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ThursdayFebruary 14, 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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Spain to Devote $4.67 Billion for Job Creation Over Next 4 Years

Spain to Devote $4.67 Billion for Job Creation Over Next 4 Years

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Spain will devote 3.5 billion euros ($4.67 billion) over the next four years toward efforts to expand economic opportunities for young people and encourage self-employment, the government said Thursday.

The investment, which will be co-financed by the European Social Fund, is part of the 2013-2016 Entrepreneurship and Youth Employment Strategy.

Crafted by the government in partnership with labor and business leaders, the strategy includes 15 short-term measures such as financial aid for youths who want to complete their studies and incentives for firms to hire young people.

Officials and representatives of the CEOE and CEPYME business associations and Spain’s two main labor federations, the CCOO and UGT, met in Madrid on Thursday to finalize the plan.

Unemployment in Spain topped 26 percent at the end of 2012 and the jobless rate among people under 25 stood at 55.1 percent.

The Iberian nation is in recession for the second time since the 2008 global financial crisis followed hard on the heels of the collapse of a decade-long property boom.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Ellen Breaks Bottles on Sofia Vergara’s Head for Diet Pepsi

Ellen Breaks Bottles on Sofia Vergara’s Head for Diet Pepsi

Photo: Ellen Breaks Bottles on Sofia Vergara's Head During "Diet Pepsi Ad"

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This week Modern Family actress Sofia Vergara stopped by the Ellen DeGeneres Show to talk about her recent engagement and near arrest.

Vergara spoke with Ellen about her big 40th birthday bash in Mexico with family and friends and about the a magical moment almost ended with her in handcuffs.

While in Mexico, Vergara was given special permission to climb atop an ancient pyramid that was usually closed off. As she and now fiancé Nick Loeb were at the top, he pulled out a ring and asked her to marry him.

After she accepted, the happy couple climbed down from the pyramid. As they approached the bottom, however, they were accosted by people yelling at them, saying they called the police and Vergara and Loeb were going to be arrested.

It was all cleared up, but the couple had a beautiful moment followed immediately by a terrifying one.

Later during her appearance on Ellen, the funny host asked Vergara to read a live Diet Pepsi ad, saying the Latina should do it while ignoring all distractions.

As she read her lines, Ellen proceeded to bring out hunky male models, break bottles over Vergara’s head, shoot her with silly string, and even had Josh Groban come out and sing into her ear.

Watch the hilarious video below.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Bill Gates Discusses Difficulties of Education Investment in Spain

Bill Gates Discusses Difficulties of Education Investment in Spain

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Spain “is a good country” that is “going through tough times” amid economic stagnation and a 26.1 percent unemployment rate, philanthropist Bill Gates said in an interview with Efe in Mexico.

“There is a very direct correlation” between regulation and business creation, Gates said in response to a question about what Spain could do to spur business and job growth.

“It’s hard, investment in education and deregulation are hard to do when you have a tight budget. But Spain will have to make these investments in the future,” the billionaire Microsoft co-founder said.

“In Europe, there has been more entrepreneurship in the United Kingdom and the Nordic countries, but they have been less regulated,” the billionaire, co-chair and trustee of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said.

European economies generally “are very regulated markets compared with the United States in terms of the ability to hire and fire people, work hours,” Gates said.

William H. Gates III is the world’s second-richest person, with a fortune estimated at $61 billion.

Gates, however, has given away a large chunk of his fortune for a variety of social, educational and health projects.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the world’s wealthiest charitable organization, boasting a $38 billion endowment.

Gates stepped down from the helm of Microsoft in June 2008 to focus on his philanthropic work.

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: ‘Schizophrenic’ Prisoner Escapes Custody During Transfer

LATINO BLOTTER: ‘Schizophrenic’ Prisoner Escapes Custody During Transfer

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A Florida prisoner `being driven by officers to another jail in Nevada reportedly escaped custody this week by injuring a detective during a stop just outside Dallas, Texas.

Authorities are looking for Alberto Morales, 42, after he escaped custody during a ground transport to a prison in Nevada.

Detective Jaime Pardinas, 54, and fellow Miami-Dade Detective David Carrero had been transporting Morales to Nevada on Monday when they stopped at a Wal-Mart in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to wait for another officer.

While Carrero went inside, Pardinas remained in the car with Morales. The three men had flown to Houston, and the detectives decided to drive the rest of the way to Nevada, because Morales was disruptive during the first flight. However, department policy requires three officers to be present for ground transfers of prisoners.

Somehow, Morales got a hold of eye glasses, and used a broken piece to stab Detective Pardinas multiples times. The detective underwent emergency surgery for a collapsed lung and deep stab wounds to his neck, shoulder, and back. On Wednesday, it was reported that Pardinas remained in the hospital, but was in stable condition.

After being stabbed, Pardinas called police and could be heard breathing heavily on the recording. During the call, Pardinas described Morales’ physically and also said he was “schizophrenic.”

Since Morales’ escape, inmates at the Florida prison at which he was held have told authorities Morales made it very clear he was not going back to prison. How he managed to stab Detective Pardinas while “appropriately” shackled, handcuffed and chained is still unknown.

The Wal-Mart parking lot where he escaped was not far from the Dallas-Fort Worth International airport, and officials from both Texas and Miami-Dade were searching the area.

Morales was being transferred to Nevada, where he was to serve between 30 years to life after being convicted of sexual assault with a weapon. He will not likely face charges of escape and attempted murder of a peace officer.

Read more by HS News Staff →

52-Year-Old Grandpa Diego Maradona Is a Father Again

52-Year-Old Grandpa Diego Maradona Is a Father Again

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Veronica Ojeda, ex-girlfriend of Diego Armando Maradona, gave birth to the Argentine soccer icon’s fourth child, her lawyer said Thursday.

Diego Fernando Maradona was born late Wednesday night at a clinic in Buenos Aires, Jorge Auruccio told reporters.

Maradona senior, now working in Dubai as a consultant to companies that organize sporting events, “is absolutely up to date about” the condition of mother and baby, the attorney said.

While unsure whether the 52-year-old father would be traveling to Argentina to see his new son, the lawyer said Diego Armando Maradona will send a formal acknowledgment of paternity via the Argentine Embassy in the United Arab Emirates.

“He will acknowledge him, there’s no problem,” Auruccio said.

The couple split up several months ago and the retired superstar’s ex-wife and two adult daughters reacted angrily to news of Ojeda’s pregnancy.

Auruccio ultimately got a court to issue a restraining order that bars Maradona’s former spouse, Claudia Villafañe, from coming within 100 meters (328 feet) of Ojeda, and the two women also went before a judge to seal a mutual non-aggression pact.

Even so, Claudia’s daughters with Maradona, Dalma and Giannina continued to excoriate Ojeda in social media.

Besides the girls and the new baby, Maradona is the father of Diego Maradona Sinagra, who was born in Italy in 1986. Though the soccer legend refuses to acknowledge him, Italian courts have found that Sinagra is his son.

Diego Armando Maradona also has a grandson.

Benjamin is the offspring of Giannina and rising soccer star Sergio “Kun” Aguero.

Read more by HS News Staff →

State Department Issues Kidnap Warning for U.S. Citizens in Machu Picchu Area

State Department Issues Kidnap Warning for U.S. Citizens in Machu Picchu Area

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The U.S. Embassy is warning U.S. citizens of a potential kidnapping threat in the Cusco area of Peru.  The Embassy has received information that members of a criminal organization may be planning to kidnap U.S. citizen tourists in the Cusco and Machu Picchu area. 

Possible targets and methods are not known and the threat is credible at least through the end of February 2013. For the moment, personal travel by U.S. Embassy personnel to the Cusco region, including Machu Picchu, has been prohibited and official travel is severely restricted as a result of this threat.

Thousands of U.S. citizens routinely travel to the Cusco region without undue incident.  The U.S. Embassy remains confident of the Peruvian government’s efforts to ensure the safety of all tourists in the region.

The citadel of Machu Picchu is a world heritage site built in the 15th century and rediscovered in 1911. To protect the land, only 2,500 visitors are allowed each day.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Joins Brazil 3G Capital in H.J. Heinz Acquisition

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Joins Brazil 3G Capital in H.J. Heinz Acquisition

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Billionaire Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. said Thursday it joined forces with Brazilian investment fund 3G Capital to purchase U.S. food giant H.J. Heinz for $28 billion, including the assumption of outstanding debt.

“Heinz has strong, sustainable growth potential based on high quality standards, continuous innovation, excellent management and great tasting products. Their global success is a testament to the power of investing behind strong brand equities and the strength of their management team and processes. We are very pleased to be a part of this partnership,” Buffett said.

Berkshire and 3G Capital are paying $72.50 per share for H.J. Heinz, a premium of 20 percent over the $60.48 closing price on Wednesday.

The deal is the largest ever in the food industry, Berkshire Hathaway said in a statement.

“The Heinz brand is one of the most respected brands in the global food industry and this historic transaction provides tremendous value to Heinz shareholders,” Heinz chairman, president and CEO William R. Johnson said.

Berkshire and 3G will pay cash for the maker of the iconic Heinz ketchup brand, introduced in 1876, and Ore-Ida potato snacks, and will assume about $5 billion in outstanding debt, raising the deal’s value to $28 billion.

“This is my kind of deal and my kind of partner,” the 82-year-old Buffett told CNBC. “Heinz is our kind of company with fantastic brands, but I have a file on Heinz that goes back to 1980.”

3G Capital will manage Heinz, the billionaire investor said, adding that Berkshire Hathaway was putting $12 billion or $13 billion into the deal.

3G, which bought Burger King in 2010 and controls several other companies, such as Belgian-Brazilian beverage giant InBev, is run by Jorge Paulo Lemann, Carlos Alberto Sicupira and Marcel Telles.

Heinz will keep its headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but will be a private company after the deal closes.

H.J. Heinz, which was founded in 1869, employs about 32,000 people around the world and has operations in more than 50 countries.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Taco Bell to Release Cool Ranch Taco in March

Taco Bell to Release Cool Ranch Taco in March

Photo: Doritos Locos Tacos (Dan Milano/ABC News)

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It’s finally here! On March 7, Taco Bell restaurants will finally release a Cool Ranch taco.

Last year, Taco Bell released its Doritos Locos Tacos, and it quickly became the company’s most successful product launch ever, selling more than 350 million in under a year, reported BusinessWire.

However, as soon as customers sank their teeth into a cheesy, delicious Dorito taco shell, they were asking where the cool ranch counterpart was.

Now the time has come, with announcements on both Taco Bell’s Twitter account and at canieatacoolranchtacoyet.com, according to ABCNews.

“There has been enormous interest in the new Cool Ranch flavor of Dorito Locos Tacos and people are wondering why it took so long,” said Greg Creed, chief executive officer of Taco Bell Corp. “Originally we had planned to launch the Cool Ranch flavor in the same year as the introduction of Doritos Locos Tacos. However, the demand for Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Tacos was so strong that we worked closely with our partner Frito-Lay to increase our capacity and meet the needs of both Doritos Cool Ranch and Nacho Cheese fans.”

The Cool Ranch Dorito Locos tacos will be sold for $1.39 each and will have 160 calories with 10g of fat.

Read more at The Celebrity Cafe →

Brazil Rejects Apple’s Bid to Register iPhone Name in Country, Already Belongs to Someone

Brazil Rejects Apple’s Bid to Register iPhone Name in Country, Already Belongs to Someone

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Apple has filed a challenge with Brazil’s INPI trademark and patent office in a bid to secure the right to sell smartphones with the iPhone name in the giant South American country.

In a ruling published Wednesday in its official gazette, INPI rejected Apple’s petition to register the iPhone name for its emblematic handset.

The decision, however, allows Apple to use that trademark for products other than mobile phones, an INPI spokesperson told Efe.

The office said the trademark rights belong to Brazilian consumer electronics firm IGB Eletronica, formerly known as Gradiente, which filed its request to use the “iphone” brand name in Brazil in 2000, seven years before Apple did so upon launching its smartphone.

INPI said in its decision that IGB filed its application first and received approval on Jan. 2, 2008.

The company, which manufactures cellphones and other devices under the Gradiente brand name, began selling its “iphone” line of smartphones last December.

The Brazilian “iphone” uses the Android operating system, which is made by Apple rival Google.

In its petition, Apple argued that Gradiente’s rights had expired because it failed to make use of the trademark in the five years after receiving approval.

The INPI spokesperson said that to avoid losing its trademark rights IGB must show within 60 days that it made use of the trademark between January 2008 and January 2013.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Eurocopter Celebrates 30-Years In Mexico by Investing $550 Million for Expanded Operations

Eurocopter Celebrates 30-Years In Mexico by Investing $550 Million for Expanded Operations

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Eurocopter plans to invest up to $550 million in Mexico over the next few years, the European aviation company’s president and CEO, Lutz Bertling, said.

“Our company is ready to continue investing. We see maximum potential investment of approximately $550 million,” Bertling said during the inauguration of a plant in the central Mexican state of Queretaro.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto attended the ceremony Wednesday at the industrial facility in Colon, a city in Queretaro.

Eurocopter’s total investment will depend on sales in Mexico over the next few years, Bertling said.

Initial investment at the plant in Queretaro totals $100 million, demonstrating “how serious we are about being here in Mexico,” Bertling said.

Eurocopter, which has been in Mexico for 30 years, employs 250 people who provide support to a fleet of more than 450 helicopters operating in Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and northern South America, the executive said.

The French-German-Spanish helicopter manufacturer was created in 1992 via a merger involving France’s Aeropostiale-Matra and Germany’s Daimler Chrysler Aerospace.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Pemex Lends $39.3 Million to Workers’ Union Interest-free

Mexican state-owned oil monopoly Petroleos Mexicanos made a 10-year, interest-free loan for 500 million pesos ($39.3 million) to the union representing its employees, Mexico City daily Reforma reported Thursday.

Pemex sources consulted by Efe declined to comment on the front-page story.

Reforma obtained a copy of the loan deal reached on July 26, 2011, by Pemex’s board, then headed by Juan Jose Suarez Coppel, and the STRM union.

The agreement states that the loan, which was granted to the union on Dec. 8, 2011, is for “home contruction.”

Reforma, however, said that as of Wednesday “the union had not reported any new homes project” and there was no sign that these residences were being built.

The agreement was signed by STRM chief Carlos Romero Deschamps and Pemex executives Ricardo Aldana and Manuel Limon.

Suarez Coppel, who headed Pemex during the 2006-2012 administration of President Felipe Calderon, was replaced in December by Emilio Lozoya Austin once Enrique Peña Nieto assumed the presidency.

Romero Deschamps took the helm of the powerful STRM in 1996 and has remained at his post despite numerous scandals, including “Pemexgate,” which involved the illegal channeling of roughly $39 million in union funds to a political campaign.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Chinese in Costa Rica Break Fried Rice Record

Chinese in Costa Rica Break Fried Rice Record

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It may come as a surprise to those visiting Costa Rica that whether you are in a small town or large city, Chinese food is almost never too far away, thanks in large part to the Chinese living in the country.

In fact, this week, both Chinese and Costa Rican chefs worked together to break the Guinness World Record for largest fried rice ir.

In San Jose, the chefs made enough friend rice to feed about 7,000 people in celebration of the Chinese New Year and the Year of the Snake.

Officially weighing in at 837 kgs (1,845 pounds), the massive batch of fried rice took 52 cooks to manage the enormous wok, which was made especially for this occasion.

In total, 725 kgs of rice, 200 kg of chicken, 120 kgs of ham, 20 kgs of Chinese sausage, hundreds of eggs, and an immeasurable amount of vegetables were used to create the meal.

The idea for the record-breaker came from the Chinese Association of Costa Rica.

One notable Costa Rican-American of Chinese decent is Glee’s Harry Shum, Jr, who plays Mike Chang, also called “Other Asian” by character Sue Sylvester. Shum and his two older sisters were born in Puerto Limón, Costa Rica.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Jessica Alba Announces “Honest Baby” App for Her Eco-Friendly Startup

Jessica Alba Announces “Honest Baby” App for Her Eco-Friendly Startup

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Actress and mother of two, Jessica Alba, recently announced on the Valley Girl Show that her eco-friendly startup, The Honor Company, has released the “Honest Baby” app.

The app, described as a “baby tracker,” allows parents to keep track of a child’s sleep and feeding schedules as well as doctor and other appointments.

Watch the video below to learn more about The Honest Company’s latest app.

Read more by HS News Staff →

International Press Delegation Urges Mexico to Protect Journalists

International Press Delegation Urges Mexico to Protect Journalists

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An international press delegation visiting Mexico has called for more protection for journalists in light of their inability to defend themselves against abuses in the country.

The delegation is made up of members of the International Press Institute, or IPI, and the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, or WAN-IFRA.

Journalists in Mexico “feel defenseless in the face of threats from all kinds of actors,” WAN-IFRA representative Rodrigo Bonilla told Efe.

A total of 82 journalists have been murdered and 18 others have been reported missing since 2005 in Mexico, the Mexican National Human Rights Commission, or CNDH, said in a report released in December.

A total of 658 complaints were received from members of the news media from Jan. 1, 2005, to Nov. 30, 2012, the rights body said.

Both the IPI and Reporters Without Borders, or RSF, ranked Mexico as the fourth most dangerous country in the world for journalists in 2012, trailing only Syria, Somalia and Pakistan.

Some legal progress has been made in the past few months to deal with abuses against journalists, but the concern is that the changes might be delayed, Bonilla and IPI Latin America and Caribbean press freedom representative Scott Griffen said.

“We have immense urgency” regarding the matter of legal protections, Bonilla said.

Former President Felipe Calderon signed the Law for the Protection of Defenders of Human Rights and Journalists on June 22, 2012.

Read more by HS News Staff →

9-Year-old That Gave Birth in Mexico, Raped by Step-Father

9-Year-old That Gave Birth in Mexico, Raped by Step-Father

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The girl who gave birth last month at a hospital here is at least 12 years old - not 9 - and the pregnancy resulted from rape by her step-father, prosecutors in the western Mexican state of Jalisco said.

A Guadalajara hospital disclosed last month that it had treated a girl who became pregnant at the age of 8 and that the likely father was the child’s missing 17-year-old boyfriend.

The young mother, Dafne, was 9 by the time doctors delivered the baby by cesarean, the hospital said.

The initial announcement prompted authorities to get involved.

Subsequent examinations determined that Dafne is between 12 and 13 years old, Jalisco Attorney General Tomas Coronado said, adding that DNA comparisons identified the girl’s step-dad, Abundio Garcia Guadalupe, as the baby’s father.

Garcia Guadalupe was arrested Tuesday, the attorney general said.

Dafne and her baby have been placed in a shelter where the abused young woman will receive assistance and psychological counseling, state authorities said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Major Anti-cybercrime Operation in Spain Results in 11 Arrests

Major Anti-cybercrime Operation in Spain Results in 11 Arrests

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Police arrested 11 people, 10 of them in Spain, in the takedown of a network that intended to infect millions of computers in some 30 countries with a virus, the Spanish Interior Ministry and Europol announced Wednesday.

The 11th suspect, a 27-year-old Russian man, was arrested in the United Arab Emirates.

Spain’s secretary of state for security, Francisco Martinez, and Europol director Rob Wainwright told a press conference how the arrested people sent e-mails bearing the logo of the police as a lure to get users to pay a fine for allegedly accessing illegal Web pages or child pornography.

Spanish police arrested six Russian citizens, two Ukrainians and two Georgians on the Costa del Sol.

Authorities estimate that the group obtained more than 1 million euros ($1.34 million) per year running their fraudulent scheme.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Jon Stewart: Marco Rubio, GOP Are Pandering to Hispanics (VIDEO)

Jon Stewart: Marco Rubio, GOP Are Pandering to Hispanics (VIDEO)

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Though Jon Stewart did joke about Senator Marco Rubio’s water moment he also pointed out the GOP’s pandering to Hispanics following the realization that presidential elections cannot be won without the Latino vote.

After pointing out that those who provide the rebuttal to the State of the Union address tend to see a decline in their career popularity, Stewart said, “This year’s short straw of course went to Florida Senator Marco Rubio, because he is a young dynamic legislator with bold ideas and a rhetorical flair, and uh, also because he’s Hispanic.

“Oh, you don’t think the Republican party would pander to Hispanics that way? You’re probably right.”

He then points out that at Tuesday’s SOTU, Republicans like John McCain stood, smiled and cheered when the President mentioned the need for comprehensive immigration reform. Yet a look back at January 2012’s SOTU, shows McCain unimpressed and refusing to stand with the crowd at the President’s comments on immigration reform.

So what is it, Mr. McCain, are you for or against it? Or is it really just a matter of clapping for future votes because you realize you party is in serious trouble?

And then there was Rubio…

“It was on Rubio…to bring word of this new accepting Republican party, but his performance was, perhaps, too caliente.

“And suddenly the night’s big story was the self-deportation of Marco Rubio’s saliva from the inside of his mouth to the outside of his face.”

Watch Stewart dig in below.

 

Read more by HS News Staff →

American Airlines, US Airways Announce $11 Billion Merger

American Airlines, US Airways Announce $11 Billion Merger

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American Airlines and US Airways said Thursday they planned to merge in a deal worth $11 billion, creating the largest carrier in the United States and bringing an end for now to the wave of consolidation in the airline industry.

The new carrier will operate under the American Airlines name and will be based in Fort Worth, Texas, employing about 94,000 people.

“Operating under the American Airlines name, one of the most recognized brands in the world, the combined airline will have a robust global network and a strong financial foundation,” the airlines said in a statement.

The carrier will have 950 planes, offer 6,500 flights daily, operate nine hubs, carry 187 million passengers annually and generate revenues of nearly $39 billion.

“The merger will offer benefits to both airlines’ customers, communities, employees, investors and creditors. Customers will have access to more choices and increased service across the combined company’s larger worldwide network and through an enhanced oneworld® Alliance, of which American Airlines is a founding member,” the airlines said.

The merger, which has been approved by the boards of both companies, requires regulatory and bankruptcy court approval.

“Thomas Horton, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of American Airlines, will serve as Chairman of the combined airline’s Board of Directors through its first annual meeting of shareholders, and will also serve as the combined airline’s representative to the oneworld Alliance, of which he is currently chairman, and International Air Transport Association for the same duration. Doug Parker, Chairman and CEO of US Airways, will serve as Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Directors,” the airlines said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Billionaire Buddies Carlos Slim and Bill Gates in Mexico to Inaugurate New Bioscience Center

Billionaire Buddies Carlos Slim and Bill Gates in Mexico to Inaugurate New Bioscience Center

Photo: Bill Gates and Carlos Slim in Mexico for CIMMYT

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Bill Gates and Carlos Slim, who control the world’s two largest fortunes, inaugurated a bioscience center in Mexico that will conduct research to improve wheat and corn seeds to fight hunger.

“Of the three principal crops with which we feed ourselves, rice, wheat and corn, the key work on two of them is done here and it’s fantastic to see the renovation that has taken place here,” Bill Gates said during Wednesday’s inauguration ceremony.

Mexico’s non-profit International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, or CIMMYT, was expanded with a $25 million grant from the Fundacion Carlos Slim.

“The new bioscience complex will allow researchers to speed the development of valuable seed, by way of more precise characterization of its genetic traits, such as heat and drought tolerance, disease and pest resistance, and seed health, as well as the nutritional and industrial quality of the grain,” the Fundacion Carlos Slim said in a statement.

The CIMMYT’s renovation was its first makeover since being founded during the Green Revolution in the 1960s.

“This alliance to promote research and development by CIMMYT, with the collaboration of national and international scientists dedicated to improved seed and generating more efficient techniques, is a step toward making this knowledge available to farmers everywhere, particularly small- and intermediate-scale farmers, as well as promoting economic growth, employment, and food self-sufficiency and exports from this sector,” Slim said during the ceremony.

The CIMMYT, 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.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Injury Forces Lady Gaga to Cancel At Least Four Concerts

Injury Forces Lady Gaga to Cancel At Least Four Concerts

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Lady Gaga has been forced to postpone four concerts in her Born This Way Ball tour because of acute joint pain arising from an injury, the singer said on her Web site.

The 26-year-old artist is suffering from synovitis, an inflammation of the joints.

“I am completely devastated and heartsick. I’ve been hiding this injury and pain from my staff for a month, praying it would heal, but after last night’s performance I could not walk,” Lady Gaga said in a statement.

The singer’s Feb. 13-14 shows in Chicago will be rescheduled, along with a Feb. 16 concert in Detroit and a Feb. 17 performance in Hamilton, Ontario.

Gaga also shared the news with her 34 million Twitter followers, tweeting: “It will hopefully heal as soon as possible, I hate this. I hate this so much. I love you and Im sorry.”

Her Born This Way Ball tour kicked off last April in South Korea and has taken the singer all over the world with more than 100 performances so far.

Read more by HS News Staff →

South Africa’s “Blade Runner” Charged with Murdering Girlfriend

South Africa’s “Blade Runner” Charged with Murdering Girlfriend

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South African Olympic track star Oscar Pistorius was indicted Thursday in his homeland on charges of murdering his girlfriend, who was found dead of four gunshot wounds at the athlete’s home in Pretoria, police said.

In comments to reporters outside Pistorius’ home, police spokespersons also denied rumors that the sprinter - famed for competing in the Olympic Games despite two leg amputations - had confused his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, with an intruder.

There were “previous incidents” of domestic violence at the athlete’s home and police officials will oppose bail for Pistorius, who was to be arraigned on Thursday, brigadier Denise Beukes told the Sapa news agency.

Pistorius made history last July in London when he became the first double-amputee track athlete to compete in the Olympic Games. He went on to qualify for the semifinals in the men’s 400 meters.

Nicknamed “Blade Runner” (a reference to the Ridley Scott film and to the fact he runs with high-tech, carbon-fiber prosthetics on both legs), Pistorius has won six Paralympic gold medals.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Andrea Bocelli’s Spanish-Language Album Debuts at #1

Andrea Bocelli’s Spanish-Language Album Debuts at #1

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International superstar Andrea Bocelli debuts #1 in sales in the United States and Puerto Rico with his long awaited Spanish language album.

Filled with romance and beauty, “Pasion” is a lush collection of Mediterranean love songs featuring duets with global pop stars like Jennifer Lopez, Nelly Furtado, and the late Edith Piaf. The album reunites Bocelli with 16-time Grammy Award-winning producer David Foster, who produced Bocelli’s 2006 release “Amor,” which sold more than 4.2 million copies.

“Pasion” is in essence the second volume of “Amor,” with a “fil rouge” which ideally connects the albums. As with “Amor,” which featured timeless masterworks, “Pasion” includes several beloved classics such as “Love Me Tender,” “La Chica de Ipanema,” and “September Morn”.  Jennifer Lopez is featured on the soft and sensual track “Quizás Quizás Quizás”  and Nelly Furtado joins Bocelli on “Corcovado.”  The album also features a duet with the late French chanteuse Edith Piaf on the song “La Vie En Rose.”

On the album, Bocelli sings in six languages (Italian, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Neapolitan) with his unmistakable voice, as Foster accompanies him on piano, along with Peruvian guitarist Ramon Stagnaro. The sensual sound is rounded out by Cuban, Brazilian, and Portuguese rhythms and a 63-piece orchestra recorded in London.

Read more by HS News Staff →

USHLI National Conference Attendees Test “Texting and Driving” Simulator

USHLI National Conference Attendees Test “Texting and Driving” Simulator

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The United States Hispanic Leadership Institute will feature AT&T’s “It Can Wait” campaign during the 2013 USHLI National Conference. Conference attendees will be encouraged to learn more about the dangers of texting while driving and take a pledge to never text behind the wheel again.

The centerpiece of the “It Can Wait” program will be a virtual simulator where drivers can experience firsthand the distractedness caused by texting and driving. “Texting while driving has become a bad habit for many drivers, both young and old,” said Juan Andrade, USHLI President, “It is important to educate drivers that they jeopardize their lives and the lives of their passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians when they look at their phones while driving. I hope that many of our attendees embrace the ‘It Can Wait’ message and pledge to never text and drive again.”

In addition to the simulator, AT&T will sponsor several workshops to highlight the consequences of texting while driving and present strategies to avoid this behavior. More than 6,000 individuals from 40 states are expected to attend the national conference.

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New York City’s “Naked Cowboy” to Wed Patricia Cruz

New York City’s “Naked Cowboy” to Wed Patricia Cruz

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The man known as New York City’s “Naked Cowboy” recently told TMZ he’s about to get hitched.

The bride-to-be is named Patricia Cruz, and the two plan to wed on Friday. The wedding will reportedly be held at the home of the Naked Cowboy’s manager in Los Angeles.

The cowboy, whose real name is Robert Burck, has become a regular (and quite famous) staple in New York’s tourist-filled Times Square.

The Naked Cowboy, who actually isn’t naked, as he does wear underwear and a cowboy hat, owns the trademark to the character and operates it as a franchise. Franchisees must undergo a screening process, and are required to pay Naked Cowboy Enterprises $500 per month or $5,000 per year, which authorizes a person to operate as a “Naked Cowboy” or “Naked Cowgirl”. He picked up the “Naked” name because he plays the guitar which rests in front of him, making him appear naked.

In October 2010, Burck formally announced he would be running for President of the United States and in the 2012 election. He ran as a Tea Part candidate.

He did not win.

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WATCH:  Stephen Colbert’s Witty Take on Marco Rubio’s Thirst Problem (VIDEO)

WATCH:  Stephen Colbert’s Witty Take on Marco Rubio’s Thirst Problem (VIDEO)

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Florida Sen. Marco Rubio was chosen to give the Republican response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address, but while he was speaking, he seemed to suffer a bout of dry mouth. 

There is nothing funny about that but that’s not what Stephen Colbert thinks.  Check out his witty take on Rubio’s thirst challenge.

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Real Madrid Ties Manchester United During Champions League Match

Real Madrid Ties Manchester United During Champions League Match

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Two of the titans of European soccer, Real Madrid and Manchester United, fought to a 1-1 tie here Wednesday in the first leg of their contest for a spot in the Champions League quarterfinals.

More than 83,000 fans - including 5,000 Man United stalwarts who made the trip from Britain - packed into Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu stadium for what promised to be a magical night.

With the Blancos already out of contention for the La Liga crown, Real Madrid players and supporters see the Champions League as a chance to redeem a disappointing season.

The occasion had special significance for Real Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo, who became a star during his years with Man United.

The Blancos carried the play in the early minutes and would have taken the lead in the 6th minute but for a brilliant save by Madrid native David De Gea, who deflected Fabio Coentrao’s shot at the last second.

Taking advantage of poor defending, United’s Danny Welbeck put the visitors ahead in the 20th minute on a header set up by Wayne Rooney’s corner kick.

Real Madrid responded by ramping up its attack, with Angel Di Maria leading several rushes before delivering a cross to Ronaldo, who outjumped Patrice Evra and seemed to hang in the air before beating De Gea with a header to even the score.

The visitors turned cautious after the tying goal.

The Blancos got more chances, but were thwarted again and again by De Gea, whose sterling play on Wednesday may silence some of his critics in England.

The second leg is set for March 5 at Old Trafford.

Borussia Dortmund managed a 2-2 away draw against Shakhtar Donetsk in Wednesday’s other Champions League clash.

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Was Pope Benedict’s Trip to Mexico Reason for Historic Resignation?

Was Pope Benedict’s Trip to Mexico Reason for Historic Resignation?

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Reports coming out of the Vatican indicate Pope Benedict decided to retire after his trip to Mexico-Cuba back in March of last year.  Several reports indicate the 85-year-old Pontiff injured his head when he got up in the middle of the night at Miraflores College where he resided during his visit.

The Vatican has been releasing information about the Pope’s health inclusive of the fact that he had his pacemaker replaced three months ago.  There is focus on Pope Benedict’s health since he announced he was stepping down effective February 28, 2013 – something that had not been done by another Pontiff in almost 600 years.

In spite of the relevation the Vatican denies his accident in Mexico had anything to do with the resignation.  In his announcement to step down the Pontiff cites his “advanced age” as the reason for the historic resignation.

The Pontiff’s five-day visit to Mexico and Cuba was welcomed by very large crowds where he hosted several large open-air masses for hundreds of thousands of followers. 

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Men Confess to Raping Spanish Tourists

Men Confess to Raping Spanish Tourists

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Mexico’s attorney general said Wednesday that six detainees have “fully confessed” to raping six Spanish women in the Pacific port of Acapulco and that one other suspect is being sought in the case.

In a press conference in the resort city, Jesus Murillo Karam said authorities have “clear evidence of their participation” in the rape of the Spanish tourists on Feb. 4 at their bungalow on the outskirts of Acapulco.

The arrests stemmed from “a very serious investigation” and were the product of a joint strategy involving all three levels of government, the attorney general said.

The suspects are between the ages of 16 and 30 and, according to the Federal Police’s inspector general, Vidal Diaz, there is “conclusive” proof of their role in the crime.

In addition to their statements to investigators, “physical and forensic evidence leave no doubt as to their participation,” Diaz said.

One suspect was arrested Tuesday afternoon and the other five Wednesday morning in different parts of Acapulco, while authorities have ruled out the possibility that six other people detained over the weekend were involved in the crime.

Angel Aguirre, the governor of the southern state of Guerrero, where Acapulco is located, had pledged that authorities would find the perpetrators and that no scapegoats or innocent people would be locked up as part the investigation.

“We have acted at all times with a great sense of responsibility, but also efficiently and effectively to erase this bitter episode in Acapulco’s tourist history,” he added.

Gunmen raped the six Spanish tourists in the wee hours of Feb. 4 in Playa Bonfil, located in the eastern section of Acapulco, one of Mexico’s most popular tourist destinations.

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

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

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

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Jessica Alba Steps into Jimmy Kimmel’s “Kissing Booth” (VIDEO)

Jessica Alba Steps into Jimmy Kimmel’s “Kissing Booth” (VIDEO)

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During her appearance on Jimmy Kimmel’s late night talk show, Jessica Alba stepped into his “Celebrity Kissing Booth.”

Though understandably apprehensive, the married mother of two was a good sport and “kissed” as many admirers outside as possible.

It should be noted that no real lip-locking occurred, as there was a glass wall between the singer and the eager puckerers.

Watch the awkwardly hilarious event below.

 

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Tennis Doubles Dream Team of Nadal and Nalbandian Pull Out of Brazil Open

Tennis Doubles Dream Team of Nadal and Nalbandian Pull Out of Brazil Open

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Spain’s Rafael Nadal and Argentina’s David Nalbandian have pulled out of the Brazil Open doubles competition to focus on singles.

Nadal and Nalbandian rallied on Tuesday to win their opening doubles match 6-3, 3-6, 11-9 over the Spanish team of Pablo Andujar and Guillermo Garcia Lopez.

The team withdrew from the doubles competition before their scheduled Wednesday night match against Argentina’s Horacio Zeballos and Austria’s Oliver Marach.

Last Sunday, Zeballos upset Nadal 6-7, 7-6, 6-4 in the final of a clay-court event in Viña del Mar, Chile, Nadal’s first tournament since last year’s Wimbledon.

Nadal and Nalbandian said they wanted to rest and stay fresh for the singles competition.

Nadal, who is the top seed and favorite to win the tournament, plays Brazil’s Joao Souza on Thursday.

Nalbandian, who advanced to the quarterfinals with a 7-5, 5-7, 6-3 win against Chile’s Jorge Aguilar, will play countryman Guido Pella on Thursday.

“It’s a shame that Rafa and I had to pull out of the doubles. It would have been wonderful to once again play before these fans,” Nalbandian said.

A packed crowd of 9,000 spectators gathered at Sao Paulo’s Ibirapuera arena Tuesday evening to watch Nadal in his second tournament back after seven months out of action due to a knee injury and illness.

They nearly went home disappointed when Nadal and Nalbandian, a former world No. 3, trailed 9-7 in the 10-point tiebreaker. But the Spanish-Argentine duo came alive with clutch play to save two match points and then go on to claim the victory.

Nadal went off the ATP tour after 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 Spanish star also is scheduled to play in the Mexican Open, which begins on Feb. 25 in Acapulco, as part of his preparations for the French Open.

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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Eva Mendes to Collaborate With New York & Co. on Seasonal Collection

Eva Mendes to Collaborate With New York & Co. on Seasonal Collection

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New York City-style retailer, New York & Company, and actress and style icon Eva Mendes announced today that they have signed a multi-year agreement to collaborate and create a co-branded seasonal capsule collection available at New York & Company (NY&C) stores nationwide and online beginning Fall ‘13.  Additional terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The to-be-named label will feature apparel and accessory items inspired by Mendes’ own personal style and red carpet looks.  The new collection will include items that take women from office to evening as part of a new strategy for NY&C, which is well known for providing modern multi-functional affordable wear-to-work solutions.

“Eva has immense appeal among women today and she exemplifies modern empowering style. We are thrilled to collaborate with such a fabulous actress, humanitarian and style icon on this new label and overall initiative to expand our offering for shoppers,” said Greg Scott , CEO of NY&C.  “Our mission as a retailer is to help women look great and feel good by delivering fashion-right modern apparel for the workplace.  This collaboration with Eva and the forthcoming collections help us achieve that mission, as well as expand into evening solutions that leverage Eva’s stunning red carpet influences.”

Mendes will collaborate with the NY&C design team to create the seasonal collections, which are expected to feature apparel and accessory items—many of which will transcend day to evening. The line will be delivered four times a year and be priced in line with NY&C’s affordable-fashion pricing commitment for consumers.  The retailer will also develop an ad campaign featuring Mendes wearing her designs.

“I am excited to partner with New York & Company on my first-ever ready-to-wear collection,” said Mendes.  “As a retailer, New York & Company is focused on delivering affordable fashion with the energy, excitement and style of New York City, and I’m thrilled to collaborate with the design team to infuse my personal style and aesthetic into this core direction.  We’ve already begun work on the collection and the creative energy of the whole team is fantastic.  I can’t wait to launch the Fall line and to help women across America feel empowered, glamorous and confident in the way they’re dressed.”

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Latin America News: 7 Colombian Soldiers Killed in Clashes with FARC Guerillas

Latin America News: 7 Colombian Soldiers Killed in Clashes with FARC Guerillas

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Seven Colombian soldiers were killed and five more wounded in clashes with leftist rebels in the southern province of Caqueta, the military told Efe.

“We have seven Colombian soldiers dead,” the source said, adding that the fighting with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, took place in the town of Milan.

Later, an army communique added that five soldiers had been wounded in combat and were taken to a regional hospital.

The army said that troops engaged the rebels after intelligence information revealed that the FARC was about to attack the village of San Antonio de Getucha.

The military added that further intelligence indicated that the FARC “is evacuating an undetermined number of dead and wounded terrorists.”

The fighting comes as the FARC and the Colombian government are engaged in peace talks in Havana with the aim of putting an end to the armed conflict that has beset the country for almost half a century.

On Jan. 20 the FARC ended a unilateral two-month cease fire, after which the rebels intensified their attacks on the army, the police and the civilian population.

Despite that, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has said that he expects to achieve peace with the rebels “willingly or unwillingly.”

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Rio Chooses Vila Isabel Samba School as Carnival Winner

Rio Chooses Vila Isabel Samba School as Carnival Winner

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The Unidos de Vila Isabel samba school was named the winner of the Rio de Janeiro Carnival for its attractive and colorful parade highlighting rural life and the customs of the Brazilian interior.

Vila Isabel, which was the last samba school to parade in Rio’s Sambadrome in the wee hours of Tuesday, obtained 299.7 points out of a maximum score of 300.

It thus beat out the Beija-Flor samba school, which had received a rating of 299.4 for its own parade, by less than half a point.

Despite being the last school to parade, Vila Isabel revved up the crowd with the lyrics and music of its samba as well as with its magnificent floats and costumes making reference to the country’s rural residents, their eating habits, beliefs and popular festivals.

Unidos da Tijuca, last year’s champion samba school, was in third place this time around with 299.2 points.

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Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez Undergoing More Treatment Labeled “Very Complex and Tough”

Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez Undergoing More Treatment Labeled “Very Complex and Tough”

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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is undergoing “very complex and tough” medical treatment in Cuba, where he has been hospitalized since Dec. 11 after undergoing cancer surgery for the fourth time, Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro said Wednesday.

“Our commander is being subjected to supplementary treatment, as we have reported, treatments (that are) very complex and tough,” the V.P. said at an event broadcast by state-run television after announcing that he had just returned from Cuba.

Maduro said that Chavez is “undergoing alternative treatments ... but they are complicated and difficult treatments that must - at some point - end the cycle of his illness.”

Chavez was operated on last Dec. 11 for a tumor in his pelvic region - the specific nature of which has never been made public - but experienced complications as a result of excessive bleeding, the government said.

In the last report provided about the president’s condition, on Jan. 26, Communications Minister Ernesto Villegas said that Chavez’s general progress was “favorable” after overcoming a serious respiratory infection although he continued to have “a certain level of respiratory insufficiency,” for which he was continuing to receive treatment.

Maduro said that he had traveled to Cuba as different top government officials have done - although on this occasion his trip was not announced either before or during his stay on the island - to “first and foremost attend to the commander president’s family.”

He said that on these visits he expresses to Chavez’s family members “the permanent solidarity ... (and) the strength of the entire Venezuelan people.”

Such trips also allow him to “share and exchange” information with Chavez’s medical team.

The Venezuelan leader, 58, who came to power in 1999, has not been seen or heard from publicly since Dec. 10 when Venezuelan state-run television broadcast several images of him before he left Caracas to undergo surgery in Cuba.

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Police Arrest 6 French Soccer Fans After Incidents at Match in Spain

Police Arrest 6 French Soccer Fans After Incidents at Match in Spain

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Six French nationals who traveled to this Mediterranean city for Paris Saint-Germain’s Champions League match with Valencia were arrested after incidents outside the stadium, Spanish police sources told Efe Wednesday.

All six are accused of vandalism, while two also face charges of resisting arrest and disobeying police, who said earlier that they detained two PSG fans for aggression against Valencia supporters.

The French citizens were expected to be formally arraigned later on Wednesday.

PSG beat Valencia 2-1 Tuesday night in the first leg of their matchup in the knockout stage of the Champions League.

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ThursdayFebruary 14, 2013