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SundayFebruary 17, 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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Community Self-Defense Force Leader Missing in Mexico

Community Self-Defense Force Leader Missing in Mexico

Photo: Luis Enrique Granillo

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A man who announced plans last week to form self-defense forces in two cities in Mexico state, which surrounds the Federal District and forms part of the Mexico City metropolitan area, has disappeared, the Notimex news agency reported.

Luis Enrique Granillo, who said last Wednesday that he would form community policing groups in Amatepec and Tlatlaya, is missing, residents said.

Granillo contacted residents Saturday morning to say he is fine but would not be returning to Amatepec for now, Francisco Villa Peasants Popular and Revolutionary Front members said.

Granillo’s whereabouts is unknown despite the call, the front’s members said.

A missing person’s report will be filed soon with the Mexico state Attorney General’s Office, the front’s members said.

Community policing groups have been established across Mexico in recent weeks in response to what people see as the government’s inability to fight crime and protect citizens from a variety of criminal organizations.

Self-defense forces have been created in Guerrero, Oaxaca, Michoacan, Chiapas and other states.

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

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

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

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Orbest Airlines’s Bankruptcy Protection Filling Will Not Affect Travelers

Orbest Airlines’s Bankruptcy Protection Filling Will Not Affect Travelers

Photo: Orbest Airlines

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Flights operated by Orbest airlines are normal and Spanish tourists in Mexico and the Dominican Republic are returning home as scheduled, Spanish tour operator Orizonia, which sought bankruptcy protection last week, said Sunday.

The tour operator’s customers in Mexico’s Riviera Maya and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, are not having problems returning to Spain despite Orizonia’s filing for protection from creditors on Friday, a company spokesman told Efe.

The only problems have occurred at the hotels where tourists are staying, but only two groups of 14 and 20 people, respectively, have been affected, not the 700 mentioned in some reports, the Orizonia spokesman said.

Some tourists arrived at the hotels and found that managers wanted to charge them for lodging again because they did not want to wait for the tour operator to pay them, the Orizonia spokesman said.

These are “very isolated” cases and are being dealt with, the company spokesman said.

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9-Year-Old Boy Murdered in Mexico

9-Year-Old Boy Murdered in Mexico

Photo: Scene of accident

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A 9-year-old boy was murdered in the western Mexican state of Jalisco, officials said.

Elpidio Vega was reported missing last Wednesday and was found two days later in a field in his hometown of Acatic with a gunshot wound to the back of the head, the Jalisco Public Safety Secretariat said.

The boy’s mother, Maria Luisa Hernandez, identified his body and told investigators he was not home when she arrived from work on Wednesday, the secretariat said.

The victim left his backpack at home and it was unclear where he had gone, the woman told police.

The boy, who was involved in robbing houses, was addicted to inhalants and was carrying a bag with the substances when he was killed, investigators said.

The boy came from a troubled family, police said.

Elpidio’s father is serving time in prison and his 13-year-old brother has been arrested several times for burglary and threatening to kill his mother, who earns a living by salvaging items from the municipal garbage dump, police said.

No arrests have been made in connection with the boy’s murder, officials said.

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Rihanna Unveils Eclectic Collection at London Fashion Week

Rihanna Unveils Eclectic Collection at London Fashion Week

Photo: Rihanna's collection at fashion week

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Singer Rihanna unveiled a new women’s collection at London Fashion Week that features tight-fitting sexy garments.

The singer’s participation in the event this weekend had generated tremendous buzz after fashionistas learned recently that she had cut a deal with River Island.

The fashion show Saturday night at central London’s Old Sorting Office did not end until the early hours of Sunday.

Models walked the runway in highly tailored designs, posing in various compartments set up for the audience to get a good look at the collection.

Rihanna’s River Island collection features short, tight dresses in a variety of colors, as well as tiny tops and boots with high heels.

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Pope Benedict Requests Prayers From Followers

Pope Benedict Requests Prayers From Followers

Photo: Pope Benedict XVI

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More than 100,000 people gathered Sunday, the first Sunday of Lent, in St. Peter’s Square for Pope Benedict XVI’s next-to-last Angelus prayer, listening attentively as the pontiff asked them to pray for him.

“In this year of faith, Lent is a favorable time to rediscover the faith in God as the basic criterion of our life and the life of the church,” the pope said.

Benedict XVI announced last Monday that he planned to step down from the papacy on Feb. 28, becoming the first pope to resign in nearly 600 years.

The bishop of Rome urged the faithful to not use God for their own material gain.

The papal conclave to elect the successor to Pope Benedict XVI could begin prior to March 15 if all the cardinal electors are in Rome before that date, Vatican Press Office director Federico Lombardi said Saturday.

Under the Holy See’s constitution, the conclave should begin between 15 and 20 days after the papacy becomes vacant to give time for all of the cardinals to arrive in Rome, Lombardi said.

The pope will travel on Feb. 28 to the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, some 30 kilometers (18 miles) from Rome, and will stay there until restoration work has been completed on a monastery within the Vatican that will serve as his retirement home, the Vatican Press Office director said.

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Elections Underway in Ecuador, President Correa Seeks Reelection

Elections Underway in Ecuador, President Correa Seeks Reelection

Photo: Elections in Ecuador

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Ecuador is holding general elections on Sunday, with the focus of the vote on President Rafael Correa, who is facing off against seven challengers in his bid for re-election.

“We should all guard the transparency of the process to make this process the most inclusive and transparent in the country’s history,” Correa said after voting at a school in Quito.

Correa is taking on former banker Guillermo Lasso, former President Lucio Gutierrez, former Cabinet minister Alberto Acosta, banana mogul Alvaro Noboa, evangelical minister Nelson Zavala, former city official Norman Wray and attorney Mauricio Rodas in the presidential race.

“Citizens have their futures in their hands” and should “exercise the right to vote with absolute responsibility and with infinite love,” Correa said.

A total of 1,432 candidates, including the eight presidential hopefuls, are vying for the offices up for grabs in Sunday’s general elections.

Observers from different organizations, including the Organization of American States, or OAS, and the Union of South American Nations, or Unasur, are in Ecuador to monitor the vote.

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Chilean Actress Paulina Garcia Celebrates Festival Win and Film Success

Chilean Actress Paulina Garcia Celebrates Festival Win and Film Success

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Chilean actress Paulina Garcia, who won the best actress award at the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival for her role in director Sebastian Lelio’s film “Gloria,” said that like the main character in the movie, she was a mature woman with no hang-ups.

“Work is hard to get for female actors if they are older, if they are fat, if they are ugly, if they do not fit the Hollywood ideal of beauty or the cinema industry’s ideal of beauty. It’s hard for all of them and I don’t have advice,” Garcia said in a press conference after winning the Silver Bear for Best Actress at the Berlinale on Saturday.

The screenwriters were responsible for creating the lead role in “Gloria” because “there was tremendous confidence on the part of Sebastian Lelio and Gonzalo Maza,” Garcia said.

“I do not have any advice. I work like a dog, I work a whole lot, every day of my life,” the 52-year-old actress said.

Up next is a resumption of a vacation in Sicily that was interrupted for the awards ceremony in Berlin and then a return home to Chile “to work a lot, like Gloria, who works,” Garcia said.

“I am very happy because Paulina is Gloria and Gloria is the film,” Lelio said.

The film, which is about a woman approaching 60 who tries to live life with intensity and a positive attitude, won the Competition Prize of the Ecumenical Jury and the Guild of German Art House Cinemas’ prize.

The triumph of “Gloria” marks the return of Chile to the Berlinale, in which it had not competed since 1991, when Ricardo Larrain’s “La Frontera” won the Opera Prima Award.

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Synthetic Pot Linked to Kidney Failure

Synthetic Pot Linked to Kidney Failure

Photo: Synthetic Marijuana

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The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has linked synthetic marijuana to sixteen cases of unexplained kidney failure.

On Thursday, a new study reported that a specific chemical was found in the marijuana that is responsible for serious side effects, reports KGW.com.

“The chemical is linked directly to kidney failure,” said Dr. Robert Hendrickson of The Oregon Poison Center at OHSU.

Synthetic marijuana, also known as K2 or Spice, is made by spraying hundreds of chemicals onto dried herbs.

“We knew that spice was dangerous. It’s not a safe alternative to marijuana,” said report author Dr. Schwartz of the National Center for the Environmental Health’s Office of Environmental Health Emergencies, reported in ABCNews. “As newer compounds come out in spice products, there is the risk of unpredicatable toxicities.”

Regarding the sixteen cases of kidney failure- the patients, all but one being male, ranged from the ages of 15 to 33, and all had healthy kidneys before any complications.

All patients were hospitalized, and five needed kidney dialysis treatments.

Doctors urge people to stay away from these “dangerous” products.

Read more at The Celebrity Cafe →

New “Bionic Eye” Device Helps Blind People See

New “Bionic Eye” Device Helps Blind People See

Photo: Argus II system

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A “bionic eye” has just been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to help those who are completely blind to see again, to a certain extent.

The Argus II system is for people diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a rare genetic disorder that damages and kills light-processing cells in the retina. This particular condition affects about 100,000 Americans, reports Time.

This system, which is being used in Europe, looks like a futuristic pair of glasses and is accompanied by a cyborg eye implant. This implant takes video camera images and transforms them into electrochemical signals for the brain to then interpret, states LiveScience.com.

Not including implant surgery or training, this Argus II system costs about $150,000.

Although it cannot make a blind person completely see again, it can help these people identify between light and dark and even boundaries of objects.

“Ten or twenty years ago, people wouldn’t think of the possibility of a bionic eye, and now it’s something that is possible,” said Grace Shen, director of the retinal diseases program at the National Eye Institute.

Dr. Mark S. Humayun, an ophthalmologist and biomedical engineer at the University of Southern California, is responsible for developing the Argus II system and has been working on this device for the past twenty years.

Read more at The Celebrity Cafe →

INFOGRAPHIC: How do First and Second Generation Hispanic Americans Compare?

INFOGRAPHIC: How do First and Second Generation  Hispanic Americans Compare?

Photo: Hispanically Speaking News

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Half of the 44 million immigrants who have come to the United States since 1965 have been from Latin America.  Currently, there are 50.3 million Hispanics living in the U.S. and studies show that Hispanics will represent an even larger percentage of the total population in only a few years. 

As first and second generations of Hispanic Americans thrive in the U.S., PewResearch has created a report comparing numerous socioeconomic factors between these two groups.

Check out Hispanically Speaking News’ infographic representing this information.

Image

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Python Challenge Ends After 68 Captured in the Everglades

Python Challenge Ends After 68 Captured in the Everglades

Photo: Burmese pythons

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The controversial contest, organized by Florida authorities to raise awareness about the problem of an overpopulation of Burmese pythons in the Everglades, ended with the capture of 68 specimens in one month, including one that was 4.35 meters (14 feet 3 inches) long.

The results were announced Saturday by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission during the prize giving ceremony at the Miami Metro Zoo.

The top prizes were those of $1,500 for catching the most pythons and $1,000 for catching the biggest one.

The largest snake was nabbed by Brian Barrows, who brought in a python 4.35 meters (14 feet 3 inches) long, while Ruben Ramirez got the most with a total of 18 specimens.

The biggest Burmese python ever caught in the Everglades was a female trapped last August that was 5.36 meters (17 feet 7 inches) long.

The almost 1,600 participants had a month to explore the roughly 6,000 square kilometers (2,300 square miles) of wetlands in Everglades National Park in search of the pythons.

“Thanks to the determination of Python Challenge competitors, we are able to gather invaluable information that will help refine and focus combined efforts to control pythons in the Everglades,” FWC Executive Director Nick Wiley said at the awards ceremony.

As many as 100,000 Burmese pythons are estimated to be in the Everglades, where they have all but wiped out native species in some areas. The problem stems from python owners who abandoned their pets in the vast “River of Grass.”

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Avian Flu Outbreak in Mexico Worries Authorities

Mexican authorities decreed a health emergency due to an outbreak of avian flu in the central state of Guanajuato, where some 582,000 domestic fowl exposed to the virus could be slaughtered to eradicate it, officials said.

The Sagarpa agriculture secretariat said in a communique Friday that technicians of the National Food Health, Safety and Quality Service, or Senasica, confirmed “the presence of the H7 avian flu virus on seven farms of the Bachoco company in Guanajuato.

Sagarpa said that since Wednesday night an emergency prevention operation has been in force due to the increased mortality from “suspected avian flu,” so that tecnicians were sent to inspect the Bachoco farms in the Guanajuato municipalities of Dolores Hidalgo and San Luis de la Paz.

Official laboratories said that clinical diagnoses “will determine the number of poultry that must be slaughtered to eradicate the outbreak.”

Mexican authorities said the outbreak “will not affect the national supply of poultry products,” since Mexico has 137 million laying hens, of which 2.8 million are in Guanajuato, or 2.35 percent of the total.

They also said that this virus is exclusive to birds and represents no risks to humans.

Last June saw an outbreak of the same virus that led authorities and producers to slaughter more than 22 million affected poultry.

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Mexican Oil Field Produced 865,000 Barrels Per Day in December

Mexican Oil Field Produced 865,000 Barrels Per Day in December

Photo: Pemex plant at Ku-Maloob-Zaap

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Output at Ku-Maloob-Zaap, Mexico’s most productive oil field, climbed to a record high of 865,000 barrels per day in December, state-owned oil monopoly Petroleos Mexicanos said.

Located offshore in the Bay of Campeche, the field accounts for roughly a third of Mexico’s total oil production of 2.57 million bpd.

“With a total of 170 oil-producing wells in operation, this field achieved record-high production in December of 865,000 bpd and 349 million cubic feet of gas,” Pemex said in a statement Friday.

The state-owned company, which has a monopoly on crude production and distribution of petroleum products in Mexico, said Ku-Maloob-Zaap is being developed under a “rigorous” and “exemplary” management plan.

The Ku-Maloob-Zaap complex comprises heavy-crude-producing fields with the Mayan names Ku, Maloob, Zaap, Bacab and Lum and was discovered between 1980 and 1991.

Pemex ranks as the world’s fifth-largest oil company by output and 13th biggest in terms of reserves.

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Bomb Detonated in Crowded Market Kills 63 in Pakistan

Bomb Detonated in Crowded Market Kills 63 in Pakistan

Photo: Pakistan

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At least 63 people died and some 200 were wounded Saturday in a bomb attack at a busy outdoor market in the western Pakistani city of Quetta, according to a report by the online daily Down citing the city’s chief of police.

Quetta police chief Mir Zubair Mehmood, who provided the figures, also told the daily that many women and children were among the victims.

The blast in the capital of the strife-torn province of Baluchistan took place at mid-afternoon and was followed by an exchange of gunfire.

The residential area where the bomb was detonated is majority Shiite, which indicates a possible sectarian attack.

Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf denounced the attack in a statement, saying that “terrorists will not break the will of the Pakistani people through such despicable actions.”

A report early this year by a Pakistani-based think tank said sectarian strife, especially violence targeting the Shiite minority in Baluchistan, rose substantially in 2012.

Quetta suffered one of the bloodiest days in the city’s history on Jan. 10, when three attacks killed more than 100 people, 90 of whom died in a double bombing of a snooker club in a Shiite Muslim neighborhood.

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Drugs for Neglected Diseases Wins Carlos Slim Health Award

Drugs for Neglected Diseases Wins Carlos Slim Health Award

Photo: Instituto Carlos Slim de la Salud

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The Latin American office of the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative won a Carlos Slim Award in Health, which carries a $100,000 cash prize, for its work and achievements in developing new treatments for disregarded patients, the institution said.

“We’re very happy to receive this prize, which acknowledges the efforts of DNDi in researching the neglected diseases of the Americas,” Eric Stobbaerts, executive director of the organization in Latin America, told Efe by telephone from Rio de Janeiro.

He said that “neglected diseases” are those that are largely ignored by giant pharmaceutical labs because they mostly affect poor people in developing countries, which means there is little commercial incentive for developing medicines to treat them.

Illnesses such as sleeping sickness, malaria, Chagas disease, leishmaniasis and filariasis cause high mortality rates and threaten millions of people in countries where they are endemic.

While some neglected diseases are life-threatening, others cause and perpetuate poverty, with entire populations and countries caught in a vicious circle in which the people, including children, get sick and are unable to study or work, creating ever more disastrous financial and educational situations, DNDi said in a communique.

“We hope this award sets a precedent for boosting further commitments for health innovations in Latin America,” the director of the Mexico City-based Carlos Slim Health Institute, Roberto Tapia, said.

“It is a call to encourage more actors to come together and increase discovery and development of new health innovations for poor, marginalized, and forgotten people whose health needs continue to be neglected,” he added.

Founded six years ago by Mexican multi-billionaire Carlos Slim, the institute is a non-profit organization that focuses on key health issues affecting the most vulnerable populations of Mexico, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

The Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative, created by Medecins sans Frontieres, the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation of Brazil, the Indian Council of Medical Research, the Kenya Medical Research Institute, the Ministry of Health of Malaysia and France’s Pasteur Institute, was honored in the Outstanding Institution category.

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SundayFebruary 17, 2013