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MondayFebruary 25, 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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HACEMOS Hosts ‘High Tech Day’ to Bring Students to STEM Careers

HACEMOS Hosts ‘High Tech Day’ to Bring Students to STEM Careers

Photo: HACEMOS Hosts 'High Tech Day' to Bring Students to STEM Careers

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AT&T and HACEMOS to Host the 15thAnnual National High Technology Day to Equip Students with Tools to Stay in School and Pursue Careers in Science and Engineering

AT&T’s* Hispanic/Latino Association, HACEMOS, will host its annual HACEMOS National High Technology Day in 31 cities across the country on Thursday, Feb. 28.

Now in its 15th year, HACEMOS National High Technology Day engages students at risk of dropping out of high school in hands-on technical activities and interactive workshops designed to encourage them to consider careers in science and technology. This year’s event is expected to host about 1,800 teens in 33 cities across the country.

In more than half of the participating chapters, HACEMOS will collaborate with AT&T Aspire Mentoring Academy, the key community engagement program of AT&T’s $350 million investment in Aspire, which is focused on high school success leading to college and career readiness. Through Aspire Mentoring Academy, AT&T employees are engaging in their communities and providing 1 million hours of mentoring to students at risk of dropping out of high school.

HACEMOS National High Technology Day is designed to give students insight into the many opportunities available in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields—areas where Latinos and other minorities have historically been underrepresented. HACEMOS aims to build stronger communities by providing positive role models and demonstrating the importance of education to achieve success in life.

“We’re thrilled to once again offer our future leaders real-world insight and guidance by offering them full access to our company’s senior leaders, employees, and program speakers,” said Delia Hernandez , National President of HACEMOS, the Hispanic/Latino Association of AT&T.  “Careers in science and engineering are extremely rewarding and we hope to spark our participants’ interest in these fields.”

The theme for this year’s National High Tech Day is Awaken Your Dreams, intended to expose student participants to opportunities in technology fields, the prevalence of technology in their future and the importance of specialized skills and higher education.

Programming will vary by location and include an introduction to circuitry and workshops featuring cyber security, mobility and AT&T U-verse® technologies. In addition, there will be specialty tours, keynotes from top AT&T executives and students will connect with other high schools using AT&T Telepresence Solution®, AT&T’s advanced, high definition videoconferencing service.  Students will also have the opportunity to simulate the dangers of texting while driving through AT&T’s It Can Wait campaign.

HACEMOS National High Tech Day will broadcast two live national webcasts featuring the youth engagement company CoolSpeak. Motivational speakers from CoolSpeak include Carlos Ojeda, Jr. in Middletown, NJ, Lilyan Prado Carillo in Dallas and Ernesto Mejia in Chicago. They will deliver messages of education, leadership, community activism and entrepreneurship on the webcasts, available to participating HACEMOS chapters and schools nationwide.

In Miami, the event will feature Fernando Fiore , an Emmy award winning broadcaster, who is the host of “Republica Deportiva” (Sports Republic), the top-rated weekly sports entertainment program airing on the Univision Network.  Mr. Fiore covers sporting events around the world for Univision Deportes, the sports arm of Univision Communications Inc.

HACEMOS chapters will also feature remarks and presentations by various AT&T leaders including Carmen Nava , Senior VP – Customer Experience; Marian Croak , Senior VP – Applications & Services Infrastructure; David Christopher - Chief Marketing Officer; Marissa Shorenstein , President – New York; and Rodney Smith , President – Connecticut.  Jose M. Gutierrez, President – Wholesale Solutions, and Glenn Lurie , President Emerging Enterprise and Partnership, made significant contributions to support the event.

This year’s event will link about 1,800 high school students from close to 70 schools in:

  - Atlanta, Georgia
  - Austin, Texas
  - Charlotte, North Carolina
  - Chicago, Illinois
  - Corpus Christi, Texas
  - Dallas, Texas
  - Fresno, California
  - Ft. Worth, Texas
  - Houston, Texas
  - Joplin, Missouri
  - Kansas City, Missouri
  - Lake Mary, Florida
  - Los Angeles, California
  - Lubbock, Texas
  - Mesa, Arizona
  - Miami, Florida
  - Middletown, New Jersey
  - New Haven, Connecticut
  - New York, New York
  - Norman, Oklahoma
  - Orange County, California
  - Sacramento, California
  - San Antonio, Texas
  - San Diego, California
  - San Juan, Puerto Rico
  - San Ramon, California
  - Southfield, Michigan
  - St. Louis, Missouri
  - Tampa, Florida
  - Washington, D.C.
  - Whitehall, Pennsylvania

AT&T’s Hispanic/Latino Association HACEMOS, with approximately 5,000 members, recognizes the importance of educating Hispanic youth and preparing them for a technology-intensive future. Its members are dedicated to developing and supporting technology education projects in communities where they live and work. For more information about National High Technology Day, please visit HACEMOS.

AT&T is deeply committed to the Hispanic community and organizations that support education and community vitality. For more information please visit espanol.att.com.

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

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LATINO BLOTTER: Man Breaks into Lingerie Store, Steals Dress and Wig, Wears Them Out

LATINO BLOTTER: Man Breaks into Lingerie Store, Steals Dress and Wig, Wears Them Out

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An Iowa man was arrested on Friday after he allegedly robbed a lingerie store earlier this month.

Jose Angel Perales Jr., 24, allegedly broke into Doctor John’s Lingerie Boutique in Davenport on February 17th at around 4 a.m.

Surveillance footage shows Perales grabbing items and heading into the manager’s officer. When he emerged from the office, Perales was naked and his tattooed back was clearly visible. He then tried on clothes for about two hours. After deciding on a red dress and blonde wig he left the store, but his attempt at disguising himself was flawed.

The tattoo seen on the security footage was one of his last name, “Perales,” and helped officers identify him. After he was arrested, officers found garments and items from the shop in his home.

Perales was released from Scott County Jail on bond. He has been charged with third-degree burglary, for which he could see five years behind bars, and third-degree theft, which has a maximum sentence of two years in prison.

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Latin America News: Brazilian Economy Expected to Grow by 3.1% in 2013

Latin America News: Brazilian Economy Expected to Grow by 3.1% in 2013

Photo: Brazil Stock Exchange

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Economists at Brazil’s leading banks predict that Latin America’s largest economy will grow by 3.1 percent in 2013, according to the results from the central bank’s latest weekly survey.

Despite the fact that analysts are less optimistic than the government, which is predicting growth of 4.0 percent for this year, projections indicate that the Brazilian economy will start to rebound in 2013 after the deceleration it suffered over the past two years as a result of the international financial crisis.

After registering an expansion of 7.5 percent in 2010, growth was only 2.7 percent in 2011 and, according to the latest estimates, it will not exceed 1.0 percent for 2012.

Regarding inflation this year, the analysts slightly reduced their prediction from 5.7 percent calculated a week ago to 5.69 percent in the new survey.

Inflation was 5.84 percent in 2012, but the government has set an inflation target of 4.5 percent for 2013.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Maria Jose Relaunches Her Career With Soap Opera Theme Song

Maria Jose Relaunches Her Career With Soap Opera Theme Song

Photo: Maria Jose Returns

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Mexican singer Maria Jose described resuming her career and having her “El amor manda” become the theme song of the Televisa soap opera “Porque el amor manda” as being like “winning the lottery.”

“It’s a great opportunity because you’re on television every day and I not only appear at the opening of the soap opera. It’s like winning the lottery,” Maria Jose Loyola Anaya told Efe.

The 37-year-old artist said that she had always dreamed that one of her songs would become the theme song for a soap, and that was the reason that she launched her solo career after the group Kabah broke up in 2005.

Kabah during the 1990s was one of the best-known pop-rock groups in Latin America.

After the break-up, Maria Jose released solo albums “Maria Jose” (2007), “Amante de lo ajeno” (2009), “Amante de lo bueno” (2010) and “De Noche” (2012).

“El amor manda,” written by Jose Luis Ortega, made it to the No. 1 slot on the list of most-listened-to songs on radio, according to Monitor Latino.

Maria Jose also announced that soon she will travel to Spain to continue her promotional tour during which she will return to Puerto Rico on March 18 after a 10-year absence.

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Drastic Overhaul of Mexico’s Education System Signed in Law Today

Drastic Overhaul of Mexico’s Education System Signed in Law Today

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President Enrique Peña Nieto signed into law on Monday a drastic overhaul of Mexico’s education system that is opposed by the country’s more-than-1-million-strong teachers union.

The reform, which modifies two articles of the constitution, seeks to promote educational quality and recover government control of the schools.

The passing of the constitutional change “begins an educational transformation that Mexican society longs for,” the president said during a ceremony at the National Palace in the capital.

Among the key elements of the overhaul is the creation of a professional teaching service with “clear rules” and subject to independent evaluation.

The object of the evaluation will not be “to prejudice anyone,” but to discover the strengths and weaknesses of the educational system in order to improve teacher training, Peña Nieto said, without directly mentioning criticisms of the SNTE teachers union.

Notable for her absence at the event was long-time SNTE boss Elba Esther Gordillo, who considers the overhaul a threat to her members’ job security.

Peña Nieto said that the reform maintains the “public, secular and free-of-charge” character of Mexican education.

The ruling, backed by Congress and the majority of Mexico’s 32 state legislatures, eliminates the privileges of the SNTE, which up to now has controlled teacher placement and positions.

It also calls for a census of schools, teachers and students in order to have a database that will allow the planning of “highly competitive and demanding” educational material in a global era, Peña Nieto said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

National Mobilization Demanding Immigration Reform Launches out of Chicago

National Mobilization Demanding Immigration Reform Launches out of Chicago

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Families separated by deportations and pro-immigrant activists on Monday here launched a national mobilization effort that will include visits to 90 cities to tell their stories and demand immigration reform.

Organizers predict that in the coming weeks the group will grow to some 500 people participating in seven regional bus tours that will travel some 20,000 miles to visit 100 congressional districts and 30 senators’ offices before winding up at the Capitol in Washington on March 13.

The group that departed from Chicago will cover the Great Lakes states of Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio.

The “Keeping Families Together” tour is being organized by the Fair Immigration Reform Movement, which urged the U.S. Senate to have a reform bill ready prior to the March 21 start of the Easter recess.

“We want senators and congressmen to listen to the stories of families separated by deportation, of children left in the care of others because their parents were deported, and of families who don’t know if they will be together again one day,” said tour spokesperson Kica Matos.

The families gathered in Chicago’s Federal Plaza, where they told some of the stories they hope to share during the tour.

Mexican Jose Vera spoke in the name of his 26-year-old brother Juan Carlos, who is at risk of being deported despite being married to a U.S. citizen and having one U.S.-born child and another on the way.

Juan Carlos, who has lived in the Chicago area since he was 11, was arrested for using a false document and on Tuesday he will have a hearing before an immigration judge.

On the bus that left from Chicago is also Jennifer Martinez, a young mother from Manitowoc, Wisconsin, whose husband was deported to Mexico at the end of last year.

Martinez said she has to work two jobs to be able to support her four children “and my heart breaks each time they ask me when their father will come back.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican Tennis Open Will Bring Heightened Security to Acapulco

Mexican Tennis Open Will Bring Heightened Security to Acapulco

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The Federal Police, army and marine corps are providing security during the Mexican Open, which starts Monday in the Pacific resort city of Acapulco, organizers said.

The tournament is being held in Acapulco’s upscale Punta Diamante section.

“We have support on the perimeter from all the levels of government, the navy, the army and Federal Police, performing constant patrols on the roads near the complex,” the event’s security chief, Manuel Vergara, said in a statement.

The tournament did not say how large the security deployment would be, but unofficial reports said more than 3,000 security forces members would protect the tennis complex.

Players and fans will be safe at the tournament site, with Guerrero state officials and Acapulco city officials working on the security arrangements, Vergara said.

The three levels of government “have always given us good results. No player has discussed the issue of security and that is a good message that we as organizers give them,” tournament director Raul Zurutúza said.

Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal, who is on the comeback trail after a seven-month hiatus due to an injury, is among the players who will be competing at the Mexican Open.

The security operation is designed to go from “inside the complex out,” with strict controls on access and monitoring of the beach area, Vergara said.

The Mexican Open, a mid-level ATP Tour tournament, is played at the Mextenis complex in Punta Diamante.

A Belgian tourist was gunned down in Diamante over the weekend by several men who attempted to steal his luxury car.

The Belgian tourist was murdered nearly three weeks after six Spanish tourists were raped in the Punta Diamante section.

Several suspects have been arrested in connection with the rapes, which occurred on Feb. 4.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Treasurer of Spain’s Governing Party Forced to Surrender Passport

Treasurer of Spain’s Governing Party Forced to Surrender Passport

Photo: Spain Sen. Luis Barcenas Surrender Passport

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The Spanish judge investigating a kickbacks-for-contracts scandal ruled Monday that former Sen. Luis Barcenas, who was found to have roughly 22 million euros (roughly $30 million) in Swiss bank accounts, must surrender his passport.

In his ruling, Judge Pablo Ruz also ordered Barcenas to appear every two weeks before the National Court.

The ex-lawmaker and erstwhile treasurer of Spain’s governing Popular Party testified Monday in Ruz’s courtroom.

Barcenas said he managed to accumulate as much as 30 million euros ($39 million) in Switzerland, thanks above all to his stock market investments, but that later the amount dropped to 22 million euros ($30 million) when his partners, whom he refused to identify, began withdrawing money.

Attempting to explain his fortune, Barcenas also denied any links between his Swiss accounts and the finances of the conservative PP.

The discovery of the Swiss bank accounts and an ostensible secret PP ledger attributed to Barcenas were subsequently reported in the media.

The purported ledger is said to include the payment of undeclared cash to top party leaders, including current Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who denies any wrongdoing.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Sofia Vergara Misses the Oscars Due to Flu

Sofia Vergara Misses the Oscars Due to Flu

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On Sunday, Sofia Vergara was not at the 85th Academy Awards like so many of her Hollywood pals and the rumors began to swirl.

Some gossip outlets claimed the actress needed to have emergency surgery and was in the hospital, though that was not the case. However, the actress was sick. Vergara tweeted Sunday night that she would have to skip the big award show because she had the flu and didn’t want to get everyone sick.

The Modern Family actress even tweeted a photo of her in bed recovering.

It is too bad she was unable to attend, as Vergara’s dresses are some of the most stunning to see go down the runway.

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No Puerto Rican Public Jobs in Danger in Light to Potential Sequester

No Puerto Rican Public Jobs in Danger in Light to Potential Sequester

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Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla on Monday ruled out any layoffs of public employees on the Caribbean island if the U.S. Congress does not reach an agreement to avoid the automatic spending cuts due to take effect later this week.

Garcia Padilla’s clarification follows remarks by Puerto Rico’s non-voting representative to Congress in Washington, Pedro Pierluisi of the main opposition PNP party, in which he said that the governor was contemplating firing workers in the face of the possible cuts.

“No jobs are in danger in Puerto Rico,” said Garcia Padilla, who on Saturday participated in the meeting of the U.S. National Governors Association.

Pierluisi said that the spending cuts, known as the sequester could mean a loss of up to $26 million in funds for Puerto Rico’s Department of Education.

The White House on Monday published a report listing the anticipated economic consequences if Congress does not manage to reach an accord to avoid the March 1 sequester.

The report warns, in the case of Puerto Rico, among other things, of the possible loss of 70 teaching jobs and reductions in funding for job-training, AIDS care and efforts to stop gender violence.

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Demi Lovato Releases New Song “Heart Attack” Early (AUDIO)

Demi Lovato Releases New Song “Heart Attack” Early (AUDIO)

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Though singer-actress Demi Lovato had said she would be premiering her song “Heart Attack” on Ryan Seacrest’s radio show in March, she surprised her fans by releasing it Monday morning.

Earlier this month, Lovato showed the cover art for the single and said the song would be released on March 4 on “On Air With Ryan Seacrest” though clearly couldn’t wait.

As for the new album, Lovato says it is full of “songs about the celebration of life and how rewarding it can be.”

Check out the young Latina’s new song here.

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Documentary Film Being Made on Legendary Boxing Rivals:  Sugar Leonard and Roberto Duran

Documentary Film Being Made on Legendary Boxing Rivals:  Sugar Leonard and Roberto Duran

Photo: Roberto Duran v Sugar Ray Leonard Film

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The great rivalry between champion boxers Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto “Hands of Stone” Duran will be depicted in a documentary, filmmaker Eric Drath said here Monday.

“The rivalry between Leonard and Duran was so great, it was like a Super Bowl, so there’s a good opportunity to talk about both athletes,” said Drath at a press conference, where both former boxers were also present.

The two men faced each other in three title bouts during in the 1980s.

Panama’s Duran won the first fight on a decision in 15 rounds in Montreal, but the American defeated him in the next two bouts in New Orleans and Las Vegas.

Drath said the filming will be done both in the United States and Panama.

The director made it clear that his work has no relationship with the Hollywood feature film on Duran that is expected to be filmed this year starring Gael Garcia Bernal as the boxer.

Leonard, 57, said he was very happy to be in Panama, a country he is visiting for the first time, where both Duran and the Panamanians have been great hosts to him.

The 61-year-old Duran, meanwhile, joked that he was at the press conference because he wanted a fourth fight with Leonard.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Dissident Blogger Yoani Sanchez: Younger Cuban VP is a Step Forward

Dissident Blogger Yoani Sanchez: Younger Cuban VP is a Step Forward

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Cuban dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez said Sunday in Rio de Janeiro that the election of Miguel Diaz-Canel as first Cuban vice president is a step forward on the island not due to his ideological position but rather because he is less than 80 years old.

“It would be a small change in the National Assembly,” she said in remarks to reporters at Copacabana beach on Sunday morning.

The author of the Generacion Y blog said that Diaz-Canel - who was, in fact, confirmed later in the day by the National Assembly as the country’s No. 2 official, after President Raul Castro - “is rather faithful to the government. It’s easier for us to have a surprise here on the beach than in Havana.”

According to Sanchez, one of Cuba’s main dissident voices abroad, in Havana speculation had been rife about the possibility that the 52-year-old Diaz-Canel might be elected on Sunday at the regime’s No. 2 instead of octogenarian and veteran leader Jose Ramon Machado Ventura.

The Cuban National Assembly met on Sunday to confirm Raul Castro as the country’s president for a second term and to elect the country’s five vice presidents, as well as the members of the chamber’s leadership and the 31 members of the Council of State.

Sanchez received permission from Cuban authorities to travel abroad after waiting for that green light for five years and this past week she began in Brazil an 80-day tour through a dozen Latin American and European countries.

The outspoken blogger arrived in Rio de Janeiro last Saturday for a week-long stay in Brazil and toured the city, hosted by political officials, along with several tourist spots like Copacabana beach and Sugarloaf Mountain.

She is scheduled to travel on Monday on the Czech Republic, the second leg of her international tour.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Million Hearts Releases New Spanish-Language Resources on Heart Health

Million Hearts Releases New Spanish-Language Resources on Heart Health

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Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among US Hispanics

Educational resources to help Hispanics take control of their heart health is available from Million Hearts, a national public-private partnership that works to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017.

“Cardiovascular disease is the leading killer in every racial and ethnic group in America, and Million Hearts is committed to ensuring that everyone understands their risk,” said Janet Wright, M.D., executive director of Million Hearts.“These new resources will help Spanish-speaking Americans calculate their risk and, more importantly, take steps to reduce it.”

A recent survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that high blood pressure among Hispanic groups is a particular concern. More than a quarter (26.1 percent) of Hispanics reported having high blood pressure, and nearly a third (30.4 percent) with high blood pressure weren’t taking medication that could reduce their risk for heart attack and stroke. Just 40.7 percent of Hispanics said their blood pressure was under control.

“Our message to Hispanics is clear: If you have high blood pressure, work with your doctor to get it controlled and keep it controlled,” said Thomas Frieden, MD, MPH, CDC director. “Take care of your heart for yourself, and for your family.”
The new educational resources provide action steps and tips:

The Four Steps for Heart Health fact sheet encourages individuals to work with their health care team to focus on the Million Hearts ABCS—Aspirin for people at risk (people who have already experienced a heart attack or certain type of stroke and their doctor has advised them to take aspirin to prevent another), Blood pressure control, Cholesterol management, and Smoking cessation— to help prevent heart attacks and strokes.

How to Control Your Hypertension/Learning to Control Your Sodium Intake: a Fotonovela is an illustrated booklet thatincludes multi-generational advice on getting high blood pressure control by reducing sodium and is designed to be integrated into community health programs.

TheMillion Hearts websiteEn Espanol offers guidance and tools for improving heart health, including a heart risk calculator, a journal to record blood pressure readings and track progress, and links to other resources.

The National Alliance for Hispanic Health, a non-profit science-based organization that focuses on improving the health and well-being of Hispanics, provided guidance on translation for cultural integrity during development of the materials. The Alliance will distribute the Four Steps for Heart Health factsheet through its network of clinics and community health professionals.

“The Alliance is committed to the prevention of 1 million heart attacks and strokes by collaborating with Million Hearts to develop, promote, and distribute these new materials in the communities we serve,” said Jane L. Delgado, Ph.D., M.S., president and CEO of the Alliance. “We consider this outreach a critical component of our ongoing efforts to improve the health of Hispanic communities and our work with others to secure health for all.”

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Latin America News: Peru National Police Fire 498 of Their Own

Latin America News: Peru National Police Fire 498 of Their Own

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Peru’s National Police dismissed 498 chiefs and senior officers nationwide as part of the measures being taken to improve public safety and combat organized crime, La Republica newspaper said Monday.

The shakeup also included chiefs of the drug units in the country’s two main coca-producing regions.

The replacing of precinct chiefs in Lima was done because the officers “don’t have the profile the command needs,” the PNP director told the capital daily.

The measure began going into effect last week, days after a businessman and a journalist were murdered in Lima, which sparked strong outcries against the government and the demand for powerful measures to improve public safety.

Interior Minister Wilfredo Pedraza said that beginning Monday an additional 1,000 cops will join operations to combat crime in Lima.

Pedraza said that this increase is possible thanks to the streamlining of the number of agents and units currently guarding top officials and other dignitaries, as well as the number engaged in administrative activities.

President Ollanta Humala said on Sunday that his government has invested 800 million soles ($313 million) in police infrastructure to improve public safety.

Humala also said that $470 million have been invested in a pay raise for police and the military “so they receive a wage more worthy of them and to boost their morale.”

“All of these efforts will give results progressively. Things won’t change overnight,” he said.

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EXTREME TRAFFICKING:U.S. Border Patrol Agents Discover Crystal Meth and Heroin in Spare Tire

EXTREME TRAFFICKING:U.S. Border Patrol Agents Discover Crystal Meth and Heroin in Spare Tire

Photo: Tire filled with Meth and Heroin

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On Wednesday morning, U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested a man suspected of smuggling more than $200,000 worth of crystal methamphetamine and heroin during a traffic stop on northbound Interstate 15 near Temecula.

A K-9 unit from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department performed a search of the vehicle resulting in a positive alert to the trunk.


At approximately 10:30 a.m., agents working along Interstate 15 stopped a 30-year-old male Mexican national driving a 2000 Acura TL near the Border Patrol checkpoint in Temecula. Agents requested the assistance of a K-9 team from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department to perform a cursory inspection. The K-9 alerted to the trunk of the vehicle. Agents searched the trunk and discovered 10 bundles of crystal methamphetamine and two bundles of heroin hidden inside the spare tire. The crystal methamphetamine weighed 10.80 pounds and the heroin weighed 3.86 pounds. The illicit narcotics had an estimated street value of $208,320.

The suspected smuggler and narcotics were taken into custody and subsequently turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration for further investigation. The vehicle was seized by the U.S. Border Patrol.

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13 and 15-Year Old Guatemalan Girls Arrested for Carrying Out a Contract Killing

13 and 15-Year Old Guatemalan Girls Arrested for Carrying Out a Contract Killing

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Two “hitgirls” were arrested by police in Guatemala and confessed to murdering a man last week, a National Civilian Police, or PNC, spokesman said.

The unidentified girls, ages 13 and 15, were arrested Saturday in northwest Guatemala City and told investigators they murdered a 20-year-old man a day earlier.

Cesar Villanueva was killed while riding his bicycle on Friday in the poor La Florida district, the police spokesman said.

The gun used to kill Villanueva, ammunition and other evidence were found by PNC detectives in the girls’ bedroom, the police spokesman said.

“The girls confessed that they committed the murder, but they did not say where they got the weapon or who ordered them to kill this person,” the PNC spokesman said.

The teenagers were taken to a youth correctional institution, where they will remain until a court hears the case.

Criminal organizations are hiring and training minors as contract killers to exploit provisions in Guatemalan law that exempt minors from prosecution for such crimes, Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez said.

A 14-year-old boy armed with an UZI submachine gun was arrested three weeks ago as he tried to extort money from merchants in southern Guatemala City, and an 11-year-old boy was arrested with two men for committing a murder two days later.

An average of 16 people are murdered daily in Guatemala, according to official figures, making the Central American country one of the most violent places in Latin America.

Read more by HS News Staff →

The Oscars’ Latino Presenters and Winners

The Oscars’ Latino Presenters and Winners

Photo: The Oscars' Latino Presenters and Winners

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On Sunday, the 85th Academy Awards honored actors and filmmakers, and the night was not without some Latin flavor.

Salma Hayek announced this year’s Governors Award winners after they were honored earlier last week. The sexy Latina interestingly wore a golden tiara in her hair, which has been labeled by some as the “Worst Accessory” of the night, and an Alexander McQueen.

As for winners, Argo, based largely on the story of Canadian operative Tony Mendez, won the night’s biggest award, Best Picture. It also won for Best Film Editing, and brought Chris Terrio the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Claudio Miranda took home the Oscar for Cinematography for his work on Life of Pi. The film also brought Ang Lee the award for Best Directing and Mychael Danna the award for Best Original Score. The film also won for Best Visual Effects.

Inocente won Best Documentary Short. Inocente is the story of an undocumented homeless teen living in the U.S. looking to art to get her through each day.

The award for Best Documentary Feature went to Malik Bendjelloul and Simon Chinn for Searching for Sugar Man. The documentary was about the singer Rodriguez who fell off the map after his record label dropped him. Despite his disappearance, a cult following developed in South Africa and two men set out to find Rodriguez in the U.S.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Hispanic Health: Few Extra Pounds In Black and Latino Kids Harms Lung Function

Hispanic Health: Few Extra Pounds In Black and Latino Kids Harms Lung Function

Photo: Weight Gain Harms Lung Function for Latino Kids

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Even small amounts of excess weight can adversely affect lung function in Hispanic and African-American children who have a higher prevalence of asthma compared to their white counterparts, according to a Montefiore Medical Center study published in the February print issue of the Journal of Asthma.

The study analyzed data collected over four years from nearly 1,000 children in the Bronx, which has one of the highest rates of asthma in the United States.

“What we have learned from this study is that even small increases in weight can negatively impact lung function,” said Deepa Rastogi senior author of the study.

Asthma among normal-weight children is usually attributed to environmental factors like second-hand smoke and exposure to dust, animal dander, mold and roaches.  Weight appears to have more of an impact on lung function in minority children than their white counterparts.  In fact, airway obstruction may be experienced in both overweight and obese minority children compared to white children who are only obese.

The pulmonary function differences in the study may potentially be explained by ethnic differences in body shape and upper body fat distribution

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Blog del Narco: Joaquin El Chapo Guzman Reports of Death “Misunderstanding”

Blog del Narco: Joaquin El Chapo Guzman Reports of Death “Misunderstanding”

Photo: Joaquin El Chapo Guzman

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Guatemala’s government yesterday apologized for what he called a “misunderstanding” about an alleged confrontation in which authorities said could have killed the most wanted drug lord in Mexico, Joaquin El Chapo Guzman. Guatemalan Interior Minister, Mauricio Lopez Bonilla said the information was handled based on testimony from residents, but during an investigation with soldiers and police hey were unable to verify the information.

According to the official, the misinformation was the result of “chaotic information” that was generated by the news media. This created confusion and grew into the unconfirmed version of the fall of drug lord Guzman.

“There is no evidence, no finding that allows us to say that it happened or did not happen,” the official said at a news conference.

On Thursday night, Lopez himself spoke about the possibility of the death of Guzman Loera in a clash between drug gangs, but hours later retracted.


Later authorities said they could note even confirm if there had been a confrontation.

“There were rumors that we have not even been able to determine its origin. There is talk of a journalist of Guatemala making the first incorrect assumption.
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EXTREME TRAFFICKING:  Six Pounds of Meth Found in Buckets of Chicken by Border Patrol

EXTREME TRAFFICKING:  Six Pounds of Meth Found in Buckets of Chicken by Border Patrol

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Two female passengers of a commercial shuttle van were arrested Thursday morning at the I-19 checkpoint after Nogales Border Patrol agents discovered six bags of methamphetamine concealed in two buckets of chicken.

The narcotics, weighing nearly six pounds and valued at $58,700, were turned over to the DEA. The subjects face federal prosecution.

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Latin America News: Brazil’s Telefonica Profits Rise

Latin America News: Brazil’s Telefonica Profits Rise

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Telefonica Brazil, a unit of Spanish telecom giant Telefonica, said Monday it posted net income of $2.22 billion in 2012, up 2.1 percent from the previous year.

Profits totaled $737.15 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012, up 0.80 percent from the third quarter and 57.5 percent from the same period in 2011.

Revenues came in at nearly $16.97 billion last year, rising 2.3 percent from 2011.

Telefonica Brazil was created in the first half of 2011, when the Spanish company acquired control of wireless service provider Vivo.

Telefonica had previously shared control of the Brazilian wireless company with Portugal Telecom. Vivo was then merged with landline operator Telesp.

Telefonica Brazil ended 2012 with 91.1 million customers - 76.1 million wireless subscribers and 15 million landline, broadband broadband service and pay television customers - a figure that rose 4.9 percent, compared to the December 2011 level.

Telefonica is the leader in Brazil’s wireless communications market.

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Tigres Beat Cruz Azul After Villa’s Two Goals

Tigres Beat Cruz Azul After Villa’s Two Goals

Photo: Tigres Beat Cruz Azul After Villa's Two Goals

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Argentine Emanuel Villa scored a pair of goals on the weekend to lead the Tigres to a 2-1 away victory over Cruz Azul in the eighth week of the Mexican Clausura soccer tourney.

Villa scored in the 7th and 26th minutes and is now the leading goalmaker for the Tigres, who are in first place.

The first tally came on a free kick by Lucas Lobos that rebounded and Villa just needed to tap it to beat the Cruz Azul goalie.

The second came when Damian Alvarez fired but missed, with Villa knocking in the rebound with his right foot.

Cruz Azul fought to recover, but the Tigres’ defense was well-established. Nevertheless, the home squad managed to save face and get on the board in minute 59 on a shot by Gimenez.

Tigres, coached by Brazilian Ricardo Ferretti, now has 6 wins, 2 ties and 20 points, three more than Atlas, which battled Queretaro to a scoreless tie.

Meanwhile, Santos Laguna beat America 1-0 on a goal by Colombia’s Carlos Darwin Quintero in the 19th minute.

And, also on Saturday, Chile’s Hector Mancilla scored twice to give Morelia a 3-2 win over Pachuca.

Moreover, Monterrey smashed Puebla 3-0 at home on two goals by Aldo De Nigris and one by Humberto Suazo and Pumas UNAM blanked San Luis on the road 2-0 on goals by Robin Ramirez in the 47th minute and one just four minutes later by Javier Cortes.

Tijuana’s Raul Enriquez and Duvier Riascos both scored, leading the club to a home victory over Atlante, who didn’t get on the board.

And on Sunday, Chiapas got on the board first on a tally by Luis Gabriel Rey in the 17th minute, but Toluca came back with two goals by Lucas Silva in the 47th minute and Flavio Santos in the 77th minute to notch the home win.

Guadalajara will play Leon on Sunday evening.

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Peruvian Photographer Luis Choy Murdered in Lima

Peruvian Photographer Luis Choy Murdered in Lima

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Peruvian photojournalist Luis Choy, 34, was shot to death in an apparent hit on the weekend at the door of his home in Lima’s Pueblo Libre district, according to police sources quoted by the daily El Comercio.

The photographer, who had worked for that paper, was shot once in the head and twice in the abdomen upon returning home in his SUV.

His killer made Choy get out of the vehicle, gunned him down and then fled in a waiting automobile without taking any of the photographer’s belongings, despite the fact that at first the attack appeared to be a mugging.

A few days ago, another crime directed public attention to the issue of lack of citizens’ security: a man was killed by a single bullet fired during an assault lasting just 30 seconds at a notary public’s office.

President Ollanta Humala, upon being asked about the feeling of insecurity prevailing in the capital, said that there is a “serious shortage of police officers” and that law enforcement authorities are in the process of acquiring more equipment to protect the public.

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Authorities Looking For Mexican Police That Raped Minor and Murdered Her Boyfriend

Authorities Looking For Mexican Police That Raped Minor and Murdered Her Boyfriend

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Investigators in Mexico state, which surrounds the Federal District and forms part of the Mexico City metropolitan area, are looking for three police officers who allegedly raped a minor and murdered her boyfriend, prosecutors said.

The incident occurred around 2:30 a.m. Friday in the city of Chimalhuacan, where police found the couple inside a vehicle, the Mexico state Attorney General’s Office said.

The officers asked the couple to get out of the car so they could question them.

Two of the officers spoke with the young man while a third officer took the young woman to a nearby location and sexually assaulted her, the AG’s office said in a statement.

The officers then let the couple go and the young woman went home and told her relatives what happened.

The family sought help from neighbors and the group found the patrol car.

The young man was shot and killed during a confrontation with the officers, the AG’s office said.

Investigators are looking for three Chimalhuacan municipal police department officers, the AG’s office said.

“The Mexico state prosecutor’s office reiterates that there will be no impunity for crimes committed in this jurisdiction, especially those committed by public servants responsible for public safety and the administration of justice,” the Mexico state Attorney General’s Office said.

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Tigres Take First Place in Liga MX Clausura

Tigres Take First Place in Liga MX Clausura

Photo: Tigres 1st Place Liga MX

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Tigres beat Cruz Azul 2-1 to take first place in the Liga MX Clausura as second-place Atlas managed only a scoreless tie against relegation-bound Queretaro.

Both of Tigres’ goals came from Argentine striker Emanuel Villa, who turns 30 on Monday sitting atop the scoring table with eight tallies, an average of one per match.

The triumph leaves Tigres with 6 wins and 2 ties, good for 20 points. Atlas, 5-2-1, has 17 points, and America and Tijuana each have 16.

America blew a chance to surge ahead of Atlas and Tijuana, losing 1-0 to Santos Laguna on Friday.

Tijuana, which has allowed the fewest goals of any club, topped Atlante 2-0.

Three other players had two-goal performances over the weekend: Hector Mancilla, helping Morelia to a 3-2 win over Pachuca; Marco Fabian, in Chivas’ 2-1 defeat of Leon; and Aldo de Nigris, who shined in Monterrey’s 3-0 thrashing of Puebla.

In other action, Toluca overcame a deficit to beat Chiapas 2-1 and UNAM Pumas blanked San Luis 2-0.

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Raul Castro Set to Retire But Not for Another Five Years

Raul Castro Set to Retire But Not for Another Five Years

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Cuban President Raul Castro said he planned to retire in 2018, when his current five-year term ends.

The 81-year-old Castro was re-elected to another term over the weekend by the Cuban National Assembly.

The assembly also elected 52-year-old Miguel Diaz-Canel to be the communist-ruled island’s first vice president.

National Assembly members took up a measure backed by Castro that would impose a two-term limit on political posts and set mandatory retirement ages.

Diaz-Canel’s election as the government’s No. 2 man was a significant move.

He replaces Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, who fought with the Castro brothers in the Cuban Revolution, as first vice president of the Council of State and the Council of Ministers.

“We must guarantee executive unity at the top of state and government power in the face of any contingency over the loss of the top leader, so that the continuity and stability of the nation can be preserved without any interruption of any kind,” Castro said.

Former President Fidel Castro, who has made only sporadic public appearances since leaving power in 2006 due to a serious illness, attended Sunday’s National Assembly meeting.

The 86-year-old Fidel had not attended an assembly meeting since August 2010, when he delivered an address on the dangers of nuclear war at a special session.

Fidel Castro is a National Assembly member representing Santiago de Cuba.

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Nadal Says Mexican Open Will be Good Test for Knee

Nadal Says Mexican Open Will be Good Test for Knee

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Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal, who is on the comeback trail after a seven-month hiatus due to an injury, said this week’s Mexican Open will provide a good test for his left knee.

Nadal is returning to the Acapulco tournament, which begins on Monday and runs until March 2, after an eight-year absence.

“Up to now, things are going well. I need a feeling of 100 percent from the knee to start thinking about those tournaments (in Europe), Acapulco is going to be a good test and then we’ll see,” Nadal said in a press conference.

“You have to try to arrive in good shape in Monte Carlo, the first tournament of the European clay-court tour, and if it happens, we’ll see what happens at Roland Garros,” Nadal said.

Nadal began last summer on a high note by capturing a record 7th French Open title with a victory over world No. 1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia in the final, but he went off the ATP Tour following a shocking second-round loss at Wimbledon.

The Spanish star said in August that he was suffering from a knee ailment known as Hoffa’s syndrome, which is also known as fat pad impingement and involves pain and swelling around the bottom and under the kneecap.

“I feel good physically, in general,” the 11-time Grand Slam champion said, adding that the recovery from the knee injury was “going slow.”

The 26-year-old Spaniard made the final in Viña del Mar, Chile, and won the event in Sao Paulo, Brazil, this month.

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Spaniard David Ferrer Wins Second Capo Claro Tournament

Spaniard David Ferrer Wins Second Capo Claro Tournament

Photo: David Ferrer Victorious in Buenos Aires

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Spain’s David Ferrer defeated Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 in the final of the Copa Claro tournament to win his second straight title in Buenos Aires.

The 30-year-old Ferrer became the first player in 35 years to repeat at the ATP 250 event in Argentina’s capital, matching the feat of Argentine legend Guillermo Vilas.

“I don’t think about breaking records, just about improving day after day, and I will surely value what I won more when I retire from tennis,” Ferrer said.

The world No. 4, who won a title earlier this year on the hard courts in Auckland, dominated the clay-court event at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club and helped keep the title in Spanish hands for five consecutive years.

Spain’s Tommy Robredo won in 2009, Juan Carlos Ferrero took the title in 2010, Nicolas Almagro was victorious in 2011 and Ferrer now has wins in 2012 and 2013 on his resume.

“Tennis has smiled on me and I don’t know why. I never thought in my life that I would hit that number,” Ferrer said, referring to the 20 titles he has won on the ATP Tour.

Ten of the Spaniard’s titles have come on clay, eight on hard courts and two on grass.

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Woman’s Pet in Dominican Republic Found to be Rare and Endangered Solenodon

Woman’s Pet in Dominican Republic Found to be Rare and Endangered Solenodon

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A male specimen of a solenodon, an endangered mammalian insectivore native to the island of Hispaniola, which the Dominican Republic shares with Haiti, has been found, the Dominican Environment Ministry said.

The solenodon, which was being kept in captivity by a woman in her house in the eastern Dominican province of El Seibo, was turned over to the conservation and science department of the National Zoo, where it is being examined by researchers and experts on the species, the ministry said in a statement.

The zoologists and other officials noted that the animal is in very good physical condition, adding that the woman had kept it “tied up during the day in a banana tree and closed up in a box at night, disrupting the nocturnal feeding habits of this species, which is in danger of extinction,” the ministry said.

The solenodon - Solenodon paradoxus - resembles a large shrew, has a flexible elongated snout and is considered the oldest living insect-eating animal on Hispaniola. They have long, naked, scaly tails, small eyes, and coarse, dark brown to black hair and are noteworthy for being one of the few mammals having venomous saliva.

Among the main things affecting the survival of the species are the loss of its habitat due to deforestation and the increase in human activity, such as agriculture, and depredation by animals introduced into the region, including ferrets, cats, rats and dogs, the Environment Ministry said.

During the day, the nocturnal solenodon lives in caves, holes in trees or in tunnels or excavations in the ground dug by the animal itself.

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Mayoral Candidate Gunned Down in Mexico

Mayoral Candidate Gunned Down in Mexico

Photo: David Carrasco Carnero Assasinated

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A former mayor and current mayoral candidate in Julimes, a city in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua, was shot to death, prosecutors said.

David Carrasco Carnero, who served as mayor of the city from 2004 to 2007, was found dead Friday night under a bridge.

The politician’s family had reported him missing a day earlier.

The former mayor’s wife told police he went to work in the family’s vegetable garden and never returned, media reports said.

Carrasco was shot five times, the Chihuahua Attorney General’s Office said.

The 52-year-old Carrasco was expected to be the mayoral candidate of the conservative National Action Party, or PAN.

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Spain Releases Development Aid to Mali

Spain Releases Development Aid to Mali

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Spain will release to Mali development aid frozen since the March 2012 coup and Madrid will provide support to the African country for its political transition and to train its police, Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said Sunday.

Garcia-Margallo met with Mali’s interim president, Dioncounda Traore; with Foreign Minister Tieaman Coulibaly; and with French Col. Bruno Heluin, who is in command of the advance group of the European mission to train the Malian army, or EUTM Mali.

While French and African troops continue battling Salafist groups who have taken control of a large part of northern Mali, Garcia-Margallo promised political support to Traore in the country’s transition to democracy with an eye toward the elections scheduled for July 31.

“We’re completely on the side of the transition government of President Traore and we will continue wanting to help Mali get to a situation of justice, peace and security,” Garcia-Margallo said.

Spain will make decisions in the future regarding military activity “insofar as the circumstances advise it and the nature of the mission changes, since an AFISMA mission (the African military support mission to Mali) isn’t the same as a mission under the umbrella of the United Nations,” Garcia-Margallo said.

About eight Spanish soldiers will remain in Bamako and 15 instructors will work at the KuliKoro training camp, located some 60 kilometers (37 miles) from the capital, to train special forces and fire support, mortar and artillery units.

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MondayFebruary 25, 2013