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France’s Julien Benneteau scored the biggest upset of this week’s ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam, knocking off top seed and world No. 2 Roger Federer 6-3, 7-5 Friday in the quarterfinals.
Benneteau, who is ranked No. 39 and has never won an ATP Tour singles title, caught the Swiss great on an off day to score one of the biggest victories of his career.
The 39th-ranked Frenchman showcased an especially effective return game, winning two-thirds of Federer’s second-serve points and breaking the Swiss great’s serve five times.
Friday’s win was Benneteau’s second over Federer in six matches, the other having come at the 2009 Paris Masters. Federer had won their two previous contests, both played last year on grass.
Federer - winner of this Netherlands indoor hard-court event in 2005 and 2012 - had not lost before the semifinals since last year’s U.S. Open, when he was eliminated in the quarterfinal stage by Czech Tomas Berdych.
The 17-time Grand Slam champion has not lost prior to the quarterfinals since a third-round defeat to American Andy Roddick at last year’s Miami Masters.
In Saturday’s semifinals, Benneteau will take on the winner of Friday’s late match between countryman Gilles Simon and Slovak Martin Klizan.
The other semifinal will pit second-seeded Argentine Juan Martin del Potro against Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov.
Spain’s Cervantes Institute and Mexico’s largest university held talks here Friday on an accord to collaborate in promoting the Spanish language and Ibero-American culture in the United States.
Cervantes director Victor Garcia de la Concha and No. 2 Rafael Rodriguez-Ponga met in Madrid with two top officials from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, or UNAM, Francisco J. Trigo Tavera and Roberto Castañon Romo.
The institute and UNAM began working together in 2003.
Focused mainly on the United States, the new initiative would aim to train teachers of Spanish as a second language, offer internationally recognized certification of competence in the language and create courses on the history and culture of Spain and Latin America.
UNAM has extension schools in the U.S. cities of San Antonio, Los Angeles, Chicago and Seattle, as well as delegations in Canada and China.
The Cervantes Institute is present in 86 cities - including New York, Chicago, Albuquerque, Boston, Seattle and Santa Fe in the United States - across 43 countries.
A viral video of a Brazilian father pranking his son has been causing quite a bit of controversy since hitting the web.
In the video uploaded to YouTube a father gives his son what he tells him is a Kinder Surprise Egg (a candy egg). When the boy tries to bite it open he finds it harder than usual. At his father’s insistence, the boy tries again and the egg breaks.
Immediately, the boy realizes the egg his father had given him was not candy, but rather a real, uncooked egg.
The father and others in the room laugh as the boy cries.
Since going viral, many have claimed the prank was dangerous and not a joke, but rather bullying by the boy’s own family. Others defend the video saying it was just a joke and the boy appeared to be fine.
So what do you think? Was the father’s prank horribly cruel, or was it just a harmless joke?
The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, the only national organization working on behalf the 24 million Latinas, their families and communities in the U.S., released the following statement on the Centers for Disease Control studies on emergency contraception use and birth control use over time:
“Latinas face higher rates of unintended pregnancy, and we know that Latinas often skip taking birth control because of cost. These results underscore our community’s continuing need for expanded access to contraception, including emergency contraception and highly effective methods like intrauterine devices.
“These studies show that Latinas are more likely than their white peers to use emergency contraception because of unprotected sex, that Latinas are less likely to use highly effective methods of reversible birth control and more likely to have never used a condom during sex. Taken together, these studies clearly highlight a continuing need to expand access to all methods of contraception for Latinas.”
The study noted 59 percent of Latinas reported using emergency contraception because they had unprotected sex, compared with 43 percent of white women. Only 75 percent of foreign-born Latinas and 89 percent of U.S.-born Latinas have had a partner use a condom during sexual intercourse, compared with considerably higher statistics for white (96.5 percent) and black (95.7 percent) women.
A Colorado Senate committee passed Friday a bill to allow qualified undocumented college students to pay in-state tuition at public universities.
With a 4-3 vote, the Appropriations Committee sent SB 13-33 to the full Senate, where debate on the bill will begin Feb. 22.
An analysis made by the Senate estimates that the measure could benefit some 500 undocumented college students.
On Jan.25, the senatorial Education Committee also backed this measure by 6-3, with one Republican joining five Democrats in the “yes” column.
Presidents of several Colorado universities and community colleges have come out in favor of the proposal.
Unlike previous bills, SB 13-33 does not create an “intermediate level” of tuitions nor offers discounts on school fees for certain undocumented college students, but instead authorizes universities to classify anyone who graduates from a Colorado high school as a state resident.
Another difference from previous proposals is that SB 13-33 allows students who benefit from this law to receive financial aid from the universities they attend.
Argentine soccer icon Diego Armando Maradona said Friday from Dubai that he will be in Buenos Aires soon to “acknowledge” his new son, Diego Fernando, born here this week to the former player’s ex-girlfriend.
“As soon as my work obligations allow, I will travel to acknowledge Dieguito; he won’t lack anything,” the retired superstar said in a statement his lawyer delivered to America television in Buenos Aires.
“I want to make it clear that I made my own decisions and I will go on making them, always taking responsibility for them,” the 52-year-old Maradona said.
Veronica Ojeda gave birth to Diego Fernando late Wednesday night at a clinic in Buenos Aires.
The boy is the fourth child of Diego Armando Maradona, who led Argentina to victory in the 1986 World Cup and now works in Dubai as a consultant to companies that organize sporting events.
Maradona senior has two adult daughters with former spouse Claudia Villafañe and a son born out of wedlock in Italy in 1986.
He is also the grandfather of Benjamin, the offspring of his daughter Giannina and rising soccer star Sergio “Kun” Aguero.
Peruvian authorities in Rimac believe Anita Ramirez Bambaren had been dead for more than 10 days. The spouse would not let authorities in when they tried to enter; when they did they found the elderly man in shock and severely malnutritioned. Some are reporting he might of stopped eating when his life-long partner died.
The couple had lived together at La Avendia El Sol for over 15-years and had not been seen in recent days.
Currently Garcia Domingez is in the Arzobispo Loayza Hospital recovering.
U.S. President Barack Obama awarded posthumously on Friday Presidential Citizens Medals to the six educators who died along with 20 of their students in the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
“They could have focused on their own safety, on their own wellbeing. But they didn’t. They gave their lives to protect the precious children in their care. They gave all they had for the most innocent and helpless among us,” Obama said during a ceremony at the White House.
Family members of the Sandy Hook principal Dawn Hochsprung, school psychologist Mary Sherlach and teachers Vicki Soto, Lauren Rousseau, Rachel D’Avino and Anne Marie Murphy were on hand to accept the medals.
The president has used the Sandy Hook massacre to spur Congress to pass measures controlling gun sales.
The six teachers and 12 other recipients of the second-highest honor for civilians after the Medal of Freedom were chosen from among 6,000 people who have “performed exemplary deeds of service for their country or their fellow citizens.”
Soto, known for her charisma and devotion to children’s education, will always be remembered as the teacher who hid her students in a closet to protect them from the bloodbath unleashed on the school by Adam Lanza.
“For those of us in Newtown, these six educators are heroines for their extraordinary acts of courage, just remembering it brings tears to my eyes. We know that many more children would have died if it hadn’t been for thoses acts of courage,” Newtown Mayor Patricia E. Llodra told Efe.
“I’m happy to be here representing the community…Vicky Soto, you see her picture and you find a loving, wonderful, happy young Puerto Rican woman that we had the good luck to have as a teacher, and we feel her loss” so deeply, the mayor said.
The Presidential Citizens Medal was established in 1969.
Now that the weekend is finally upon us, let’s take a look at the what’s playing in theaters right now.
A Good Day to Die Hard
-Stars: Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Sebastian Koch
-Genre: Action (It’s a Bruce Willis film!)
-The gist: Bruce Willis returns as butt-kicker John McClane in the fifth (yeah, there have been that many) installment in the Die Hard film series. This time he heads to Russia to help his son Jack (up-and-comer Jai Courtney) who he think needs some direction in his life. John has no idea his son is highly-trained CIA operative trying to stop a nuclear weapons heist. Two McClanes? How did we get to lucky?
-Stars: Alden Ehrenreich, Alice Englert, Jeremy Irons, Viola Davis, Emmy Rossum
-Genre: Romance with a side of supernatural/fantasy thrown in
-The gist: This Twilight-esque film does have a few similarities to the powerhouse franchise: New girl falls for cute small town native and they have “interesting” families that try to keep them apart, but let’s let it stand on its own. Based on the novel of the same name - Beautiful Creatures tells the story of Ethan Wate and Lena Duchannes, who meet when she moves to Ethan’s small town. As he finds himself inexplicably drawn to Lena, the two learn their families have rather interesting pasts.
Escape From Planet Earth
-Stars: Brendan Fraser (voice), Jessica Alba (voice), Sarah Jessica Parker (voice), Rob Corddry (voice), William Shatner (voice)
-Genre: Animated space comedy (3D)
-The gist: This animated family comedy begins on planet Baab where admired astronaut Scorch Supernova (Fraser) is a national hero to the blue alien population. A master of daring rescues, Scorch pulls off astonishing feats with the quiet aid of his nerdy, by-the-rules brother, Gary (Corddry), head of mission control at BASA. When BASA’s no-nonsense chief Lena (Alba) informs the brothers of an SOS from a notoriously dangerous planet, Scorch rejects Gary’s warnings and bounds off for yet another exciting mission. But when Scorch finds himself caught in a fiendish trap set by the evil Shanker (Shatner) it’s up to scrawny, risk-adverse Gary to do the real rescuing.
-Stars: Jude Law, Rooney Mara, Channing Tatum, Catherine Zeta-Jones
-Genre: Drama, Thriller
-The gist: After her husband (Tatum) is released from prison, Emily Taylor (Mara) has serious emotional episodes and is prescribed drugs. The side effects, however, prove increasingly serious, and both her life and that of the doctor who prescribed the drugs (Law) take a dark very turn.
-Stars: Julanne Hough, Josh Duhamel, Cobie Smulders, David Lyons
-Genre- Romance, Drama, Thriller
-The gist: This is based on a Nicholas Sparks novel, so be sure to bring tissues and prepare for feelings of “I want a love like that.” Katie (Hough) arrives in Southport, North Carolina looking to escape her mysterious past. She soon meets widower Alex (Duhamel). She soon finds she must choose to confront the frightening past that sent her running across the country or take off again, losing a once-in-a-lifetime chance at love.
-Stars: Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy, John Cho, Amanda Peet, Jon Favreau
-The gist: Think a Planes, Trains and Automobiles-type comedy duo with more cursing, and a less believable story. Still, this film will make you laugh simply because Bateman and McCarthy are too good not to laugh at. Identity Thief follows mild-mannered businessman Sandy Patterson (Bateman) as he travels from Denver to Miami to confront the deceptively harmless-looking woman, Diana (McCarthy), who has been living it up after stealing his identity.
Yet to hit theaters is the film adaptation of Rudulfo Anaya’s controversial novel “Bless Me, Ultima.” Bless Me, Ultima is a turbulent coming-of-age story about Antonio Marez (Luke Ganalon), a young boy growing up in New Mexico during World War II. When a mysterious medicine woman named Ultima (Miriam Colon) comes to live with his family, she teaches him about the power of the spiritual world. As their relationship grows, Antonio begins to question the strict Catholic doctrine that he has been taught by his parents (Dolores Heredia and Benito Martinez). Through a series of mysterious and at times terrifying events Antonio must grapple with questions about his own destiny, the relationship between good vs. evil and ultimately how to reconcile Ultima’s powers with those of the God of his church.
Watch the trailer for Bless Me, Ultima below.
Opening on February 22 and also starring Dolores Heredia and Benito Martinez as Antonio’s parents, Bless Me, Ultima looks to be an original story among predictable story lines and sequels.
The European Union on Friday approved tighter controls on beef within its member states to determine the extent to which horsemeat is being fraudulently labeled as beef and sold to consumers.
The 27-member bloc also gave the green light for tests to determine whether horsemeat found at slaughterhouses contains residues of phenylbutazone, an anti-inflammatory drug used to treat horses that is potentially harmful to people.
The EU member states backed the recommendation presented Wednesday by the European Commission following an informal meeting of representatives of the countries affected by the scandal to date: Britain, France, the Netherlands, Poland, Luxembourg, Romania and Sweden.
Two types of tests are to be conducted, one involving DNA controls to determine whether horsemeat is being used in processed foods such as lasagna or Bolognese sauce.
DNA testing will be carried out on 2,250 processed beef samples, including 150 each in Spain, France, Britain, Italy, Germany and Poland, EU spokespersons said. Between 10 and 100 controls will take place in the rest of the bloc’s member states.
The second test will aim to detect if horsemeat found at slaughterhouses contains residues of phenylbutazone, whose use in food-producing animals is prohibited.
One sample must be gathered per 50 tons of meat and each country must carry out at least five tests, the commission said.
The controls will take place in March with a view to obtaining results by April 15.
Based on the test results, Brussels will decide whether to recommend longer-term measures.
When you ask Chicagoans Roberto Duran, Pedro Castro and Alejandro Pantoja what they do for a living be prepared for an answer that will put a smile on your face.
Not only are these men window washers, they are also Super Heroes especially to the sick children at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital located in downtown Chicago. The three men are employed by Corporate Cleaning Services, Chicago’s largest all-union window washing company. When called to hero duty they don super hero suits and scale the massive structure, squeegee in hand.
You would think just scaling the massive skyscraper building would be enough to be considered a hero.
Watch out for them this weekend at Children’s some of you might be lucky enough to see them in action.
After the Grammy Awards on Sunday, Selena Gomez was spotted with long-time friend Alfredo Flores.
The young and increasingly successful director/editor and Gomez were spotted walking arm-in-arm at the Warner Music Group/InStyle Grammy after-party. The two were heading into West Hollywood’s Chateau Marmont when paparazzi started snapping photos.
Flores is also friends with Justin Bieber, who Gomez dated for almost 2 years before calling it quits for the last time last month. During the summer of 2010, Flores worked on Bieber’s “My World Tour” and filmed a lot of the behind-the-scenes footage used in Bieber’s 3D movie “Never Say Never.”
This is also not the first time Flores and Gomez were seen hanging out. Back in July, they were seen at fellow Disney alum Ashley Tisdale’s birthday party on a beach in Malibu. They’ve also been seen together partying on NYE, and at the AMAs in 2011.
So what do you think? Has Selena moved on from the Biebs and found a new man, or are they just friends, as reported by E! Online?
A former Peruvian police officer wanted in his native country for weapons trafficking was handed over to authorities in Lima late Wednesday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) following his capture in Stockton, Calif.
Hector Antonio Llontop-Novoa, 51, was repatriated to Peru on board a commercial aircraft accompanied by Sacramento-based officers with ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO). Upon arriving in Lima, the ERO officers handed Llontop-Novoa over to awaiting officials from the Peruvian National Police (PNP).
In July 2010, Interpol’s U.S. National Central Bureau received a “red notice” indicating Llontop-Novoa was the subject of a criminal warrant issued by Peru charging him with a “national security offense.” Specifically, Peruvian authorities allege that in July 2000 while Llontop-Novoa was serving as a captain with the PNP he supplied government small arms to a criminal or terrorist organization. The weapons were purportedly used in an armed assault that occurred in Peru Aug. 29, 2000.
Less than a month after the attack, U.S. Department of Homeland Security databases indicate Llontop-Novoa entered the United States on a visitor’s visa and subsequently received an extension authorizing him to remain in the country through Sept. 2001.
In April 2011, after receiving information indicating the Peruvian fugitive might be in northern California, the U.S. Marshals Service sought ICE’s assistance to locate and capture him. Llontop-Novoa was taken into custody May 17, 2011, by ERO’s Sacramento-based Fugitive Operations Team and officers from the U.S. Marshals Service. Â
This week’s repatriation is the culmination of a nearly two-year effort by ICE to gain Llontop-Novoa’s removal. Following his capture, ICE placed Llontop-Novoa in removal proceedings and an immigration judge ordered him deported in June 2012. He appealed the decision, but the Board of Immigration Appeals dismissed the appeal late last year, paving the way for his removal.
“Criminals who seek to escape responsibility for their actions by fleeing to the United States will find no sanctuary here,” said Michael Vaughn, assistant field office director for ERO Sacramento. “As this case makes clear, ICE is working closely with its law enforcement counterparts here and overseas to promote public safety and hold criminals accountable â€“ no matter where they commit their crimes.”
Colombia’s FARC rebels on Friday released two police officers taken prisoner last month, the International Committee of the Red Cross said.
The handover took place in a rural area of the southwestern province of Cauca and the former captives, Cristian Camilo Yate and Victor Alfonso Gonzalez, are “in good health,” the ICRC’s Bogota office said in a statement.
Members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, delivered the two officers to representatives of the ICRC and the organization Colombians for Peace.
The release was broadcast live on Venezuela-based cable network Telesur.
The leader of Colombians for Peace, former Sen. Piedad Cordoba, said during she and the rest of the humanitarian delegation would be leaving later Friday for the site where the FARC plans to hand over an army officer captured on Jan. 31.
Josue Meneses is expected to be freed on Saturday in Nariño province, Cordoba said.
Policeman Yate thanked Cordoba, the Red Cross and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos for their efforts to secure his release.
The two police officers were supposed to be freed Thursday, but the FARC aborted the handover, complaining of too large a media presence near the designated site.
The Santos government and the FARC are currently engaged in talks aimed at ending Colombia’s decades-long internal conflict.
Mexican rockers Cafe Tacvba will be on hand for the 4th Green Festival of Musical Culture on Feb. 23 in Ciudad del Saber on the banks of the Panama Canal.
Known for supporting conservationist activities, Cafe Tacvba will share the stage with fellow Mexicans of the Telefunka group plus colleagues from Chile, Colombia and Panama, festival organizers said.
The Green Festival has established itself as an occasion for promoting environmental sustainability based on criteria for its efficient organization, development and production.
Besides Cafe Tacvba and Telefunka, this fourth edition of the festival will feature Chile’s Astro, Colombia’s Monsieur Perine and Alfonso Espriella, and the Panamanians Cienfue, Carlos Mendez, Pureza Natural, Orquesta Garash, Os Almirantes, Calibre 57 and Dj Rhythm X, organizers said.
The 4,229 exhausted passengers and crew on the disabled cruise ship Triumph are now on their way home from Mobile, Alabama, where they disembarked in the wee hours Friday after almost five grueling days at sea in the Gulf of Mexico.
“The 3,143 passengers have now disembarked that were on the Triumph and were taken to hotels or picked up by family members who were waiting for them at the dock” in Mobile, Joyce Oliva, spokeswoman for Carnival Cruise Lines, told Efe on Friday.
Many passengers got off the ship bundled up in their bathrobes, having never imagined they would need warm clothing when they sailed Feb. 7 from Galveston, Texas, on what was supposed to be a four-day cruise.
Television coverage showed the cruise ship in the port of Mobile with passengers standing on the decks and balconies, some bearing signs slamming the disastrous voyage and all celebrating their arrival with joy and excitement.
The passengers and 1,086 crew members saw all their plans for a pleasant cruise turned upside down last Sunday when fire crippled the ship’s propulsion and air conditioning.
Conditions on board became more intolerable by the minute - only about a score of toilets were working, there were practically no hot meals and getting food meant waiting in line for hours.
Some passengers kissed the ground as soon as the got off the cruise ship while others noted the calm with which they had survived the whole ordeal, saying it was only a minority who spoke indignantly to the media about the horrible filth and smell of the corridors and the suspect state of the unrefrigerated food.
Immigrants accepted into the immigration program “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” in the state of North Carolina will be granted driving privileges. The state is now in compliance with its State Attorney that opined that young undocumented immigrants were eligible to drive under state statues.
In January, North Carolina DMV temporarily suspended issuing driver’s licenses to the undocumented young people who received the reprieve from deportation under the federal Deferred Action program.
Immigrants who qualified for the deferred action were brought into the country undocumented through no fault of their own but rather more than likely traveling with their undocumented parents.
Going to college has become a losing proposition for a growing number of minority youth in Colorado who find themselves burdened with student debt in an economy that is short on good-paying jobs.
“I know several people, including two very close friends, who ... have degrees, but also have a lot of debt and because they can’t find work, they end up mowing lawns,” Jason Chavez, a business administration student at a Denver university, told Efe.
“They earn the same as before (they went to college), but they have more debts. I don’t want that to happen to me,” he said.
To avoid such a fate, the 28-year-old Chavez put off going to college, chose a university that offers reduced tuition and continues to work “almost full-time” while taking classes.
Jason, who opens to start his own long-distance trucking company, is also putting away money in hopes of enabling his younger siblings to attend college full-time without working.
That goal, however, appears to be increasingly difficult to achieve in Colorado, according to the report Measuring Opportunities for Working Families, released Thursday by the Bell Policy Center, a nonpartisan social science research organization.
Though the state’s unemployment and poverty rates are slightly below the national averages, the number of Colorado working families living below the poverty line swelled by nearly 50 percent from 2004 to 2012.
“As changes in the job market have made some level of post-secondary education and training more essential, higher education has become significantly less affordable and less accessible to low-income families,” the report notes.
The relatively low numbers of minority adults pursuing post-secondary education “highlight a serious weakness in Colorado’s educational system and are indicative of the institutional barriers and competitive disadvantages low-income and minority Coloradans face in attempting to achieve self-sufficiency and upward economic mobility,” the authors say.
A large meteorite exploded Friday over an sparsely populated region of Russia’s Ural Mountains, leaving nearly 1,000 injured and sparking panic.
The rare event occurred just hours before an asteroid was due to pass Earth at a distance of just 27,000 kilometers (16,800 miles).
“There were several dozen quite large fragments (of the meteorite), several of which fell to Earth,” local news agencies quoted Emergency Situations Minister Vladimir Puchkov as saying.
Russian scientists have set up a laboratory in the area to study the fragments of the so-called “Chelyabinsk Meteor,” a reference to the region of the Urals where the incident occurred.
The director of the astronomical observatory at Irkutsk State University, Sergei Yazev, said the meteorite weighed nearly 50 tons, while other experts said it had a diameter of between one and several meters (yards).
Some scientists have linked the fallen meteorite to the estimated 45-meter (150-foot) diameter 2012 DA14 asteroid that is due to pass Earth on Friday and, according to NASA, is the largest predicted Earth approach for an object that large.
The meteorite streaked across the sky some 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the town of Satka at around 9:20 a.m. and broke up. The shockwave from the explosion affected several adjacent regions and even parts of the neighboring Central Asian country of Kazakhstan.
According to Chelyabinsk Oblast Gov. Mikhail Yurevich, some 950 people were injured by falling meteorite fragments, while several thousand homes were affected by the shockwave.
The Russian Health Ministry, for its part, said two people are in serious condition and 22 others in moderately serious condition, mostly due to injuries caused by flying glass.
The Catholic Church through its Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) are urging Catholics to contact their members of Congress to “reemphasize the Church’s message that Congress has a responsibility to reduce our nation’s deficits, but must do so in ways that ensures help for people living in poverty, both at home and abroad and to fix our broken immigration system.”
The Catholic Social Ministry Gathering just concluded in Washington where the Church directly advocated for issues deemed important to their followers inclusive of comprehensive immigration reform and the needs of the poor.
USCCB has also made a direct appeal to leaders in Washington to support for comprehensive immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in the country, a focus on reuniting families, improved temporary worker programs and addressing the root causes of why people are compelled to leave their home countries.
The Venezuelan government released on Friday the first photographs of President Hugo Chavez since Dec. 10, the day before he underwent a fourth operation in Cuba for the cancer he has been battling for 20 months.
Science Minister Jorge Arreaza, the president’s son-in-law, displayed the images during a national television appearance.
Chavez, clad in a Venezuelan military academy warm-up suit, is seen lying in a Havana hospital bed reading the Feb. 14 edition of Cuban Communist Party daily Granma.
The 58-year-old president, his face slightly swollen, is smiling as his two adult daughters stand on either side of the bed.
The pictures were taken Thursday night, Arreaza said after Communication Minister Ernesto Villegas relayed the latest medical bulletin from Havana.
Though the respiratory infection that developed after the Dec. 11 surgery is under control, Chavez still needs a tracheal tube to assist his breathing and the tube makes it difficult for him to speak, Villegas said.
Even so, the minister said, Chavez “is conscious, with his intellectual functions intact, in close communication with his government team and dealing with the fundamental tasks inherent to his office.”
The leftist head of state was first diagnosed with cancer in his pelvic area during a June 2011 official visit to Cuba. Since then, he has submitted to four operations and courses of chemotherapy and radiation.
In office since 1999, Chavez was re-elected last October and is due to serve until January 2019.
The two brothers who make up the Spanish duo Estopa find themselves “more inspired than ever” to create and share music with the public.
“Time gives you the power to assimilate what you’re doing,” while allowing you “to enjoy each concert and each song 100 percent,” Jose Manuel Muñoz said during an interview with Efe in Mexico City.
Estopa is in “the best stage” of it career, older brother David chimed in.
Among the “many goals and dreams” they have reached, the brothers are very proud that major Spanish artists such as Ana Belen and Joaquin Sabina have performed Estopa compositions.
David and Jose Manuel were in Mexico City to announce dates for an upcoming tour of Mexico and Colombia featuring material from their latest album, “Estopa 2.0,” whose title is meant both to evoke their eponymous 1999 debut disc and herald the start of a new phase for the duo.
At a press conference following the interview, the pair performed four songs from the tour repertoire.
Spanish airline Iberia announced that more than 1,200 flights will be grounded next week, when workers are scheduled to go on strike to protest a restructuring plan that includes 3,807 layoffs.
A total of 415, or 39 percent, of Iberia’s 1,062 scheduled flights are to be grounded, while its subsidiaries - Vueling, Air Nostrum and Iberia Express - will cancel a combined total of more than 800 flights due to a loss of ground assistance normally provided by the Iberia Airport Services division.
Unions representing ground staff and cabin crew have announced plans for strikes on 15 days to protest the restructuring package, which includes plans to eliminate 3,807 jobs, or 19 percent of Iberia’s workforce, this year.
The first five days of strikes are to take place next week and the rest between March 4-8 and March 18-22.
Of the planned Iberia cancelations, 19 correspond to long-haul flights, 190 to medium-haul flights and 206 to short-range domestic routes.
A total of 354 Vueling, 357 Air Nostrum and 96 Iberia Express flights also will be grounded next week.
Iberia on Tuesday presented details of a layoff plan first announced last year and urged labor unions to call off the scheduled strikes.
“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, the parent company of British Airways and Iberia, said in a statement.
The U.S. federal government has dismantled 26 drug-smuggling tunnels in this town on the border with Mexico over the past three years, the most recent of which was discovered this week.
Federal authorities on Wednesday found a cross-border tunnel that had just been completed on the Arizona side, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a press release.
Officers with a multi-agency tunnel task force were conducting surveillance in Nogales around noon when they observed a van that was parked approximately 200 yards from a pedestrian port of entry.
After noticing suspicious activity, they approached the vehicle and found that it was loaded with more than a score of marijuana bundles.
Two men near the van tried to escape on foot but were apprehended near the tunnel, which begins in the front yard of a home in Nogales, Mexico, runs under the international boundary and exits on an embankment at the south end of Nelson Ave. in Nogales, Arizona.
The passageway is approximately 68 feet long and has an average width of two feet.
A combined total of more than 50 bundles of marijuana weighing 1,210 pounds were found inside the van and the tunnel.
Investigators suspect the passageway was completed on the same day it was discovered. Authorities had dismantled another cross-border, drug-smuggling tunnel in the same location in March 2012.
The Web site for MiniBar, located in Washington’s Penn Quarter, says that diners should prepare themselves “for a once-in-a-lifetime experience that pushes the limits of what’s possible with food.”
Jose Andres has a dozen restaurants in the United States and on Friday will inaugurate a new cocktail bar named barmini, which will be an extension of MiniBar and pay “homage to the golden era of cocktails and forgotten techniques.”
During a Capitol Hill briefing and panel discussion with congressional leaders, Excelencia in Education today released the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-funded white paper “Using A Latino Lens To Reimagine Aid Design And Delivery.”
Excelencia in Education is the only Latino-focused organization among the 16 selected by the Gates Foundation to inform their national discussion about redesigning federal financial aid.
“Federal financial aid is currently structured with traditional students in mind, but post-traditional students are a growing proportion of those seeking college degrees,” said Deborah Santiago, Excelencia in Education’s vice president for policy and research, and author of the white paper. Using the profile of America’s young and growing Latino population as the baseline, rather than the footnote, to define the post-traditional student, we are providing a fresh perspective on financial aid policy for all students.”
Excelencia in Education’s research demonstrates that Latinos are more likely to be post-traditional students who, for example, enroll at a community college, take courses part-time while working, study online and at multiple institutions, live off-campus with family, and take more than four years to complete a degree. Therefore, by examining financial aid through a Latino lens, policymakers can redesign a federal financial aid system that is more relevant and effective for students of all backgrounds.
One Bruno Mars superfan sent Ellen a video asking her to help get the singer to take her to prom. Unfortunately, Mars’ schedule wouldn’t allow him to go to her prom, but that didn’t stop him from surprising her anyway.
On Wednesday, Ellen threw the best prom ever right on her stage so Mars’ superfan, Emily Torres, could have her special date with the singer. After his hilarious entrance, Mars presented his fan with a beautiful bouquet of roses. Mars also hooked Emily up with a Gucci (yes, Gucci) prom dress and four tickets to his concert when he comes to her town.
During the show, Mars also announced his “Moonshine Jungle World Tour” would be kicking off this summer in North America before he heads off to Europe in the fall.
Check out the announcement and the adorable prom below.
Babies as young as seven months can distinguish between, and begin to learn, two languages with vastly different grammatical structures, according to new research from the University of British Columbia and Université Paris Descartes.
Published today in the journal Nature Communications and presented at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Boston, the study shows that infants in bilingual environments use pitch and duration cues to discriminate between languages – such as English and Japanese – with opposite word orders.
In English, a function word comes before a content word (the dog, his hat, with friends, for example) and the duration of the content word is longer, while in Japanese or Hindi, the order is reversed, and the pitch of the content word higher.
“By as early as seven months, babies are sensitive to these differences and use these as cues to tell the languages apart,” says UBC psychologist Janet Werker, co-author of the study.
Previous research by Werker and Judit Gervain, a linguist at the Université Paris Descartes and co-author of the new study, showed that babies use frequency of words in speech to discern their significance.
Egyptian archaeologists have discovered several Greek and Roman tombs dating from as early as 332 B.C. in the Al-Qabari district of the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, the Ministry of State for Antiquities said Thursday.
The ministry said in a statement that it suspected antiquities might be found at a planned construction site for a public service building and dispatched a team of experts who found the burial chambers there.
The tombs have two stories and some parts are submerged in subterranean water.
Al-Qabari is considered a major archaeological zone because it is home to the necropolis of Alexandria and numerous other ancient tombs have been found there.
The newly discovered tombs do not contain mummies or skeletons and were used to bury citizens who were not high-ranking officials.
The remains of the great Chilean poet and Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda, will be exhumed as part of a murder investigation.
Neruda died in 1973 and since 1992 is buried in his home museum alongside his wife Matilde Urrutia on Isla Negra.
His fans and the public in general were led to believe he died from complications of prostate cancer. The murder investigation, which started last year, was prompted by the Community Party of Chile which believes Neruda, a former member, was poisoned on orders of dictator Augusto Pinochet.
Neruda, 69 at the time, was hospitalized during the Chilean coup led by Pinochet and many suspected he was poisoned by lethal injection while hospitalized for his cancer treatment. Now we will find out if that is true.
The investigation continues despite an Aug. 30, 2012 report from the medical examiner’s office that pointed to prostate cancer as the proximate cause of Neruda’s death. Neruda had suffered from cancer for several years before he died on September 23, 1973.