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WednesdayFebruary 27, 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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LATINO BLOTTER: Woman Has Nephew, 11, Drive to Pick Up Sister

LATINO BLOTTER: Woman Has Nephew, 11, Drive to Pick Up Sister

Photo: Woman Has Nephew, 11, Drive to Pick Up Sister (actual child not pictured)

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A Texas woman was arrested after she allowed her young nephew to drive her car to pick up his sister.

According to police, Carolina Romero-Gonzalez, 40, gave her 11-year-old nephew the keys to her car to meet up with his sister.

On January 17, an Austin schools police officer pulled over a maroon Saturn sedan near Lanier High School and discovered the 11-year-old behind the wheel, with his 9-year-old brother in the seat next to him.

The driver, who is only in 5th grade, told the officer his aunt handed him the car keys and told him to go pick up his sister.

Though initially denying giving the child the keys, Romero-Gonzalez was interviewed again, and that time admitted she had.

She now faces a felony charge of abandoning or endangering a child, and her bail was set at $7,500.

It is unclear if she was the legal guardian of any of the children.

Read more by HS News Staff →

MassMutual Offers Scholarships to Hispanic Students As Student Debt Hits $1 Trillion

MassMutual Offers Scholarships to Hispanic Students As Student Debt Hits $1 Trillion

Photo: Educational scholarship

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Sixty percent of U.S. college students take out loans, and graduates leave school with an average of about $20,000 in debt, even as a college degree is recognized as essential for career success.

To help more students afford that all-important college degree, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) announced today that the application period for its MassMutual Scholars program is now open for high achieving students of multicultural backgrounds interested in careers in the insurance and financial services industry.

Through this program, MassMutual will offer a total of $150,000 in scholarships—$5,000 scholarships to students attending four-year colleges and $2,500 scholarships to those attending two-year colleges.

Students of all majors are eligible who are of African-American, Asian/Pacific Islander or Hispanic descent and attending school in the United States. Applicants also must meet certain academic criteria, such as maintaining a 3.0 or better GPA, express interest in financial services and insurance careers and demonstrate financial need.

The MassMutual Scholars program is just one of many initiatives that are part of the company’s Community Responsibility agenda, which provided over $7 million in charitable contributions in 2012. In addition to national scholarships, the Career Pathways Program supports eligible high school and college students in Hampden, Mass. and Hartford, Ct. counties through scholarships, internships and experiential learning opportunities focused on careers in financial services.

The application deadline for the MassMutual Scholars Program is May 3, 2013, and winners will be notified in late summer.

Read more by HS News Staff →

CNN Chief Zucker Meeting with Minority Journalist Advocates

CNN Chief Zucker Meeting with Minority Journalist Advocates

Photo: CNN Chief Zucker Meeting with Minority Journalist Advocates

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On Monday, CNN’s new chief, Jeff Zucker, met with advocates for black journalists with plans to meet with advocates for Latino journalists next month after the network was criticized for not having a more diverse staff.

Though advocates are meeting with Zucker, President of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, Hugo Balta, says the issue is not “unique to CNN.”

The meetings with Zucker follow the hiring of Chris Cuomo and Jake Tapper for a morning and afternoon show on CNN, both white men. Latina anchor Soledad O’Brien also recently announced she would no longer be hosting her morning show on the network. She will likely be replaced with Cuomo and primetime host Erin Burnett.

It should be noted however, that CNN is not an all white network, and criticism of CNN began before Zucker took over.  The Wrap pointed out CNN can boast the on-air talent of Sanjay Gupta, Fareed Zakaria and Ali Velshi, who are all of Indian decent. And there are also a number of black anchors, including Don Lemon, Lisa Sylvester, Isha Sesay, Victor Blackwell, and Fredricka Whitfield.

Zucker met with executives from the National Association of Black Journalists on Monday, and will meet with the National Association of Hispanic Journalists on March 8th.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico’s Missing Persons Database Contains Over 26,000 Names

Mexico’s Missing Persons Database Contains Over 26,000 Names

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The government has a database listing the names of 26,121 people who have not been located or are missing in Mexico, Deputy Government Secretary for Judicial Affairs and Human Rights Lia Limon said.

“People are the most important thing for the government and we understand clearly that behind these statistics there are human beings who deserve our respect,” Limon said.

The figures were compiled during the 2006-2012 administrtion of President Felipe Calderon, the high-level official said.

The database includes 20,915 cases of “prior investigations, registered complaints or investigative files,” Limon said.

Some 5,206 cases “pending the validation of information” are also in the database, Limon said.

“It is essential to mention that this database should not prejudge the reasons for the failure to locate people because many of those in it may have gone missing for different reasons not necessarily related to criminal incidents,” the deputy government secretary said.

The government is working to create a definitive registry and non-governmental organizations are being asked to provide information on missing persons cases, Limon said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Leader of Teachers Union Charged with Racketeering in Mexico

Leader of Teachers Union Charged with Racketeering in Mexico

Photo: Elba Esther Gordillo

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The leader of Mexico’s powerful SNTE teachers union learned Wednesday that she and two associates face racketeering charges in connection with the alleged embezzlement of $157 million in union funds.

Elba Esther Gordillo was informed of the charges during a hearing inside the Santa Marta Acatitla prison on the outskirts of Mexico City, where she spent the night following her arrest.

The arraignment, which reporters followed via closed-circuit from another area of the prison, was broadcast live on national television.

The SNTE boss, along with co-defendants Isaias Gallardo and Jose Manuel Diaz, is to be held for at least 72 hours before the court addresses the question of bail.

Upon hearing about the racketeering charges for the first time, the woman once described by scholar M. Delal Baer as “Jimmy Hoffa in a dress” smiled slightly and looked upward.

Mexico’s Finance Secretariat was notified by Santander bank in December - the month current President Enrique Peña Nieto took office - of suspiciously large transfers and subsequently launched an investigation that led to the discovery of the suspected diversion of SNTE funds for Gordillo’s personal expenses.

Based on the initial probe, investigators believe the union leader received more than 2 billion pesos ($157 million) in embezzled funds via multiple transactions, Mexican Attorney General Jesus Murillo said.

The money was allegedly used to cover Gordillo’s credit card bills, purchases at luxury stores, cosmetic surgery, real estate and other spending.

Gordillo was arrested at the airport in Toluca, a city on the outskirts of the capital, because “it had been announced that she was going to hold a (SNTE) congress,” Murillo said Tuesday night.

Televisa reported that the union chief arrived in Mexico from San Diego, California, where she owns property.

The SNTE is the largest union in Latin America and Gordillo, 68, is considered Mexico’s most powerful woman.

The union boss has the backing of the New Alliance Party, or PANAL, which holds 10 seats in Congress.

Read more by HS News Staff →

TBN Latino Affiliate Enlace Television Launches Innovative App for Mobile Viewing

TBN Latino Affiliate Enlace Television Launches Innovative App for Mobile Viewing

Photo: TBN Latino Affiliate Enlace Television Launches Innovative App for Mobile Viewing

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Enlace, Trinity Broadcasting Network’s Spanish-language affiliate network, has launched an exciting free mobile app giving users of iPhones, iPads, Androids, and other mobile devices 24-hour real-time access to Enlace Television, America’s most popular Spanish-language Christian network, and EJ TV, the cutting-edge faith channel for Latino young people.

Enlace, Trinity Broadcasting Network’s Spanish-language affiliate network, has launched an exciting free mobile app giving users of iPhones, iPads, Androids, and other mobile devices 24-hour real-time access to Enlace Television, America’s most popular Spanish-language Christian network, and EJ TV, the cutting-edge faith channel for Latino young people.

“We are excited to introduce this incredible, totally free smart phone and mobile resource that will connect millions more viewers across America and around the world to the great faith programming we carry on Enlace and our EJ TV youth network,” said Cesar Español, Enlace’s director for U.S. Operations. “There are over 52 million Latinos in the U.S. alone, and our research tells us that a majority of them are reaching out for greater spiritual reality in their lives and families. Enlace is there for them — and now they can watch us anytime and anywhere.”

With over one million “Likes” on Facebook, Enlace has grown into the premier faith and family TV network Latinos across America turn to everyday. Enlace features church and ministry programs from a wide variety of Christian denominations, the best in inspirational music, a wide variety of shows for kids, movies the whole family will enjoy, and much more. And EJ TV has become the channel of choice for millions of Latino youth, with relevant music, talk and reality shows, extreme sports, movies, and other programs designed to encourage teens and young adults in their relationship with God.

“For over 25 years TBN has had the privilege of partnering with Enlace to broadcast the best in Spanish-language faith and family programming throughout Latin America and the U.S.,” said TBN Vice President Matthew Crouch. “As we have recognized at TBN, online technology is revolutionizing Christian broadcasting, and we’re thrilled to see Enlace give Latino viewers more viewing opportunities with this innovative mobile app.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Cuba Charges U.S. Denying Rights of Former Cuban Spy

Cuba Charges U.S. Denying Rights of Former Cuban Spy

Photo: Rene Gonzalez - The Cuban Five

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Cuba’s government on Wednesday blasted Washington for denying consular access to a Cuban agent who is serving probation on U.S. soil after completing a prison term for espionage.

The U.S. State Department has “repeatedly” denied requests from the Cuban Interests Section in Washington to meet with Rene Gonzalez, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

“Cuba energetically denounces this arbitrary decision by the authorities of the United States, which violates Rene’s rights, at the same time that it holds the U.S. government responsible for the safety and physical integrity of the antiterrorist fighter,” the statement said.

Gonzalez, who spent 13 years behind bars, walked out of a federal prison in October 2011 but must remain in the United States until his three-year probation is complete.

He and four colleagues - Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino, Antonio Guerrero and Fernando Gonzalez - were arrested in 1998 and convicted three years later by a federal jury in Miami.

The Cuban Five have always insisted they were spying on Miami’s Cuban exile community, not the U.S. government. Cuba says the men were sent to Florida in the wake of several terror bombings in Havana allegedly masterminded by anti-Castro militant Luis Posada Carriles, a former CIA operative.

Washington’s veto on consular access for Rene Gonzalez is designed “to continue punishing him after so many years of unjust and cruel treatment” and it comes in addition to the “strict conditions” of his probation, the Cuban foreign ministry said.

Gonzalez, 56, whose wife and two daughters are in Cuba, traveled to Havana in March 2011 for two weeks after obtaining court permission to visit an ill brother.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico’s Powerful Teacher’s Union Leader Arrested for Possible $204M Theft

Mexico’s Powerful Teacher’s Union Leader Arrested for Possible $204M Theft

Photo: Elba Esther Gordillo Arrested Mexico

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The leader of Mexico’s powerful SNTE teachers union was arrested for misappropriating union funds and will likely appear before a judge on Wednesday, Attorney General Jesus Murillo said.

Elba Esther Gordillo spent the night at the Santa Marta Acatitla prison on the outskirts of Mexico City following her arrest on Tuesday, Murillo said.

Gordillo allegedly engaged in financial transactions that used union funds to pay her personal expenses.

Investigators are still analyzing transactions in two of the 80 bank accounts targeted in the probe, Murillo said.

“These two accounts represent 75 percent of the economic universe being investigated. I believe they are the largest ones,” Murillo told Televisa.

The accounts being investigated held 2.6 billion pesos ($204 million), the AG said.

The money, which came from the SNTE, was allegedly used to cover Gordillo’s credit card bills, purchases at luxury stores, cosmetic surgery, real estate and other spending.

“The evidence is clear and solid,” Murillo said.

Gordillo was arrested at the airport in Toluca, a city on the outskirts of the capital, because “it had been announced that she was going to hold a congress,” the attorney general said.

“We had been watching the planes that arrived,” Murillo said.

Televisa reported that the powerful union boss arrived in Mexico from San Diego, California, where she owns property.

The SNTE is the largest union in Latin America and Gordillo is considered Mexico’s most powerful woman.

The union boss has the backing of the New Alliance Party, or PANAL, which holds 10 seats in Congress.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Pope Benedict XVI Says Good-Bye to the Public

Pope Benedict XVI Says Good-Bye to the Public

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Pope Benedict XVI held his last general audience at the Vatican on Wednesday, a day before he steps down from the papacy.

About 200,000 people turned out to bid farewell to the pontiff, who assured the faithful that his heart was “filled with thanksgiving to God who ever watches over his Church and her growth in faith and love.”

The pope, who turns 86 in two months, announced on Feb. 11 that he planned to step down from the papacy on the last day of this month, becoming the first pope to resign in nearly 600 years.

“The decision I have made, after much prayer, is the fruit of a serene trust in God’s will and a deep love of Christ’s Church. I will continue to accompany the Church with my prayers, and I ask each of you to pray for me and for the new pope,” Benedict XVI said.

The pope kept his blessing at the public audience brief.

“I commend all of you, with great affection, to his loving care, asking him to strengthen you in the hope which opens our hearts to the fullness of life that he alone can give. To you and your families, I impart my blessing. Thank you!” Benedict XVI said.

The pontiff will step down at 8:00 p.m. on Thursday and will take the title of pope emeritus.

The Vatican does not plan to hold any ceremony to mark the pope’s departure, with the only sign that Benedict is no longer pontiff being the closing of the papal palace’s doors by the Swiss Guards.

The papal conclave to elect the successor to Pope Benedict XVI is expected to start in the next few weeks.

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

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

Read more by HS News Staff →

Cancun Prepares for Influx of Spring Breakers with Greater Security

Cancun Prepares for Influx of Spring Breakers with Greater Security

Photo: Cancun, Mexico

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Police in the Mexican Caribbean resort city of Cancun are stepping up security in preparation for the arrival of thousands of spring breakers from the United States, city officials told Efe.

“Operation Spring Breakers 2013” calls for the deployment of 138 Tourism Police officers from the city of Benito Juarez, where Cancun is located, more than 100 federal law enforcement agents, 86 marines and 80 army troops to maintain order.

“The federal forces are there for support” and will help patrol the hotel zone, nightclubs and shopping centers, “especially at night,” the city officials said.

The security operation will last until April 15 in Cancun, where at least 60,000 college students from the United States and Canada are expected to arrive over the next few weeks to enjoy their spring breaks from school.

Military personnel and police have worked together to provide security in Cancun, which is in Quintana Roo state, since 2007 amid a wave of drug-related violence in the region.

The operation is being launched as a preventive measure in light of the recent killings and rapes of tourists in the Pacific resort city of Acapulco and attacks on visitors in Playa del Carmen, another popular tourist destination in Quintana Roo state.

Tourism is the engine of the economy in Quintana Roo, which accounts for about half of Mexico’s tourism revenues.

Last year, Quintana Roo tourism officials launched a campaign to try to get more Europeans to visit the islands of Mujeres, Holbox, Cozumel and Contoy, destinations that are not as well known as the Riviera Maya and Cancun.

Read more by HS News Staff →

NAACP Presents Oral Argument Urging the Supreme Court to Uphold the Voting Rights Act

NAACP Presents Oral Argument Urging the Supreme Court to Uphold the Voting Rights Act

Photo: Voting Rights Act Attacked

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Today, Debo P. Adegbile of the NAACP Legal and Educational Defense Fund, Inc. (LDF) presented oral argument on behalf of defendant-intervenors in the Supreme Court in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, one of the most important civil rights cases in a generation. Shelby County seeks to destroy the core of the Voting Rights Act, by removing a provision that requires states and jurisdictions with the worst histories of voting discrimination, such as Alabama, to have all voting changes reviewed by the U.S. Department of Justice or the D.C. District Court to ensure they are free from discrimination. This provision of the Act, known as Section 5, puts the burden of ending voting discrimination on cities, towns and states, rather than on the victims of discrimination. For this reason the Voting Rights Act has widely been regarded as one of the greatest pieces of civil rights legislation ever enacted. United States Solicitor General Donald Verrilli presented oral argument on behalf of the United States.

“Our nation has made progress in ensuring the right of every person to vote – in large part because of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. But we still have a long way to go. We should continue to demand more progress, not less,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. “We still have blatant and subtle impediments to voters—sudden polling place changes to locations outside the community, cutbacks in early voting, canceling elections just as blacks obtain voting strength, gerrymandered districts, and many other obstacles that prevent African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and Asian Americans from voting. We cannot today declare ‘Mission Accomplished’.  We fully expect the Court to uphold this watershed law.”

Today’s oral argument was attended by, among others, Cecilia Marshall, the widow of former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, Martin Luther King III, civil rights leaders including Wade Henderson, Ben Jealous, and Rev. Jesse Jackson, and numerous members of Congress, including Representatives John Lewis, James Clyburn, Melvin Watt, and Marcia Fudge.

In the face of substantial evidence showing continued efforts to discriminate against minority voters, Section 5 was reauthorized by an overwhelming bi-partisan majority of Congress in 2006. In fact, not one single United States Senator voted against reauthorizing Section 5. More recently, in a 2009 case argued by LDF, Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District No.1 v. Holder, the Supreme Court issued an 8-1 ruling that left Section 5’s important protections intact.

“No law in our nation’s history has enforced our Constitution’s promise of equality more effectively than the Voting Rights Act. It is both constitutional and logical to target the areas with the worst records of continuing voting discrimination,” said Adegbile, NAACP LDF’s Special Counsel, who defended the VRA before the Supreme Court today, as well as the last time Section 5 was challenged.

“The evidence shows that the most intense pattern of voting discrimination remains concentrated to a remarkable degree in those places reached by the preclearance provision. Nothing in the Constitution, precedent or common sense requires that these serious threats to minority voters now be left unchecked. Section 5 shines a light in the dark rooms where plans are hatched to block the will of the voters. It is the most powerful defense we have against both brazen and subtle efforts to take away or narrow the right to vote. This essential law protects our democracy and the liberty and dignity of all citizens to fully participate in American life,” continued Adegbile.

At oral argument, the U.S. Solicitor General stressed the Supreme Court’s long line of cases upholding the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act four times over four decades, Congress’s virtually unprecedented legislative record consisting of 15,000 pages of evidence showing the VRA’s continuing necessity, and the experiences of voters in Shelby County and millions of others across the country. Between 1982 and 2006, Section 5 blocked more than 1,000 discriminatory voting changes from going into effect.

“We were encouraged by today’s argument and look forward to the Court’s decision,” Ifill commented afterwards. “We were heartened to see a number of Justices acknowledge ongoing voter discrimination in Alabama and the other affected areas,” Adegbile added.

They also pointed to several noteworthy comments from the bench. In addition to Justice Sotomayor’s admonition to Shelby County’s counsel that “your county is the epitome of why Section 5 was enacted,” Justice Kennedy also questioned how Shelby County was injured by the coverage provision.

Although the places covered by Section 5 comprise less than 25 percent of the country’s overall population, they account for more than 80 percent of cases in which favorable outcomes were obtained for voters of color under Section 2 of Voting Rights Act, an important provision that applies nationwide. Therefore, on a per capita basis, there are 12 times as many successful Section 2 cases occurring in the covered jurisdictions compared to non-covered jurisdictions.

LDF represents five Black ministers from Shelby County and Councilman Ernest Montgomery. In 2008, the City of Calera, which lies within Shelby County, enacted a discriminatory redistricting plan that was rejected by the Department of Justice under Section 5, leading to the loss of the city’s sole Black councilman, Mr. Montgomery. Because of Section 5, however, the Department of Justice required Calera to redraw its electoral boundaries in a nondiscriminatory manner and conduct another election in which Mr. Montgomery regained his seat.

“When I was growing up, I had to hide under the bed when the Ku Klux Klan came to my house. The KKK is no longer knocking on my door, but unfortunately the efforts to suppress voters are anything but history. Discrimination is alive and well in Alabama,” said LDF client Pastor Harold Jones from New Mount Moriah Baptist Church in Calera. “Thanks to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, a proposal was blocked that would have deprived the African-American community of Calera of selecting our preferred candidate.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

BURRITO BATTERY: Florida Man Attacks Teen with Taco Bell Burrito

BURRITO BATTERY: Florida Man Attacks Teen with Taco Bell Burrito

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There must be something in the water, because Florida is once again the location of an odd crime involving a man in his 30s, a teenage boy, and Taco Bell burrito.

The Smoking Gun is reporting Erik Brown, 36, is facing battery charges in Port St. Lucie after police believe he got into an altercation with a 16-year-old family member.

According to the teen, he was having an argument with his mother and Brown, his brother-in-law, when Brown asked the mother to “bring him the burrito”. Once he had it, Brown allegedly threw the burrito “with force” at the victim, hitting him in the face. It appeared he had indeed been struck with a burrito, because when police arrived, they found meat, cheese, and sauce all over his face and clothing.

Brown claims he lost his cool with the teen after witnessing him disrespect and curse at his mother.

He was booked in the county jail and is scheduled to appear in Circuit Court for arraignment on March 20.

It should be noted that Brown also warned that, once released, he would “take care” of the teen, adding that the boy was “going to get knocked out.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Perez Hilton Announces:  It’s a Boy!

Perez Hilton Announces:  It’s a  Boy!

Photo: Perez Hilton and New Son

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“Dear Friends,
I want you to hear this directly from me, right here.

I am ready to announce that earlier this month I was blessed with the birth of my first child, a beautiful and healthy baby boy - with lots of hair on his tiny head!

My family is overjoyed at this newest and most cherished addition.

Thank YOU for welcoming PerezHilton.com into your homes, offices, classrooms, cell phones and wherever else you may read my five websites.

And thank you for welcoming ME into your lives!

I am so humbled to welcome this little man into my life. And I am honored and ready for the challenge of guiding him through his.

With love,
Perez”

Read more at Perez Hilton →

Galapagos Islands’ Residents Encouraged to Discover Wildlife

Galapagos Islands’ Residents Encouraged to Discover Wildlife

Photo: Galapagos Islands (Tammy Lytle)

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The recent discovery of a rare fish species by residents of the Galapagos Islands marks the latest in a series of finds by inhabitants of the famed Ecuadorian archipelago, who are to be further encouraged in their efforts by a government-sponsored “Citizen Science” program.

Most of the finds have come from fishermen and guides, the head of the Galapagos National Park’s Marine Spaces Monitoring area, Eduardo Espinoza, told Efe.

This recently discovered rare fish species, which had only been seen once before 10 years ago, lives at water depths ranging from 40-400 meters (131-1,311 feet).

Intrigued by its unusual flattish, wide head, rounded jaws and elongated body, fishermen took the specimen to the Galapagos National Park Directorate - known as DPGN and based on Santa Cruz Island - for scientific study.

Having received that specimen of fish from the Uranoscopidae family, the DPGN will conduct several studies and prepare a report detailing where the fish was caught, its habitat, diet and behavior, as well as its significance in maintaining the marine balance.

Espinoza hailed the role the islands’ inhabitants play in shedding light on the Galapagos ecosystem, saying they are “privileged observers” who assist in the scientific research carried out by the DPNG and other organizations such as the Charles Darwin Research Station.

In that regard, the park plans to launch a so-called “Citizen Science” program that establishes protocols, procedures and other regulations governing the local population’s participation in these types of discoveries.

According to Espinoza, the Galapagos marine reserve, one of the world’s largest, still “has many enigmas to uncover” with the aid of the scientific community and the more than 20,000 inhabitants of the archipelago.

Located roughly 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) off the coast of continental Ecuador, the Galapagos archipelago comprises a marine and land reserve covering 132,000 sq. kilometers (50,965 sq. miles).

The islands, which were declared a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site in 1978, were made famous by 19th-century British naturalist Charles Darwin, whose observations of life on the islands contributed greatly to his theory of evolution and natural selection.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Selena Gomez: New Album “Coming Soon”

Selena Gomez: New Album “Coming Soon”

Photo: Selena Gomez: New Album “Coming Soon”

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On Tuesday afternoon the singer-actress riled up her fans with just one tweet:

No word yet on when the album or new songs will be released, but it looks like Gomez is getting back to her music after filming the upcoming film Spring Breakers. An edgier Gomez can be seen when the film is released next month.

 

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February 27th is National Kahlúa Day!

February 27th is National Kahlúa Day!

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February 27th marks National Kahlúa Day so crack open a bottle (if you’re 21+) and learn a bit about the Mexican-made liqueur.

From the official Kahlúa website:

For more than 70 years, the alluring taste of Kahlúa has created more than just delicious drinks; it has ignited connections around the world. Today, consumers raise their glass to nearly two million cases sold in more than 150 countries around the world each year.

1930: An Intriguing Idea
The Alvarez brothers harvest premium Arabica coffee beans from the fields of Veracruz. They engage Señor Blanco, a local entrepreneur, to include their highest quality Arabica beans in a spirits recipe he was backing.

1936: The Recipe is Born
Chemist Montalvo Lara uses the Alvarez brother’s coffee beans to create the original Kahlúa recipe that is still enjoyed today.

1950s: The World Meets Kahlúa
Kahlúa’s popularity takes off and the brand begins global distribution.

1960: Kahlúa Lets Women Take the Lead
Beginning in the late 1960’s, Kahlúa gains notoriety for its all female management team, dubbed the “Kahlúa Ladies.”

1962: North America Falls for Kahlúa
Kahlúa is first exported to the U.S. and quickly gains fame, intriguing consumers with its Mexican heritage and distinctive flavor.

1964: Prekes Chic
Pre-Colombian figures known as “Prekes” first appear in Kahlúa advertising to promote the brand’s Mexican heritage. The popular campaign evolves to include conversations between the Prekes as they discuss their favorite ways to enjoy Kahlúa.

1984: Kahlúa Goes for the Gold
A limited edition gold commemorative bottle of Kahlúa is issued to celebrate the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

2002: Intensely, Espresso
Kahlúa dares consumers to take their drinks to the next level, introducing Kahlúa Especial, an intense espresso based spirit.

2006: Introducing Special Occasions
Kahlúa gives its consumers a new way to enjoy the original coffee and cane spirit, introducing smaller packages and flavor variations for “Drinks to Go” and “Ready to Drink.”

2007 & 2008: A Captivating Flavor Portfolio
Kahlúa French Vanilla, Kahlúa Hazelnut and Kahlúa Mocha debut, delivering rich flavor and infinite cocktail possibilities.

Read more by HS News Staff →

DREAM Act Students Disappointed Immigration Reform Discussions Focusing Only on Border Security

DREAM Act Students Disappointed Immigration Reform Discussions Focusing Only on Border Security

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The Dream Action Coalition which serves as a voice for undocumented youth and the lobbying arm of the dream movement issued the follow statement on the progress of comprehensive immigration reform discussions:

While it is a positive development seeing the President and Republican leaders speak cordially on immigration, it is unfortunate that the trio have their priorities backwards.  We hope they understand that the priority for Latinos is family reunification and not more border security. We hope the President doesn’t fall for this.

During the 2012 election, the economy was certainly of importance to Latinos; however, a pro-immigrant candidate was a deciding factor when voting for President Obama. Indeed, Latinos overwhelmingly voted for practical and humane immigration reform not contingent on border security, which is why 71% of Latinos voted for President Obama and Democrats. This was more apparent in battleground states like Florida, Nevada, and Colorado.

The President, in fact, has provided his blue print indicating that he supports a practical and clear path to citizenship not contingent on a “secured border.” DREAMers will continue to remind the Latino electorate who is putting political ambition ahead of unifying families who have suffered due to a broken immigration system. There are countless reports indicating historic low crime rates at border states and low unauthorized crossings. The focus on immigration reform should be updating not militarizing our immigration system.

President Obama’s current record number of deportation should compel him to avoid focusing on enforcement. With the question of legacy looming in President Obama’s second term, he can choose a legacy of uniting families and real reform or a legacy of broken families and capitulation to the extreme right on immigration. For Republicans, like Senator McCain, focusing on enforcement will not fare well electorally in light of the growing influence of Latinos in Arizona and Texas.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Why is This 9-Year-Old Rapping About Coke, Making Girls HIs Groupies? (VIDEO)

Why is This 9-Year-Old Rapping About Coke, Making Girls HIs Groupies? (VIDEO)

Photo: Father of 9-Year-Old rapper, Lil Poopy, under investigation

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The father of a 9-year-old rapper named Lil Poopy is now under investigation after music videos in which the pint-size rapper spouts foul language and woman dance provocatively around him were seen on YouTube.

Born Luie Rivera Jr., Lil Poopy, who is said to also refer to himself as Coke Boy, is already making a name for himself, but while it may be good for his career, it may land his father in jail.

After seeing the questionable material in the fourth-grader’s music videos, police in Brockton, Mass. filed a complaint against his father, Luis Rivera, alleging abuse and/or neglect.

On Sunday, police Lt. David Dickinson, told Enterprise News, ‘It’s a bit much for a 9-year-old. It warrants the attention of the Department of Children and Families.”

The father’s attorney begs to differ however, calling the investigation “racially charged, because whoever watched it probably doesn’t understand rap.” He goes on to say the case comes down to the content of the videos, “which is protected by the First Amendment.”

In the videos, Lil Poopy is often dancing with scantily clad woman who at times gyrate against him as he spouts lyrics about the usual rap excesses: money, drugs, women, and expensive cars.

The internet sensation, who has shared the stage with rap superstar and mogul P.Diddy, performs with an entourage of sorts known as the Coke Boy Posse.

Still, his father says his son is a good kid who goes to school every day and is “a really smart kid” who is liked by his teachers.

“He knows no school, no rappin’,” the father says.

So what do you think? Is the content of both his raps and videos “too much” for a 9-year-old? And if so, do you think the father deserves to be punished?

Read more by HS News Staff →

Young Designer Hopes to Bring Latino Style to Next Season of “Fashion Star”

Young Designer Hopes to Bring Latino Style to Next Season of “Fashion Star”

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Johana Hernandez aims to showcase authentic Latino style as one of the 13 contestants in the second season of NBC fashion design competition series “Fashion Star,” which premieres March 8.

The 26-year-old daughter of Salvadoran immigrants and her rivals were selected from among 16,000 aspiring designers who applied to take part in the competition.

“This is my opportunity to represent Latinos in a field where the inspiration always comes from Europe,” Hernandez told Efe. “The designers don’t look to the modern Latin woman for inspiration, that’s what I come to propose.”

That modern Latina, according to Hernandez, is a woman who “doesn’t show too much, but at the same time is glamorous and revealing in an elegant way.”

Despite her youth, Johana is hardly an unknown in the fashion world.

She is already the principal designer for Seven7 jeans and Mexican singer Gloria Trevi will be wearing some of Hernandez’s creations on stage during her upcoming world tour.

But Johana’s deepest professional aspirations are riding on her own fashion line, Glaudi.

“My designs are born of my roots and my family history,” she says. “They have a lot of detail and a lot of meaning. “It’s a style with roots.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

High Ranking Gulf Cartel Narco Convicted for Importing Several Tons of Cocaine

High Ranking Gulf Cartel Narco Convicted for Importing Several Tons of Cocaine

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Aurelio Cano Flores, a Mexican national and high ranking member of the Gulf Cartel, was found guilty yesterday to importing multi-tons of cocaine and marijuana into the U.S. 

Cano Flores, 40, aka “Yankee” and “Yeyo,” was extradited to the United States from Mexico in August 2011 and was ordered detained in federal custody pending trial.

Aurelio Cano Flores was described as a leader of one of the world’s most notorious criminal that moved “massive quantities of illegal drugs in U.S.”  He is the highest ranking Gulf Cartel member to be convicted by a U.S. jury in the past 15 years.

Evidence presented at trial included dozens of lawfully intercepted telephone conversations between Cano Flores and other leaders of the Gulf Cartel, as well as testimony from previously convicted Cartel members.  According to evidence presented at trial, Cano Flores began working for the Gulf Cartel in approximately 2001 while serving as a police officer in Mexico.  While serving as a police officer, Cano Flores recruited others into the Gulf Cartel, collected drug money and escorted large shipments of cartel drugs to the U.S. border.

Cano Flores faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican Girl, 18, Arrested for Smuggling Heroin

Mexican Girl, 18, Arrested for Smuggling Heroin

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A female Mexican national was arrested Wednesday for attempting to smuggle nearly a pound of heroin through the Dennis DeConcini Port.

Customs and Border Protection officers selected Selena Andrea Perez-Cruz, 18, for an additional inspection when she attempted to enter the U.S. through a pedestrian lane. During the search, a female CBP officer found a single package with approximately 13.4 ounces of heroin tucked inside the woman’s bra.

The heroin was processed for seizure. Perez was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

Individuals arrested may be charged by complaint, the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity, which raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent unless and until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Coast Guard Cancels Search for Family Lost at Sea Amid Hoax Suspicions

Coast Guard Cancels Search for Family Lost at Sea Amid Hoax Suspicions

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The search for a family reportedly lost at sea was called off Tuesday by the Coast Guard for reasons that the calls could have been a hoax.

Two adults and two children, ages 4 and 8, were reportedly on board a 29-foot sailboat that sank during rough waters near the central California coast, reports The Christian Science Monitor.

After 48 hours of non-stop search, the Coast Guard did not find any signs of distress or any debris of the boat and called off their search.

CNN reports Cmdr. Don Montoro saying about the incident, “[Coast Guard investigators will] prosecute it and investigate it to the best of their ability. We’re not investigating it directly as a hoax, but we are pursuing every avenue. It’s certainly a possibility.”

The boat, thought to be named “Charmblow,” had no working navigation system. In order to make their distress call, investigators say they could have used a radio.

The call was tracked down to be about 60 miles west from Monterey and an hour later another call was made stating the family had to abandon the boat.

Coast Guard Lt. Heather Lampert said that there were no signs such as giggling or laughter to indicate that the call was a hoax, but they did however sound calm.

Read more at The Celebrity Cafe →

Dysfunction of Immigration System on Full Display this Week, as ICE Releases Detainees

Dysfunction of Immigration System on Full Display this Week, as ICE Releases Detainees

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Further evidence of the nation’s dysfunctional immigration system was on display this week, when ICE–in anticipation of the upcoming sequester–released several hundred immigrants from their detention facilities.  It’s unclear where this policy came from, but immigrants–who have been the focus of decades of political battles–are now being used as a weapon in the debate over the federal budget. This has to end. And the way to end it is passing immigration reform.

According to a report in the New York Times, an ICE spokesperson said “the detainees selected for release were ‘noncriminals and other low-risk offenders who do not have serious criminal histories.’” That, of course, begs the question of why those people were in detention facilities in the first place. Over the past four years, the Obama administration has broken records with its massive deportation operation. Many of those people — and people in detention facilities — are the very people the President said he wants to become citizens. This has to be fixed. Now.

On the other hand, the usual anti-immigrant loud mouths, like Senator Jeff Sessions, are licking their chops over this news, trying to turn it into yet another weapon in their vendetta against immigration reform. They want to stop the momentum for reform and will use any and every opportunity.

Fortunately, there are continuing signs of progress. Yesterday, President Obama held his first face-to-face meeting on immigration reform with Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham. We learned via Twitter that McCain told reporters the meeting was “excellent,” while Graham said it “was perhaps the best he’s ever had with the president.” We’re expecting to see legislation from the Senate “Gang of Eight” within the next few weeks.

There are going to be roadblocks and detours on the road to reform–pushed by rogue ICE agents, the John Tanton network of nativist groups and hard-core anti-immigrant legislators. But the American people want the immigration issue solved. Democrats promised to do that–and Republicans need to do it

Read more at Americas Voice Online →

CBP Disrupts 2 Attempts to Move Cocaine

CBP Disrupts 2 Attempts to Move Cocaine

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Trackers spot boats in Pacific, Caribbean waters

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and its interagency partners disrupted two separate maritime smuggling attempts, Feb. 23 and Feb. 24, resulting in the arrest of six individuals and recovering more than 2,200 pounds of cocaine with a street value of more than $160 million.

“These interceptions are indicative of our efforts to remain vigilant and our commitment to joining our international partners in disrupting criminal activity at every opportunity,” said Tom Salter, director National Air Security Operations Center, at Corpus Christi. “This disruption is just the latest example of how effective our interagency partnerships can be.”

A crew aboard a CBP Office of Air and Marine (OAM) P-3 was on patrol as part of the Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATF-S) in the open waters in the Eastern Pacific near Costa Rica when they detected an illegal watercraft moving rapidly and identified it as a 35 foot, twin-engine speedboat. Surveillance indicated the speedboat was carrying fuel barrels and cargo.

The crew vectored a U.S. Navy vessel which deployed a helicopter and a rigid hull inflatable boat to the speed boat’s location intercepting and recovering three suspects and 2,200 pounds of cocaine.

The following day, in the Western Caribbean, another OAM P-3 crew detected a 35-foot, twin-engine speedboat carrying fuel barrels and cargo and traveling near Panama. Three operators could be seen setting their vessel on fire and jumping overboard.

The P-3 crew vectored a U.S. Coast Guard cutter to the boat’s location. The USCG deployed a rigid hull inflatable boat and rescued the three vessel operators, extinguished the fire on the vessel, and recovered several bales of contraband which were not yet identified.

CBP OAM P-3s have been an integral part of the counter-narcotic mission led by JIATF-S under the direction of U.S. Southern Command. The P-3s patrol a 42 million square mile area of the Western Caribbean and Eastern Pacific, known as the Source and Transit Zone, in search of drugs that are in transit towards U.S. shores.

The P-3s’ distinctive detection capabilities allow highly-trained crews to identify emerging threats well beyond the U.S. land borders. By providing surveillance of known air, land, and maritime smuggling routes in an area that is twice the size of the continental U.S., the P-3s and the interagency partners detect, monitor and disrupt smuggling activities before they reach shore.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation’s borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Vigils Mark First Anniversary of Trayvon Martin’s Death

Vigils Mark First Anniversary of Trayvon Martin’s Death

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A vigil for Trayvon Martin was held Tuesday evening to commemorate the one-year anniversary of his murder.

Martin was only 17 years old when he was shot and killed by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman near his home in Sanford, Fla. The incident sparked outrage across the country due to the fact that Martin was not armed.

Zimmerman claimed he acted in self-defense. He was later arrested and charged with second degree murder. His trial is set to begin in June.

ABC reported that Martin’s parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, hosted the Million Hoodies Candlelight Vigil at Union Square in New York.

Other communities reportedly planned similar vigils.

The incident also prompted a re-evaluation of Florida’s self-defense law, which permits citizens to use deadly force if they feel threatened.

CBS reported Friday that a task force commissioned by Florida Governor Rick Scott to study the law stated that there was no reason to make changes.

“We are a state that is very interested in the Second Amendment,” said defense attorney Mitch Stone.“A lot of people here carry guns and are adamant that nothing should be done to change that, in any way, shape or form.”

Read more at The Celebrity Cafe →

Palm Beach Schools Agree to Not Discriminate Against Undocumented Students & Those with Poor English

Palm Beach Schools Agree to Not Discriminate Against Undocumented Students & Those with Poor English

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The Justice Department (DOJ) announced that it has reached a comprehensive settlement agreement with the School District of Palm Beach County, Fla., the nation’s eleventh-largest school district, to prevent and address discrimination in school enrollment and student discipline.

The agreement resolves the department’s investigation into complaints that the district failed to enroll children based on their or their parents’ national origin or immigration status, and that its system of discipline discriminated against students based on national origin and limited English proficiency.

DOJ opened up an investigation in 2011 that the school district was discriminating against undocumented immigrant children.  DOJ also received complaints that the school district was disciplining children with poor English-language skills differently than everyone else. 

Under the agreement, the district will enroll all area students regardless of background and will provide translation and interpretation services throughout the registration process.  The district will also limit the use of disciplinary measures that remove students from the classroom and implement behavior management and discipline practices that support and protect students.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican Government Identifies New Narco Cartels Working in Country

Mexican Government Identifies New Narco Cartels Working in Country

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Mexico’s National Security Cabinet revealed the emergence of new drug trafficking organizations (DTO) that have formed after splintering from pre-existing cartels, groups that have taken root in the central and north of Mexico.

The government reports that these new organizations–Sangre Z, Golfo Nueva Generación, and La Corona–seem to have arisen in part from Los Zetas, the Gulf Cartel, and the Sinaloa Cartel, respectively, DTOs that, due to their size and scope, have given way to splinter groups. In all of these cases, the splintering followed the arrest or killing of key cartel operatives, as was central to the strategy of former President Calderón in confronting Mexican DTOs.

According to Justice in Mexico, sources from the Attorney General’s Office say that their investigations into the new groups indicate that these cartels are well organized and well equipped with fire arms. They are thought to be generating revenue through drug trafficking and by charging drug traffickers who pass through their routes on their way north to the U.S.. However, the PGR noted that unlike Los Zetas, the new groups do not seem involved in human trafficking nor in extortions.

Splintering within criminal organizations is not uncommon, especially among the groups from which government officials are reporting the new cartels have broken.

Read more at Justice in Mexico →

Border Agents Disrupts Human Smuggling Attempt Near Calexico

Border Agents Disrupts Human Smuggling Attempt Near Calexico

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On February 21, U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Calexico Station arrested three suspected alien smugglers.

The incident occurred at approximately 5 p.m., when agents observed three individuals climb over the United States/Mexico border fence and board a white 1997 Pontiac Grand Prix near the intersection of Aderholt Road and Carr Road east of Calexico. Agents successfully and safely stopped the vehicle by deploying a Controlled Tire Deflation Device as the driver attempted to flee. Agents approached the Grand Prix and arrested the 21-year-old male driver and 22-year-old passenger, both United States Citizens, and then two male passengers and one female passenger all citizens of Mexico. Border Patrol agents further established that one of the male illegal aliens aided in the smuggling attempt by acting as the foot guide.

The driver, front passenger, and identified foot guide were charged with alien smuggling and are in Border Patrol custody along with the passengers pending further investigation. The vehicle was seized by the U.S. Border Patrol.

Two days earlier Border Patrol agents arrested three illegal aliens east of Calexico in a similar smuggling attempt.

Read more by HS News Staff →

New Jersey Legalizes Online Casinos

New Jersey Legalizes Online Casinos

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The state of New Jersey on Tuesday approved the establishment of online casinos, although it essentially limited the customer base to people within the state, after Gov. Chris Christie signed into law a bill that the two state legislative chambers had approved earlier in the day.

The final text of the law limits the activities of the Internet casinos to players located within New Jersey’s borders, albeit with certain specific exceptions, increases the taxes on the casinos’ online winnings from 10 to 15 percent and establishes a 10-year trial period for Internet gambling.

Christie said at the signing ceremony that the economic benefits of the measure had been carefully examined with an eye toward the risks of “addiction and corruption.”

The measure is considered to be support provided by state authorities for the casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey’s gambling center, where several of the main casinos are struggling with serious a financial situation due to loss of revenues, as local media have reported in recent days.

New Jersey thus becomes the third U.S. state to legalize online gaming after Nevada and Delaware.

Read more by HS News Staff →

NCLR Joins the Boycott of Hyatt Hotels in Defense of Latina Housekeepers

NCLR Joins the Boycott of Hyatt Hotels in Defense of Latina Housekeepers

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National Council of La Raza, (NCLR), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S, has joined the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) and other Latino organizations in the boycott of Hyatt hotels.

The groups are acting “in response to widespread evidence of harmful working conditions for hotel housekeepers, who are predominantly women of color, including Latinas.”  The groups pledged to not hold any conventions, conferences, special events or major meetings at Hyatt hotels covered by the boycott.

UNITE HERE announced the boycott on July 23, 2012.  Since then, the effort to push for the improvement of working conditions and ensure the right of workers to organize has received increasing support.  To date, the boycott has cost the company more than $27 million in business.

In a study published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine examining a total of 50 hotel properties from five different hotel companies, Hyatt housekeepers had the highest injury rate of all housekeepers studied when compared by hotel company.

One of the organizations key request is to improve working conditions and reduce physical strain for housekeepers.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Barça Loses to Madrid in Copa Final, Ronaldo Scores 2

Barça Loses to Madrid in Copa Final, Ronaldo Scores 2

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Cristiano Ronaldo scored two goals on Tuesday to lead Real Madrid to a resounding 3-1 victory over archrival FC Barcelona and a berth in the Copa del Rey final.

The two squads played to a 1-1 tie in the first leg of the semifinal.

As AC Milan did last week when they upset Barça in a Champions League clash, the Blancos largely neutralized striker Lionel Messi and the Catalan side failed to execute on offense throughout the match in front of more than 95,000 at Barcelona’s Camp Nou.

Cristiano wasted no time. After stealing the ball, he breezed past Gerard Pique and into the area, where he drew a penalty.

The Portuguese international converted on the kick to make it 1-0 for the visitors in the 13th minute.

It was the eighth time in their last 11 meetings with Barça that Real Madrid scored first.

Andres Iniesta sought to rouse his Barça teammates early in the second half, setting up a decent chance for Sergio Busquets at the 52-minute mark, but the home side’s offensive push created more opportunities for the Blancos on the counterattack.

Ronaldo turned one of those chances into his second goal, putting away a rebound in the 58th minute.

Raphael Varane increased the agony for the Camp Nou crowd just 10 minutes later, when he headed-in a corner kick to make it 3-0, and Jordi Alba’s goal for Barça in the final seconds of regulation was too little, too late.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Today Supreme Court Hears Voters Rights v State Rights – Who Wins?

When the Supreme Court hears arguments Wednesday (February 27) in a direct challenge to a central part of the Voting Rights Act, it will once again wade into a decades-old dispute over voting rights that has its roots in the country’s long history of racism.

But in asking whether a key part of the federal law is constitutional, the court also will reopen a debate that long predates the measure’s enactment in 1965. It’s an argument that was at the heart of the U.S. Civil War, and one that has seen resurgence in recent years as Republicans around the country bristle at what they perceive as meddling from Washington.

That debate is the battle over states’ rights.

On its face, the challenge to the Voting Rights Act is about how state and local officials run elections. But states’ rights have underpinned much of the opposition to the law since it was first enacted, and Wednesday’s hearing will feature familiar arguments.

The issue is Section 5 of the law, which requires all or part of 16 states to get any changes to election law pre-approved by either the Justice Department or a federal court. That requirement, based on findings of discrimination and racism years ago, applies to most every aspect of elections, from technical changes to the high-profile issue of photo ID requirements that recently spawned court battles for states such as Texas and South Carolina. The challenge was brought by Shelby County, Alabama, and argues that the act’s preclearance requirement is unconstitutional on its face, no matter how it’s employed.

Read more at Jake Grovum for Pew States →

NHMC Criticizes Academy for Not Recognizing Lupe Ontiveros During ‘In Memoriam’

NHMC Criticizes Academy for Not Recognizing Lupe Ontiveros During ‘In Memoriam’

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The National Hispanic Media Coalition complained Tuesday, in a letter to the organization responsible for awarding the Oscars, about actress Lupe Ontiveros not being included on its list of artists who died in 2012.

In an open letter to members of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences, NHMC President Alex Nogales also slammed the Academy for having refused to grant her membership.

Nogales wrote “on behalf of the thousands of Lupe Ontiveros fans indignant of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences’ neglect to include” her in the Oscars’ “In Memoriam” segment of Sunday’s gala.

The actress died last July.

Recalling that her family said that Ontiveros was not a member of the Academy, Nogales asked in his letter that AMPAS explain why she was refused membership even though she had applied for it with the sponsorship of actors Miguel Sandoval and Edward James Olmos.

“It is astonishing that an actress of Ontiveros’ caliber and experience was denied membership to the Academy,” Nogales said.

NHMC noted in its letter the work Ontiveros had done in a career that spanned over 35 years, and mentioned her roles in movies like “El Norte,” “The Goonies,” “Selena,” “Real Women Have Curves,” “As Good as it Gets” and “Chuck & Buck.”

“(W)e ask that the Academy take a moment to pause and reflect on its commitment to the growing U.S. Latino talent,” Nogales concluded.

Read more by HS News Staff →

¡Felicidades! Dominican Republic on Your 168th Year of Independence

¡Felicidades! Dominican Republic on Your 168th Year of Independence

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Today, all of Dominican Republic is celebrating and rejoicing its 168-year old independence from Spain.  Columbus arrived in 1492 making this the site of the first permanent European settlement in the Americas. The Spanish occupied Dominican Republic for over 300 years followed by a Haitian occupation and a small period of U.S. occupation.

The Dominican Republic declared independence following the Haitian occupation on February 27, 1844.  Over 70 years the country has endured outbreaks of civil war, political instability and economic chaos.  However, today the country celebrates its founding fathers, Juan Pablo Duarte, Matias Ramon Mella and Francisco del Rosario Sanchez.

The country today enjoys a democratic government and is recognized as one of the world’s top tourist destinations.  There is a vibrant Dominican population in the U.S. that is celebrating with friends and family on this special day with ‘sancocho’ and other island favorites. 

The U.S. government via Secretary of State John Kerry sent their well wishes to the people of the Dominican Republic:

The United States and the Dominican Republic have a strong relationship based on historic ties and mutual interests. Our citizens’ security, governance, economic growth, health, and education are regional challenges that we address as partners. Last year’s launch of Alerta Joven highlighted our joint commitment to youth opportunity and cooperation in the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative. The Dominican Republic was also the first Caribbean nation to sign a joint statement on global supply chain security to increase and facilitate trade, and I look forward to further collaboration on these and other issues.

The United States stands with the people of the Dominican Republic as you celebrate the anniversary of your independence. May peace, prosperity, and social equity frame the year ahead.

 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Guatemalan Refugees Living in Mexico Agree to Repatriation

Guatemalan Refugees Living in Mexico Agree to Repatriation

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The villagers from the Guatemalan community of Nueva Esperanza who took refuge in southern Mexico in 2011 reached an agreement with their country’s government to be repatriated on Feb. 28, non-governmental organizations reported Tuesday.

The community of Nueva Esperanza was evacuated by force by Guatemalan authorities in August 2011 and its residents crossed the border and took refuge on Mexican soil, where they have lived “in critical conditions,” according to the Civil Observation Mission comprised of 10 Mexican human rights organizations.

The Mission said in a communique that it had documented “the inattention of the governments of Guatemala and Mexico, the non-fulfillment of obligations for humanitarian assistance and even harassment toward the displaced villagers.”

“The deterioration of conditions also caused the death of a girl and put at risk the lives of the villagers, the majority of whom are girls and boys,” it said.

Some 300 Guatemalans have been living in Mexico in precarious humanitarian conditions and with an uncertain immigration situation since they were displaced on Aug. 23, 2011, from their homes across the border.

Nueva Esperanza is located in a protected nature preserve in the northern Guatemalan province of Peten, and the Guatemalan government said at the time that the objective of the displacement was to recover areas that were under the control of drug traffickers.

Guatemalan authorities also denied the version of humanitarian organizations, which said that security forces used violence to dislodge the villagers adding that the operation had been carried out according to a judicial order and respecting human rights.

The organizations making up the Mission said that its members would accompany the displaced people up to the border and that a commission would then accompany them “to the place where they will be relocated in ... Peten.”

The Mission also demanded that the governments of Guatemala and Mexico at all times guarantee the safety of the displaced people and those accompanying as they proceed to their new homes.

Read more by HS News Staff →



WednesdayFebruary 27, 2013