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TuesdayFebruary 12, 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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BRAZIL: Four Dead After Carnival Float Hit Power Line

BRAZIL: Four Dead After Carnival Float Hit Power Line

Photo: BRAZIL: Four Dead After Fire on Carnival Float

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At least four people died and six were injured in the wee hours Tuesday when a Carnival float caught fire during a samba school parade in the Brazilian city of Santos, paramedics said.

The fire broke out shortly before 1:30 a.m. when one of the floats of the Sangue Jovem samba school brushed against a power line causing a short circuit. Flames quickly consumed the vehicle and the exhibit it was carrying.

Sangue Jovem is a school made up of fans of the Santos soccer club, and the float that went up in smoke was dedicated to Brazilian soccer legend Pele as part of a parade whose theme was the richness of the country’s African heritage.

The six injured were taken to hospital in Santos, a seaside city in Sao Paulo state.

Because of the tragedy, Santos city hall called off the local Carnival celebrations, which were meant to continue all day Tuesday.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Demi Lovato Releases Cover Art for Single “Heart Attack”

Demi Lovato Releases Cover Art for Single “Heart Attack”

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Singer/actress/judge Demi Lovato released the cover art and trailer for her new single “Heart Attack” and the singer also opens up about what her new album means to her.

Lovato, who will premiere the song on “On Air With Ryan Seacrest”, says the album is full of “songs about the celebration of life and how rewarding it can be.”

The song will premiere on March 4th, but for now check out the trailer below.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican President Peña Nieto Presents Wide Reaching Crime-Prevention Plan

Mexican President Peña Nieto Presents Wide Reaching Crime-Prevention Plan

Photo: Mexico Crime Fighting Plan

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President Enrique Peña Nieto launched Tuesday a national plan to address both the effects and the root causes of the gangland violence blamed for 70,000 deaths in Mexico over the past six years.

“Yes, it’s possible” to achieve peace, he said at an event in the central city of Aguascalientes.

Peña Nieto, who took office Dec. 1, established Tuesday a federal interdepartmental commission that will attempt to coordinate government efforts to repair the social fabric in areas that suffer the most violence.

The various official entities involved in the initiative have a combined annual budget of 118.8 billion pesos ($9.35 billion).

The president said that what is essential for having “a country at peace” is “for society to participate with its voice, with its opinion,” and with the experience of its communities, which have sometimes made up for the what the Mexican government has failed to do in matters of poverty, inequality and other social problems.

All actions of the program will be coordinated by Government Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio Chong, who also spoke at the Tuesday event.

“We will work at a national level with a great campaign that promotes a culture of peace” with strategies to prevent violence, substance addictions, domestic abuse, along with learning and behavior problems, he said.

To begin with, action has been planned for 251 municipalities or districts within major cities that have the worst security problems.

The targeted communities are concentrated in states like Coahuila, Chihuahua, Durando, Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas, Guerrero and Michoacan.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Immigrant Stopped by NC Sheriff Under Investigation for Racial Profiling Will Not Be Deported

Immigrant Stopped by NC Sheriff Under Investigation for Racial Profiling Will Not Be Deported

Photo: Alamnce Sheriff Profiling Latinos

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U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement suspended Tuesday the deportation of an undocumented immigrant who came to ICE’s attention after a traffic stop by a North Carolina sheriff’s department that is under investigation for racial profiling.

Isaias Valles, the 25-year-old father of two U.S.-born children, was supposed to leave the country on Friday, but ICE decided to apply procedural discretion in the case.

“We will work with the immigrant’s attorneys to reopen the case and close it administratively in immigration court,” ICE spokesman Vincent Picard said in a statement sent to Efe.

“Our priority is to identify and deport criminals who break the law, are a threat to national security, those who have recently crossed the border and have not obeyed our laws,” Picard said.

Valles was detained last April in Burlington by an Alamance County sheriff’s deputy while driving his brother’s car.

The deputy asked for Valles’ driver’s license, which he didn’t have, so as a consequence he was jailed and his deportation process begun.

“This is good news and we’ll tell the lawyers to continue the process, but just like this there are many cases of Hispanics jailed unjustly in Alamance,” Jose Rico, spokesman for the NC Dream Team, told Efe.

The Justice Department has launched an investigation against the Alamance sheriff’s department for its history of unjust, discriminatory arrests of Latinos.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Juanes Hosts Intimate Concert to Celebrate Grammy for “Best Latin Pop Album”

Juanes Hosts Intimate Concert to Celebrate Grammy for “Best Latin Pop Album”

Photo: Juanes Hosts Post-Grammy Concert

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Colombian singer Juanes celebrated his Grammy for Best Latin Pop Album with an intimate concert in Los Angeles, where he told reporters that he intends to include songs in English on his next album.

“There’s an idea of doing three or four songs in English, but the rest will be in Spanish,” he said moments before going on stage for a one-hour set with compatriot Fonseca before some 600 fans.

“Naturally, I write in Spanish when I compose but I have people who are going to collaborate with the adaptation of the lyrics into English,” Juanes said.

He also took the opportunity to announce his next tour, “Loud & Unplugged,” which will kick off on May 17 in Bakersfield, California.

“It’ll be a party,” he said. “It’ll be full of energy and power and we’ll include different genres like blues, rock, folk, Colombian music, pop ... People will like it a lot,” he said.

The Colombian said he was “happy, thanks be to God and to life,” at winning the Grammy on Sunday for his acoustic work “MTV Unplugged Deluxe Edition”.

“The first thing I did was immediately call the Dominican Republic (and speak to) Juan Luis Guerra (the album’s producer) and celebrate with my family,” said the 40-year-old singer-songwriter, who on Sunday performed for the first time at the Grammys, offering a version of Elton John’s “Your Song” in which he included several phrases in Spanish.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Republican Party Rolls Out New Spanish Twitter Feed

Republican Party Rolls Out New Spanish Twitter Feed

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The Republican Party rolled out a new Spanish-language Twitter feed on Tuesday, hours before President Barack Obama was set to deliver his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress.

The GOP has designated Cuban-American Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida to provide the party’s official response to the president’s speech.

Rubio, who will respond to Obama both in English and in Spanish, has been gaining prominence since the Nov. 6 defeat of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who had alienated Hispanic voters with his hardline positions on illegal immigration.

After the election, the Republicans began to adjust their stance with regard to the Latino community, 71 percent of whom supported President Obama.

The latest proof of the closer approach to Hispanics being sought by the GOP is the opening of the Twitter account: @GOPespanol.

After the presentation of the account, its first tweet was an apology for not being able to write the letter “ñ” in its commentary due to Twitter’s typographical limitations.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Colombian Military Kill 3 FARC Guerillas, Capture Four Others in Gun Battle

Colombian Military Kill 3 FARC Guerillas, Capture Four Others in Gun Battle

Photo: FARC Guerillas in Colombia

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Colombian troops killed three FARC rebels and captured four others during operations in the province of Caqueta, the army said, while Bogota daily El Tiempo reported that a guerrilla attack in Guaviare province left two dead and 25 injured.

The insurgent losses took place amid clashes in the town of San Vicente between soldiers and elements of the 63rd Front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, the army said in a statement.

The troops also seized nine rifles, five handguns, 37 grenades, 42 homemade bombs and several two-way radios.

A total of eight FARC fighters surrendered to the military in separate incidents in Caqueta.

In Guaviare, meanwhile, one police officer and a child were killed and another 25 people were wounded in a FARC attack, El Tiempo said on its Web site.

The assault occurred when police, soldiers and first responders were fighting a fire, the city clerk in Miraflores told the newspaper.

“It was then they apparently launched a grenade,” Jose Beltran Poveda said, adding that shots were heard in the town Monday night.

The Colombian government and the FARC are going forward with peace talks in Cuba, with the express intention of ending once and for all the armed conflict that the Andean nation has suffered for half a century.

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: Man Gets 7 Years in Prison for Bringing Loaded Gun to Subway

LATINO BLOTTER: Man Gets 7 Years in Prison for Bringing Loaded Gun to Subway

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A man in New York was handed a 7 years jail sentence after jumping a subway barrier, but it wasn’t just his failure to pay that landed him behind bars.

Last year, Ruben Sanabria, 37, was caught jumping the turnstile at New York’s 14th Street subway station in Manhattan to avoid paying the $2.25 fare.

He was spotted jumping the barrier, but when officers ordered him to put him hands against the wall, he instead took off down the platform. While running, Sanabria was spotted throwing a handgun to the ground. One officer grabbed the weapon, while another caught up to and arrested Sanabria. It was discovered he had been illegally carrying a .40-caliber Smith & Wesson semiautomatic firearm, and was also found to be carrying additional ammo and a holster.

According to the New York Post, he pled guilty to criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree and was facing up to 15 years in jail.

On Monday, Sanabria was sentenced to 7 years in jail and 42 months of post-release parole.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spain’s King Juan Carlos Meet with Latin American Leaders

Spain’s King Juan Carlos Meet with Latin American Leaders

Photo: King Juan Carlos and Ibero-American Summit

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Spain’s King Juan Carlos met on Tuesday with a former Chilean president, Mexico’s erstwhile top diplomat and the head of the Ibero-American Summit organization to discuss ways to make the annual gatherings more effective.

Joining the king, Chile’s Ricardo Lagos, Patricia Espinosa of Mexico and Enrique Iglesias for the talks were Crown Prince Felipe and the Spanish secretary of state for International Cooperation and Ibero-America, Jesus Gracia.

The most recent Ibero-American Summit, held in November in the southern Spanish city of Cadiz, named Lagos, Iglesias and Espinosa to a group tasked with preparing a reform of such meetings.

The team must deliver its report at the next gathering of heads of state and government, to be held later this year in Panama, and they are using as the basis for their work a proposal presented by Spain to completely “redefine” this forum.

Spain, which presently contributes more than 60 percent of the financing for the Ibero-American Secretariat, proposes to design “a more equitable structure regarding the burdens and responsibilities.”

Also, it has been decided that instead of annual meetings, these summits will be held every two years.

Read more by HS News Staff →

No Gas Exploration in Peru’s Ecologically Diverse Manu National Park

No Gas Exploration in Peru’s Ecologically Diverse Manu National Park

Photo: Manu National Park, Peru

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Argentina’s Pluspetrol denied that it planned to explore for natural gas in Peru’s Manu National Park, an ecologically diverse area located between the southern regions of Cuzco and Madre de Dios.

Peruvian media reported the Argentine energy company’s interest in the area, citing a story published in Britain’s Guardian newspaper about Pluspetrol’s plans for gas exploration in Manu.

The media reports said Pluspetrol was moving forward with its plans even though Peruvian officials rejected a permit application in March 2012 because extractive activities were prohibited in national parks.

“An energy company is eyeing up the gas reserves of a national park in the Peruvian Amazon whose biodiversity Unesco says ‘exceeds that of any other place on Earth’ and is home to indigenous people who have no regular contact with the outside world,” The Guardian reported on Monday, citing a leaked document to which it had access.

“Extractive activities have not been carried out nor are they planned outside the concession area,” Pluspetrol, the operator for the Camisea gas consortium, said in a statement.

The government upheld an $11.37 million fine against Pluspetrol on Jan. 16 for violating environmental regulations in the Amazon’s Pacaya Samiria reserve.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Chile, Brazil, Peru, Mexico and Colombia Have Best Climate for Private-Public Partnerships

Chile, Brazil, Peru, Mexico and Colombia Have Best Climate for Private-Public Partnerships

Photo: Investing in Latin America

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Chile, Brazil, Peru, Mexico and Colombia are the countries in Latin America and the Caribbean most able to carry out sustainable public-private partnerships (PPPs) to develop infrastructure and increase access to basic services, according to the third edition of the Infrascope.

The report analyzes national environments for PPPs in the Latin American and Caribbean region. It was produced by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and commissioned by the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the Inter-American Development Bank Group.

The environment for PPPs is improving in the region as rising demand for infrastructure prompts countries to redouble efforts to attract greater private investment. The gap between emerging and developed PPP readiness is narrowing.  As a result, the report shows that a cluster of countries have improved their capacity and readiness for PPP investments. The top refomrer group is led by Colombia, Uruguay, Guatemala, Costa Rica, El Salvador, all of which have accelerated regulatory change and capacity building.

Moreover, the continued demand for infrastructure has contributed to the rise of PPP units and specialized agencies to promote and implement PPP investment over the past two years. Since 2010, three countries— Guatemala, Honduras and Uruguay—have added new PPP units or agencies, with four more underway. Strong institutional frameworks and a positive investment climate prove to be fundamental to managing PPP investments.

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: Man Breaks Into Ex-GF’s Apartment, Bites Her Toe

LATINO BLOTTER: Man Breaks Into Ex-GF’s Apartment, Bites Her Toe

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A New Mexico man is accused of breaking into his ex-girlfriend’s apartment and biting her.

On February 3rd, shoe salesman Daniel Anaya, 27, allegedly broke into his ex-girlfriend’s south Santa Fe apartment. The girlfriend told police she had ender their relationship in November.

After breaking in, Anaya asked if he could smell her feet, but when she said no he became angry and slammed her against the wall and threw her to the ground. He then forcibly removed her shoes and socks and bit her left big toe. Anaya reportedly bit down so hard his teeth went through her nail and down to the bone.

The victim was able to get away by kicking Anaya and crawling to a neighbor’s door and yelling for help.

Oddly enough, the girlfriend, who was not identified, said she had broken up with Anaya after he bit the very same toe.

Santa Fe police have called the case, “Extremely odd.”

Anaya was arrested three days after the incident and charged with false imprisonment, interference with communications, burglary, and aggravated battery against a household member.

He is being held in Santa Fe County jail in lieu of a $50,000 cash-only bond.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Immigration Task Force Led by Condoleezza Rice, Henry Cisneros and Gov Haley Barbour &  Ed Rendell

Immigration Task Force Led by Condoleezza Rice, Henry Cisneros and Gov Haley Barbour &  Ed Rendell

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The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) is creating a high-level bipartisan task force on immigration - co-chaired by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros, and former Governors Haley Barbour and Ed Rendell - to develop a politically viable package of policy recommendations and work with Congress to help pass immigration reform.

The Immigration Task Force will consider all pillars of immigration reform, including enforcement, legalization and worker visas. Over the next several months, the task force will develop and advocate for consensus recommendations to guide national immigration policy. The task force will also encourage substantive, bipartisan dialogue among key interest groups and decision makers on national immigration goals and strategies, and will engage and shape the immigration policy debate as it unfolds over the course of the coming months.

The full task force, which will be announced in the coming weeks, will be comprised of leading immigration experts, business and labor leaders, former elected officials, and other stakeholders.

“We are determined to be helpful to the current immigration debate around the country and have already begun talking to major constituencies,” said Secretary Cisneros. “While our recommendations will take time to develop, we intend to regularly weigh in on the ongoing debate as it develops on Capitol Hill.”

“In the last month, there has been considerable attention paid to this issue, kick starting the momentum for legislative action,” said Governor Rendell.

“Despite our divergent views, I am confident the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Immigration Task Force will propose recommendations that push the country forward,” said Governor Barbour.

The project will be directed by Rebecca Tallent, former Chief of Staff and long-time aide to Senator John McCain (R-AZ), who joined BPC earlier this month to lead this effort. Starting in 2005, Tallent served as Senator McCain’s lead staff person on immigration issues. She advised and drafted bipartisan immigration legislation in the 108th, 109th and 110th Congresses.

“Securing our nation’s borders is not only a national security priority, it is important economically,” said Secretary Rice. “I am eager to develop a set of recommendations for immigration reform that both Republicans and Democrats can support.”

“Our co-chairs bring a new voice to this critical debate,” said BPC President Jason Grumet. “Working with diverse interests, we will develop and advocate practical solutions that will further the conversations in both the Senate and the House.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Border Patrol Dogs Alert Authorities to 232K of Drugs Woman has Hidden in Dash

Border Patrol Dogs Alert Authorities to 232K of Drugs Woman has Hidden in Dash

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations officers at the Nogales Port arrested a Mexican woman today for attempting to smuggle approximately $232,400 worth of black tar heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine into the United States.

Reyna Gisela Ramirez-Hernandez, 34, of Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, was referred for additional inspection of her Chevrolet van. During the inspection, a CBP narcotics detection canine alerted to the presence of drugs within the vehicle’s firewall/dash area.

The drugs and vehicle were seized. Ramirez was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

Individuals arrested may be charged by complaint, the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity, which raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent unless and until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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It’s Confirmed: Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem to Be Parents Again

It’s Confirmed: Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem to Be Parents Again

Photo: Penelope Cruz pregnant Again

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Spanish actress Penelope Cruz is pregnant with her second child, her publicist confirmed to Efe on Tuesday.

Leonardo, the first child of Cruz, 38, and 43-year-old husband Javier Bardem, another Spanish big-screen star, was born in January 2011 at the Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles.

The pair of Oscar-winning performers married in July 2010 in The Bahamas.

Cruz, who was nominated for a Goya - Spain’s equivalent of the Oscar - for her performance in “Volver a nacer,” will not be able to attend Sunday’s gala in Madrid due to a scheduling conflict, publicist Javier Giner told Efe.

The actress is in the United States as a result of her work, he said.

Monica Cruz, the actress’s younger sister, announced her own pregnancy by artificial insemination earlier this year.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Brazilian, Spanish, Argentine Cities Make List of Happiest Cities

Brazilian, Spanish, Argentine Cities Make List of Happiest Cities

Photo: Brazilian, Spanish, Argentine Cities Make List of Happiest Cities

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A survey of 10,000 people from 29 countries throughout the world helped create the Anholt-GfK Roper City Brands Index of the happiest cities in the world.

Despite its size and influence, only one American city made the top ten list.

The happiest cities were determined using the index, which is primarily based on perception, but other factors were taken into account.

We do wonder how happy the people of Madrid and Barcelona are now, considering the downturn of Spain’s economy.

Using the index and Columbia University’s Earth institute World Happiness Report, the happiest cities were as follows:

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**List created with information from GfK Custom Research, Forbes, Trip Advisor, and Columbia University’s Earth Institute.**

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Blog del Narco: 4 Boys Killed, 1 Injured in Nuevo Leon

Blog del Narco: 4 Boys Killed, 1 Injured in Nuevo Leon

Photo: Blog del Narco- 4 Youths Killed in Nuevo Leon

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Four boys were killed and another was seriously injured when they were attacked from a drive-by in a taxi in Colonia Francisco Villa, north of Monterrey.

The incident was reported around 08:10 pm at the intersection of Manuel Band and José María Fernández, in that sector.

The four young men lay lifeless and as of now are unidentified. Authorities are hopeful that they are residents from the area. The ages of the four murder victims are between 14 and 16 years, sources with the State Investigation Agency report.

According to the versions of witnesses to the Civil Force officers, the offenders were in a taxi and surprised the deceased who were traveling in another moving vehicle.
Read more in Spanish at Blog del Narco

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Nicaragua Electric Utilities Disnorte Dissur Sold for $57.8 Million

Nicaragua Electric Utilities Disnorte Dissur Sold for $57.8 Million

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Spanish energy company Gas Natural Fenosa said Tuesday it sold its stakes in Nicaraguan electric utilities Disnorte and Dissur for $57.8 million.

The interests in the Central American utilities were sold to Nicaragua’s TSK-Melfosur Internacional, which was formed by Spain’s TSK and Melfosur, in ceremony attended by several Nicaraguan Cabinet ministers, Gas Natural Fenosa said in a statement.

The deal covers Gas Natural Fenosa’s 83.69 percent stake in Distribuidora de Electricidad del Norte, S.A., or Disnorte, and 83.73 interest in Distribuidora del Sur, S.A., or Dissur.

The two utilities distribute electricity in the Central American country.

“The company maintains its commitment to Latin America, where 25% of the group’s EBITDA currently comes from and where it hopes to continue growing in the coming years. As the leading natural gas distributor and main integrated energy operator in the area, today it is present in 10 Latin American countries and has key positions in the main markets,” Gas Natural Fenosa said.

The multinational energy company distributes natural gas in Argentina and Brazil; provides electricity and gas in Colombia; generates electricity and distributes gas in Mexico; and generates and distributes electricity in Panama.

Gas Natural Fenosa generates electricity and operates a regasification plant in Puerto Rico, and it operates power plants in Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic.

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On Final Day of Rio Carnival Champion Samba Schools Presented

On Final Day of Rio Carnival Champion Samba Schools Presented

Photo: Final Day Carnival 2013

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Street troupes kept the merriment going on the last day of Carnival in Brazil after the elite samba schools wound up their spectacular parades.

The “blocos,” as the street troupes are known that attract enormous crowds into the streets to dance, sing and have fun, were the main attraction on the eve of Ash Wednesday, when theoretically Brazilians must shed their costumes and get back to normal.

Still to come, however, is the parade of this year’s champion samba schools, set for Saturday.

Early Tuesday the Rio Maracatu bloco paraded along the promenade of Rio de Janeiro’s Ipanema Beach to the delight of locals and tourists in their thousands, even luring sunbathers to join in who had been resting on the sand.

Others awakened early were residents of the pastoral neighborhood of Santa Teresa by the Carmelitas bloco, notable for the many in its number costumed as nuns to recall the story of the legendary novice who escaped years ago from a Carmelite convent to have her fling during Carnival.

On this last day of its iconic celebration, Rio still has in store the presentation of around 110 blocos to nearly 450,000 people.

The 12 elite samba schools who performed at the city’s Sambadrome now await the decision of the jury, set for Wednesday, to determine this year’s champion.

The parades of the samba schools, each one with some 5,000 dancers, alegorical floats and huge orchestras, are considered the Carnival of Rio’s main attraction.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Community Self-Defense Force Launches in Oaxaca, Mexico

Community Self-Defense Force Launches in Oaxaca, Mexico

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Santos Reyes Nopala, a city in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, has formed a community self-defense force, joining other areas that have created such groups to fight crime, officials said.

The 500-person force, all of whose members are Santos Reyes Nopala residents, was sworn in by Mayor Fredy Gil Pineda Gopar.

The self-defense force was formed in response to both rising crime and alleged abuses by the army and Federal Police.

The force, whose members are armed with rifles and shotguns, is only concerned with providing security to the people living under its jurisdiction, the mayor said.

“We are going to guarantee peace and tranquility. We are going to guarantee that there will be no robberies, that there will be no homicides,” Pineda, a member of the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, told Radio Formula.

The self-defense force’s goal is to provide security so regular municipal police officers can operate without interference from federal or state security forces, the mayor said.

Former President Felipe Calderon deployed thousands of soldiers across the country to fight drug cartels, which infiltrated and gained influence over officers in many state and municipal police departments.

The war on drugs launched by Calderon, who was in office from 2006 to 2012, left about 70,000 people dead in Mexico, the government said.

Mexican press tallies estimate that about 12,000 people died in violent incidents linked to organized crime groups in 2012.

Santos Reyes Nopala joined the cities of Ayutla de los Libres, Teconoapa and San Marcos in neighboring Guerrero state in forming self-defense forces.

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2016 Rio Olympics Will Not Include Wrestling

2016 Rio Olympics Will Not Include Wrestling

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The International Olympic Committee voted Tuesday to drop wrestling from the Summer Games after the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The move caught observers and wrestling fans by surprise since the sport was a staple of the Olympics in Ancient Greece and has been included in the modern Games since they started in Athens in 1896.

Wrestling was not expected to be one of the sports dropped from the list of 25 Olympic core sports.

The modern pentathlon appeared to be the sport most likely to be dropped from the list of core sports, with badminton, taekwondo and table tennis also rumored to be on the IOC’s hit list.

Read more by HS News Staff →

18 Prisoners Escape Maximum-Security Prison in Ecuador

18 Prisoners Escape Maximum-Security Prison in Ecuador

Photo: La Roca Prison Escape, Ecuador

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At least 18 inmates escaped from a maximum-security prison in the coastal city of Guayaquil, Ecuadorian authorities said.

The Justice Ministry said on Twitter that the escape from the penitentiary known as La Roca “is being investigated.”

“There are no dead or wounded in the jailbreak for which the alert was given today on #LaRoca. How many fugitives are at large will be announced in the next few hours,” the ministry said, though several media outlets have warned that the number is likely to be between 18 and 20.

The ministry denied that drug trafficker Oscar Caranqui was among the escaped convicts, but said that at the moment inmates with ties to the criminal gang called Los Choneros are being investigated.

It also said that currently underway is a joint operation of elite police and military units that have cordoned off La Roca.

At the same time, the Justice Ministry gave assurances that “security has been strengthened” at all prisons in Ecuador.

La Roca, a modern detention center that up to now has been considered the most secure in the country, holds a number of Ecuador’s most dangerous criminals.

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Mexico’s Carlos Slim and Bill Gates Join Forces to Reduce Hunger through Technology

Mexico’s Carlos Slim and Bill Gates Join Forces to Reduce Hunger through Technology

Photo: Mexico's Carlos Slim and Bill Gates Working Together

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Billionaires Carlos Slim and Bill Gates said they planned to use their foundations to promote research and the development of agricultural technology to increase farmers’ productivity and reduce hunger among the world’s poor people.

“Helping poor farming families increase production in a sustainable way, and sell more crops, is the most effective way to reduce hunger and poverty over the long term. This has been proven in Mexico, India, Pakistan, Brazil, China, and many other countries over the last half century,” the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Fundacion Carlos Slim said in a statement posted on the Mexican billionaire’s Web site.

Mexico’s non-profit International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, or CIMMYT, will be at the center of the effort to improve farmer’s productivity, the foundations said.

“Mexican and international researchers have worked for decades to develop higher-yielding, more resilient seeds for maize and wheat, and to introduce better agricultural practices that help farmers be more productive” at the CIMMYT, the foundations said.

The center, which has its headquarters in Mexico and field offices in China, India, Afghanistan, Colombia, Ethiopia and Turkey, has developed different corn and wheat varieties that are more resistant and produce higher yields.

“Against the dramatic realities of climate change, a growing global population, rising food prices, and a shrinking agricultural land base, Mexico’s leadership in agricultural innovation is critically important-especially to the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa where hundreds of millions of people face severe hunger and poverty,” the foundations said.

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Meet Diane Kahlo, Artist and Relative of Frida Kahlo

Meet Diane Kahlo, Artist and Relative of Frida Kahlo

Photo: Diane Kahlo is related to famed artist Frida Kahlo

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After spending years trying to get out from under the shadow of Mexican cultural icon Frida Kahlo, American artist Diane Kahlo decided to devote her talent to painting subjects that her famous distant relative would have found compelling, such as the murders of women in Ciudad Juarez.

“I believe that Frida would be very interested in what is happening to women in Ciudad Juarez, and in everything to do with immigration and politics on the border,” Diane said in an interview with Efe.

“Wall of Memories: Las Desaparecidas de Cuidad Juarez” (“The Missing Women of Juarez”) is made up of 100 portraits and 50 symbols painted by Diane as a tribute to the more than 1,000 women and girls kidnapped or slain over the past 30 years in the city just across the border from El Paso, Texas.

The 61-year-old artist, whose grandfather was a cousin of Frida’s father, Wilhelm Kahlo, described her exhibition as a “reminder of the epidemic of violence against women and girls” that Mexico is going through.

While Diane describes her famous surname as “a double-edged sword,” it helped her career get off the ground in the 1960s when she studied art and painting at USC and got involved in the political activism of the Chicano movement.

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ABC and Univision to Launch Fusion a Cable Channel for Latinos - Later this Year

ABC and Univision to Launch Fusion a Cable Channel for Latinos - Later this Year

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Television networks ABC and Univision announced Tuesday that in the second half of this year they will join forces to launch a new channel for the Hispanic audience called Fusion.

Five cable TV distributors - Cablevision, Charter, Cox, AT&T U-verse and Google Fiber - have already agreed to include Fusion in their respective channel menus.

The channel will offer subject matter focused on topics of interest for the Hispanic community, the country’s fastest growing minority that now numbers some 50 million people.

Programming will include the economy, entertainment, music, cooking, immigration, urban culture, education, politics, health and more.

Hispanics represent 16 percent of the U.S. population according to the last Census, and that number is expected to rise some 30 percent by 2050.

The channel’s main studios will be in Miami.

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New FBI Appointment in Puerto Rico Leads to Corruption Investigation

New FBI Appointment in Puerto Rico Leads to Corruption Investigation

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The FBI’s new Special Agent in Charge for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands said Monday that his office is investigating cases of public corruption on this Caribbean island.

Carlos Cases, whose appointment was announced last week, said at a press conference at the federal court building in San Juan that public corruption cases in Puerto Rico are a priority for the FBI.

“I can’t go into specific details about the investigations or who is under investigation. What I can say is that we are investigating public corruption at all levels,” he told reporters.

He added, however, that the focus on corruption will not detract from the FBI’s efforts to address street crime in Puerto Rico, where 100 people have been murdered in 2013 amid battles between gangs over control of retail drug sales.

Cases was decorated for his role in 2010 in Operation Guard Shack, which led to the arrest of 89 Puerto Rico police officers and prison guards.

A veteran of 21 years with the FBI, Cases is the third native Puerto Rican to head the San Juan office.

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Barca Forward David Villa Leaves Hospital Ready for Team Practice

Barca Forward David Villa Leaves Hospital Ready for Team Practice

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FC Barcelona forward David Villa left the hospital after being treated for kidney stones and is expected to rejoin the team for practice within 24 hours, the club said Tuesday.

Villa, one of six different players to score in Barça’s 6-1 rout of Getafe on Sunday, was admitted to the hospital the following day.

Doctors released the Spanish international shortly after noon on Tuesday.

The Barcelona coaching staff gave their charges two days off after the La Liga triumph and practice is set to resume Wednesday.

Though well enough to practice, Villa is listed as doubtful for Barça’s next La Liga match, set for Saturday in Granada.

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Spain’s Iberia Airlines to Cut Nearly 4,000 Jobs, Loses $1.14 Billion Over 4 Years

Spain’s Iberia Airlines to Cut Nearly 4,000 Jobs, Loses $1.14 Billion Over 4 Years

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Spain’s Iberia airlines said Tuesday it planned to eliminate 3,807 jobs, or 19 percent of its workforce, and urged labor unions to call off planned strikes.

The carrier “informed its employees, trade unions and the Spanish Employment Ministry that it has started the formal process of collective redundancy ... There will now be a 30-day consultation process,” London-based International Airlines Group, the parent company of British Airways, Iberia and bmi, said in a statement.

Iberia presented its workers with options for reducing the effects of the layoffs, such as pay cuts, wage freezes and changes aimed at increasing productivity and flexibility.

Ground workers will be hit the hardest by the layoffs, with about 2,640 affected, followed by cabin crews, with about 760 losing their jobs, and pilots, who would see their numbers reduced by about 320, union representatives said.

The jobs would be eliminated between March 14 and Dec. 31, union representatives said.

The carrier initially proposed the elimination of 4,500 jobs due to mounting losses.

“This is part of Iberia’s transformation plan to introduce permanent structural changes across the airline to stem its losses enabling it to grow profitably in the future,” International Airlines Group said.

Iberia lost more than 850 million euros ($1.14 billion) between 2008 and September 2012.

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Peruvian Movie Star Magaly Solier Has Her First Baby

Peruvian Movie Star Magaly Solier Has Her First Baby

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Peruvian actress Magaly Solier, star of the movies “Madeinusa” and “La Teta Asustada,” announced on Facebook that she gave birth to her first baby in the city of Ayacucho.

Solier posted on her Facebook page a photo of her lying in bed with the tiny hand of her baby boy appearing by her side, together with the dedication “Welcome, my love.”

Solier married cyclist Erick Mendoza Gomez in the middle of last year, and chose her own hometown to have her firstborn.

“La Teta Asustada” is a Peruvian-Spanish production by director Claudia Llosa, which won the Golden Bear at the 2009 Berlin Film Festival.

Solier, who is also a singer, has won several prizes at international festivals for her acting in both films.

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Argentine Artist Marta Minujin Marries Art for 70th Birthday

Argentine Artist Marta Minujin Marries Art for 70th Birthday

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The Argentine conceptual artist known as the Andy Warhol of Buenos Aires recently celebrated her birthday in an interesting way.

Marta Minujin held her 70th birthday party at MALBA (Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires), but it wasn’t the usual birthday party. In fact, it was a wedding.

Both in celebration of her birthday and to raise money for the museum, Minujin married art itself in front of 300 guests.

For more than 50 years, Minujin’s conceptual art has brought life to Argentina. When democracy returned to Argentina in the early 1980s, Minujin created a monument to what was considered a victim of the a 7-year dictatorship: freedom of expression. In 1983, using 30,000 banned books, she created a full-scale model of the Parthenon in Buenos Aires.

In 2011, a similar structure named the Tower of Babel was built in Buenos Aires with books donated by locals, libraries, and from more than 50 embassies. In 2014, the Tower of Babel will be moved to Times Square.

She has also recreated the Buenos Aires obelisk from fruit cake and made the Venus de Milo out of cheese.

Minujin is set to have an exhibit open at New York’s Museo del Barrio in February of 2014, but her final work of art will be her death.

According to SmartPlanet:

For her death, she says she plans to create a large acrylic box, decorated with neon tubes, that will project her happenings. She will sit inside, surrounded by her bronze works. After she is given a lethal injection, a furnace under the box will burn and melt everything, leaving nothing behind but multi-colored ashes. It will be televised, she says. And she seems quite serious.

“I hope they don’t try to stop me. I can pretend that I’m not going to do it, and then I’ll do it,” Minujín says.

In the words of Minujin herself, “Art is everywhere.”

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27-Year-Old Undocumented Mexican Father of Two Guest at State of the Union

27-Year-Old Undocumented Mexican Father of Two Guest at State of the Union

Photo: Gabino Sanchez and Rep. Luis Gutierrez

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An undocumented Mexican immigrant who faces deportation will be in the gallery Tuesday night when U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress.

Gabino Sanchez, a resident of Ridgeland, South Carolina, is attending as a guest of Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), a leader in the push for comprehensive immigration reform.

The 27-year-old Sanchez is the father of two U.S.-born children and hopes to win a reprieve from deportation under the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

“I’m worried they will deport me and separate me from my wife and my children, and that also worries my family. I want to settle my immigration problem so we no longer have to live in fear,” Sanchez told Efe.

The DACA program is open to undocumented migrants 30 and under who were brought to the United States before the age of 16.

Gabino Sanchez was 15 when he entered the United States, Gutierrez’s office said in a statement.

Sanchez and others in the same situation will pay close attention to Obama’s speech “in search of signs of hope for their families,” the congressman told Efe.

Gutierrez met Sanchez in November 2011 and pledged to help the migrant in his battle against deportation.

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Venezuelan Government: Hugo Chavez Giving Order, Health Improving

Venezuelan Government: Hugo Chavez Giving Order, Health Improving

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Two months after being operated for cancer in Cuba, President Hugo Chavez was analyzing images from Venezuela’s recently launched Miranda satellite and giving orders based on what he observed, Science and Technology Minister Jorge Arreaza said.

“President Chavez attentively analyzed recent images from our Miranda satellite and issued several orders” on Sunday night, “even calling for an inspection of certain parcels of apparently uncultivated land seen in multispectral images of Barinas and Guarico,” the president’s son-in-law Arreaza said in a Twitter posting.

The government has not updated information about the president’s health since Jan. 26.

On that occasion, Communication Minister Ernesto Villegas said that “the general progress of the patient” was “favorable” after overcoming a pulmonary infection, though “a certain degree of respiratory insufficiency persisted.”

Villegas added that a systemic medical treatment for cancer is now being applied.

Six days later Vice President Nicolas Maduro said that Chavez had finished the postoperative stage of his treatment, though he offered no details.

The 57-year-old president, in power since 1999, has remained silent since last Dec. 11 when he underwent his fourth operation in Havana for a cancer whose type and extent have never been revealed.

Chavez, reelected for a third time last October for the 2013-2019 period, still has not been sworn-in for his next term as president due to his operation.

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Don Omar Prepares for His “Hecho en Puerto Rico” Concert

Don Omar Prepares for His “Hecho en Puerto Rico” Concert

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Singer Don Omar, the self-proclaimed “King of Reggaeton,” said his upcoming “Hecho en Puerto Rico” concert would rock the Caribbean island.

Don Omar, whose real name is William Omar Landron, said he planned a big blowout to celebrate his 35th birthday on Sunday.

Concert season will begin with a huge bash in Puerto Rico, where the singer has not performed in more than two years, Don Omar said in a statement.

“We worked hard all through Christmas to prepare for this big concert. I will finally sing at home again and will make my island rock,” Don Omar said.

The concert will take place on May 4 at the Jose M. Agrelot Colisseum in San Juan.

Don Omar, nominated for 18 2013 Billboard Latin Music awards, said the concert would feature his greatest hits, such as “Danza Kuduro,” whose music video has been viewed more than 425 million times on YouTube, and “Hasta Que Salga el Sol,” which won for Best Urban Song at the 2012 Latin Grammy Awards.

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Mexico to Have a New Saint - “Mother Lupita” García Zavala

Mexico to Have a New Saint - “Mother Lupita” García Zavala

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This morning at 11:00am in the Consistory Hall of the Apostolic Palace, Pope Benedict presided over an ordinary public consistory for the canonization of the blessed that included Mexico’s Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala, co-foundress of the Congregation of the Handmaids of St Margaret Mary (Alacoque) and the Poor.

Commonly known as “Mother Lupita” García Zavala, she was born in Zapopan, Jalisco, Mexico, on April 27, 1878 Her father was a religious store merchant that was located in front of the Basilica of Our Lady of Zapopan. After a quiet childhood and a commitment to marriage at age 23, she left everything to devote herself to religious life in the care of the sick and the poor. Garcia Zavala along with Father Cyprian Iñiguez, founded the Congregation of the Servants of Saint Margaret Mary and the Poor.  Today, the Congregation has 22 foundations and is present in five different Nations: Mexico, Peru, Iceland, Greece and Italy.

The Pope decreed that Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala be inscribed in the book of saints on Sunday, May 12, 2013.  Since the Pope announced his resignation yesterday from the Papacy at month end, his successor will oversee the canonization of Garcia Zavala.

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TuesdayFebruary 12, 2013