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MondayFebruary 11, 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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Spanish PM Honors Country’s World-Champ Handball Team

Spanish PM Honors Country’s World-Champ Handball Team

Photo: Spanish PM Honors Country's World-Champ Handball Team

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Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Monday congratulated his country’s world-champion national handball team for offering a “colossal image of Spain” abroad, showing that “one need never become pessimistic.”

Rajoy, who on Monday received the players, coaches and other members of the team that won the 2013 Men’s Handball World Championship, thanked the team for the “joy” they had brought to Spaniards.

The competition was held in Spain.

The squad provided an example of the “spirit of prevailing, courage and determination” and - above all - “never surrendering in the face of difficulties,” he said.

“Spain in crisis is the world handball champion and Spain is also going to overcome the (economic) crisis and therefore is going to continue being not only the world champion but also the Olympic champion in Rio de Janeiro,” the prime minister said.

Although he has never played, Rajoy said he has always been interested in following handball, calling it “a sport for strong people and for noble people” and adding that he would like to see his two sons, ages 7 and 13, take up the sport.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latinos Take Home Awards at 2013 Grammys

Latinos Take Home Awards at 2013 Grammys

Photo: Latinos Take Home Awards at 2013 Grammys

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Though the Latin Grammy Awards were in November,  a number of Latino/Hispanic artists won big at this weekend’s Grammy Awards.

See the winners below.

Best R&B Song - “Adorn” by Miguel

Best Jazz Vocal Album - Radio Music Society by Esperanza Spaulding

Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album - Dear Diz (Every Day I Think Of You), Arturo Sandoval

Best Latin Jazz Album - ¡Ritmo!, The Clare Fischer Latin Jazz Big Band

Best Latin Pop Album - MTV Unplugged Deluxe Edition by Juanes

Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album - Imaginaries by Quetzal

Best Regional Mexican Music Album (Including Tejano) - Pecados Y Milagros by Lila Downs

Best Tropical Latin Album - Retro by Marlow Rosado y La Riqueña

Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocals - “City Of Roses,” Thara Memory & Esperanza Spalding, arrangers (Esperanza Spalding)

Read more by HS News Staff →

Blog del Narco: Murder of 17 Band Members Because of Playing in Rival Cartel Area

Blog del Narco: Murder of 17 Band Members Because of Playing in Rival Cartel Area

Photo: The Pichilo wanted for Murder

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The man who ordered the band Kolombia Kombo to play that night in Hidalgo, Jose Isidro Cruz would Villarreal, is “The Pichilo”. He is one of the inmates that escaped from Apodaca in 2012, and who is wanted in at least five separate municipalities.
The Picchilo is a leader of the Zetas, and the person who ordered the group to perform at the winery La Carreta.

After playing for several hours, the same attendees at the private party organized the kidnapping of the group and then their execution.

A major hypothesis is that multiple executions were retaliation because the group had played their music in places that previously controlled the Zetas and now dominates the Gulf Cartel.

This would be the reason that 17 team members and staff were executed in Mina.

The 18 members were taken to an abandoned ranch in Mina, where they were interrogated and tortured.

The gunmen questioned the bandleader as to why they had been performing in places that now were controlled by the Gulf Cartel.

During these events one of the members managed to escape, when one by one the musicians and staff members were executed and their bodies thrown into a deep well of water.

“The Pichilo” is one of 37 inmates who escaped on 19 February last year’s Cereso Apodaca, after massacring 44 inmates of CDG, the source said.

Read more in Spanish at Blog del Narco

Read more Narco News here at HS News

Read more by HS News Staff →

Beethoven’s Kreuzer Sonata Influences Carolina Herrera’s Newest Collection

Beethoven’s Kreuzer Sonata Influences Carolina Herrera’s Newest Collection

Photo: Carolina Herrera 2013 Spring Collection

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The classic elegance of Carolina Herrera took to the New York Fashion Week runway on Monday with dresses, evening gowns and outfit combinations inspired by an adaptation of Beethoven’s Kreuzer Sonata.

The fall-winter collection by the Venezuela-born designer was fashioned from a modern take on Beethoven that she commissioned British composer Tom Hodge to create for the runway show.

With veteran Spanish fashion-show DJ Javier Peral as adviser, the result was “Capriccio for Carolina,” a New Age remix of the original romantic classicism.

Herrera said it was “perfect” the first time she heard it. “It’s perfect because it starts soft, and then it goes in crescendo. Just like I’m trying to do with the show. Soft looks at the beginning and then crescendo! All the drama. Then there’s romance. Then there is melancholia.”

The models strutted Herrera’s elegant stuff before a number of famous guests including Spanish actress Paz Vega and Ivanka Trump, daughter of Donald.

The 74-year-old Herrera said there are still “tons of things” she wants to do.

“I have thousands of projects and there are so many things I want to do, but I’m not saying what they are so they’ll actually happen,” she said to avoid giving any details.

Read more by HS News Staff →

REPORT: Sinaloa Cartel Used Private Planes from U.S. to Smuggle Coke into Australia

REPORT: Sinaloa Cartel Used Private Planes from U.S. to Smuggle Coke into Australia

Photo: Narcos Using Private Planes

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Mexican drug cartels used private planes to smuggle several tons of cocaine from the United States into Australia, press reports said Monday, citing U.S. judicial documents.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration suspects that a Chicago gang linked to Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel smuggled an undetermined amount of cocaine monthly into Australia and flew the aircraft back to the United States loaded with cash, the AAP news agency reported.

About 10 percent of the money was the pilots’ share, the DEA alleged in the Illinois case against Jose Mares-Barragan, a 31-year-old arrested on Jan. 22 and accused of being one of the gang’s leaders, the AAP said, citing court documents.

Mexico’s drug cartels have expanded into the lucrative cocaine business in Australia, the Australian Crime Commission said in a 2011 report.

Australians are among the world’s top consumers of illegal drugs on a per capita basis and a kilo of cocaine can go for up to 100 times its South American price in Australia.

Some 80 percent of the cocaine entering Australia is produced in Colombia, Peru and Bolivia.

The cocaine is usually hidden in shipments of merchandise from ports in Colombia, Mexico and Panama, officials said.

The Sinaloa cartel, which is led by Joaquin “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzman, has large smuggling and distribution networks in South America, the United States and Europe.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Smartphone App Lets Immigration Stopped on Immigration Violations Know their Rights

Smartphone App Lets Immigration Stopped on Immigration Violations Know their Rights

Photo: Derechos Herencia iApp

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The unpleasantness of being detained by immigration agents inspired Deyvid Morales to create a Spanish-language app for cell phones and tablets with crucial information for other undocumented immigrants who find themselves in custody.

“There are many apps on immigrant rights but not in Spanish, and our Hispanic community needs that kind of information all the time - that was part of the reason why I began this project,” the 21-year-old told Efe.

Morales, who lives in Utah, was detained by the Border Patrol for the first time in January 2011 while traveling to Louisiana by Greyhound bus to attend Bible college.

For more than a year, the Mexican-born aspiring pastor fought to have his deportation suspended until Immigration and Customs Enforcement finally shelved the case.

But Morales had to deal with immigration authorities again last June while riding a Greyhound bus from Las Cruces, New Mexico, to Phoenix.

“They began asking people for their papers, and right then I realized I didn’t know my rights, which is when I got the idea for an app to keep everybody informed,” Morales said.

The idea for the app, Derechos Herencia (Inheritance Rights), began to take shape in October 2012 and is “a tribute to those who have struggled to maintain our roots in this country.”

Morales worked with Seattle-based software developer Subsplash, which creates Christian apps for smartphones.

Derechos Herencia, which can be downloaded free on iPhones, Android phones and iPads, explains what to do in the event of arrest or a house search.

Close to 5,000 people had downloaded the app as of last month, Morales said.

Morales, who won a reprieve from deportation under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also said that smartphones are an ideal way to get information out to the Hispanic community.

Survey firm Nielsen estimates that by 2016, 63 percent of Latinos in the country will be using smartphones.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican Environmentalists Protest Chinese Development Project in Cancun

Mexican Environmentalists Protest Chinese Development Project in Cancun

Photo: Dragon Market Project, Cancun

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More than 100 community activists and members of environmental groups staged a protest against the Chinese-backed Dragon Mart commercial project in the Mexican Caribbean resort city of Cancun.

The demonstrators from Cancun and Puerto Morelos staged a symbolic closing of the site where Chinese and Mexican investors plan to build the marketplace.

The protest was organized by the non-governmental organization Fundadores de Cancun and was backed by several grassroots and environmental groups in Playa del Carmen, Cancun and Puerto Morelos that want to stop the massive project.

The groups oppose the Dragon Mart project because it violates environmental regulations and will affect infrastructure and economic development efforts in the area, Fundadores de Cancun president Ricardo Lujambio said.

The investors are willing to look at the issues raised by the protesters, Dragon Mart general manager Juan Carlos Lopez said.

“On Tuesday, we are going to file the construction request with the city of Benito Juarez (where Cancun is located). We believe there is much disinformation about the project and that is why we are here to respond directly to the people,” Lopez said.

Dragon Mart, whose initial phase is expected to cost $180 million, is designed to be an exhibition center for merchandise from China, providing an opportunity for companies from the Asian nation to make contacts in Mexico and Central America.

Read more by HS News Staff →

The Concave to Elect New Pope Has 19 Latin American Cardinals

The Concave to Elect New Pope Has 19 Latin American Cardinals

Photo: Sistine Chapel

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The conclave to elect the successor of Benedict XVI will be regulated by the “Ordo Rituum Conclavis” established by John Paul II’s apostolic constitution “Universi Dominici Gregis”, para. 27. The Cardinal Camerlengo, who has a fundamental role during the Sede Vacante period, is Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, appointed by Benedict XVI on 4 April 2007.

The Cardinal electors, by their continents of provenance, will be 61 Europeans, 19 Latin Americans, 14 North Americans, 11 Africans, 11 Asians, and 1 from Oceania. These figures may vary depending on the date that the conclave opens: for example, Cardinal Walter Kasper will turn 80 on 5 March. The country with the greatest number of Cardinal electors is Italy, with 21. Sixty-seven of the electors were created by Benedict XVI and the remaining 50 by John Paul II.

One of John Paul II’s innovations regarding the period of conclave is that the Cardinal electors of whom there will be 117 on 28 February will be housed in the Vatican residence Casa Santa Marta, which is independent from the place where they vote, the Sistine Chapel.

The Cardinal electors must remain in the Vatican during the entire period of conclave, and no one can approach them when they move from the Sistine Chapel to their place of residence or vice versa. All forms of communication with the outside world are prohibited. As in the past, the Sistine Chapel stove will be used to burn the ballots after each vote.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Corin Nemec Injured While Filming in Belize, Told Dont Sue or Else

Corin Nemec Injured While Filming in Belize, Told Dont Sue or Else

Photo: After Severe Injury During Belize Filming, Actor Corin Nemec Told "Don't Sue Us" By Ins. Company

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Following a major injury during filming in Belize, actor Corin Nemec, 41, had to be rushed to the hospital, but it seems his problems are not over just yet.

While working on the movie Poseidon Rex, the former “Parker Lewis Can’t Lose” star was aboard a Coast Guard vessel when it crashed into a semi-submerged barge.

Nemec’s leg was shattered, his femur broken in at least three places, and he lost nearly half of his blood. Now, after surgery to repair his leg (see photo here), his insurance company is refusing to pay his hospital bills unless he signs a contract saying he will not sue.

According to Nemec, he is being pressured to sign a contract stating he releases both the insurance company and the production company from any liability in the accident in Belize.

The incident occurred on January 19. Nemec told TMZ he has yet to make a decision.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Drop in Hispanic Teen Birth Rates as Well as in Low-Birth Weight Babies

Drop in Hispanic Teen Birth Rates as Well as in Low-Birth Weight Babies

Photo: Latino Teen Pregnancy Rates

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Teen birth rates have dropped yet again, reaching a historic low, and the number of babies being born early or with a low birth weight has also declined, a new U.S. government report shows.

Many factors may account for the improvement, experts say.

“We talk more about teen pregnancy, the responsibility of having a child and how difficult it is to be a teen mom. We also talk about contraception and abstinence more,” explained Dr. Jill Rabin, chief of ambulatory care, obstetrics and gynecology at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, in New Hyde Park, N.Y.

“Adults have to remember we’re fighting the adolescent sex drive that developed as a matter of survival of the species,” Rabin said. “It’s important to remember the three I’s when you’re working with teens. They think they’re immortal, invincible and infertile. We have to convince them otherwise and dispel the myths, and the message needs repetition.”

As for the decrease in preterm and low-birth-weight babies, Rabin noted that “prenatal care is getting better, and the message of the importance of prenatal care is getting out there.”

The report, from the National Center for Health Statistics branch of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, documented declines in the three areas: The teen birth rate fell to 31.3 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 19 in 2011. Twenty years ago, that rate was 61.8 per 1,000 teenage girls. And, for the fifth straight year, the preterm birth rate dropped, to 11.7 percent in 2011 from 12.8 percent in 2006. The rate for low-birth-weight babies also declined, from 8.15 percent in 2010 to 8.1 percent in 2011.

The report was published online Feb. 11 and will appear in the March print issue of the journal Pediatrics.

One expert noted that the three birth trends are often intertwined.

“Teen pregnancies are associated with preterm births. What really struck me from this report was that if the rate of teen birth hadn’t gone down since 1991, 3.6 million more births would have occurred,” said Dr. Ed McCabe, senior vice president and medical director of the March of Dimes.

“For two decades, the preterm birth rate rose steadily, but it’s been decreasing since 2006, and is now the lowest it’s been in a decade,” he said. “It shows that preterm birth is not an intractable problem.”

McCabe said a major reason for the decline in preterm birth is a focus on reducing elective cesarean section births and labor inductions. He said the March of Dimes and other groups, like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, recommend that no elective birth procedures be done before 39 weeks of gestation unless there is a medical indication for early delivery.

“A lot of teen pregnancies are unplanned,” McCabe said. “It’s really about motivating teens to empower them to take control over their own bodies and lives.”

The drop in teen birth rates was even more significant for some races, although the rates are still higher overall. In 1991, the rate of teen pregnancy among non-Hispanic blacks was 118.2 per 1,000 teens. By 2011, that number was down to 47.4 per 1,000 teens. In Hispanics, the 1991 rate was 104.6 per 1,000, and 49.4 per 1,000 teens in 2011.

Meanwhile, the rate of preterm birth is at its lowest point in five years at 11.7 percent. The biggest decline came in the birth of late preterm babies (those at 34 to 36 weeks gestation).

Like preterm births, the number of low-birth-weight babies has been declining since 2006. The latest rate of low-birth-weight babies (about 5.5 pounds or less) was 8.1 percent of babies born in 2011.

“Barriers to access to care are being reduced,” Rabin said. “There are more and more programs to take care of the under- and uninsured. I think this will keep getting better.”

Both Rabin and McCabe recommended getting care as soon as you know you’re pregnant—although ideally, you should see your doctor before getting pregnant to make sure you’re in the best health you can be and you can start taking prenatal vitamins.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Rio’s Carnival Continues and Its Party Time Non-Stop

Rio’s Carnival Continues and Its Party Time Non-Stop

Photo: Party at Rio Continues

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Carnival entered its fourth day in Brazil on Monday and crowds thronged the streets across the giant South American nation in the annual bash.

Apart from the wild parties taking place all across the country, most Brazilians were also keeping an eye on Rio de Janeiro’s Sambadrome, where the first night of the magnificent parades by the samba schools ended shortly before dawn.

The last of the six schools parading on the first of two intense days of spectacle was Portela, whose procession featured Prince Albert of Monaco as a special guest.

Several schools chose themes far removed from those seen at past Carnivals, where the focus was usually on Brazil and the everyday concerns of Brazilians.

That change of pace at Brazil’s most popular festival surprised many critics and purists who said they yearned for the Carnival celebrations of past years that, while entertaining people, highlighted the country’s social inequalities or served as political protests, which nowadays are completely absent.

Cultural critic Artur Xexeo attributed that tendency to the fact that the great majority of the samba schools today have sponsoring companies that contribute millions of dollars to help stage the show and “they don’t want to see any criticism.”

In addition to the colorful spectacle at the Sambadrome, street troupes known as “blocos” on Monday kept the frenetic rhythms going on the streets of Rio, where tens of thousands of people danced and sang without letup.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latin King 2nd in Command Sentenced to 40 Years on RICO

Latin King 2nd in Command Sentenced to 40 Years on RICO

Photo: Latin Kings

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The second highest-ranking leader nationwide of the Latin Kings street gang was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison after being convicted at trial in 2011 of racketeering conspiracy (RICO) and related charges involving narcotics trafficking and violence
that plagued numerous neighborhoods on the city’s north, south and west sides. The defendant, VICENTE GARCIA, Jr., 35, the “Supreme Regional Inca” of the Almighty Latin King Nation, who oversaw the day-to-day illegal activities of all factions of the gang with some 10,000 members in Illinois alone, has been in federal custody since late 2008 and must serve at least 85 percent of his sentence. The sentence was imposed Friday by U.S. District Judge Charles Norgle, who also ordered five years of supervised release after Garcia’s prison term ends. Garcia, also known as “DK” or “Disciple Killer,” together with Augustin Zambrano, the leader or “Corona” of the Latin Kings, and two additional defendants were found guilty in April 2011 of running a criminal enterprise to enrich themselves and others through drug-trafficking and preserving and protecting their power, territory and revenue through acts of murder attempted murder, assault with a dangerous weapon, extortion, and other acts of violence.

“This sentence holds Garcia accountable for the barbaric enterprise known as the Latin Kings and his role in murder, attempted murder, shootings, beatings, drug trafficking, and other crimes,” said Gary S. Shapiro, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. Zambrano, 52, was sentenced to 60 years in prison in January 2012. Two other codefendants convicted at the same trial also received substantial prison terms. Jose Guzman, a former “Nation Enforcer” in the 26th Street, or Little Village, faction, was sentenced to 35 years in prison, and Alphonso Chavez, the “Inca,” or leader of the gang’s 31st and Drake faction, was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Another co-defendant, Fernando “Ace” King, who preceded Garcia as Supreme Regional Inca and pleaded guilty, was sentenced in October 2011 to 40 years in prison.


Trial evidence included audio and video recordings of three beatings inflicted upon gang members for violating the rules and testimony documenting three murders and 20 shootings in the Little Village area. In addition to RICO conspiracy, Garcia was convicted of assault with a dangerous weapon and using a firearm during a violent crime. Garcia was among a total of 31 co-defendants who were indicted in September 2008 or charged in a superseding indictment in October 2009. Of those 31 defendants, 24 pleaded guilty, four were convicted at trial, and three remain fugitives. From its origin and base in the west side Little Village community, the Latin Kings spread throughout Chicago and Illinois and established branches in other states, where local leaders acted with some autonomy but adhere to the rules and hierarchy of the Chicago gang, according to the evidence in the five-week federal trial.


The sentence was announced by Gary S. Shapiro, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, together with Cory B. Nelson, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Larry Ford, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The Chicago Police Department, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Chicago, and the Cook County Sheriff’s Police also had significant roles in the investigation, which was conducted through the federal High Intensity Drug-Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force and under the umbrella of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement
Task Force (OCDETF). In late 2006, ATF agents led an investigation that resulted in federal drug trafficking and firearms charges against 38 Latin Kings members and associates. In 2008, the FBI led an investigation that resulted in state and federal charges against 40 Latin Kings members and associates, including a dozen of the Zambrano co-defendants. In total, more than 80 Latin Kings members and associates have faced state or federal charges since 2006. The convictions result from a sustained, coordinated effort by federal law enforcement agencies, working together with the Chicago Police Department and other state and local partners, to dismantle the hierarchy of the Latin Kings and other highly-organized, often violent Chicago street gangs.
Garcia and Zambrano were the highest-ranking Latin Kings to be convicted and sentenced since Gustavo “Gino” Colon, who also holds the title of “Corona,” was sentenced to life in prison in 2000.

The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew Porter, Nancy DePodesta and Tinos Diamantatos.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Check Out the Amazing Work of Artist Oscar Ramos

Check Out the Amazing Work of Artist Oscar Ramos

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Thanks to Bored Panda, our attention has been brought to Chilean artist Oscar Ramos’ amazing artwork.

Hailing from Santiago, Chile, Ramos’ work is a new take on a very Escher-esque kind of style.

Also working under the name Piense Positive (Think Positive), Ramos turns images of olds shoes or frying pans and transitions and transforms them to beautiful landscapes.

Check out some of his work below, but definitely be sure to visit his website to see more.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Blog del Narco: Head of ‘El Chapo’ Guzman Security Detail Arrested in Mexico

Blog del Narco: Head of ‘El Chapo’ Guzman Security Detail Arrested in Mexico

Photo: Key Arrest in Sinaloa Cartel

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A man suspected of being in charge of Sinaloa drug cartel boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s security detail was arrested by army troops and marines in northwest Mexico, a military commander said.

Jonathan Salas Aviles was captured in an air and land operation launched by federal security forces over the weekend in Costa Rica, a city outside Culiacan, the capital of Sinaloa state, 3rd Military Region commander Gen. Moises Melo Garcia said.

Four of Guzman’s bodyguards were also arrested in the operation on Saturday, the general said.

Firearms and cash were seized from the suspects, Melo Garcia said.

“It started in the early morning hours and it was in the Costa Rica area. The arrests were made with precision and no shots were fired,” Melo Garcia said.

Salas Aviles was taken to Mexico City, where he is being held by the Attorney General’s Office.

The suspect engaged marines in a shootout on March 1, 2012, near Oso Viejo, a community outside Culiacan, that left two gunmen dead and an SUV on fire, Melo Garcia said.

Joaquin “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzman, the world’s most-wanted drug trafficker, has been on the list of U.S. drug kingpins since June 1, 2001.

The Sinaloa organization, sometimes referred to by Mexican officials as the Pacific cartel, is the oldest drug cartel in Mexico and has an extensive drug distribution network in the United States.

Guzman, who was arrested in Guatemala in 1993 and pulled off a Hollywood-style jailbreak when he escaped from the Puente Grande maximum-security prison in the western state of Jalisco on Jan. 19, 2001, is considered the most powerful drug trafficker in the world.

Chapo Guzman tops the list of Mexico’s most-wanted criminals and is on the Forbes list of the world’s richest people.

The Sinaloa cartel, according to intelligence agencies, is a transnational business empire that operates in the United States, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, the Americas and Asia.

Read more by HS News Staff →

GRAMMYS: Bruno Mars, Rihanna, Sting Sing Tribute to Bob Marley (VIDEO)

GRAMMYS: Bruno Mars, Rihanna, Sting Sing Tribute to Bob Marley (VIDEO)

Photo: GRAMMYS: Bruno Mars, Rihanna, Sting Sing Tribute to Bob Marley

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The late Bob Marley was given an all-star tribute at Sunday’s Grammy Awards, with Bruno Mars, Sting, and Rihanna.

Two of Marley’s sons, Ziggy and Damian, who are singers in their own right, came on stage with Rihanna to join Mars and Sting in closing the tribute with “Could You Be Loved.”

The high-energy performance had everyone on the their feet. Adele, Frank Ocean, Taylor Swift and Neil Patrick Harris were seen singing along, while the hilarious Ellen Degeneres couldn’t help but dance.

Check out the tribute below.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Carnival Cruise Ship with 4,200 on Board Remains Adrift in Gulf of Mexico

Carnival Cruise Ship with 4,200 on Board Remains Adrift in Gulf of Mexico

Photo: Carnival Triumph Adrift Gulf of Mexico

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A cruise ship sailing in the Gulf of Mexico with more than 4,200 people on board is being towed on Monday to the Mexican coast after being left adrift due to an engine room fire that knocked out the propulsion system.

Carnival, the largest cruise ship operator in the world, said that the enormous vessel could arrive at the port of Progreso on Wednesday and confirmed that no one was hurt in the blaze, which was quickly brought under control by the ship’s automatic fire extinguisher system.

The Carnival Triumph went adrift some 250 kilometers (155 miles) off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Passengers were never without electricity thanks to the ship’s emergency generators. There is also plenty of food and water on board.

The vessel - which set sail last Thursday from Galveston, Texas, and was scheduled to return there on Monday - is carrying 3,143 passengers and a crew of 1,086.

The passengers will receive a refund, a voucher for another cruise and reimbursement for any extra transportation expenses they incur resulting from this incident.

They will also receive free air transport back to the United States, Miami-based Carnival said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

30,000 Lead Contaminated Toys Seized at Puerto Rico Port

30,000 Lead Contaminated Toys Seized at Puerto Rico Port

Photo: 30,000 Lead Toys Seized

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) investigators have seized multiple shipments of nearly 30,000 toys imported into the port of San Juan, Puerto Rico, containing levels of lead that exceed legal limits.

The total domestic value for the shipments is estimated to be more than $335,000.

CBP works closely with CPSC at ports of entry to identify potentially unsafe shipments to ensure the safety of imported toys.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spain’s Housing Market Continues Its Slide, Home Sale Fell 11.3% in 2012

Spain’s Housing Market Continues Its Slide, Home Sale Fell 11.3% in 2012

Photo: Spain Housing Slide

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Home sales in Spain fell 11.3 percent last year after a 17.7 percent decline in 2011, the National Statistics Institute, or INE, said Monday.

Sales increased in August after 17 consecutive monthly declines, spurred by the impending end of a tax break for home purchases and a planned increase in the rate of value added tax levied on property transactions.

Purchases also climbed in September and October, but dropped in November before registering a 2.3 percent gain in the final month of 2012, the INE said.

Nearly 800,000 home sales took place in 2007, the peak of a decade-long real estate boom that made Spain’s economy the envy of other European nations.

The bursting of the bubble combined with the 2008 global financial crisis to leave Spain mired in recession and struggling with a jobless rate of more than 26 percent.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Melia Hotels of Spain Now Looking to Americas, Asia for Expansion

Melia Hotels of Spain Now Looking to Americas, Asia for Expansion

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The Americas and Asia are the main engines of growth for Melia Hotels International, although the Spanish and European markets remain important also, the Spanish firm’s vice president for development, Maria Zarraluqui, told Efe.

“We’re seeing a lot of strength and many possibilities, both in the Americas and in Asia,” Zarraluqui said.

Melia is pursuing a “two-speed” expansion strategy that is “slower” in Spain and “more aggressive and active” internationally, she added.

The hotel chain’s international expansion is focusing on three main areas: the Americas, Asia and the big European capitals.

In the Western Hemisphere, where the chain has more than 60 hotels, the group to date has focused on vacation tourism, with “very strong” operations in the Caribbean markets in both Mexico and the Dominican Republic, Zarraluqui said.

“Now, we’re focusing a lot on urban growth, in five main countries: We’re looking at Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Chile and Brazil,” the executive said.

With regard to Asia, in the past two years Melia has doubled its portfolio and hopes, over a minimum period of three years, to have at least 30 operations going in the zone, Zarraluqui said.

“We have a lot of interest in China as well as in other locations, like Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and The Philippines,” the executive said.

Regarding Europe, the focus is on three main countries - the United Kingdom, Germany and France - with Italy on a secondary level, Zarraluqui said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Proposed Changes to Buenos Aires Fabled ‘Avenida 9 de Julio’ Meet with Protests

Proposed Changes to Buenos Aires Fabled ‘Avenida 9 de Julio’ Meet with Protests

Photo: Avenida 9 de Julio to Change

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The Buenos Aires city government’s plan to change the appearance of Avenida 9 de Julio, one of the widest avenues in the world, to accommodate special bus lanes has stirred protests in the Argentine capital.

Several grassroots and other organizations plan protests Monday against the plan.

Mayor Mauricio Macri’s administration wants to reduce the waiting time for buses on the avenue from 40 minutes to 15 minutes by building busways that will take up two lanes in each direction.

Construction of the special lanes started several weeks ago.

Residents and opposition legislators are criticizing the project, especially plans to chop down more than 300 trees and reduce the size of the Plaza of the Republic, which is home to the Obelisk.

A total of 305 trees, including some specimens that are about 40 years old, will be removed, but “the majority will be replanted” along the avenue and in green spaces, Buenos Aires city officials told Efe.

Some “550 new trees will be planted,” the officials said.

The Avenida 9 de Julio Metrobus line will be the second dedicated busway in Buenos Aires, where the Avenida Juan B. Justo busway was dedicated in 2011.

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Brazil Deadly Nightclub Fire Death Toll Continues to Rise to 239

Brazil Deadly Nightclub Fire Death Toll Continues to Rise to 239

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The death on Monday of a young man who had been hospitalized with respiratory problems after being injured in the Jan. 27 fire in a discotheque in the southern Brazilian city of Santa Maria raised to 239 the death toll in the tragedy, authorities said.

The young man, whose identity was not revealed at the request of his relatives, died at Hospital Cristo Redentor in Porto Alegre.

The blaze broke out when a flare was lit during a concert being attended by some 800 people at the Kiss discotheque.

Authorities are also investigating as possible aggravating factors the lack of extinguishers and the absence of legally required emergency exits at the nightclub.

Another 49 people - most of them with respiratory problems - remain hospitalized, health officials said.

Police have arrested the two owners of the disco and two members of the Gurizada Fandangueira band, which was performing when the fire broke out.

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Leftist Leader in Mexico Launches Campaign Against Oil Industry Reforms

Leftist Leader in Mexico Launches Campaign Against Oil Industry Reforms

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Former leftist presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has launched a national campaign in southern Mexico “in defense of the petroleum industry” and against any privatization plans included in the energy reform plan to be debated by Congress this year, the National Regeneration Movement, or Morena, said.

The two-time presidential candidate told supporters in the city of Juchitan that the “gang of criminals, who misgovern the country, have a plan to steal, to take, the petroleum that belongs to the people and the nation,” Lopez Obrador’s press team said in a statement.

Lopez Obrador, who organized Morena as a political organization that aspires to become a party, called on his supporters to prepare to fight to stop the privatization of state-owned oil giant Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, which has a monopoly over the production of crude and distribution of gasoline.

Mexico has a “regime of corruption” under which producing a barrel of crude costs $10, but it is sold at $100, yielding a profit of $90 per barrel, Lopez Obrador said.

“If the country pumps 2.6 million barrels per day, it means that you are getting $260 million daily, so the oil leaves you with $100 billion a year and that is what they are going after now,” Lopez Obrador said.

The big winners of oil reforms will be foreign oil companies, which will get “juicy contracts” as “partners” of Pemex, the leftist politician said.

Lopez Obrador barely lost the 2006 presidential election and blamed his second-place finish in last year’s vote on corrupt practices by the victorious Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI.

Lopez Obrador announced recently that the “El petroleo es de todos” (The Petroleum Is Everyone’s) campaign would hold protests across Mexico in coming months.

President Enrique Peña Nieto said last month that Pemex would not be privatized and the public should be wary of those who sought to “mislead or confuse” the issue.

Pemex, the world’s No. 4 oil producer with output of about 2.5 million barrels per day, is the biggest contributor to Mexico’s Treasury.

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Colombian Drug Lord Arrested in Panama

Colombian Drug Lord Arrested in Panama

Photo: Edison "Pichi" Rodolfo Rojas Captured

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A man suspected of being the leader of Colombia’s Oficina de Envigado gang was arrested over the weekend by the National Police in Panama, officials said.

Edinson Rodolfo Rojas, who faces drug charges in Colombia, was captured in a joint operation conducted by Panamanian and Colombian drug enforcement agents, the National Police said in a statement.

Rojas, known as “Pichi,” was arrested Sunday afternoon in Brisas del Golf, a subdivision in San Miguelito, located about 13 kilometers (eight miles) east of Panama City.

The Colombian national faces drug, criminal conspiracy and murder charges in his homeland.

Rojas allegedly murdered two police officers in Medellin, the capital of the northwestern Colombian province of Antioquia, and was behind the massacre at a ranch in the city of Envigado in late 2012, officials said.

Ten Oficina de Envigado members were murdered at the ranch on Dec. 31.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos thanked Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli and authorities in the Central American country for their assistance in capturing Rojas.

“Congratulations to the Police for the capture in Panama of alias Pichi, the successor to Sebastian in the Oficina de Envigado. GOOD BLOW!!” Santos said in a Twitter posting.

Rojas is behind much of the violence in Medellin, police said.

The Oficina de Envigado, created in the 1980s by late Medellin cartel boss Pablo Escobar, is involved in drug trafficking and other criminal activities.

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NY Based Chilean Artist Alfredo Jaar to Represent Chile in Venice Biennale

NY Based Chilean Artist Alfredo Jaar to Represent Chile in Venice Biennale

Photo: Alfredo Jaar's "Real Pictures"

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New York-based Chilean artist, Alfredo Jaar, whose artwork addresses war and socio-political issues, will represent his mother country at this year’s Venice Biennale. Jaar has exhibited at the international exhibition twice before, in 1986 and 2007. This year’s project will be curated by Madeleine Grynsztejn, director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, whose relationship with Jaar spans two decades

Alfredo Jaar will represent Chile at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013. Jaar is an artist, architect, and filmmaker who lives and works in New York. With an expansive commitment to art in diverse and distinctive cultural, political, and public contexts, his work has been commissioned, exhibited, and installed throughout the world, including Biennales in Venice (1987, 2002), Sao Paulo (1987, 1989, 2010), and Documenta in Kassel (1987, 2002).

For the Biennale, Jaar will create a major new site-specific installation. This as reguard Jaar, won’t be the first partecipation at the Biennale. In fact his works have been already shown at the Biennale of Venice during 1986 and 2007 editions.

His most recent public projects include The Geometry of Conscience, a memorial next to the new Museum of Memory and Human Rights in Santiago, Chile. 

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“Motorcycle Diaries” Inspire New Men’s Collection by Carlos Campos

“Motorcycle Diaries” Inspire New Men’s Collection by Carlos Campos

Photo: Carlos Campos at 2013 NY Fashion Week

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The convulsive decade of the 1960s, remembered for its protest movements, inspired the fall-winter collection of men’s clothing presented by Honduran designer Carlos Campos at New York Fashion Week.

“The protest movement started in France, spilled into Germany, then spread to Argentina, Mexico and Honduras. It went global,” the designer said.

Campos, whose creations have clad Justin Timberlake, Enrique Iglesias, Ethan Hawke and other celebs, makes a feature of slim-fit pants, some with print designs because “I think it’s fun.”

He said the collection “reflects the spirit of a guy who wants to express himself, who wants to be free,” and recalled that he was inspired by the book “The Motorcycle Diaries” that describes the first trip made by Ernesto “Che” Guevara around Latin America with his friend Alberto Granados.

His two previous collections were inspired, respectively, by a Pablo Neruda poem and one of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s books.

“All that I read and see fills me with inspiration. For this season I read “The Motorcycle Diaries,” which I thought was super-interesting, and then I saw a photo of people protesting that really impressed me. When something strikes me like that, I look for the reason. That’s how I arrived at this collection,” he said.

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Hispanic Health:  Can Salsa Dancing Improve Latino Seniors Health?

Hispanic Health:  Can Salsa Dancing Improve Latino Seniors Health?

Photo: Salsa Dancing for Latino Seniors

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David Marquez has received a four-year, $1.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to see if a four-month instructional dance program for Latino seniors can improve their level of physical activity — and with it, their balance and mobility and cognitive function.

Latinos ages 65 to 74 are much less likely than other seniors to participate in physical leisure-time activities. Senior Latinos are also twice as likely to report difficulty walking as are non-Latino whites. They develop symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease an average of seven years earlier. These health disparities are likely due in part to Latinos’ lower physical activity, says Marquez, UIC associate professor of kinesiology and nutrition.

“Older Latinos are also at high risk of developing disabilities, and one of our long-term goals is to prevent disability among this disadvantaged group,” Marquez said.

Dance is widely accepted among Latinos, but seniors have few opportunities for dancing and may not have danced at all since they were children, Marquez said. Night club dancing is often too fast-paced and too late at night for older adults. In a pilot study of his dance program, Marquez found that there was a lot of interest in dancing among this population.

Marquez teamed up with Miguel Mendez, an accomplished Latin dance instructor. With input from focus groups, they developed an instruction program of Latin dances for older adults called BAILAMOS. The tempo slows at times, and people who need to can spend more time on a given dance step. Everyone is able to learn the steps and do the four dances by the end of the class, Mendez said.

The four-month, twice weekly dance classes will be offered in senior centers, community centers and park buildings. Half of the 332 older Latinos who will be recruited will be assigned to the dance instruction program, and the other half will serve as a control group for the study.

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Rafael Nadal Loses in Final of VTR Open in Viña del Mar, Chile

Rafael Nadal Loses in Final of VTR Open in Viña del Mar, Chile

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Argentina’s Horacio Zeballos defeated Spain’s Rafael Nadal 6-7, 7-6, 6-4 in the final of the VTR Open in Viña del Mar, Chile.

“I lack velocity in my reactions, I lack energy and power in my legs to stretch out the points, things that I’ve had all my career,” Nadal said.

The Spanish star, who returned to action last week after being sidelined with a knee injury for seven months, also lost his doubles match on Sunday.

Italians Paolo Lorenzi and Potito Starace beat Nadal and Argentina’s Juan Monaco 6-2, 6-3 in the doubles final in Viña del Mar.

“I’m playing with what I have and today I did not have any more,” Nadal said in the post-match press conference.

The former world No. 1 and 11-time Grand Slam champion had not played since suffering a shock second-round exit at last year’s Wimbledon at the hands of unheralded Czech Lukas Rosol, considered one of the biggest upsets in the history of that prestigious tournament.

The VTR Open is a small clay-court event in Viña del Mar, a coastal resort city located 120 kilometers (75 miles) northwest of Santiago, the Chilean capital.

Nadal also is scheduled to play two other small clay-court tournaments in February - the Brazil Open in Sao Paulo, which starts on Monday, and the Mexican Open in Acapulco, which begins on Feb. 25 - as part of his preparations for the French Open, which gets underway in May.

Nadal had planned to return to action in late December in Abu Dhabi, but a stomach virus forced him to withdraw from that exhibition tournament and he also pulled out of the recently concluded Australian Open.

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Pope Benedict Resigns at End of Month Cites “Advanced Age”

Pope Benedict Resigns at End of Month Cites “Advanced Age”

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Pope Benedict XVI is resigning at the end of this month due to his “advanced age,” the Vatican said Monday.

The pope, who turns 86 in two months and became pontiff on April 19, 2005, said in his resignation letter that he would continue to lead the Roman Catholic Church until 8:00 p.m. (1900 GMT) on Feb. 28.

The announcement “has caught us all by surprise,” Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said.

The pope announced his decision to resign Monday to a meeting of cardinals, Lombardi said.

Papal resignations are covered in Canon Law, the Vatican spokesman said, adding that the pope was in full control of his mental faculties.

The last pope to resign was Gregory XII in 1415.

The conclave of cardinals to elect Benedicto XVI’s successor is expected to take place in March, Lombardi said.

The German-born Benedict XVI is the 265th pontiff of the Catholic Church, bishop of Rome and seventh head of state of the Vatican state.

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U.S. Defeats Tijuana Takes Lead in Mexico’s Clausura 2013 Soccer Tourney

U.S. Defeats Tijuana Takes Lead in Mexico’s Clausura 2013 Soccer Tourney

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America overcame two expulsions and defeated the heretofore unbeaten Tijuana to temporarily take the lead in the sixth week of Mexico’s Clausura 2013 soccer tourney on the weekend.

Although Argentina’s Rubens Sambueza was red-carded in minute 23 of the Saturday match and Colombia’s Aquivaldo Mosquera was expelled in the 37th minute, that wasn’t enough to prevent America from securing a 2-1 victory away from home. The result temporarily put America in the No. 1 spot in the tourney, although the team was deposed on Sunday with the Tigres’ win over Toluca.

Paraguayan Osvaldo Martinez had scored for America in the 12th minute on a penalty kick, and Paul Aguilar found the net in the 53rd minute to put America up 2-0, although Tijuana saved face by launching an attack that resulted in its lone goal by Pablo Aguilar, also from Paraguay.

It was Tijuana’s first loss at home since May 2012 and broke its streak of 10 consecutive wins and 3 ties at the Caliente stadium, and the defeat knocked the team down to third place, after America and Tigres.

Meanwhile, the Guadalajara Chivas won their first match in the tourney under the direction of Benjamin Galindo on a lone goal by Mexico’s Rafael Marquez Lugo at home over the Monterrey Rayados.

The sixth week of the Clausura 2013 began on Friday with Morelia’s 1-0 victory over Leon, and the 1-1 ties between Cruz Azul and Pumas UNAM and also between Queretaro and the Chiapas Jaguares on Saturday.

Atlas downed Atlante 2-1, also on Saturday, its third victory of the tourney, and Puebla beat San Luis 3-1 in an away match.

And on Sunday, the Tigres trounced Toluca 4-1, retaking the tournament leadership slot from America, with Santos to play 10th-ranked Pachuca later in the evening.

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V.P. of Peruvian Region of Amazonas Gunned Down

V.P. of Peruvian Region of Amazonas Gunned Down

Photo: Dr. Augusto Wong Lopez Killed

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The vice president of the Peruvian region of Amazonas, Dr. Augusto Wong Lopez, was shot to death by two unknown gunmen in the jungle province of Bagua, local media reported Sunday.

The Web site elcomercio.pe reported that Wong was shot three times while he was in his medical office, where the two killers showed up pretending to have health problems.

Wong was shot in the chest, the back and the head and died an hour later in the Gustavo Lanatta Hospital in Bagua.

After staging the hit, his attackers fled, although police later arrested a man suspected of having participated in the murder.

The Web site said that Bagua authorities believe that political rivalries resulted in the attack.

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MondayFebruary 11, 2013