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SundayMarch 3, 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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4 Gunned Down at Pizza Joint in Honduras

4 Gunned Down at Pizza Joint in Honduras

Photo: Honduras

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Gunmen killed four people at a pizzeria in San Pedro Sula, a city in northern Honduras, the National Police said.

The two gunmen entered the restaurant on Saturday, walked to the table where the four young men were eating and opened fire.

Two of the victims were pronounced dead at the scene, while the other two died at a hospital in the second-largest city in Honduras.

The pizzeria is in the Las Palmas district near the San Pedro Sula penitentiary.

The crime wave in Honduras has left an average of 20 people dead a day, according to the Observatory of Violence of the National Autonomous University, which reported that 10,411 violent deaths, of which 7,172 were murders, occurred in the Central American country in 2012.

Honduras had a homicide rate of 85.5 per 100,000 inhabitants last year, with an average of 598 homicides monthly and 20 kilings daily.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Parental Custody Battle Leads to Major Protest in Spain

Parental Custody Battle Leads to Major Protest in Spain

Photo: Protest in Spain

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Hundreds of residents in Alboraya, a city in eastern Spain, took to the streets Sunday to prevent the Civil Guard from executing a court order to hand over a Spanish woman’s three children to their Mexican father.

Residents gathered in front of the home of Isabel Monros and her children, one age 13 and twins age 10, to prevent officers from getting to the children, setting off a six-hour standoff.

The Civil Guard officers finally left and the children were not handed over to their father, Joaquin Escolano.

The court ruling giving custody to Escolano “is a bad decision” and the judge should “listen to the children,” Monros said.

Monros, who brought the children to Spain in 2010, went into the street after Escolano and the officers left to thank her neighbors, who greeted her with applause.

“This is not going to end here,” Monros said.

Doctors’ reports show that “the children are strongly opposed to execution of this order” and their return to Mexico, Ignacio Amat, an attorney for Monros, told EFE.

The fight will continue to allow the children, who have dual Spanish-Mexican citizenship, to remain with their mother in Spain, Amat said.

The long-running custody battle started in Mexico several years ago and has continued in Spain, where the father asked a court for custody so he could take the children back to his country.

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Gang Member Sentenced to 120 Months for Child Sex Trafficking

Gang Member Sentenced to 120 Months for Child Sex Trafficking

Photo: Gang Member Sentenced to 120 Months for Child Sex Trafficking

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Jonathan Adonay Fuentes, aka “Cheesy” and “Crazy Boy,” 21, of Clinton, Marlyland, was sentenced to 120 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for sex trafficking a juvenile female as part of a prostitution enterprise operated by the violent street gang Mara Salvatrucha Thirteen (MS-13).

Fuentes, an El Salvadoran-born U.S. citizen, pleaded guilty to sex trafficking a child on November 27, 2012.

“As the driver for MS-13, Fuentes transported a young girl to various hotels and apartments—helping the gang exploit her as a child prostitute,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “We have a zero-tolerance policy against anyone who makes it possible to profit from the sexual slavery of children.”

According to court documents, Fuentes assisted his fellow MS-13 gang members from the fall of 2009 through the spring of 2010 run a prostitution ring that specialized in selling juvenile girls for commercial sex.

Fuentes admitted in court that he transported a teen girl within Virginia and Maryland to engage in sex with clients.

The large majority of appointments took place at an MS-13-controlled apartment in Maryland; however, Fuentes also prostituted the young girl at various hotels throughout Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. Gang members supplied the victim with drugs and alcohol to keep her compliant.

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Brazilian Forces Launch Lightning Operation in Rio Favelas Ahead of Olympics

Brazilian Forces Launch Lightning Operation in Rio Favelas Ahead of Olympics

Photo: Rio de Janeiro's favelas

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A lightning operation conducted without incident by Brazilian security forces early Sunday morning allowed authorities to regain control of two “favelas,” or shantytowns, in a strategic part of Rio de Janeiro forming part of the roadway corridor for the 2016 Olympic Games.

The Complejo do Caju and Barreira do Vasco favela districts, which for decades had been controlled by drug traffickers, were taken over in half an hour by some 1,500 members of the security forces, mainly the Bope special operations battalion and the Shock Battalion of the Military Police, backed up by the local Civil Police and some 200 navy riflemen.

The riflemen, transported on navy armored vehicles, removed the barricades and other obstacles that drug traffickers had left along stretches of roadway to make police access more difficult.

The two shantytowns lie along the only route between Avenida Brasil, which links the northern part of the city with the populous western zone, and Rio’s Tom Jobim international airport.

Some 16,000 people live in the Complejo de Caju and another 6,000 live in Barreira do Vasco.

The security forces will remain in the area until a peacekeeping police unit is deployed there, as has been done in other favelas to maintain order and prevent criminal activity.

The operation was conducted along the same lines as similar actions in other Rio favelas with the authorities announcing the entry of the police several days in advance of the deployment so that drug traffickers there could flee and possible shootouts that might harm the local population might be avoided.

In Sunday’s operation, apparently not a shot was fired and at least 12 people suspected of belonging to drug trafficking bands were arrested.

The authorities’ aim in retaking control of a number of the city’s favelas is to guarantee the safety of the athletes and fans coming to Rio for the Olympic Games three years from now. Some of the sports events will be held in the city’s western zone.

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Economy Minister says Spain to See Renewed Investor Confidence in 2013

Foreign investors will regain their confidence in Spain this year, while the country’s nationalized banks will start repaying the funds they received, Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said in an interview with Efe.

“The future looks much better than it did a year ago,” De Guindos said. “The Spanish economy’s foundation is solid.”

If the doubts about the euro’s survival continue to dissipate and the reforms implemented by the government bear fruit, the risk premium on Spain’s bonds - the difference between the interest rate on Spanish 10-year bonds and similar German government instruments - will fall below 300 basis points, De Guindos said.

Spain’s economic meltdown started with the bursting of the real estate bubble in the wake of the financial crisis caused by the failure of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers in 2008.

The fallout from Lehman’s failure battered economies across Europe and caused Spain to plunge into a severe recession that sent the unemployment rate soaring to a record 26 percent.

Spain’s economy will contract 0.50 percent in 2013, but the trend this year “is going to be positive,” De Guindos said.

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Boxer Hector “El Flaco” Sanchez Murdered in Puerto Rico

Boxer Hector “El Flaco” Sanchez Murdered in Puerto Rico

Photo: Hector "El Flaco" Sanchez

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Puerto Rican boxer Hector “El Flaco” Sanchez was shot multiple times and killed Sunday in San Juan in an incident in which three other men died, the third such massacre so far this year on the Caribbean island.

Sanchez’s mother, Carmen Garcia, confirmed her son’s death to the daily El Nuevo Dia when she came out of the Centro Medico, the island’s main hospital, where the athlete was being treated.

She said that at 11 p.m. Saturday the boxer said he was going to go out for a moment, but about 90 minutes later authorities told her that he had been seriously wounded during a shootout.

The 26-year-old Sanchez died Sunday afternoon after being shot several times in the abdomen and head.

“He was at the wrong place ... My son didn’t mess with anyone. He doesn’t hurt anyone,” Garcia said.

The other men who died were identified by police as Luis Muñoz Castro, 42; Bienvenido Rivera Garcia, 43, and Marcos Javier Tanco Rosario, 40.

Tanco Rosario evidently had a criminal record for murder, officials said.

Sanchez began his professional career in 2005 after a successful career in amateur boxing in which he won the national championship.

He is the second Puerto Rican boxer to be murdered in 2013.

In January, Kenneth Diaz was riddled with bullets by unknown killers in the town of Trujillo Alto, near the capital.

The 21-year-old Diaz was killed in a drive-by shooting along with two other men as they were speaking with a private security officer at a school and unknown gunmen opened fire on them from a vehicle.

Diaz died later at the Centro Medico.

Read more by HS News Staff →

IACHR Condemns Murder Of Journalist In Brazil

IACHR Condemns Murder Of Journalist In Brazil

Photo: Mafaldo Bezerra Goes

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The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the murder of journalist Mafaldo Bezerra Goes, host of a radio program on the station FM Rio Jaguaribe, which occurred on February 22 in the city of Jaguaribe, state of Ceará, in Brazil.

The Office of the Special Rapporteur expresses its concern and requests that the authorities conduct a prompt and diligent investigation to establish the motive of the crime, identify and appropriately punish the perpetrators.

According to the information received, on the morning of Friday the 22nd, Bezerra was attacked by two unknown individuals who shot him five times as he left his house to go to the radio station. The journalist had reportedly received several threats which were related to his reports on crimes committed in the area.

The ninth principle of the IACHR Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression states:

“The murder, kidnapping, intimidation of and/or threats to social communicators, as well as the material destruction of communications media violate the fundamental rights of individuals and strongly restrict freedom of expression. It is the duty of the state to prevent and investigate such occurrences, to punish their perpetrators and to ensure that victims receive due compensation.”

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Florida Police Call Off Search for Man Swallowed by Sinkhole

Florida Police Call Off Search for Man Swallowed by Sinkhole

Photo: Scene of the accident

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Florida officials abandoned their attempt to recover the body of a man who was swallowed by an enormous sinkhole that opened up late last week in the bedroom of his house, presumably killing him.

After hours analyzing how to find and remove the body from the chasm, some nine meters (30 feet) deep, rescue teams in Brandon, a city on the outskirts of Tampa, Florida, said that the recovery operation would be impossible given the instability of the ground and the “unusual” nature of the cavern, which continues to expand.

Jeff Bush, the victim, was sleeping in his bed on Thursday evening when his brother Jeremy, who was also in the house, heard a loud crash and then heard his brother shouting for help.

When he got to the bedroom and turned on the light, he saw only a huge hole in the floor and part of the mattress from his brother’s bed within it.

He tried to dig among the wreckage until the police arrived, and they forced him to leave the bedroom because the ground under the home was very unstable and there was - and continues to be - a serious risk that the hole would keep expanding.

The sinkhole measures between six and nine meters (20 and 30 feet) in diameter and officials have cordoned off the area out to about 30 meters (98 feet) around it so that nobody gets any closer, Bill Bracken, the head of the engineering firm that is doing the emergency work at the site, said.

The instability of the ground in the area also caused authorities to evacuate several other homes near the spot.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Is It Time For A New Voting Rights Act?

Is It Time For A New Voting Rights Act?

Photo: NewsTaco

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By Victor Landa, NewsTaco

For all of the anticipation leading up to the Voting Rights challenge at the U. S. Supreme Court there are a couple of things that bubbled to the surface and that are worth noting in it’s wake: Justice Scalia’s “racial entitlement” comment and the idea that maybe we’re better off with judicial creative destruction, where Section 5 is struck down to make room for a new, more comprehensive voting rights enforcement code.

On the first count, Scalia’s statement was unexpected but not uncharacteristic. He said Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) amounted to a “perpetuation of racial entitlement.” Of course Scalia would say something like that, it’s not the first time he’s lifted his robe to let us see his stripes, so we shouldn’t be surprised.

But reports from the chamber state there was an audible gasp at the statement. It’s one thing to think it, and to know Scalia thinks as he does, but it’s another to hear it so blatantly.Image

The remark didn’t go unnoticed. The New York Times reports:

That remark created the sharpest exchange of the morning, with Justice Sonia Sotomayor on the other end. “Do you think that the right to vote is a racial entitlement?” she later asked a lawyer challenging the law, with an edge in her voice that left little doubt she was responding to Justice Scalia’s statement. “Do you think that racial discrimination in voting has ended, that there is none anywhere?”

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Viral Video Reveals the Extent of U.S. Wealth Inequality

Viral Video Reveals the Extent of U.S. Wealth Inequality

Photo: U.S. Wealth Inequality

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The wealth inequality issue in the United States is well-known, but most Americans are not fully aware of its extent.

This video, which started going viral after being posted on Reddit reflects the facts as seen from many different sources.

Check out the video below, were you surprised by the wealth inequality in America?

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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Undergoing Chemotherapy

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Undergoing Chemotherapy

Photo: Hugo Chavez

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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has received “complementary treatments” of chemotherapy after being operated in December for a recurrence of cancer, Vice President Nicolas Maduro said.

“The doctors with President Chavez decided to begin complementary treatments. You understand what complementary treatments are, right? Well, they’re the chemotherapies given to patients after operations,” Maduro told reporters Friday after a Mass imploring good health for the head of state.

He recalled that Chavez “had chemotherapy and radiation after his operations in 2012.”

He said that after “a general improvement” in Chavez’s condition, it was decided to begin the treatments, and noted that the president, 58, is now “stronger.”

According to Maduro, Chavez himself took the decision to return to Venezuela, where he is staying at the Military Hospital in Caracas, for the “new phase” of “complementary treatments that are more complex and harder.”

“The treatments that Comandante Chavez is receiving are hard, but he is now stronger than the treatments he is being given and is in good spirits, fighting, having his treatments,” Maduro said.

He said that Chavez, who breathes through a tracheal tube due to a respiratory insufficiency that has not yet improved, communicates “in writing and other ways that he himself has invented.”

Hours before, Maduro asked for an end to “the attack against the comandante,” while opposition leader Henrique Capriles accused him of lying about the president’s illness.

Denouncing the “bourgeoisie” for continual attacks on Chavez, the vice president called on the president’s supporters to show “confidence, unity and revolutionary strength.

The leftist head of state returned to Venezuela 11 days ago after spending more than two months in Cuba due to complications that followed a Dec. 11 cancer surgery in Havana.

Chavez, 58, has undergone four operations as well as courses of chemotherapy and radiation since he was first diagnosed with cancer in June 2011.

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

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

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Boris Becker Confesses Love of Cuban Cigars

Boris Becker Confesses Love of Cuban Cigars

Photo: Boris Becker

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German tennis great Boris Becker, a three-time Wimbledon champion, said during a visit to the Cigar Festival in Havana that he was a “lover” of stogies, but he labeled himself just a “beginner” in the cigar world after trying several different brands and blends.

Becker, who arrived in Cuba last Thursday as guest of honor of the 15th Havana Cigar Festival, said he started smoking 15 years ago following his retirement from tennis.

The tennis great, however, said his father had introduced him to cigars much earlier.

“Cohiba is my favorite brand, but I like Partagas, Romeo y Julieta, Montecristo. Give me time, I don’t consider myself an expert, I’m just a beginner and I am learning,” Becker said in a press conference Saturday at the festival.

Becker said Cuba was producing “excellent” cigars and rum, and the cigar blends with rum he tried in the past few days “felt really good.”

The 45-year-old Becker, who traveled to Havana with his wife, told reporters he visited the Cohiba cigar factory, tried to dance to salsa music and went to the Cuban National Ballet headquarters, where he met the director, 92-year-old Alicia Alonso.

Becker also answered some questions about tennis, telling reporters that he was “a big fan” of Spain’s Rafael Nadal, thought Serbian world No. 1 Novak Djokovic “has a great future in front of him” and Swiss great Roger Federer was “a phenomenon” and “one of the sport’s greatest ambassadors.”

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U.S. Secretary of State Urges Egyptians to Peacefully Strengthen Democracy

U.S. Secretary of State Urges Egyptians to Peacefully Strengthen Democracy

Photo: John Kerry (Mark Gregory)

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry encouraged Egyptians to take part peacefully in the political life of their country in order to strengthen democracy, after meeting with his counterpart, Foreign Minister Mohammed Amr, in Cairo.

“We do believe that in this moment of serious economic challenge that it’s important for the Egyptian people to come together around the economic choices and to find some common ground,” Kerry said at a joint press conference with Amr.

The U.S. official said that he met Saturday with members of the opposition and heard “the enthusiasm” of their commitment to freedom and democracy.

“We are not here to interfere, we are here to listen,” Kerry said, adding that “we are not here to urge anybody to take one particular action or another. What we support is democracy and the people and the nation of Egypt.”

In his opinion, the best way to guarantee human rights in a country is through the political participation of its citizens.

And this, he believes, is achieved through permanent dialogue and consultations with representatives of civil society, and with a real willingness on the part of political parties to resolve the matters that affect citizens most.

Kerry also said that “it is paramount, essential, urgent that the Egyptian economy get stronger, that it gets back on its feet,” and stressed that a solid democracy spurs the business sector.

During his meeting with Amr they also spoke of the situation in Syria and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Kerry also thanked Egyptian authorities, and in particular President Mohammed Morsi, for his work of mediation to bring about a cease-fire in Gaza last November and for welcoming the Syrian opposition in Egypt.

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Pemex’s Crude Output Up 1.6 percent

Mexican state-owned oil monopoly Petroleos Mexicanos said it produced an average of 2.56 million barrels of crude per day in January, a 1.6 percent increase over the same month of 2012.

Pemex also said in a statement Friday that, based on preliminary figures, its crude output in January was 14,000 bpd higher than its average production for all of last year.

The company said 1.9 million bpd, or 74 percent of the total, came from offshore regions in the Gulf of Mexico, compared with 512,000 bpd (20 percent) from its South region and 154,000 bpd from its North region fields.

Pemex said it exported a daily average of 1.29 million barrels in January to customers in the Americas, Europe and Asia, up 8 percent from the same month of 2012, and earned $4.03 billion in revenue from those sales.

Pemex, which has a monopoly on crude output and fuel distribution in Mexico, is the world’s No. 5 oil producer.

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3 Die During Political Protests in Bangladesh

3 Die During Political Protests in Bangladesh

Photo: Bangladesh

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Three opposition protesters died Saturday in clashes with police in Bangladesh, where close to 50 people have been killed in protests since a death sentence for an Islamist leader became known two days ago, local media said.

The fatalities belonged to the youth group of the Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami, or JeI, whose leadership in recent months has been the object of a judicial crackdown because of their implication in crimes against humanity during the 1971 conflict that transformed East Pakistan into the independent nation of Bangladesh.

According to state news agency UNB, the worst clash of the day was in the southeastern district of Satkania, near the port city of Chittagong.

Several radicals there threw stones at police who responded with gunfire, killing three of them and wounding 11.

The latest violence broke out Thursday after a Dacca court condemned JeI leader Delawar Hossain Sayedi to be hanged for crimes of genocide, murder and looting.

The Islamist party, which during the conflict was allied with Pakistan, has called a two-day nationwide strike beginning Sunday, when further disturbances are expected.

In a communique on Saturday, Human Rights Watch, or HRW, urged the Bangladeshi government and Jamaat-e-Islami “to act urgently to ensure that security forces and party supporters do not engage in further acts of violence.”

HRW denounced the use of “live ammunition against protesters” by police and indiscrimate attacks “against Hindu temples and houses” by the Islamists.

The 1971 war left 3 million dead and saw 2 million women raped, according to unofficial figures.

Read more by HS News Staff →

SundayMarch 3, 2013