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MondayFebruary 18, 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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Filmmaker Pedro Almodovar New Face of Galeries Lafayette Menswear

Filmmaker Pedro Almodovar New Face of Galeries Lafayette Menswear

Photo: Filmmaker Pedro Almodovar New Face of Galeries Lafayette Menswear

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Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar will be the new image of the celebrated Galeries Lafayette in its upcoming ad campaign for menswear, the company said here Monday.

The director will appear on a poster for the exclusive French department store in a photo taken by Jean-Paul Goude for the campaign that will launch late next month, Galeries Lafayette said in a communique.

It said that his “extraordinary personality,” his “avant-garde spirit and awareness of style” make him a perfect fit for the chain store’s philosophy.

In the advertising, Almodovar appears standing in front of a director’s chair holding the script of his next movie, “I’m So Excited” (“Los Amantes Pasajeros” in Spanish), which will premiere in France next month.

Goude said he was inspired by the world of Ballets Russes creator Serge Diaghilev in designing the photo.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Western Conference Wins 2013 NBC All-Star Game

Western Conference Wins 2013 NBC All-Star Game

Photo: 2013 NBC All-Star Game Win Goes to Western Conference

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Kevin Durant and Chris Paul shined as on the court the Western Conference topped the East 143-138, but it was retired superstar Michael Jordan, who remained largely out of sight and avoided the media, dominated NBA All-Star Weekend.

Jordan, who turned 50 on Sunday, was in Houston for the festivities and enjoyed a private birthday celebration.

Though the winner of six NBA championships was not scheduled to take part in any of the All-Star events, the disappointment at his absence was palpable in Houston’s Toyota Center.

Paul, with 20 points and 15 assists, was named MVP of the All-Star clash, while his Los Angeles Clippers teammate Blake Griffin scored 19.

Oklahoma City’s Durant led the Western Conference in scoring with 30 points.

While it was the West’s third win in a row and their fourth in five years, the Eastern Conference retains a 36-26 advantage in the series.

Gloria Reuben and John Legend, respectively, sang the Canadian and U.S. national anthems before tip-off and Alicia Keys provided the entertainment during the intermission as Beyonce, star of the Super Bowl halftime extravaganza, watched from court side.

David Stern, who plans to step down Feb. 1, 2014, presided over his last All-Star Weekend as NBA commissioner.

In his 29 years as the league’s top official, the 70-year-old Stern has transformed the NBA into a $4 billion a year international enterprise.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Chicago Local Theatrical Treasure ‘Halcyon’ to Honor Henry Godinez in Its ‘Night of Flight’

Chicago Local Theatrical Treasure ‘Halcyon’ to Honor Henry Godinez in Its ‘Night of Flight’

Photo: Halcyon Theatre's Night of Flight, Chicago

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Chicago’s local theatrical treasure, Halcyon, is planning on honoring Henry Godinez at its ‘Night of Flight’ celebration.

Henry Godinez is the resident artistic associate at Goodman Theatre and the curator of the Latino Theatre Festival. Most recently at the Goodman, he directed Karen Zacarías’ The Sins of Sor Juana as part of the fifth Latino Theatre Festival in 2010.

The celebratory event is planned for Friday, March 9th and will honor other standouts in Chicago theatre.  For more information on attending this celebration click here.

Based in Chicago, Halcyon Theatre was formed in 2006 to connect people, transform our borders and ascend toward a more just union.

The theatre’s artistic philosophy is driven by their continuing belief that at “every point of human history where there has been an explosion of artistic creativity, it has happened when different cultures and traditions have met and learned from each other.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Environmentalists to EU: Stop Allowing Companies to Buy Carbon Credits

Environmentalists to EU: Stop Allowing Companies to Buy Carbon Credits

Photo: Environmentalists to EU: Stop Allowing Companies to Buy Carbon Credits

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More than 75 environmental organizations on Monday urged the European Parliament to end the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme, launched seven years ago as a market-oriented way of reducing pollution and greenhouse gases.

The parliament is due to vote Tuesday on a plan by the European Commission to overhaul the ETS with the aim of reversing the trend that has seen the price of carbon permits plummet 75 percent in the last five years.

Instead of reducing discharges of CO2, the ETS has “diverted attention from the need to transform the system’s dependency on fossil fuels and growing consumption, resulting in increased emissions,” according to Joanna Cabello of Carbon Trade Watch.

Belen Balanya, of the Corporate Europe Observatory, noted the “great economic cost” that the ETS system signifies for the European citizen, while criticizing the fact that “big polluters” like Arcellor Mittal and Lafage rake in windfall profits for the sale of permits.

On Jan. 24, the European Parliament’s Industry, Research and Energy Committee approved by a vote of 42-18 a largely symbolic motion opposing the commission’s proposed reforms of ETS.

The parliament’s Environment Committee, which has jurisdiction in the matter, will again put the commission’s plan to a vote on Tuesday.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Marco Rubio’s “Watergate” Spoofed on ‘SNL’ (VIDEO)

Marco Rubio’s “Watergate” Spoofed on ‘SNL’ (VIDEO)

Photo: Marco Rubio's "Watergate" Spoofed on 'SNL'

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It should come as no surprise that NBC’s Saturday Night Live just couldn’t resist spoofing Florida Senator Marco Rubio’s now infamous “Watergate” incident following the President’s State of the Union address.

Watch SNL’s “interview” with Sen. Rubio below.

 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Church in Mexico Has ‘Traffic Signal’ to Tell Worshippers If It’s Safe to Leave

Church in Mexico Has ‘Traffic Signal’ to Tell Worshippers If It’s Safe to Leave

Photo: Church in Mexico Has 'Traffic Signal' to Tell Worshippers If It's Safe Outside

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Red means, STOP.

A church in Mexico has installed a ‘traffic signal’ inside the place of worship in an attempt to keep parishioners safe from the constant violence outside its walls.

Monterrey’s St. Teresa of Avila Church has installed a three-light signal inside the church so worshipers can safely exit the church, as shootouts and armed robberies have been on the rise.

Though Monterrey is Nuevo Leon’s wealthiest and third largest city, it has not been saved from the violence and crime that plagues many Mexican towns.

The lights:

Green – there is no danger presently outside the church
Yellow – use caution when leaving the church
Red – danger is present, it is not safe to leave


Worshippers are also protected from gun fire while inside the church by concrete blocks stacked half way up the windows.

In recent years, the cartel war between Los Zetas and the Gulf cartel has caused the violence in Monterrey to spike.

Since 2006, Mexico has seen at least 70,000 drug-related deaths.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Shoddy Court Process Behind the Record Number of Deportations

Shoddy Court Process Behind the Record Number of Deportations

Photo: Court Proceedings

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The Obama Administration is on record for pursuing the toughest immigration enforcement policies in U.S. history, mostly evidenced by its record numbers of deportations.  These numbers speak volumes:  last year, nearly 400,000 people were deported from the United States.  While these numbers are shockingly high and there has been much discussion about how these actions tear families and communities apart, there has also been an under-reporting of the unfair and often expedited process that leads to the deportation of hundreds of thousands of people each year.  In fact, two-thirds of the individuals removed are done so without ever seeing the inside of an immigration courtroom and are not accorded many other basic due process protections.

Hundreds of thousands of individuals are removed without any opportunity to see an immigration judge.

Congress has authorized the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – which includes Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers in the interior and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at and near the border – to initiate regular removal proceedings against noncitizens.  In those cases, the person is brought to immigration court, DHS serves as the prosecutor, and an immigration judge – who must be a lawyer – conducts a hearing, considers the evidence, and renders a decision.  The decision is appealable to the Board of Immigration Appeals, and if the Board upholds the removal order, the person has the right to seek federal court review of the Board’s decision.  This is the normal process.

However, DHS also has authority to side-step the immigration court process in limited situations and unilaterally and summarily order someone removed. These situations are becoming more of the norm than was ever intended and now account for the overwhelming majority of removals.  One type of summary proceeding is called “expedited removal,” which takes place at the border when a noncitizen is seeking admission, but does not have authorization to enter the United States.  The name is apt, as “expedited removal” takes place without any hearing and involves few procedural protections.  In contrast to immigration court proceedings, in the expedited removal process, the DHS officer is both the prosecutor and judge (i.e., decides to initiate proceedings and makes the final determination).  But unlike immigration judges, immigration officers need not be lawyers or have any formal training in the law.  Further, a person subject to expedited removal is not afforded access to legal counsel, even counsel they have privately retained.  There is no right to appeal the decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals, and federal court review is extremely limited.  In essence, it is a summary process with little oversight.

The absence of meaningful federal court oversight is particularly problematic given that there are so few procedural protections in place to ensure a proper decision.  A case now pending in federal court highlights how crucial federal court review is.  Martha Ledesma has been living in the United States since 1991.  She was placed in immigration court proceedings and was contesting her removal.  While her case was pending, she traveled briefly to Mexico.  Upon return, CBP issued an expedited removal order against her.  She maintains that CBP exceeded its authority in issuing the expedited removal order while immigration court proceedings were ongoing.  CBP ignored her claim.  She then brought this claim to federal court, but the government is arguing that she has no right to seek court review of the expedited removal decision, regardless whether CBP’s actions were unlawful.  This month, the American Immigration Council, in collaboration with the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild and the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project submitted an amicus brief to the federal court arguing that that not only did the government exceed its limited authority to issue an expedited removal order against Ms. Ledesma, but the court must have authority to address the issue.

The outcome of this case will have real life consequences for Ms. Ledesma:  unless CBP’s decision is overturned, she will be deprived of an opportunity to challenge her deportation.  She also will be subject to the harsh consequences of removal.  Individuals with expedited removal orders are subject to the same consequences as those who are ordered removed by an immigration judge.  That means that they may be barred from returning to the United States – in some cases, the bar is permanent – and subject to criminal and immigration penalties if they were to attempt re-entry.

Congress understandably made clear that summary removal processes, including expedited removal, are to be used only in limited situations and regular proceedings before an immigration judge should continue to be the norm.  Yet the opposite has proven true.  Hundreds of thousands of individuals are removed without any opportunity to see an immigration judge.  As Congress begins debating immigration reform, it must take a closer look at the process behind the removal numbers.  Even modest steps, such as providing hearings, access to counsel, and federal court review would go a long way to bringing integrity to an enforcement system defined by the numbers and not by any assurances that justice has been done.

Read more at Immigration Impact →

LATINO BLOTTER: Colombian Wife Pours Boiling Water on Husband’s Genitals After Learning he Cheated

LATINO BLOTTER: Colombian Wife Pours Boiling Water on Husband’s Genitals After Learning he Cheated

Photo: Colombian Wife Pours Boiling Water on Husband's Genitals After Learning he Cheated

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Police are still looking for a Colombian woman who poured boiling water on her husband’s genitals as he slept.

On Tuesday, Yolivel Lopez allegedly poured boiling water on to the lap of her sleeping husband, Nefer Netan, after learning he had cheated on her.

Netan had reportedly been out drinking with friends before returning to his home in Martinez, Colombia early Tuesday morning. When he returned he fell asleep and that’s when an angry Lopez put a pot on the stove and began boiling water.

What Netan had not realized was that Lopez had recently gotten a call from his alleged mistress who claimed she and Netan had just had sex.

Enraged, as Netan slept, Lopez carried the pot of water into the bedroom and poured the boiling water onto her husband’s genitals.

Neighbors later told police Netan’s screams could be heard across Martinez.

Netan was taken to the hospital, though doctors told Colombia’s El Meridiano his genitals were “utterly destroyed.”

Neighbors say they have not seen Lopez since the incident.


Read more bizarre news here.

Read more by HS News Staff →

FashionWeek Madrid Launches

FashionWeek Madrid Launches

Photo: FashionWeek Madrid 2013

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Aware that women want clothes that are long-lasting, versatile and very wearable, designers at the 57th Mercedes-Benz FashionWeek Madrid have unveiled apparel that is salable, restrained and coherent.

After a season away from the Madrid runway, Nuria Sarda came back with a collection marked by softer, subtler styles compared with her sometimes ostentatious past creations.

Meanwhile Francis Montesonos did some time-traveling to retrieve for opening day his best designs of the 1980s, a period when the designer used “made in Spain” as a fashion statement.

A fashion that was a cult which also extended to music, art and culture in general, and which must be resurrected to combat Spain’s present economic crisis, he said.

Coherent and refined was the collection of Teresa Helbig, a designer who shunted aside handcrafted embroidery to adorn her pieces with geometric figures of methacrylate. “Maybe my collection is more complicated,” she told Efe.

Inspired by “the geometric lines and optical illusions of op-art,” Helbig has constructed a collection of warm, elegant clothing for women who are “sophisticated and sure of themselves.”

In the early afternoon, Miguel Palacio made the dress the backbone of his style for the coming season, a piece that brings back a feminine silhouette with “big shoulders, straight and uplifted,” to give the collection a 1980s air.

To the rhythm of the rapper Eminem, Palacio presented a commercial collection for Hoss Intropia.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Canadian Engineer Remains Captive by Colombian Guerillas

Canadian Engineer Remains Captive by Colombian Guerillas

Photo: ELN Guerilla Group, Colombia

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The smaller of Colombia’s two main guerrilla groups said Monday that a Canadian mining engineer abducted last month will remain a captive.

About 25 members of the National Liberation Army, or ELN, stormed the Snow Mine camp in the northern province of Bolivar and took six people prisoner, including the Canadian and two Peruvian nationals.

The ELN handed over the other five hostages to the International Red Cross last Friday.

Jernoc Wobert, a 47-year-old engineer, remains in the custody of the guerrillas.

He is a vice president of Geo Explorer, a subcontractor of Canada’s Braeval Mining Corporation, which operates the Snow Mine project.

The ELN linked its decision to hold onto Wobert to unhappiness over the presence of foreign mining companies in Colombia.

“The mining concessions ... originally were granted to the communities of traditional miners who live there, but due to maneuvers of corrupt intermediaries, those concessions ended up in the hands of the Canadian firm, based in Toronto, which hired engineer Wobert and sent him to Colombia,” the ELN said in a statement dated Feb. 15.

Colombian military officials estimate the ELN has some 1,500 combatants.

Read more by HS News Staff →

President Chavez Remains Ill, Returns to Venezuela

President Chavez Remains Ill, Returns to Venezuela

Photo: President Chavez Remains Ill, Returns to Venezuela

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President Hugo Chavez returned to Venezuela early Monday after spending more than two months in Cuba due to complications that followed a Dec. 11 cancer surgery in Havana.

Arriving unannounced in the wee hours, he went directly from the airport to a military hospital in Caracas to begin the next phase of what has already been a 20-month-long battle against the illness.

“We have returned to the Venezuelan homeland. Thank you, God! Thank you, beloved people! We will continue the treatment here,” Chavez, 58, said on Twitter.

The doctors who have overseen Chavez’s care since the cancer was first diagnosed in June 2011 accompanied the leftist head of state to Caracas, Vice President Nicolas Maduro told state television.

The president’s return marks a defeat for the “voices of doom” in Venezuela who accused the government of lying about Chavez’s condition, Communication Minister Ernesto Villegas said.

It was just days ago that Venezuelan authorities released the first photos of Chavez in two months.

The images show Chavez, clad in a Venezuelan military academy warm-up suit, lying in a hospital bed reading the Feb. 14 edition of Cuban Communist Party daily Granma with his two adult daughters at his side.

The president has undergone four operations as well as courses of chemotherapy and radiation to eliminate the cancer.

In office since 1999, Chavez was re-elected last October and is due to serve until January 2019.

Venezuela’s Supreme Court said Chavez could miss the scheduled Jan. 10 inauguration and be sworn-in later and that Maduro could continue as acting head of state pending the president’s recovery.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mother of Former Argentine President and Mother-in-Law to Pres. Cristina Fernandez Mourned

Mother of Former Argentine President and Mother-in-Law to Pres. Cristina Fernandez Mourned

Photo: Mother-in-law of President Cristina Fernandez Dies

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Argentine President Cristina Fernandez interrupted her agenda for two days due to the death of the mother of the head of state’s predecessor and late husband, Nestor Kirchner, officials said Monday.

Maria Juana Ostoic died Sunday in Buenos Aires at the age of 92.

Ostoic was admitted to a hospital in the Argentine capital last November and had been under the care of Alicia Kirchner, the sister of Nestor and social development minister in Fernandez’s cabinet.

Ostoic was born in the Chilean town of Punta Arenas, where she lived until 1945, when she met Argentine Carlos Kirchner, whom she married and with whom she had three children: Alicia, Nestor and Maria Cristina.

Her remains were to be transported on Monday to the mausoleum in the remote southern city of Rio Gallegos, where they will be interred along with those of Nestor Kirchner, who died of a heart attack in October 2010.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Man in Uruguay Killed by Lightning in Resort Town

Man in Uruguay Killed by Lightning in Resort Town

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A 24-year-old man was struck and killed by lightning while enjoying an outing at the popular Montoya beach in Barra de Maldonado, one of the most upscale districts in the Uruguayan resort city of Punta del Este, media reports said Sunday.

Luciano Montemurro, a Uruguayan citizen, died instantly when lightning struck his beach umbrella.

Several other people nearby sustained burns, but no one else was seriously injured.

A severe weather warning is in effect this weekend in Uruguay’s southern and eastern coastal areas due to the powerful thunderstorms affecting many areas of the country, the weather service said in a bulletin.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Brazilian Communist Protest Cuban Dissident Blogger Yoani Sanchez

Brazilian Communist Protest Cuban Dissident Blogger Yoani Sanchez

Photo: Yoani Sanchez in Brazil

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Cuban dissident Yoani Sanchez was received Monday with protests by a group of militant communists at the airport in the northeastern Brazilian city of Salvador.

A score of people waited for Sanchez at the Luis Eduardo Magalhaes airport with posters on which they had written “mercenary,” an epithet Cuba’s Communist government frequently hurls at dissidents.

A similar situation occurred earlier at the Recife airport, where Sanchez arrived on a flight from Panama and was welcomed by filmmaker Dado Galvao, her host in Brazil.

“According to Unicef, there are 140 million malnourished children in the world. None of them is Cuban,” said one of the signs carried by leftist militants in Recife, where a roughly equal number of people turned up to praise Sanchez’s “struggle for democracy” and demand “freedom for Cuba.”

When asked about these incidents, Sanchez told reporters that “that’s how democracy is and should be, the same democracy that we want for Cuba.”

“Regrettably, in Cuba thinking differently is punished and having an opinion against the government brings terrible consequences, arbitrary imprisonment and ongoing monitoring,” she said.

Sanchez said that while she was somewhat “concerned” about family members who remained behind in Havana, she was sure that she would not receive “bad news” during her 80-day trip through about 10 countries because “there have been some advances in terms of rights,” like the immigration reform that had allowed her to leave her country after she was denied an exit permit on 20 separate occasions.

She said, however, that “the dreamed-of reform, which is that of freedom of association and freedom of expression, apparently is not going to be achieved so soon.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

First Day of Iberia Strike Results in Arrests

First Day of Iberia Strike Results in Arrests

Photo: Iberia Woes Continue

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The first day of a strike by employees of Spanish airline Iberia to protest a restructuring plan that includes 3,807 layoffs led to the arrest of five people at Madrid’s Barajas International Airport.

Unions representing ground staff and cabin crew have announced plans for strikes on 15 days against a plan that envisions the elimination of 19 percent of Iberia’s workforce in the course of this year.

Some 8,000 Iberia workers gathered at Barajas, but what was intended to be a demonstration outside Terminal 4 quickly became a takeover inside the facility after protesters broke through the police cordon.

Workers occupied the terminal with a sit-in during which they chanted slogans like “the dismantling of Iberia” and also against “English piracy,” a reference to the 2011 merger of the Spanish company with British Airways.

For three hours there were verbal clashes and several scuffles with the more than 300 police deployed at the scene, leaving one person injured and five others in custody.

Iberia announced that more than 1,200 flights will be grounded this week due to the strike.

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.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Buddha Sculptures Arrive in Chicago’s Latino Neighborhoods Promoting Peace

Buddha Sculptures Arrive in Chicago’s Latino Neighborhoods Promoting Peace

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This month residents in Chicago’s Hispanic communities will notice Buddha sculptures emerging in various locations throughout the neighborhood. These sculptures are part of ‘Ten Thousand Ripples’, a large public art exhibit, promoting peace by artist Indira Johnson.

The public art will be on exhibit in Pilsen, Little Village and Back of the Yards. On the lower southwest side, Pilsen has been the traditional port of entry for Mexican immigrants for nearly 50 years. Further southwest is Little Village or “La Villita,” the city’s largest Mexican-American neighborhoods. according to CMW.

At the center of the exhibit are 100 fiberglass and resin Buddha sculptures designed by lead artist Indira Johnson that are being installed in 10 Chicago neighborhoods. Johnson’s peaceful Buddha “emerging” out of the ground materializes in urban neighborhoods to create conversations on peace, art and social issues.

Each of these neighborhoods will receive 10 Buddha sculptures.

ElevArte Community Studio will be providing free arts programming around this public art exhibit to create dialogue on peace with the community.

For information on where the Buddha’s are located go to www.elevartestudio.org.

Read more by HS News Staff →

BRAZIL OPEN: Nadal Beats Argentine Nalbandian, Grabs Title

BRAZIL OPEN: Nadal Beats Argentine Nalbandian, Grabs Title

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Spain’s Rafael Nadal beat Argentina’s David Nalbandian 6-2, 6-3 Sunday in the final of the Brazil Open, notching his first title on the comeback trail from a serious knee injury.

“I hope this will be the beginning of a good start,” Nadal told the crowd, which included his father, Sebastian, after the match.

The 26-year-old Nadal, the world No. 5, rolled over the 31-year-old Nalbandian, who is also mounting a comeback after a months-long absence from the ATP Tour, in the first set.

The win capped “a very beautiful week,” the Spaniard said, adding that he wanted to thank all those who accompanied him during “these complicated times.”

Nalbandian played Nadal to 3-3 in the second set, but the Spaniard then stepped it up and took control of the match.

The crowd at Sao Paulo’s Ibirapuera arena went wild when Nadal won match point and threw his arms in the air.

Nadal and Nalbandian entered the Brazil Open doubles draw but withdrew after winning their opening match because the Spaniard wanted to avoid overtaxing his knee.

The Spaniard, coming off a seven-month hiatus from the ATP Tour due to injury and illness, had not been victorious at a tournament since last June, when he won his 7th French Open title.

Nadal went off the ATP Tour due to a knee injury 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.

He 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.

The Brazil Open is the second of three Latin American clay-court events Nadal signed up to play in February.

The Spanish star was upset in the final of Viña del Mar - his first tournament back - by Argentina’s Horacio Zeballos. He also is scheduled to participate in the Mexican Open later this month.

Known for his physically demanding style of play and outstanding defensive skills, Nadal has struggled to stay healthy during his career and has been forced to withdraw from each of the four Grand Slam events due to various injuries.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Members of Italy’s Cosa Nostra Arrested in Spain

Members of Italy’s Cosa Nostra Arrested in Spain

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Two suspected members of Italy’s ‘Ndrangheta organized crime group were arrested here Monday on drug and racketeering charges, Spanish police said.

The Calabria-based ‘Ndrangheta did business with drug traffickers in Colombia, Uruguay and Peru and handled huge sums of money, according to police.

The two arrested men were identified as Guglielmo di G., 47, and his nephew Rosario di G., 30.

Their arrests came in the context of an international operation that netted 43 suspects last week.

The drugs came from South America via Morocco to Barcelona, from where they were transported to Calabria for wider distribution.

The two men have already been handed over to Spain’s National Court, in Madrid, and procedures for arranging their extradition to Italy have been begun.

The arrests were made possible due to contacts between police in Barcelona and Italian authorities.

The Italian police investigation culminated with the seizure of 350 kilos of cocaine and a large quantity of hashish that apparently arrived in Calabria thanks to the collaboration of a member of the Naples-based Camorra crime confederation living in Barcelona and whose current whereabouts are unknown.

After that, police discovered that the two arrested men now in Barcelona were linked with the stockpiling and distribution of the drug destined for Italy.

The two men managed four restaurants in Barcelona, but investigators determined that their expenditures were significantly above what their income from the eateries would have allowed them.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Del Potro Becomes Second Argentine to Win Rotterdam, Last Was 1982

Del Potro Becomes Second Argentine to Win Rotterdam, Last Was 1982

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Juan Martin del Potro, the No. 2 seed, on Sunday became the second Argentine player to win the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam, defeating France’s Julien Benetteau 7-6 (7-2), 6-3.

The 24-year-old Del Potro needed an hour and 37 minutes to beat Benetteau, who stunned top seed Roger Federer on Friday.

Del Potro is the first Argentine to win in Rotterdam since Guillermo Vilas took the title in the Dutch tournament in 1982.

This is Del Potro’s first title of 2013 and 14th ATP Tour title of his career.

Del Potro also reached the Rotterdam final last year but lost to Federer in straight sets.

The ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament is an indoor hard-court event.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Actor Harrison Ford and Family Visit Rio’s Favelas

Actor Harrison Ford and Family Visit Rio’s Favelas

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U.S. actor Harrison Ford visited the Babilonia “favela,” or shantytown, in Rio de Janeiro to become more familiar with a housing program for families currently living in a nearby environmental preservation area.

The actor who played Indiana Jones was accompanied by his wife, actress Calista Flockhart, and their son Liam, and they were welcomed by Municipal Housing Secretary Pierre Batista.

The program consists of 177 residences in the nearby favelas of Babilonia and Chapeu Mangueira, both of them close to the famous Copacabana beach, and has a budget of 52.4 million reais ($26.3 million), according to municipal government figures.

The building visited by Ford contains 16 apartments that will allow residents to make use of rainwater and will also have Venetian blinds for better ventilation and lighting, along with individual water and gas meters, as well as good heating and acoustic insulation.

The apartments will be occupied by favela residents who will have to abandon the nearby environmental protection area where they currently live.

The Ford-Flockhart family visited the project after enjoying Carnival festivities in Rio de Janeiro.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Bad for Business: Bolivia Nationalizes Spanish Firm Running Its Airports

Bad for Business: Bolivia Nationalizes Spanish Firm Running Its Airports

Photo: El Alto International Airport, Bolivia

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The Bolivian government on Monday nationalized the Spanish-owned firm that runs the Andean nation’s three largest airports, accusing the company of not investing enough in improvements.

President Evo Morales announced the move in the central city of Cochabamba, where Servicios de Aeropuertos Bolivianos S.A. is headquartered.

Bolivian military units were deployed to the three airports “to guarantee continuity of service,” the leftist head of state said.

Sabsa, as the company is known, becomes the sixth Spanish-owned Bolivian enterprise to be nationalized in less than a year.

A 25-year-concession to operate Bolivia’s three main airports - serving La Paz, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz - was awarded to Sabsa in 1997.

Sabsa has changed hands twice since then, passing in 1999 from U.S.-based Airport Group International to Britain’s TBI, which five years later sold the firm to two Spanish concerns: state-owned aviation administrator AENA and infrastructure giant Abertis.

Sabsa says it has spent $33.6 million on improvements to the three airports during the life of the concession, but Public Works Minister Vladimir Sanchez said last week that the concessionaire has invested less than $1 million annually since 2005.

Bolivia will appoint an independent auditor to determine appropriate compensation for Abertis and AENA.

La Paz’s nationalization of Sabsa “will have consequence for bilateral relations,” Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

“Blancanieves” Sweeps Spain Goya Film Awards

“Blancanieves” Sweeps Spain Goya Film Awards

Photo: Blancanieves Wins Goya Best film

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“Blancanieves,” a silent movie shot in black-and-white, took Best Film honors at the Goya awards, Spain’s equivalent to the Oscars.

Pablo Berger’s version of the Snow White tale picked up 10 awards in all, including Best Original Screenplay and a Best Actress nod for Maribel Verdu as the evil stepmother.

The Cuban entry, zombie pic “Juan de los Muertos” (Juan of the Dead) took the prize for Best Ibero-American Film.

“The Impossible,” an English-language film, turned its box office record of more than 42 million euros ($56 million) into five prizes, including Best Director for Juan Antonio Bayona.

“Grupo 7” (Unit 7) came away with two acting awards: it opened the night with Best Newcomer, Male for Joaquin Nuñez and then won Best Supporting Actor for Julian Villagran.

The Best Actor prize was almost as much a sure thing as the Goya of Honor for Concha Velasco - Jose Sacristan won it for “El Muerto y Ser Feliz” (The Dead Man and Being Happy).

But as always there had to be a loser, which in this case was “El Artista y la Modelo” (Artist and Model) by Fernando Trueba - 13 nominations and not a single prize.

France’s “Les Intouchables” won the Goya for best European film, with directors Olivier Kanache and Eric Toledano expressing their thanks in Spanish.

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President Perez Molina of Guatemala Has Audience with Pope Benedict

President Perez Molina of Guatemala Has Audience with Pope Benedict

Photo: Pope Benedict and President Otto Molina, Guatemala

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This morning, the Holy Father, Pope Benedict, received in audience Mr. Otto Fernando Perez Molina, president of Guatemala.

According to Vatican reports, “the cordial relations between the Holy See and Guatemala were evident during the talks, as well as the appreciation for the Church’s unique contribution in that country’s development, especially in the areas of education, the promotion of human and spiritual values, and social and charitable activity.”

In conversations between the Pontiff and Molina, the need to continue working together in solving social problems of poverty, drug trafficking, organized crime, and emigration was agreed upon and, in conclusion, talk also turned to the importance of the defense of human life from the moment of conception.

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Latin America News: As Excepted Rafael Correa Re-elected President in Ecuador by Landslide Vote

Latin America News: As Excepted Rafael Correa Re-elected President in Ecuador by Landslide Vote

Photo: Rafael Correa Wins Re-election

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Incumbent Rafael Correa romped to victory in Ecuador’s presidential election, taking nearly 57 percent of the vote in a field of seven candidates, the CNE electoral council said Monday.

With 69.53 percent of the ballots counted, the left-leaning economist had 3.48 million votes, compared with 1.4 million - 23.22 percent of the total - for his closest challenger, former banker Guillermo Lasso.

A former president, Lucio Gutierrez, finished third with 6.46 percent, followed by attorney Mauricio Rodas, 4.11 percent; banana magnate Alvaro Noboa, 3.63 percent; and former Cabinet minister Alberto Acosta, 3.06 percent.

Norman Wray, an erstwhile city councilman, and evangelical pastor Nelson Zavala each garnered less than 2 percent of the votes, according to the latest figures from the CNE.

Correa, who took office in 2007, appeared before supporters Sunday night to thank Ecuadorians for giving him another term.

“This revolution won’t be stopped by anything or anyone,” he said from the balcony of Carondelet palace, proclaiming that the goal of his next term will be making “irreversible” the shifting of power from capital to the people.

Correa dedicated the triumph to his ally Hugo Chavez, the cancer-stricken president of Venezuela.

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MondayFebruary 18, 2013