photo: MEXICO: President Vows to Solve Spanish Tourist Rape Case

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said Thursday that “every institutional support” will be provided to the effort to track down those responsible for the rapes of six Spanish tourists this week in the Pacific resort city of Acapulco.

The crime “should concern all authorities of the three levels of government,” the president said in his first public comment on the case.

Peña Nieto said that on learning of the events in Acapulco, he ordered the Government Secretariat and the federal Attorney General’s Office to render “every institutional support that aids the investigations.”

The Guerrero state AG’s Office has jurisdiction over the crime.

Investigators have questioned eight people in connection with the rapes, Guerrero’s police chief said.

The individuals are not under arrest and were brought in to give statements “simply to learn what they know about the matter,” Marcos Juarez Escalera said.

Gunmen raped the six Spanish tourists around 3:00 a.m. Monday in the Playa Bonfil area of Acapulco, one of Mexico’s most popular tourist destinations.

The victims and several male companions were outside their bungalow when five masked assailants armed with handguns accosted the group.

After gagging the men, the attackers forced the group inside the bungalow and assaulted the six Spanish women, though they spared a Mexican woman who was with them.

Guerrero AG Martha Elva Garzon said earlier this week that investigators had made “important advances” toward solving the case.

The victims’ ordeal lasted for about three hours and the assailants took PCs, cell phones, credit cards and other valuables when they left, Garzon said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico Screening Horses for Virus at Belize Border

Inspections of horses are being stepped up along Mexico’s border with Belize to prevent animals infected with equine encephalitis from entering the country, the Agriculture Secretariat said.

The “preventive measures are being taken on the southern border strip” due to outbreaks of the highly contagious disease in two areas, the secretariat said.

Officials have sent National Food Health, Safety and Quality Service, or Senasica, specialists to the border region to help identify the viral strain involved, the secretariat said.

Animals susceptible to infection will be vaccinated under the Binational Strategic Cooperation Plan for Health Matters and Trade, the Agriculture Secretariat said.

Epidemiological monitoring in the region has been expanded and horse owners have been asked to notify officials if any animal begins exhibiting neurological problems, the secretariat said.

Suspicious cases in vulnerable equine populations are being investigated in southern Mexico, the secretariat said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latin America News: Colombian Government Suspends 4G Broadband Auction

Latin America News: Colombian Government Suspends 4G Broadband Auction

Photo: Colombia's 4G

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Colombia’s government has suspended a scheduled auction of 4G mobile broadband service after learning about a potential merger deal involving two of the participants, Information Technologies and Communications Minister Diego Molano said.

After Luxembourg-based Millicom and Colombian public utilities company Empresas Publicas de Medellin announced earlier this week they were in talks to combine their Colombian telecommunications operations, Molano said Thursday that authorities needed to “review the scenario” for the 4G auction, originally scheduled for Feb. 11.

Millicom and UNE EPM Telecomunicaciones, a cable TV and fixed-line provider in which EPM is the largest shareholder, already jointly own Tigo Colombia, the Andean nation’s third-leading mobile provider.

The companies said Tuesday their potential merger is aimed at providing Colombian consumers with an integrated portfolio of telecommunications services in all regions of the country, but it could complicate their bid to participate in the 4G auction.

Regulators in November allowed leading Colombian mobile operator Claro, the local unit of regional giant America Movil, to bid for spectrum in the 4G auction, but only in the 2.5 GHz band.

“We are optimistic about the conversations with Millicom. It is our fiduciary duty to explore alternatives that will lead UNE EPM to improve its competitive position in the telecommunications industry,” EPM CEO Juan Esteban Calle said about the merger talks.

The Information Technologies and Communications Ministry said in November that the auction would award five 4G licenses among the country’s four mobile phone providers and facilitate the entry of a new operator.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spanish Companies Win Brazilian Highway Contract

Spanish Companies Win Brazilian Highway Contract

Photo: Spanish Companies Win Brazilian Highway Contract

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Spanish companies Acciona, Isolux Corsan and Copasa on Thursday signed contracts to build parts of a beltway around Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city.

The northern stretch of the Mario Covas ring road is “a great project for Sao Paulo and for Brazil” because it will allow the beltway to be completed after being under construction for a decade, Sao Paulo state Gov. Geraldo Alckmin said at the signing ceremony.

He also emphasized that soliciting international bidders resulted in savings of 1.2 billion reais ($604 billion) from the project’s initial budget.

Acciona won the right to build 21 kilometers (13 miles) of the roadway, almost half the project, with a bid of $708 million, the Sao Paulo state government said.

Isolux Corsan submitted a bid for $326 million to build another beltway section 6.2 km (3.8 mi.) long, while Copasa bid $325 million and won the right to build 7.8 km (4.8 mi.) of the road.

The other two portions of the beltway, totaling 8.5 km (5.3 mi.), will be built by Brazilian firm OAS, who submitted a bid of about $606 million.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latin America Entices International Wind Power Industry

Latin America Entices International Wind Power Industry

Photo: Wind farms in Latin America

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Wind power has tremendous potential for growth in Latin America, where demand for renewable energy is high in Central America and the Caribbean, while Mexico has a favorable political environment for the industry, the Mexico manager for Danish wind power company Vestas, Adrian Katzew, told Efe.

“We have potential in the market, with many attractive elements,” Katzew said.

Central America and the Caribbean lack access to natural gas, forcing countries to generate electricity with diesel and hydro power, which “are very cyclical,” the executive said.

Vestas, which develops, manufactures, sells and maintains wind power equipment, is currently involved in projects in Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Panama and Nicaragua, Katzew said.

Talks are being held with officials in Mexico, where wind power generating capacity passed 1,000 MW in 2012, on the construction of a line to connect the new wind farms in the southern state of Oaxaca to the grid, the executive said.

The goal is to help Mexico reach 2.2 GW in transmission capacity by 2016, Katzew said.

“What Vestas has done is expand its leadership position in the Oaxaca region, but it has also tried to be a factor promoting the sector outside that area,” the executive said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latest Project by Oscar-Winning Filmmaker Juan Jose Campanella is the Animated “Futbolin”

Latest Project by Oscar-Winning Filmmaker Juan Jose Campanella is the Animated “Futbolin”

Photo: "Fubolin" by Juan Jose Campanella

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

The rematch of a game of “Futbolin” (table soccer) played years ago by two little boys turns into a fight for honor, love and the future of a village in the latest film by Argentine Juan Jose Campanella, which is also his first foray into animation.

The winner of an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film with “El Secreto de Tus Ojos” (The Secret in Their Eyes) said in Buenos Aires that he is in the home stretch of a project he started five years ago, in which more than 300 people have taken part and whose budget is up around $20 million, almost double the original estimate.

“It’s much bigger than any movie I’ve made up to now, but compared with any film made in the United States it’s 10 times tinier,” Campanella said at a press conference for Spanish media.

“Futbolin” tells of a battle between a timid boy, Amadeo, and a kid who is just the opposite, El Crack, who becomes a global soccer star and returns to his village with the idea of buying it up, making it into a theme park and avenging the only defeat he ever suffered in his life - the one inflicted by Amadeo when they played table soccer so long ago.

To upset his plans, the leading character counts on the help of Wing and the other players of his inseparable table soccer squad, revitalized in a crazy game in which they extol the virtues of “team spirit, friendship and love,” Campanella said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Netflix Looking to Nab Pablo Escobar Series for Original Programming

Netflix Looking to Nab Pablo Escobar Series for Original Programming

Photo: Netflix Looking to Nab Pablo Escobar Series for Original Programming

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Netflix is looking into series for the first of its original programming and they reportedly have their eye on wirking with Gaumont International Television for a drama series about Colombia’s notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar.

The series, Narcos, would follow Escobar’s life as he rules over the Medellin Cartel, serves as congressmen, and raises his family.

Netflix has previously teamed up with Gaumont on Eli Roth’s Hemlock, which will premiere on April 19.

Narcos will be helmed by Brazilian-born director Jose Padilha.

The first season is planned for 13 episodes and will likely debut on Netflix some time next year.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Police Dismantle Bomb at Cathedral in Madrid

Police Dismantle Bomb at Cathedral in Madrid

Photo: La Almudena Cathedral

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Sappers successfully dismantled a bomb discovered Thursday next to a confessional inside Madrid’s La Almudena Cathedral, Spanish police said.

The device contained 200 grams of gunpowder, a small cylinder of butane, a kilo (2.2 pounds) of metal screws and a alarm-equipped watch, they said.

A priest found the bomb inside a bag that he noticed while exiting the confessional. He quickly cleared the cathedral of worshippers and tourists and contacted authorities, police sources told Efe.

Members of the police bomb unit, Tedax, defused the device without incident.

Investigators suspect the bomb may have been planted by an anarchist group or a mentally disturbed individual, the police sources said.

Police kept the cathedral cordoned off for several hours.

Read more by HS News Staff →

GUATEMALA: 16 With Alleged Ties to Los Zetas Captured

GUATEMALA: 16 With Alleged Ties to Los Zetas Captured

Photo: GUATEMALA: 16 With Alleged Ties to Los Zetas Captured

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Guatemalan security forces on Thursday captured 16 people - all Guatemalans - allegedly linked to the Mexican drug trafficking organization Los Zetas, a government minister said.

Guatemalan Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez held a press conference and said that 14 of the suspects were arrested in the southern province of Escuintla and the other two in the municipality of Villa Nueva, in the southern part of Guatemala province.

Lopez said that all 16 people - among whom is one minor - stand accused of selling drugs and carrying out hits for hire.

The arrested people were part of a group known as “La Bomba,” and 11 of them are suspected of murdering three men and two women after a drug transaction in Escuintla last November.

Lopez said that the group has links with Mexico’s Los Zetas and is “a violent criminal structure” that could be connected with more murders in the province.

Guatemalan Attorney General Claudia Paz said that the investigation into the quintuple murder was launched last November when the five bound victims were found slain in a home.

During the capture of the 16 suspects, authorities seized 11 firearms and small quantities of powder cocaine and crack, along with an unspecified amount of cash, the minister said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Colombian Singer-Song Writer Juanes Will Perform at Grammys

Colombian Singer-Song Writer Juanes Will Perform at Grammys

Photo: Juanes Performing at Grammys

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Colombian singer-songwriter Juanes will perform in Sunday’s Grammy Awards ceremony at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, his record label, Universal Music, said in a statement.

The musician, who has been nominated for a Grammy in the Best Latin Pop Album category for “Juanes MTV Unplugged,” will join a list of artists including Sting, Taylor Swift, Mumford & Sons, Rihanna, Bruno Mars and The Black Keys to be featured on stage.

Juanes, who won last year’s Latin Grammy Album of the Year prize for that same release, which was recorded in early 2012 before a live audience at the New World Symphony Center in Miami, will be competing against Ricardo Arjona, Fonseca, Kany Garcia, and Jesse & Joy for this prestigious award.

A native of Medellin, Colombia, Juanes has won 19 Latin Grammys and one Grammy award during his career.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Large Scale EuroVegas Casino Coming to Madrid

Large Scale EuroVegas Casino Coming to Madrid

Photo: Concept of EuroVegas in Madrid

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

The Madrid suburb of Alcorcon has been chosen as the site of the large-scale EuroVegas casino and resort project, Las Vegas Sands Corp. President and COO Michael Leven and Community of Madrid President Ignacio Gonzalez announced here Friday.

With an estimated total cost of 17 billion euros (some $22.7 billion), it will represent the biggest private investment in Europe’s history, they said.

The first phase is to be built at a cost of 6 billion euros ($8 billion) by 2017, while the entire project is to be concluded by 2022.

Gonzalez said Las Vegas Sands representatives pledged in a meeting Friday that the casino operator would cover 35 percent of the investment cost and assured him the Madrid autonomous government would have access to financing for the remaining 65 percent.

Las Vegas Sands says it expects EuroVegas will attract some 11 million tourists over 15 years and estimates those visitors will spend some 15.5 billion euros ($20.7 billion).

The project is to eventually comprise 12 hotels with 3,000 guestrooms each and six casinos and mainly attract visitors from Western and Eastern Europe.

Barcelona was competing with Madrid for the project, which was coveted because of the 260,000 direct and indirect jobs it is expected to create.

Spain is currently mired in recession for the second time in the past four years and its unemployment rate exceeds 26 percent.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Police Question 8 in Connection with Tourist Rapes in Acapulco

Police Question 8 in Connection with Tourist Rapes in Acapulco

Photo: Playa Bonfil, Acapulco Mexico

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Investigators have questioned eight people in connection with the rapes of six Spanish tourists earlier this week outside the Mexican Pacific resort city of Acapulco, a police commander said.

The individuals are not under arrest and were brought in to give statements “simply to learn what they know about the matter,” state police chief Marcos Juarez Escalera said.

Gunmen raped the six Spanish tourists 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 victims and several male companions were outside their bungalow when five masked assailants armed with handguns accosted the group.

After gagging the men, the attackers forced the group inside the bungalow and assaulted the six Spanish women, though they spared a Mexican woman who was with them.

The Guerrero state legislature, meanwhile, condemned the attacks on the tourists and called on authorities to find and punish those responsible for the rapes.

The Special Prosecutor’s Office for Sexual Crimes should “conduct the corresponding investigation precisely to clear up the truth about what happened,” the state legislature said in a statement.

“Guerrero cannot be at the mercy of criminals, it is not right that Guerrero residents who make an effort to contribute to the development of our state are exposed to any type of violence,” state lawmaker Karen Castrejon, the author of the statement, said.

Guerrero Attorney General Martha Elva Garzon said earlier this week that investigators had made “important advances” toward solving the case.

The victims’ ordeal lasted for about three hours and the assailants took PCs, cell phones, credit cards and other valuables when they left, Garzon 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.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Ex-Guatemalan Dictator Gen. Efrain Rio Montt Genocide Trial Set for August

Ex-Guatemalan Dictator Gen. Efrain Rio Montt Genocide Trial Set for August

Photo: Ex Dictator Montt Trial in August

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

The trial of former strongman Gen. Efrain Rios Montt and one of his closest collaborators for genocide and crimes against humanity will begin Aug. 13, a Guatemalan court announced Thursday.

That is the earliest open date on the court’s calendar, Judge Jazmin Barrios told reporters.

Judge Miguel Angel Galvez ruled last week that there was sufficient evidence to prosecute Rios Montt and retired Gen. Jose Mauricio Rodriguez for the killings of 1,771 Ixil Indians between March 1982 and August 1983.

Rios Montt, 86, is accused of masterminding the bloodbath, while the 67-year-old Rodriguez is charged with carrying out the mass killings as a part of a “scorched earth” campaign during Guatemala’s 1960-1996 civil war.

The trial will be the first of any Guatemalan ruler for the massacres and atrocities of the civil war.

Rios Montt presided over the bloodiest phase of a conflict that claimed more than 200,000 lives. Most of the dead were Indian peasants slaughtered by the army and its paramilitary allies.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spanish AG Sees Ground for Probe of Governing-party Finances

Spanish AG Sees Ground for Probe of Governing-party Finances

Photo: Eduardo Torres-Dulce

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Spain’s attorney general said Thursday there are grounds for further investigating allegations of under-the table payments to high-ranking members of the ruling conservative Popular Party.

Following its initial probe, the office of the anti-corruption prosecutor will now work quickly to design a strategy for getting to the bottom of the matter, Eduardo Torres-Dulce told reporters in the northern city of Logroño.

Former PP treasurer Alvaro Lapuerta - predecessor of Luis Barcenas, who is at the center of the scandal - told prosecutors Thursday that the party never operated a slush fund.

Lapuerta, who managed the PP’s finances from 1993 to 2008, also denied ever having seen the handwritten ledger attributed to Barcenas that appears to show the payment of extra wages to senior party leaders.

Prosecutors subpoenaed Lapuerta and Barcenas after Madrid daily El Pais published images of extracts from the purported secret ledger, which shows two decades of off-the-books cash payments to party leaders, including current Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

“I’ve never received nor distributed ‘black money,’ in this party or anywhere else,” Rajoy said last weekend at a special meeting of the PP leadership to discuss the scandal, known in Spain as the “Barcenas case.”

In statements to prosecutors Wednesday, Barcenas, who stepped down as PP treasurer in 2009, denied the existence of secret accounts and said he was not responsible for the handwritten documents, judicial officials told Efe.

He also provided a handwriting sample that will later be compared and contrasted with the documents published by El Pais.

So far, prosecutors have not linked the PP probe to recent revelations that Barcenas had deposited some 22 million euros (roughly $29.5 million) in Swiss bank accounts.

Read more by HS News Staff →



FridayFebruary 8, 2013