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ThursdayFebruary 28, 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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Don Omar Being Sued Over Yacht Used in Music Video

Don Omar Being Sued Over Yacht Used in Music Video

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Puerto Rican reggaeton artist Don Omar seems to have gotten himself into a bit on hot water on the water.

In Don Omar’s video for the song “Danza Kuduro” the performer is seen inviting a group of women onto “his” yacht, Le Reve.

Unfortunately, the artist did not get permission from the yacht’s actual owner, a company out of Portugal, before using it in the video.

Now, according to TMZ:

The company is suing Don Omar, his record company, and pretty much everyone involved in the video’s production—demanding a fat check

Omar’s reps have claimed he was not in charge of setting up the location and should be held responsible for something the recording company set up.

 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Daughter of Cuban Dissident Killed in Crash Says It Was No Accident

Daughter of Cuban Dissident Killed in Crash Says It Was No Accident

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Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya’s death last July in a car crash “was not an accident,” his daughter said here Thursday.

The Spaniard who was driving the car carrying her father confirmed that “a vehicle hit them from behind,” Rosa Maria Paya said at a press conference in Madrid.

Angel Carromero, a leader of the youth wing of Spain’s governing Popular Party, was at the wheel of the rental car on July 22 when it crashed near the eastern Cuban city of Bayamo.

Oswaldo Paya and fellow dissident Harold Cepero died, while Carromero and Swedish political activist Jens Aron Modig received minor injuries.

Modig was allowed to leave the island after giving a statement, but Cuban authorities held Carromero, alleging that he was speeding at the time of the accident.

The 27-year-old Spaniard was eventually convicted of negligent homicide and sentenced to four years in prison, but he returned to Madrid in December under a 1998 bilateral accord that allows convicts to serve their sentences in their homelands.

Within weeks of his return to Spain, Carromero was granted an open detention regime and he spends all but four nights a week at liberty.

Rosa Paya said Carromero told her earlier this month that the rental car was struck from behind by another vehicle and forced off the road.

“We have confirmed that there was no accident,” she said, reading from a prepared statement. “We have a right to know how they died and who is responsible for their deaths.”

Oswaldo Paya, who would have been 61 on Thursday, emerged as a leading opposition figure in 2002 when he delivered to Cuba’s parliament more than 10,000 signed petitions calling for a referendum on democratization.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico President Peña Nieto Makes First Comments on Arrest of Powerful Teachers Union

Mexico President Peña Nieto Makes First Comments on Arrest of Powerful Teachers Union

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The investigation of teachers union boss Elba Esther Gordillo and her associates “should continue until the final consequences,” Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said.

Gordillo was arrested Tuesday at the airport in Toluca, a city on the outskirts of the capital, and was arraigned a day later on racketeering charges in connection with the alleged embezzlement of $157 million in union funds.

The law “applies to everyone equally, and no one can be above the law,” Peña Nieto said in an address to the nation Wednesday night during which he never mentioned the powerful union boss by name.

The 68-year-old Gordillo is the leader of the SNTE teachers union, the largest union in Latin America, and was considered the most powerful woman in Mexico.

Peña Nieto’s comments were his first on the case since the arrest of Gordillo, who allegedly used union funds to pay her personal expenses.

Gordillo’s arrest has rocked the Mexican political system, in which she played a leading role for years and helped found the New Alliance Party, or PANAL.

The Attorney General’s Office “has started legal proceedings against different people, resulting in an investigation that allows the presumption that different federal crimes were committed,” Peña Nieto said.

Gordillo was informed of the charges against her during a hearing Wednesday inside the Santa Marta Acatitla prison on the outskirts of Mexico City.

The arraignment, which reporters followed via a closed-circuit feed 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 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.

Televisa reported that the union chief was arrested after arriving in the country from San Diego, California, where she owns property.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Nadal Calls for Player Blood Testing, Regular Publishing of Results

Nadal Calls for Player Blood Testing, Regular Publishing of Results

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Spain’s Rafael Nadal called on the International Tennis Federation to conduct anti-doping blood tests and regularly publish the results to ensure the sport is clean.

“It’s an important issue and I think it’s better like that. It’s better to publish (the tests)” to dispel rumors about who did or did not pass doping controls, Nadal said in a press conference at the Mexican Open in the Pacific resort city of Acapulco.

“They need to be made public so the people know who passed or who didn’t pass” the tests, the 11-time Grand Slam champion said.

With his remarks, the Spaniard joined a chorus of voices calling for a greater effort to catch drug cheats.

Over the past several months, Serbian world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, world No. 2 Roger Federer of Switzerland and world No. 3 Andy Murray of Scotland have criticized the ITF for a lack of sufficient doping controls in recent years.

“It think it’s (necessary) today with all the problems there have been with this subject and after the uproar over the case of (disgraced cyclist Lance) Armstrong. And we all have to make an effort so the sport is transparent,” the world No. 5 said.

Nadal, who was off the ATP World Tour for seven months due to a knee injury and began his comeback early this month in Latin America, said tennis “is very transparent and very clean” because the doping cases that have arisen “have been very few and far between.”

The Spaniard, who advanced to the quarterfinals of the Mexican Open with a 6-0, 6-4 victory Wednesday over Argentina’s Martin Alund, said it is a “priority to conduct all the controls that are necessary and people must be informed about these controls.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Wisin & Yandel Deny Cuba’s Claim Lyrics are Offensive to Women

Wisin & Yandel Deny Cuba’s Claim Lyrics are Offensive to Women

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The Puerto Rican reggaeton duo of Wisin & Yandel denied Thursday that their lyrics are offensive to women, an assessment made by the Cuban government in barring the group’s songs from being played on radio and television.

“I believe we’re not offending women,” Juan Luis Morera Luna, a.k.a. Wisin, said Thursday, a day before the group will perform at the Viña del Mar Festival’s closing-night concert.

Wisin said, for example, that the lyrics to the track “Sexy movimiento” - which roughly translate as “You have a knockout body that any man would want to touch. Sexy Movement” - praise women for their beauty.

The Cuban government’s assessment of the group’s lyrics as obscene was “unfounded,” he said, referring to a measure handed down earlier this year on the island.

Wisin added that the duo’s only intention is to “bring joy and have a good time.”

The artist also said the group has “millions” of Cuban fans, not only among the Cuban-exile community in the United States but also among the island’s residents, and that most of their hard-core fans are women.

The duo will be performing for the second time at the Viña del Mar Festival, which has included reggaeton as one of its staple genres.

Read more by HS News Staff →

PEMEX Posts Solid Earnings of $390M for 2012, After Losses $6.54B in Prior Yr

PEMEX Posts Solid Earnings of $390M for 2012, After Losses $6.54B in Prior Yr

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Mexican state-owned oil monopoly Petroleos Mexicanos said it posted net income of nearly 5 billion pesos (some $390 million) in 2012, a year after registering a net loss of $6.54 billion.

Pemex said in a report that last year’s result was primarily attributable to revenue from sales and services, which reached a record high of 1.64 trillion pesos ($128.7 billion), up 5.4 percent from 2011.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA, rose 5.7 percent in 2012.

The Mexican oil company said in a statement that it had current assets totaling 334 billion pesos ($26.1 billion) and total equity of 2.4 billion pesos ($187 million) as of Dec. 31, 2012.

As of Dec. 31, 2011, Pemex had negative equity of 193.9 billion pesos ($13.9 billion at the exchange rate then prevailing).

Current liabilities fell to roughly 235.8 billion pesos ($18.4 billion), down 7 percent from the previous year.

Pemex said in the report that its total liabilities amounted to 2.02 trillion pesos ($155.3 billion) as of Dec. 31, 2012, up 8.8 percent from 2011.

Pemex, which accounts for a third of Mexico’s national budget, is the world’s fifth-largest oil company by output and 13th largest in terms of reserves.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Montreal Museum Hosts Exhibit on 3,000 Years of Peruvian Culture

Montreal Museum Hosts Exhibit on 3,000 Years of Peruvian Culture

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From February 2 to June 16, 2013, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts will present for the first time and exclusively in Canada, the exhibition Peru: Kingdoms of the Sun and Moon: Identities and Conquest in the Early, Colonial and Modern Periods.

Conceptualized, organized, produced and toured by the MMFA, this exhibition will display an extensive collection of pre-Columbian treasures and masterpieces from the colonial era to Indigenism, including over 100 pieces that have never before been seen outside of Peru.

With more than 350 works of art (paintings, sculptures, gold and silver ornaments, pottery, photograph, works on paper, textiles and videos) from almost fifty public and private collections, most of them from Peru but also from Canada, United States, France and Germany, this exhibition covers 3,000 years of history, including archaeological discoveries in recent decades.

The organization of this exhibition would not have been possible without the support of the Peruvian government and the city of Lima.

The exhibit will be coming to the U.S. in the fall with a stop in Seattle, Washington in October and hopefully other locations yet to be announced.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latin American Would Not Escape Effects of U.S. Sequester

Latin American Would Not Escape Effects of U.S. Sequester

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With just one day before Friday’s sequester deadline, the United States government is preparing for massive cuts, but our neighbors south of the border should also be preparing, as Latin America will not escape the effects of the spending cuts.

Though much of the roughly $85 billion spending cuts will be solely domestic, consulates, airports, and countries receiving foreign aid will have to make adjustments as well.

Those traveling through airports will face longer lines, as screening will take longer due to employee cuts. Lines will also be longer at U.S. consulates in Latin America and those waiting for documentation will face longer wait times.

Foreign aid, while it will not be halted, will decrease by about $500 million worldwide. Worrisome is the fact that much of the aid provided to our neighbors to the south goes to security assistance, meaning the fight against drug cartels may shift throughout parts of Latin America.

Shannon K. O’Neil with Council on Foreign Relations also notes:

Economists predict that half a point of growth will be shaved off the U.S. economy due to the cuts. Particularly for those countries most closely tied to the United States—Mexico especially, but also most other countries in Central America and the Caribbean—declining American demand could have big consequences. A January 2013 World Bank report estimates that Latin America’s total GDP growth could be reduced by 1.2 percent as a result of the United States’ fiscal uncertainty.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Documentary Covers the Perils of Migrants Crossing Mexico to the U.S.

Documentary Covers the Perils of Migrants Crossing Mexico to the U.S.

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The new documentary “La Bestia” examines the plight of Central American migrants during their dangerous journey across Mexico to the United States, filmmaker Pedro Ultreras said.

The film’s goal is to “sensitize” society to the migrants’ suffering, Ultreras told Efe.

The documentary, which opened on Feb. 22 in 14 theaters in Mexico, has been shown on television in France and will soon air in Spain.

The film looks at the suffering of migrants who are seeking the “American Dream” and tells the story of those who try to cross Mexico on the train known as “La Bestia,”  or “The Beast,” Ultreras said in a telephone interview with Efe.

“I made a documentary to try to awaken feelings to start a debate that ends with actions and solutions that favor the undocumented from our neighboring countries,” Ultreras said.

The train, also known as the “Tren de la Muerte” (The Train of Death) among migrants, provides the most viable way of crossing a country dotted with immigration service stations.

The 77-minute documentary tells the stories of migrants victimized by criminal organizations and subjected to “abuse and mistreatment” by Mexican officials, Ultreras said.

The film also describes the experiences of migrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico as they try to reach the United States by foot, train and bus.

The dangers faced by migrants have increased in recent years as drug cartels and other organized crime groups began preying on them along the preferred route north.

The National Human Rights Commission, or CNDH, has documented abuses committed against migrants by National Migration Institute, or INM, officers and state and municipal officials, who sometimes work with criminals.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Is Marc Anthony’s New Girl 21-Year-Old Heiress, Chloe Green?

Is Marc Anthony’s New Girl 21-Year-Old Heiress, Chloe Green?

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Latin crooner Marc Anthony appears to be on the mend after his split with Venezuelan model Shannon del Lima, as we was spotted with a young beauty while enjoying a day of fun with his twins, Emme and Max (his children with ex-wife Jennifer Lopez).

Anthony was seen snuggling up to British fashion heiress and former reality TV star Chloe Green while at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. on Tuesday. The 21-year-old is the daughter of Sir Phillip Green, the owner of the clothing chain Topshop, which is often compared to H&M.

The pair were seen having fun with Anthony’s 4-year-old twins, with Green seemingly close to the kids to carry little Emme around the park.

Never single for long, Anthony only broke up with Venezuelan model Shannon de Lima in January. Anthony and de Lima even reunited on February 5th to celebrate his son Cristian’s 12th birthday.

As far as age goes, Anthony and Green have a 23-year age gape, and she is two years younger than his eldest daughter, Ariana, from his relationship with beauty queen Dayanara Torres.

Anthony won’t have to worry about winning over Green’s father, as the two have been friends for years. In fact, while still married, he and Lopez were invited onto Sir Phillip’s yacht while he was docked near the French Riviera in 2010.

According to the DailyMail, Chloe, her father and J.Lo were all in attendance for the Los Angeles Topshop launch party just a couple weeks ago. (Oh, to have been a fly on that wall!)

Since splitting in 2011, both Lopez, 43, and Anthony, 44, have dated younger people. Since January 2012, Lopez has been dating 25-year-old back-up dancer Casper Smart.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican Newspaper Headquarters Attacked for Third Day in a Row

Mexican Newspaper Headquarters Attacked for Third Day in a Row

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Unidentified individuals opened fire on the offices of the El Siglo newspaper in Torreon, a city in the northern Mexican state of Coahuila, for the third day in a row, slightly wounding two people, the daily reported on its Web site Thursday.

The attack on Wednesday caused damage to the offices, the newspaper said.

The unidentified occupants of a vehicle opened fire with AK-47 assault rifles on the building’s entrance, hitting the structure 30 times, El Siglo said.

The police officers stationed outside the newspaper offices did not return fire.

Three employees were treated for shock and two others for minor wounds, the newspaper said.

Police and army troops closed off nearby streets, but officials have not reported any arrests.

Five El Siglo employees were kidnapped and held captive for several hours on Feb. 8.

The newspaper refused to disclose details about the kidnapping, but it warned that media members were vulnerable and threatened by crime in Mexico.

The newspaper, which covers the La Laguna region, was the target of several attacks between August 2009 and November 2011.

The La Laguna region, which includes parts of Coahuila and neighboring Durango state, is at the center of a brutal turf war between the Los Zetas and Sinaloa drug cartels, with the Zetas controlling Coahuila’s largest cities, including Saltillo, the state capital, Torreon and Piedras Negras.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spanish Economy Contracted by .80%, Fourth Quarter 2012

Spanish Economy Contracted by .80%, Fourth Quarter 2012

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The Spanish economy contracted 0.80 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 as consumer spending continued to weaken, the National Statistics Institute, or INE, said Thursday.

The decline in the gross domestic product (GDP) in the October-December 2012 period was five-tenths of a percent higher than in the previous quarter, the INE said.

Employment fell at an annual rate of 4.7 percent in the fourth quarter, or one-tenth of a percent more than in the third quarter of last year, representing a net loss of approximately 805,000 full-time jobs in a year.

Spain has been battered by an economic meltdown that sent the unemployment rate skyrocketing to 26 percent.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Get the Tissues: Special Needs Teen Scores Thanks to Opposing Team Member (VIDEO)

Get the Tissues: Special Needs Teen Scores Thanks to Opposing Team Member (VIDEO)

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Earlier this month, a Texas teen with a developmental disability was given a moment he’ll never forget.

The team manager for El Paso’s Coronado High School, Mitchell Marcus, has always been in love with the game of basketball. His mother told CBS News her son always asked for a basketball on his birthday, because the game meant so much to him. This love is why Coronado Coach Peter Morales wanted to do something special for his manager.

What Mitchell didn’t know before his team’s game against Franklin High School, their last game of the season, was Coach Morales had already decided he was going to put him in at the end of the game - no matter the score.

With Franklin HS only down by 10 points and 90 seconds left in the game, Coach Morales and the Coronado Thunderbirds welcomed Mitchell onto the court and the crowd began shouting, “Mitchell, Mitchell!” Trying to fill him with the pride of scoring on the court, his teammates handed him the ball over and over again, setting him up to make a shot. His first few attempts to score were not successful and the ball was ultimately turned over to Franklin. Still, with everyone on the court wanting to give him his moment of glory, a member of Franklin’s team, Jonathan Montanez, did something extraordinary.

As only seconds remained on the clock, Montanez, now in possession of the ball, called out to Mitchell and tossed him the ball.

With one last chance, Mitchell took his shot. He scored.

The sound of the cheers in the now viral video were deafening

Read more by HS News Staff →

Author Reveals Plot Details for Next Bond Novel

Author Reveals Plot Details for Next Bond Novel

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The next James Bond novel, which will be published in September, has the world’s most famous secret agent living in London’s Chelsea section at the age of 45, writer William Boyd said Thursday.

The story is set in 1969 and the distinctive flavor of Chelsea will be incorporated into the novel, Boyd said in an interview with the BBC.

The 60-year-old author, screenwriter and literary critic, who has 12 novels to his name, admitted that he tried to avoid incorporating the look of the actors who have played the character created by Ian Fleming in the 1950s.

Boyd has worked with Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig, all of whom have played Agent 007.

In addition to Boyd, five other authors have penned Bond novels since Fleming’s death in 1964, and the films have become one of the most successful movie franchises in cinema history.

The new Bond adventure will be released to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the publication of Fleming’s first 007 novel, “Casino Royale.”

James Bond has been played over the years by several actors, with British actor Daniel Craig starring in the most recent Bond films: “Casino Royale” (2006) “Quantum of Solace” (2008) and last year’s box-office smash “Skyfall,” which co-starred Spanish actor Javier Bardem as the evil “Silva.”

Scotsman Sean Connery, Englishman Roger Moore and Irishman Pierce Brosnan are among the other notable actors to play Bond, who made his film debut in “Dr. No” (1952).

Read more by HS News Staff →

Young Turks Ask- Why is CNN Getting Rid of Soledad O’Brien? (VIDEO)

Young Turks Ask- Why is CNN Getting Rid of Soledad O’Brien? (VIDEO)

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Nothing’s more threatening to a career in journalism than acting like an actual journalist.

“Soledad O’Brien will no longer be a host on CNN, but she’s staying with the network”—sort of.

O’Brien told the New York Times that she is returning to the role she had before she became the host of “Starting Point” in 2011: a roving documentary reporter. The twist this time is that she is forming her own production company, Starfish Media, and will not be tied exclusively to CNN; she will be able to shop programs to other networks and air them on the Web as well.”*

Soledad O’Brien is probably the best journalist CNN has; she asks real, hard-hitting questions, and challenges leaders regardless of their party. So obviously she’s being moved out from her anchor job. Why? And what ironic choice is taking her place? Cenk Uygur breaks it down.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Charytin Goyco Developing Live TV Show

Charytin Goyco Developing Live TV Show

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Popular Dominican entertainer Charytin Goyco says she is developing a very contemporary show for her return to Hispanic television on Mega TV.

“It will be an avant-garde program ... a program for the people of today, regardless of age,” the singer, actress and host told Efe.

As part of her exclusive deal with SBS-Mega TV, Charytin will also be offering a weekly two-hour radio program on the Spanish Broadcasting System.

The live TV show, “Charytin,” will be “full of interviews and comedy,” Goyco said, and will maintain the “soul” of her earlier projects, but with a spirit that is even more “energetic, quick and interactive.”

A fixture on Spanish-language television since the 1970s, the Dominican star has been absent from the small screen since Telefutura’s “Escandalo TV” left the airwaves in October 2011.

Read more by HS News Staff →

New Commission Will Investigate Venezuela’s “State Terrorism” Crimes

New Commission Will Investigate Venezuela’s “State Terrorism” Crimes

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The Venezuelan government on Wednesday swore in a commission that will investigate “state terrorism” crimes it attributed to the administrations that alternated in power between 1958 and 1998.

During a ceremony to commemorate the 24th anniversary of the popular revolt known as the “Caracazo,” Vice President Nicolas Maduro and the president of the National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, constituted the “Truth and Justice Commission,” the leadership of which will be comprised of Attorney General Luisa Ortega and other officials.

Maduro said before dozens of people attending the ceremony on the capital’s central square that the perpetrators of state terrorism “never imagined that justice would reach them.”

He added that “the decadent and battered right who yesterday massacred the people is the same one of today” that opposes the government of President Hugo Chavez, who did not participate in the ceremony because he is still recovering in a Caracas hospital after undergoing surgery last December in Cuba for a recurrence of cancer.

The Caracazo, which involved riots and much looting, broke out on Feb. 27, 1989, in the residential neighborhoods of Caracas to protest price hikes and the neoliberal, pro-market reforms imposed by the Carlos Andres Perez government following International Monetary Fund recommendations, and it was brutally put down by the army and police.

The government at the time acknowledged that 300 people were killed but up to 3,000 - according to press accounts - may have lost their lives in the two days of violence that occurred a month after the start of the second administration of Perez, who died in Miami in 2010.

Maduro announced the allocation of the equivalent of $1.9 million dollars to indemnify 34 families of “the more than 3,000” people he said were killed - mainly by security forces - during the Caracazo.

He also noted that Chavez four years ago had signed a decree ordering the payment of indemnities to victims of human rights violations as they can be identified.

Attorney General Ortega said that there are 1,635 registered cases of disappearances for political reasons during the 40 years of Venezuela’s 4th Republic - that is, the period during which social democratic and Christian democratic governments alternated in power after the 1958 end of the military dictatorship up to Chavez’s first election victory in 1998.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Gun Battle in Coahuila, Mexico Leaves 4 Gunmen Dead

Gun Battle in Coahuila, Mexico Leaves 4 Gunmen Dead

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Army troops killed at least four suspected gunmen in a shootout in Monclova, a city in the northern Mexican state of Coahuila, prosecutors said.

The shootout occurred in Monclova’s Pipila district, where the soldiers were on patrol, the Coahuila Attorney General’s Office said in a statement.

The soldiers were attacked by armed civilians and “four assailants lost their lives when the aggression was repelled,” the AG’s office said.

Investigators found a four-door SUV at the scene of the shootout with a dead person and an assault rifle inside, the AG’s office said.

Three other bodies and three assault rifles were on the ground near the vehicle.

Authorities seized four AK-47 assault rifles, two grenade launchers, four AK-47 ammunition clips and 15 .223-caliber ammunition clips.

One of the gunmen has been identified as 18-year-old Jesus Garcia Martinez, prosecutors said.

Coahuila has been at the center of a turf war among the Los Zetas, Gulf and Sinaloa drug cartels in recent years, leading to a spike in violence in the state.

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

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

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

Read more by HS News Staff →

ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers) Filing Requirements and New IRS Rules

ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers) Filing Requirements and New IRS Rules

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With tax season now here, we wanted to share a little-known (but important) requirement from the IRS that will directly affect millions of immigrants when filing their taxes this year.

As you may know, for immigrants who do not have a Social Security number, the IRS requires that an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) be entered on tax returns instead.  For immigrants who do not already have their ITIN, the IRS now requires those applying for one to submit either original documents or certified copies of original documents prepared by the issuing agency (i.e. passports and other forms of primary identification) with their Form W-7.

Though the ITIN is for Federal tax purposes only (it does not entitle someone to Social Security benefits or to change their immigration status/right to work in the U.S.), this new requirement has created unease among immigrants who are rightly concerned about crucial original documents getting lost or being out of their hands for an indeterminate period of time.

From the IRS

What are the interim changes to the ITIN application requirements?

The IRS is revising its procedures for issuing new Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) as part of a comprehensive review of the ITIN processing procedures. Forms W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, submitted during the interim period beginning June 22, 2012 through the end of the year must include original documentation such as passports and birth certificates, or copies of these documents certified by the issuing agency. During this interim period, notarized copies of documentation will not be accepted.

Are there any applicants who are exempt from these new requirements?

Some categories of applicants are not impacted by these interim changes, including spouses and dependents of U.S. military personnel who need ITINs. People who should follow the current procedures outlined in the Form W-7 instructions include:
Military spouses and dependents without an SSN who need an ITIN (Military spouses use box “e” on Form W-7 and military dependents use box “d”). Exceptions to the new interim document standards will be made for military family members satisfying the documentation requirements by providing a copy of the spouse or parent’s U.S. military identification, or applying from an overseas APO/FPO address.

Nonresident aliens applying for ITINs for the purpose of claiming tax treaty benefits (use boxes “a” and “h” on Form W-7). Non-resident alien applicants generally need ITINs for reasons besides filing a U.S. tax return. This is necessary for nonresident aliens who may be subject to third-party withholding for various income, such as certain gambling winnings or pension income, or need an ITIN for information reporting purposes. While existing documentation standards will be maintained only for these applicants, scrutiny of the documents will be heightened. ITIN applications of this category that are accompanied by a U.S. tax return will be subject to the new interim document standards.

What is the difference between a “certified” and a “notarized” document?

A certified document is one that the original issuing agency provides and certifies as an exact copy of the original document and contains an official stamped seal from the Agency. These documents will be accepted. A notarized document is one that the taxpayer provides to a public notary who bears witness to the signing of the official document and affixes a seal assuring that the document is legitimate. These documents will not be accepted for ITIN applications. Note there are some applicants who are exempt from this change. This exemption is described in a previous question.

Why is IRS changing the ITIN program procedures?

The IRS is instituting these interim changes while conducting a review of the program designed to strengthen and protect the integrity of the ITIN process.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Hispanic Education: Simple Intervention Closes Achievement Gap for Latino Students

Hispanic Education: Simple Intervention Closes Achievement Gap for Latino Students

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It’s a troubling fact that Latino Americans and African Americans earn lower grades on average than their white peers and are much more likely to drop out of high school.

In an article published online Feb. 11 by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Geoffrey Cohen, David Sherman (professors of education and psychology at Stanford) and seven co-authors write that a simple intervention made with middle school Latino American students reduced the achievement gap significantly. What’s more, the positive effect persisted over time.

What they have found – in numerous studies – is that the stress and uncertain sense of belonging that can stem from being a member of a negatively stereotyped group undermines academic performance of minority students as compared with white students.

Cohen and his colleagues have been looking for remedies to stereotype threat. In the first study described in the article, the researchers devised well-timed “values-affirmation” classroom assignments given to both Latino and white students.

The results were dramatic: Latino students who completed the affirmation exercises had higher grades than those in the control group. Moreover, the effects of the affirmation intervention persisted for three years. The task had no significant effect on white students.

Cohen said, “Latino Americans are under a more consistent and chronic sense of psychological threat in the educational setting than their white counterparts on average. They constantly face negative stereotypes about their ability to succeed, so they are the ones to benefit the most from affirmations that help them to maintain a positive self-image.”

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More Than 800 Stolen Ibero-Roman Coins Recovered in Spain

More Than 800 Stolen Ibero-Roman Coins Recovered in Spain

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A set of 867 Ibero-Roman coins stolen from a collector in Madrid nearly a year ago has been recovered, the Spanish National Police said Wednesday.

The set includes a one-of-a-kind coin stolen by the burglars, police said.

The Imperial Roman coins date from the 1st century B.C. to the 1st century and their historical valuable cannot be estimated, the National Police said in a statement.

National Police director Ignacio Cosido congratulated the officers who recovered the coins and displayed the coins for reporters.

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Pope Benedict XVI Vows “Unconditional Obedience” to New Pope

Pope Benedict XVI Vows “Unconditional Obedience” to New Pope

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Pope Benedict XVI bid farewell to the College of Cardinals and vowed “unconditional obedience to the new pope” on Thursday, his last day as the leader of the world’s more than 1 billion Catholics.

“In these eight years we have faithfully lived beautiful moments of radiant light along the Church’s journey along with times when clouds gathered in the skies. We have tried to serve Christ and His Church with a deep and total love, which is the soul of our ministry. We have given the hope that comes to us from Christ and that alone can light the way,” the pope told the gathering of cardinals, one of whom will be the future pontiff.

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

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.

“Let us remain united in this mystery, dear brothers; in prayer and especially in daily Eucharist, so that we might thus serve the Church and all of humanity. This is our joy, which no one can take from us,” the pope told the College of Cardinals.

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.

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STUDY:  Latinos are Optimistic About Families’ Financial Future

STUDY:  Latinos are Optimistic About Families’ Financial Future

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Eight in ten Hispanics expect their family’s financial situation to improve over the next four years compared to only 68 percent of the general public, according to a new Ipsos Public Affairs telephone poll of 501 Hispanic adults and 1,003 adults from the general public, conducted on behalf of New York Life.

The majority of Hispanics age 18 and older expressed confidence in the economy; in their personal job security; and in their ability to retire.

The telephone survey found that 84 percent of Hispanic adults surveyed expect their family’s financial situation to improve in the next four years. More precisely, six in ten (60 percent) strongly agree and 24 percent somewhat agree. Among respondents employed full time, over eight in ten (85 percent) feel confident about their job security. Respondents also expressed confidence in their ability to retire comfortably. Two-thirds of Hispanic adults surveyed feel confident that they will retire without drawbacks, compared to just half (52 percent) from the general population.

The survey, conducted in English or Spanish (depending on the respondent’s preference), also found that despite respondent’s confidence in their financial futures, Hispanics expressed a greater desire for help with their long term planning than do adults from the general public.

Among Hispanics, those most likely to feel this way include college graduates (97 percent vs. 88 percent without a college degree), those who prefer communicating in English (92 percent vs. 85 percent of those who prefer communicating in Spanish), and those who are married (90 percent vs. 84 percent of those who are not married).

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Scientists Will be Able to Explore Gulf of Mexico With Robot Sub

Scientists Will be Able to Explore Gulf of Mexico With Robot Sub

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A new robot submarine equipped with a video camera will allow Mexican National Fishing Institute, or Inapesca, researchers to learn more about the Gulf state of Campeche’s marine resources, the Agriculture, Ranching and Fishing Secretariat said.

Inapesca specialists “will be able to evaluate with greater precision the abundance and biomass of species, such as octopi, shellfish, shrimp, echinoderms” and other marine resources, to propose sustainable management strategies, the secretariat said in a statement.

The $78,125 apparatus was purchased by federal and state officials with the support of the Fundacion Produce and will begin operating in March, the secretariat said.

The robot sub, which is made of tough materials and uses cutting-edge technology, will allow researchers to shoot video of different species that live on the sea floor and learn about conditions in their habitat, acquiring information that is needed to effectively manage the region’s fisheries resources, the secretariat said.

The robot will transmit information to a computer for analysis and storage, allowing researchers to “follow the development of these species in a timely fashion, from their larval stage to maturity, when they reach the size established for seasonal harvest,” the Agriculture, Ranching and Fishing Secretariat said.

The Gulf state of Campeche alone produces a variety of marine products, including shrimp, octopus and shellfish, “in great demand by consumers,” the secretariat said.

The robot sub is also expected to be used to monitor marine resources in the neighboring states of Quintana Roo and Yucatan, which supply large amounts of fish products to the domestic and international markets.

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Atletico Madrid Heads to Copa del Rey Finals with Real Madrid

Atletico Madrid Heads to Copa del Rey Finals with Real Madrid

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Atletico Madrid played to a 2-2 draw with Sevilla here Wednesday in the second leg of their Copa del Rey semifinal, which was sufficient to win 4-3 on aggregate and advance to the final.

The club will face crosstown rivals Real Madrid in the May 18 final.

Coming into Wednesday’s clash with a 2-1 advantage from the first leg, the visitors wasted no time in adding to that lead, as Diego Costa scored for Atletico at the 6-minute mark.

A tally in the 29th minute by Atletico star Radamel Falcao all but sealed Sevilla’s fate.

Though Sevilla’s Jesus Nava cut the lead in half with a goal in the 39th minute, Atletico goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois did not allow another ball to get past him until the 91st minute, when Rakitic connected for the home side.

Sevilla finished the game with only nine men after Gary Medel was ejected in the 75th minute after a second yellow card and Geoffrey Kondogbia was tossed on a straight red at 92 minutes.

Atletico will be making its 19th appearance in the Copa del Rey final. Four of the club’s nine previous Copa titles were won in showdowns with Real Madrid.

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Report: Honduran Murder Rate is 10x Global Average

Report: Honduran Murder Rate is 10x Global Average

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Honduras suffered 85.5 homicides for every 100,000 residents in 2012, compared with a global median rate of 8.8 murders per 100,000, the Violence Observatory at the National Autonomous University says in a report released Wednesday.

Of a total of 10,411 violent deaths last year, 7,172 were classified as homicides.

“Enough already with so many deaths,” university president Julieta Castellanos said in presenting the report at a press conference.

More than 52 percent of all homicides in Honduras last year occurred on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays, while 53.6 percent of the total took place in three provinces: Atlantida, Cortes and Francisco Morazan.

Firearms were used in 83.4 percent of the murders, according to the report, which noted that the number of homicides in Honduras has grown by nearly 233 percent over the past nine years.

The Violence Observatory’s report drew on statistics from the Security Ministry and the medical examiner’s office.

All but 606 of last year’s murder victims were men and people in the 15-44 age group bore the brunt of the carnage.

Castellanos, whose own son was murdered in 2011, said “no results will be obtained” with the steps taken thus far in the area of public safety.

She demanded that authorities explain the lack of progress in their investigations and in purging the National Police, which is heavily infiltrated by criminal elements.

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EXTREME TRAFFICKING: Woman Caught Trying to Smuggle Assault Rifles into Mexico from U.S.

EXTREME TRAFFICKING: Woman Caught Trying to Smuggle Assault Rifles into Mexico from U.S.

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An Eagle Pass woman is in custody after attempting to smuggle more than a dozen assault rifles out of the United States.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Eagle Pass port of entry selected a 1995 Ford F-150 pickup truck for inspection as the vehicle was leaving the U.S. bound for Mexico, Thursday afternoon. During the initial inspection CBP officers referred the vehicle for an intensified inspection after discovering what appeared to be weapons within the vehicle.

With the assistance of electronic imaging equipment and a CBP canine, officers discovered a total of 14 assault rifles hidden in the pickup.

The weapons and driver, a 52-year-old U.S. citizen, were turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations for federal prosecution

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Catholic “Flashmob” to Descend on Mexico City

Catholic “Flashmob” to Descend on Mexico City

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On Saturday 9th March, a group of young Catholics as will get on the underground in Mexico City to bring the message of Christ to thousands of people who every day use this means of transport.

“The Mision Subterranea” (Mission in the Metro), as this day of evangelization has been called is organized for the second year by the youth of the Church of the Immaculate Conception of Azcapotzalco, under the slogan: “Let us go and spread our faith to who needs it.”

According to Fides Agenzia the Archdiocese of Mexico reports that all the parishes have joined the youth’s initiative, with the contribution of their artistic talents, with logistic support,  and with material for evangelization. Young people will be present on all underground lines, spreading the Gospel through songs or other artistic expressions.

This type of mission was inspired by the famous “Flashmob”, organized about a month ago, in which thousands of people in cities around the world, took the underground half-naked “to have fun and show that one can do something together without having met before.”

 

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Fire at La Merced Market Causes No Injuries in Mexico City

Fire at La Merced Market Causes No Injuries in Mexico City

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A fire that raged on Wednesday through this capital’s largest retail food market caused no casualties, Mexican authorities told Efe.

Investigators are working to determine the cause of the blaze, according to an official in the Mexico City borough of Venustiano Carranza, home of the La Merced market.

The fire broke out at 4:30 a.m. and was brought under control within four hours, capital emergency services chief Fausto Lugo Garcia said in a statement.

Firefighters deployed across 8,000 sq. meters (86,000 sq. ft.) of the market to subdue the blaze, he said.

Authorities ordered around 200 people living near La Merced to leave their homes as a precaution and closed down several streets in the vicinity of the market.

La Merced, one of Mexico City’s oldest and busiest markets, is usually packed on Sunday, the traditional day for food shopping in the capital.

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Rep. Gutierrez On E-Verify Immigration Subcommittee Hearing

Rep. Gutierrez On E-Verify Immigration Subcommittee Hearing

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“We are having a much more realistic and fruitful conversation about employment verification because Republicans are back at the table willing to talk sensibly about how to move forward.”

Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL) commented on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security hearing on electronic employment verification systems like E-Verify.  Rep. Gutierrez, who is Chairman of the Task Force on Immigration of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, recently rejoined the Judiciary Committee and the Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee in order to work on immigration reform.  He is traveling on Friday to Florida and on Saturday to New Jersey for a series of immigration events and plans trips later this month to Texas and California to meet with local Members of Congress, their constituents, and anyone who wants to have their voice heard as Congress deliberates immigration reform.

The following is a statement by Rep. Gutierrez:

“Today’s hearing is remarkable because we are talking about employment verification systems in their proper context.  We are discussing how to actually make them work and work for American workers with the right sorts of protections and appeals processes that make sure any errors are corrected in a timely manner.  And we are talking about electronic verification systems as part of a broader reform that legalizes the current workforce and allows for legal immigration in the future.

“For the last decade, the bills I have written and co-sponsored with Senators McCain and Kennedy and Flake and others have had mandatory electronic verification systems as part of the broader reforms because whatever system we devise must have integrity and enforcement.  But for the last decade or more, Republicans have only been willing to discuss E-Verify as a stand-alone issue, isolated from other reforms of our immigration system like legal immigration and legalization.  Those times are changing and we are having a much more realistic and fruitful conversation about employment verification because Republicans are back at the table willing to talk sensibly about how to move forward.”

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Brazil Bahia Region to Develop Cultural Heritage Tourism

Brazil Bahia Region to Develop Cultural Heritage Tourism

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Bahia state, in northeastern Brazil, will receive a $50.8 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to further develop its tourism industry and boost employment.

The project, structured as a multiple works loan under the country’s PRODETUR Program, will invest in a tourism product and marketing strategy, focusing particularly on the state’s nautical and cultural heritage assets, institution-strengthening, improvement of basic services, and socio-environmental management at tourism destinations.

Tourism employs over 150,000 people in the state and accounts for 7.5 percent of Bahia’s gross domestic product, three times the national average. Despite significant tourism growth in recent years, Bahia has struggled to generate enough jobs in the sector to help reduce poverty.

In 2010, the state registered more than twice the national average of extreme poverty (14.1 percent compared to 6.3 percent).
The project is expected to create more than 1,600 direct jobs as well as support the construction of a network of boating facilities and cultural and nautical tourism providers. The program will provide support for entrepreneurship in the tourism sector and provide vocational training for as many as 200 people in nautical and cultural tourism.

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Cuban Dissident Guillermo Fariñas Hope to Create Mass Organization

Cuban Dissident Guillermo Fariñas Hope to Create Mass Organization

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Former political prisoners and prominent dissident Guillermo Fariñas announced Wednesday the creation of a new group that seeks to become a “dynamic mass organization” and achieve greater unity within the opposition in Cuba.

The new organization will take the name of the existing Union Patriotica de Cuba (Patriotic Union of Cuba), or Unpacu, headed to date by Jose Daniel Ferrer and which will now merge with Fariñas’ Fantu group.

Fariñas, 2010 recipient of the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize, said that the new Unpacu aspires to be a model in the face of the tradition of would-be strongmen “that has characterized Cuban politics” and it will be open to all members of the peaceful opposition who are ready to embrace teamwork.

The new Unpacu will have a “coordinating council” comprised of Fariñas, Ferrer and other former political prisoners along with Elizardo Sanchez, the spokesman for the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, among others.

Among its objectives, the members of Unpacu intend for it to become “a solid and dynamic organization of the masses” that uses a range of methods to advocate civil disobedience on the Communist-ruled island.

“We want to get into every Cuban home with our proposal,” Ferrer said.

Regarding the recent election of Miguel Diaz-Canel, 52, as Cuban first vice president and his embodiment of a generational shift within the government of octogenarian Raul Castro, Ferrer said that it is merely designed present a false image of change in Cuba.

He also said that, for the present, Diaz-Canel cannot be described as a “Cuban Gorbachev.”

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ThursdayFebruary 28, 2013