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WednesdayMarch 6, 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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Former Grand Slam Champ Juan Carlos Ferrero to be Honored at Barcelona Open

Former Grand Slam Champ Juan Carlos Ferrero to be Honored at Barcelona Open

Photo: Former Grand Slam Champ Juan Carlos Ferrero to be Honored at Barcelona Open

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Spanish tennis great Juan Carlos Ferrero, who won 15 singles titles during his career and briefly held the No. 1 ranking in the fall of 2003, will be honored at the April 22-28 Barcelona Open, organizers said Wednesday.

Ferrero, who won the Godo Trophy in Barcelona in 2001, retired in late 2012.

“It has always been a special tournament for me. When I was a boy, like everyone, it was the one I dreamed about the most. I went many times to see it and later had the good fortune to play in it and, on top of that, to win it,” the 33-year-old Ferrero said in a statement released by organizers.

The retired tennis star, who won the 2003 French Open, owns the Equelite Sport Academy in Villena, Alicante, and runs the tournament in Valencia.

Ferrero was one of the world’s best players from 2000 to 2003 but injuries began to hinder his performance starting in 2004.

The Spaniard enjoyed most of his success on clay, reaching the French Open semifinals four years in a row and finally winning the title 10 years ago.

He also led Spain to its first-ever Davis Cup title in 2000, winning both of his singles matches in the final - played on clay in Barcelona - and clinching the victory with a four-set win over Australia’s Lleyton Hewitt.

Ferrero, however, also had considerable success on hard courts, reaching the 2003 U.S. Open final and losing to Hewitt in the final of the 2002 Tennis Masters Cup.

The Barcelona Open BancSabadell is one of the bigger tune-up events for tennis’ premier clay-court tournament, the French Open, which gets underway on May 21.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Take a Look at Shakira’s Upcoming Debut as Mentor on “The Voice” (VIDEO)

Take a Look at Shakira’s Upcoming Debut as Mentor on “The Voice” (VIDEO)

Photo: Take a Look at Shakira's Upcoming Debut as Mentor on "The Voice"

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Though the next season of The Voice has yet to begin, it looks like Shakira is fitting right in with the boys, judging by the preview recently released by NBC.

Later this month, the Colombian singer will join Usher as the new judges, temporarily taking over for Christina Aguilera and CeeLo, who are out promoting their new music. The newbies are joining Adam Levine and Blake Shelton as mentors in the show’s fourth season, but have their work cut out for them as both have coached the winners of the previous seasons.

“Never underestimate a 5’3 Colombian girl.”

Check out Shakira in the new season, which premieres March 25th.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spain’s Repsol to Reduce Its Environmental Efforts in Ecuadorian Amazon

Spain’s Repsol to Reduce Its Environmental Efforts in Ecuadorian Amazon

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Spanish oil major Repsol said Wednesday it plans to invest around $9 million this year in environmental prevention and remediation at the two blocks in operates in the Ecuadorian Amazon, a 10 percent drop relative to 2012.

Marcelo Mata, environment, security and quality coordinator for Repsol’s business unit in Ecuador, told Efe that the company’s environmental investment in 2012 totaled roughly $10 million.

The company plans to lower its environmental investment in 2013 as part of a “deceleration” of its operations in the South American country, he said.

Repsol is developing old, declining oil deposits and the drop in output means less investment in environmental prevention and remediation is needed, Mata said.

He told reporters that some 16 oil spills occurred between 2008 and 2012, the most serious of which happened in 2009 and affected some eight hectares (20 acres) of swampland that have already been remediated.

Mata noted that Repsol’s operations in Ecuador span five environmentally sensitive areas.

Around 26 percent of the land is within the Yasuni National Park, which is one of the world’s most bio-diverse zones and home to Quichua and Huaorani Indians and other indigenous communities.

Repsol’s contracts to operate Block 16 and the Tivacuno field, which have a combined area of 176,000 hectares (435,000 acres), are due to expire in 2018, although the company is looking for ways to extend its presence in Ecuador.

In November, its manager in the Andean nation, Luis Garcia, said Repsol wants to negotiate an extension of its current operations and is looking to participate in bidding rounds for new fields in the Amazon region.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latin America Vows to Protect Sharks and Fight Asian Interests

Latin America Vows to Protect Sharks and Fight Asian Interests

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Latin America adopted a nearly unanimous position Wednesday at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES, meeting in Bangkok to protect sharks, putting its weight behind a proposal that the Asian bloc considers unacceptable.

Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Costa Rica and Honduras took the lead in advancing the shark-protection position, which is backed by the European Union and the United States.

Advocates of shark protection want to regulate captures and the trade in whitetip reef sharks, hammerhead sharks, sardine sharks and stingrays.

The proposals won the near unanimous support of the regional bloc formed by South America, Central America and the Caribbean at a previous CITES meeting.

The Latin American bloc wants sharks included in Appendix 2 of CITES, which regulates captures, to avoid endangering the animals’ populations.

“We all understand that inclusion in Appendix 2 is not something problematic, it does not ban fishing, but it seeks to make it sustainable,” Brazilian delegation member Fabio Hazin.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican Priest Activist Criticizes Police Focus on Migrants

Mexican Priest Activist Criticizes Police Focus on Migrants

Photo: Rev. Alejandro Solalinde

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The Rev. Alejandro Solalinde, who is known for his work with Central American migrants, said during a conference in Mexico City that he was concerned about the government’s increasing emphasis on policing in its immigration policy.

Officials have been turning the National Migration Institute, or INM, into more of a police agency, Solalinde said at the Universidad Iberoamericana.

The Catholic priest, who founded the Hermanos del Camino shelter in the southern state of Oaxaca, was forced to leave Mexico for a short time last year after receiving threats.

“Sometimes there are few migrants and up to 80 armed (Federal Police) officers, who get involved in everything” at the INM station in Acayucan, Veracruz, the priest said.

“This is the most favorable time to make viable” immigration reform in the United States, Solalinde said in response to a question about efforts in Washington to overhaul the immigration system.

“It is necessary for the state to publicly recognize the human rights of every person who is in the United States, because it should not be the case that an administrative irregularity (being undocumented) is a reason for repression, inhumane treatment and even incarceration,” Solalinde said.

An estimated 300,000 Central Americans undertake the hazardous journey across Mexico each year on their way to the United States.

The trek is a dangerous one, with criminals and corrupt Mexican officials preying on the migrants.

Gangs kidnap, exploit and murder migrants, who are often targeted in extortion schemes, Mexican officials say.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Iran’s Ahmadinejad Predicts Hugo Chavez Will Return as Messiah to Save Mankind

Iran’s Ahmadinejad Predicts Hugo Chavez Will Return as Messiah to Save Mankind

Photo: Iran's Ahmadinejad Praises Chavez

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As Venezuela mourns the passing of its beloved (depending on who you ask) or feared (depending on who you ask) President (or dictator, depending on who you ask) his pal Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made a prediction:  Chavez will be back.

Ahmadinejad, a person that has never let something like logic or truth get in the way, predicts that Chavez will return to “redeem mankind” much like Jesus did and the Muslim prophet, Hidden Imam.

The Iran President sent a letter of condolence to the people of Iran and also posted his dribblings on his website honoring his fellow “anti-imperalist” friend.  Ahmadinejad commented according to the NY Times: “I have no doubt he will come again along with all the righteous people and the Prophet Jesus and the only successor of the righteous generation, the perfect human.”

Both leaders forged on a friendship based on their anti-American sentiment. During a visit to Caracas in January of 2012, President Ahmadinejad described U.S. concern about Iran’s engagement with Latin America as “laughable.”  President Chavez said it is the United States—not Iran—that is a true threat to international security.  Chavez often recalled that thousand of homes and over 20 plants for producing food products were built with the collaboration of Iranian companies.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos Candidate for Nobel Peace Prize

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos Candidate for Nobel Peace Prize

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Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos is one of 259 nominees for the Nobel Peace Prize due to his willingness to strike a peace accord with the country’s largest guerilla group.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Colombian government started peace negotiation last November. The negotiations are tied to issues of agrarian policy, arms surrender and incorporation of guerilla members into civil society.

The accord establishing a framework for the peace process was signed on August 26, 2012 in Havana after six months of secret exploratory discussions.  Santos has been given much credit for pushing the peace accords forward.

The FARC has battled a succession of Colombian governments since 1964 and are beginning the third peace process in almost 50 years of armed conflict, with Cuba and Norway as mediators and with Chile and Venezuela as observers.

Should Santos win the famed peace prize he will receive $1.24 million in cash and be presented the award on December 10, 2013. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Carromero Says Government Car Responsible for Crash That Killed Cuban Dissident

Carromero Says Government Car Responsible for Crash That Killed Cuban Dissident

Photo: Deadly crash in Cuba

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The Spaniard who was at the wheel for the car crash that resulted in the death of prominent Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya said a vehicle bearing official insignia caused the wreck.

Angel Carromero, a leader of the youth wing of Spain’s governing Popular Party, made his first public comments on the July 22, 2012, incident in an interview with the Washington Post.

The visiting Spaniard rented a car to drive Paya and fellow dissident Harold Cepero to visit friends in eastern Cuba. Swedish political activist Jens Aron Modig was also in the car.

The group was followed from Havana, with the trailing vehicles changing as they crossed provincial borders, Carromero said.

“And then another, newer car appeared and began to harass us, getting very close. Oswaldo and Harold told me it must be from ‘la Comunista’ because it had a blue license plate, which they said is what the government uses,” Carromero told the Post.

“The last time I looked in the mirror, I realized that the car had gotten too close - and suddenly I felt a thunderous impact from behind,” he said.

“I lost control of the car, and also consciousness - or that is what I believe, because from that point my memories are unclear,” Carromero said. “When I recovered consciousness, I was being put into a modern van. I don’t know how it had gotten there, but neither Oswaldo nor Harold nor Aron was inside.”

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 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.

“The trial in Bayamo was a farce, to make me the scapegoat, but I had to accept the verdict without appeal in order to have the minimal possibility to get out of that hell,” Carromero told the Washington Post.

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.

Spain’s foreign minister said Wednesday he has no knowledge about the involvement of a second vehicle in the crash that killed Paya.

All of his information about the case is based on communications from Spanish diplomats in Cuba and on a bilateral memorandum of understanding, Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said, reacting to Carromero’s comments in the interview.

The memorandum between Cuban authorities and the Spanish consul in Havana was signed with Carromero’s consent, the foreign minister said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Javier Bardem, Adam Rodriguez Nominated for 2013 MTV Movie Awards -  Vote Now!

Javier Bardem, Adam Rodriguez Nominated for 2013 MTV Movie Awards  -  Vote Now!

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On April 14th, Rebel Wilson will host the 2013 MTV Movie Awards, and the voting has now begun.

Among those in running are Javier Bardem and Adam Rodriguez.

Spanish actor Bardem is up for “Best Villain” and “Best WTF Moment” for his role in the James Bond Film Skyfall.

Cuban CSI:Miami alum Rodriguez is part of the ensemble in Magic Mike that is up for “Best Musical Number.”

Click here to see the categories and cast your votes.

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: Mother Mails Children Knife to Kill Grandparents

LATINO BLOTTER: Mother Mails Children Knife to Kill Grandparents

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A Florida mother has been charged with multiple counts of solicitation to commit murder after she attempted to get her children to kill their grandparents after she lost custody.

Leticia Silva of Lakeland, Fla. had lost custody of her two children, ages 7 and 9, and they had been living with their grandparents in North Carolina for about seven years. In February, the children’s grandmother told police she found a kitchen knife under her granddaughter’s pillow. When she asked the child about it, the girl allegedly said her mother had called around Christmas and told her to kill the grandparents. The grandmother also claimed the little girl told her Silva had also mailed the children a pocket knife.

The children allegedly told their grandparents that they never would have gone through with it.

Silva, 31, turned herself in on Monday and is now facing four counts of first-degree solicitation to commit murder. Her bond was set at $5 million.

The children reportedly only spoke with their mother once or twice a month and their father lives nearby.

Silva’s side of the family claim the grandparents are making everything up, and that the whole situation is a misunderstanding.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican Reporter Lydia Cacho to be Named to French Legion of Honor

Mexican Reporter Lydia Cacho to be Named to French Legion of Honor

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France plans to name Lydia Cacho, one of Mexico’s most prominent reporters, a Knight of the Legion of Honor on Friday, the French Embassy in Mexico City said.

“On International Women’s Day, France’s ambassador to Mexico, Elisabeth Beton Delegue, will present the award to journalist and defender of women’s rights Lydia Cacho,” the embassy said in a statement.

The honor is a “testimony to her distinguished work in defense of children and women victims of violence, her reporting on people trafficking networks and her contributions to freedom of expression in Mexico,” the French Embassy said.

The Order of the Legion of Honor is one of the best known and most presitigous awards that France confers on men and women, both French citizens and foreigners, for meritorious contributions to society or the military.

Cacho is an award-winning investigative reporter, human rights activist and columnist for the daily El Universal.

Her latest book, “Esclavas del poder” (Slaves of Power), examined people trafficking and its victims around the world.

Cacho has been the target of threats since 2005, when she published a book, “Los demonios del Eden” (The Demons of Eden), that exposed pedophile rings in Mexico operating under the protection of politicians and business leaders.

For revealing the crimes of Lebanese-born Mexican businessman Jean Succar Kuri and others, Cacho was the victim of kidnapping, psychological torture and police abuses, which she revealed in another book titled “Memorias de una infamia” (Memoirs of an Infamy).

Mexico, where more than 80 journalists have been murdered since 2000, is considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world for members of the media.

Read more by HS News Staff →

With IDB Support, Peru’s USIL Broadens Low-income Students’ Access to Higher Education

With IDB Support, Peru’s USIL Broadens Low-income Students’ Access to Higher Education

Photo: The Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola

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USIL to double its student capacity and increase access to affordable programs.

The Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola (USIL), a leading private university in Peru, will receive a $23.5 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to double its capacity and expand access to affordable education programs for low-income students.

IDB financing will allow USIL to double its capacity from approximately 12,000 to 25,000 students over the next ten years. Moreover, the loan will help USIL establish a new student guarantee fund, support a new technical training institute, and increase its participation in Beca 18, a Peruvian government flagship scholarship program targeting economically disadvantaged youth. It will also help expand and upgrade USIL’s infrastructure using green technology that permits the reduction of water and energy consumption.

The project, which is also being financed by Banco de Crédito del Peru and the Canadian Climate Change Fund, comes as years of sustained economic growth in Peru has fueled growth of an emerging middle class eager to improve its living standards through high-quality college education. Currently only three out of ten Peruvian high school students have access to higher education.

USIL has been among the first private universities in the country to tap into this market by forming a partnership with Beca 18, which has enabled the university to increase the number of low-income students in its campus. As much as 27 percent of USIL’s incoming students came from lower-middle socioeconomic groups in 2010, up from 17 percent in 2006.

About the IDB’s Structured and Corporate Finance Department

The Structured and Corporate Finance Department (SCF) leads all IDB’s non-sovereign guaranteed operations for large-scale projects, as well as those linked to companies and financial institutions. Through its Loan Syndication Program, SCF acts as a catalyst, helping to engage third-party resources by partnering with commercial banks, institutional investors, co-guarantors and other co-lenders for projects with high development impact.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Museo de Arte de Ponce Celebrates the Talents of Sculptor Jorge Diaz-Torres with New Exhibit

Museo de Arte de Ponce Celebrates the Talents of Sculptor Jorge Diaz-Torres with New Exhibit

Photo: Morning Levitation by Jorge Diaz-Torres

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Puerto Rico’s Museo de Arte de Ponce has invited sculptor Jorge Diaz-Torres to present five pieces of work that will ‘create dialogue with the museum’s permanent collection,’ as part of its ‘Arte en Respuesta’ program.

The contemporary art installations by Diaz-Torres is the second installation in this ‘Art in Response’ program and can be viewed through May 23, 2013.  The artist used everyday materials while trying to present why there is so much value on material objects.  Uprising Art notes:  “In Art in Response, Díaz Torres portrays, in sculpture, urban elements, but outside their usual contexts. He re-positions them in a controlled environment, thereby creating awareness in the spectator of things that ordinarily go unnoticed. The artist also plays with the perception of what is real and uses his sculpture to stimulate emotions and bring us new ways to look at objects.”

The artist was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico where he lives today.  Diaz-Torres has had three solo exhibitions and numerous group exhibitions all over the world including China.  In 2010 he won the Pulse Prize for art.  Diaz-Torres employs different materials such as papier mache, ceramic and wood to recreate objects found in an urban setting.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Ashley Benson Talks Having a Threesome with James Franco and Vanessa Hudgens in ‘Spring Breakers”

Ashley Benson Talks Having a Threesome with James Franco and Vanessa Hudgens in ‘Spring Breakers”

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Ashley Benson is stripping off her Disney image and her clothes in the upcoming film Spring Breakers in which she engages in a threesome with fellow Disney starlet Vanessa Hudgens and James Franco.

Benson opened up about filming the racy scene with The Sun explaining that the scene wasn’t set to film till later that evening so she took the time on the cold, rainy day to pig-out on junk food. “I went to set and discussed the scene with Harmonie, Vanessa and James,” she explained.

Benson notes that although sex-scenes are normally an uncomfortable situation- making the scene with Hudgens, a good friend of hers, and Franco, it made the scene much easier.

“I’m really happy I had Vanessa to be there with me and James – he’s done this a million times,” she explained. “He didn’t make it awkward at all. We were very comfortable, Harmonie wanted us to be comfortable, or else it would have looked weird.”

“Vanessa and I were so thankful that we were so close and had each other because any intimate scene is very awkward, even kissing a guy on screen is awkward because you have people all around you filming as well as an audience,” she added. “But it turned out amazing.”

The Sun notes that the threesome takes place after Franco bails the girls out of jail after a court appearance. However, he will not let their debt go unpaid.

Fans can catch Benson, Hudgens , Franco, along with Selena Gomez in Spring Breakers when it hits theaters in March 22.

Read more at The Celebrity Cafe →

Lamar Odom vs. Liza Morales: NBA Star’s Custody Battle Continues

Lamar Odom vs. Liza Morales: NBA Star’s Custody Battle Continues

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Lamar Odom, basketball player and husband of reality star Khloe Kardashian, was back in court this week for his custody case with ex-girlfriend Liza Morales.

The 33-year-old L.A. Clippers forward arrived in Manhattan for court on Tuesday and ended up being reprimanded by a court officer after he fell asleep on a bench outside the courtroom. Apparently, the officer thought something was wrong with Odom and gave him a nudge, which woke him up.

Odom apologized and said he was just exhausted from the jet lag and stress.

Morales and Odom were together for more than 10 years, and had three children together. Sadly, baby Jayden died of SIDS in 2006.

The two have been in and out of court since 2010 fighting over the “parental access schedule” and child support. Odom reportedly wants the custody agreement altered so their children, 14-year-old Destiny, and 11-year-old Lamar Jr., can appear on Keeping Up With the Kardashians with him and his wife’s family.

Morales in no stranger to reality television herself and is currently on TLC’s controversial Starter Wives. After complaints from the exes of the women on the show, which included rapper 50 Cent and boxer Floyd Mayweather, the show was removed from regular programing. Only three episodes were aired, but the rest can still be seen on TLC’s website.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Teachers Union Takes to the Streets to Protest Education, Labor Reform in Mexico

Teachers Union Takes to the Streets to Protest Education, Labor Reform in Mexico

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Thousands of members of the CNTE teachers union took to the streets of Mexico City and other cities to protest government plans to reform the educational system and labor regulations.

Protesters from Chiapas, Michoacan, Oaxaca and Guerrero states, as well as Mexico City, marched from the capital’s main plaza to the Los Pinos presidential residence, where a 10-member committee handed officials a petition listing the teachers’ demands.

The teachers, whose numbers were estimated at between 5,000 and 8,000 by different sources, want to have negotiations with the government and oppose the appointment of Juan Diaz de la Torre to succeed Elba Esther Gordillo as president of the SNTE teachers union.

The 68-year-old Gordillo, longtime president of the 1.2-million-strong SNTE, was arrested on Feb. 26 along with three close associates for allegedly using union funds to pay personal expenses.

Gordillo, once described by scholar M. Delal Baer as “Jimmy Hoffa in a dress,” allegedly embezzled $157 million in union funds.

The former union boss was expelled from the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, in 2006 for helping create the New Alliance Party, or PANAL, which tried unsuccessfully to form a coalition with Enrique Peña Nieto, who won last year’s presidential election.

The protesters want all of Gordillo’s associates investigated.

The CNTE is a labor organization that controls the SNTE locals in Chiapas, Oaxaca, Guerrero and Michoacan, promoting its own independent agenda.

The CNTE was founded in 1979 to oppose the policies of national union leaders and uses protests as its main weapon.

Teachers in Michoacan, Oaxaca, Guerrero and Chiapas, meanwhile, blocked streets Tuesday in the respective state capitals to protest the education system reforms implemented by Peña Nieto.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Anti-Immigrant Groups say Immigration Reform Without Citizenship is Antithetical to Our Values

Anti-Immigrant Groups say Immigration Reform Without Citizenship is Antithetical to Our Values

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The power of immigration reform WITH a path to citizenship is on full display this week, continuing to hammer down Jeb Bush days after his book revealed that he no longer believed a path was necessary.  Instead of using his position to bring Republicans into the immigration debate, as he’d hoped, Bush is now struggling to get with the program and the new consensus on citizenship.  As the Executive Director at America’s Voice, Frank Sharry, said yesterday, “For the longest time, Jeb was waiting for many in the Republican Party to catch up to him.  Now it’s time for Jeb to catch up to many of them.”

Bush’s fumbles have resulted in the Senate Gang of 8 reaffirming their support for citizenship, and explaining more clearly than ever why creating a pathway is crucial for the immigration reform debate.  And it’s had the very odd consequence of leading anti-immigration reform spokesmen to explain why immigration reform without citizenship is a terrible idea.

At National Review, Mark Krikorian, of the restrictionist “think tank” Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), wrote that if Congress passes immigration reform without a pathway to citizenship, “the GOP candidate in 2016 will look back fondly on Romney’s 27 percent of the Hispanic vote — and he’ll have sabotaged his own base as well.”

In the Daily Caller, Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the anti-immigrant Federation for American Immigration Reform (or FAIR, also considered to be a hate group), said that “Bush’s proposal would just disadvantage Republicans in the 2014 and 2016 elections.”  Why would Republicans think that immigration reform without citizenship will win them Hispanic votes, he wondered, when no citizenship is the equivalent of “half a loaf”?

And here’s Steve Camarota, also from CIS, speaking to Neil Munro in two Daily Caller pieces:

[Immigration reform without citizenship] would leave the GOP open to charges that it supports a very unpopular two-tier “Jim Crow” legal system, said Camarota, whose center wants immigration law to be reformed to halve the inflow of roughly 1 million immigrants per year.

That provision would give the Democrats a powerful club for the 2014 and 2016 elections, and would quickly be killed when GOP legislators realized the unpopularity of the idea, he said…

Worse, by calling for an economy where many immigrant workers lack political rights, Bush’s proposal “is antithetical to our value system,” he said. If enacted, “the Democrats would become the party of equality, and the Republicans would become the party of second-class citizens,” he said.

Krikorian, Mehlman, Camarota, et al, of course are trying to swing for the “nothing” part in the all-or-nothing immigration reform stakes.  They’re afraid that Bush, in cleaving citizenship from immigration reform, is opening up a space for more Republicans to support reform without giving 11 million immigrants the vote.  They are so against immigration reform, whether legislation includes citizenship or not, that they are spending their time making the case for citizenship in an attempt to explain to Republicans why the GOP cannot accept legalization without citizenship as a middle-ground option.  But in doing so, these representatives of some of the largest anti-immigrant, John Tanton network organizations are making better arguments for why citizenship is crucial than many pro-reform Republicans.

Their message should resonate with Republicans (like Jeb Bush and Raul Labrador and Bob Goodlatte) flirting with the idea of passing immigration reform without citizenship.  As a new Latino Decisions poll released yesterday reveals, on one side of the debate stands a growing demographic—the Latino vote—that is politically engaged and more invested in immigration reform with a path to citizenship than ever.  On the other side stands opponents of immigration reform, like Krikorian, Mehlman, Camarota, and their dwindling numbers of Tea Party supporters.  The third side represents immigration reform with legalization but no citizenship—and here there are literally no constituents.  Americans don’t think it’s a good idea, it’s—as Camarota said—antithetical to our value system, and it would be a mistake for Congress to even think about forcing 11 million aspiring Americans into a permanent second-class status.

Read more at Americas Voice Online →

9th Ibero-American Production Meeting Identifies New Latin American Talent in Film

9th Ibero-American Production Meeting Identifies New Latin American Talent in Film

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The Ibero-American Coproduction Meeting, part of the Guadalajara International Film Festival just concluded but not before identifying new film talent in Latin America.

This years winners are:  “Buenaventura mon amour” a Colombian production about hip-hop life in one of the country’s dank and stark cities, Buenaventura; “Marakame’s Dream” a Mexican-Italian production won the big cash prize of $120,000 and is presented in the native Huichol language; “Sultan” from Panama and “Carmen” a film dealing with the explosive unemployment rate amongst Spain’s youth.

Since 2005, the Guadalajara International Film Festival set the platform for the Ibero-American Coproduction Meeting in an effort to contribute to the development of the Mexican and Ibero-American film industry. The main goal of the meeting is to bring the projects in development closer to professionals in the industry, financing funds and producers seeking co-productions, as well as buyers and international sales agents.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spanish Paleontologist Questions Beginnings of Modern Humans

Spanish Paleontologist Questions Beginnings of Modern Humans

Photo: Eudald Carbonell (INAH)

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Recent discoveries show that early humans were in Western Europe at least 1.4 million years ago and raise questions about the accepted view of how modern humans originated, a Spanish paleontologist said here.

Eudald Carbonell, co-director of the Sierra de Atapuerca project in northern Spain, shared those insights in a lecture at Mexico City’s National Museum of Anthropology.

The earliest evidence of human habitation in Western Europe is a child’s milk tooth unearthed at the Once site in southern Spain, Carbonell said.

Although the rudimentary tools found at the site are typical of the early Africa-based human species Homo habilis, researchers have yet to classify the child known as “Once boy.”

The Once boy presents resemblances to several different extinct human species, particularly to the 1.8-million-year-old Homo antecessor remains found in 1999-2001 in the Caucasus nation of Georgia, Carbonell said.

Homo antecessor remains dating from 1.2 million years ago were found by Carbonell’s team at Atapuerca.

The similarities between the Georgia and Atapuerca remains “set out the possibility that the first (human) inhabitants of Western Europe came from Asia, and not from Africa, as generally accepted,” Carbonell said.

Until now, it was thought that Homo antecessor was a precursor both of European Neanderthals and of modern Homo sapiens, which originated in Africa.

But the lack of Homo antecessor traces in Africa and the possible links between the Atapuerca and Georgia fossils suggest that Homo antecessor was an evolutionary dead end, Carbonell said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Australian Actress Abbie Cornish Learned Spanish for Role in “The Girl”

Australian Actress Abbie Cornish Learned Spanish for Role in “The Girl”

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Abbie Cornish, considered one of the best young actresses in Hollywood, learned Spanish and gave up five months of her personal life for “The Girl,” a movie about the relationship between a Texas woman and a little Mexican girl who lost her family trying to cross the border illegally.

Cornish, who has appeared in such films as “Bright Star,” “Sucker Punch” and “Limitless,” plays Ashley, a single mom who had custody of her son taken away by social services.

Almost three-fourths of the acting is in Spanish, a language the 30-year-old Australian never spoke before at all.

Looking for easy money, Ashley decides to act as a “coyote,” or people smuggler, helping a Mexican family cross the border into the U.S. illegally, but the venture ends in tragedy and with the responsibility of caring for a little girl left all alone in the world. Their unusual friendship will change her life.

“It was an experience that absorbed me completely,” the actress told Efe in an interview before the movie’s premiere this Friday in the United States. “I gave up my personal life for five months. There was nothing else I could do. But it was easy because I’m single, I have no kids, I live and alone, and the truth is I’m a workaholic. I don’t have any other responsibilities.”

For Cornish, the shoot in Mexico was an experience that left its mark on her and which she’ll never forget. In fact, she decided to film all the details of the production with her own videocamera and, after editing more than 15 hours of material, posted parts of it on Facebook and Twitter.

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In-State Tuition for Undocumented Immigrant Students Closer to a Reality in Colorado

In-State Tuition for Undocumented Immigrant Students Closer to a Reality in Colorado

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A law that would allow Colorado’s undocumented students in-state tuition rates is closer to becoming a reality after the Colorado House gave its initial approval in a voice vote.

This Friday, Bill 13-033 will go before the same House for a voice vote and is expected to pass.  The bill will then go to Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper’s desk for signature, something he has indicated he plans on doing.

The bill is at its further point in its 7th try and since being introduced some 10 years ago.  In state-tuition for Colorado’s undocumented students has in some form or another come before legislators six times over the last decade. 

Past efforts have stalled due in great part to a Republican controlled House of Representatives. This time around the Republic vote is not needed though there are more Republicans supporting the measure.  Advocates are confident of victory since Democrats control both the Senate and House in the state.

If the measure is successful, Colorado would join California, Maryland and Texas that provide some form of in-state tuition support for undocumented students.

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Lesbian Partner Denied Right to Adopt Partner’s Child Appeals to Puerto Rico’s Highest Court

Lesbian Partner Denied Right to Adopt Partner’s Child Appeals to Puerto Rico’s Highest Court

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The woman who was denied the right to adopt her partner’s child, that they are raising, has appealed the Puerto Rico Supreme Courts decision today.

Two weeks ago the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico in a 5-4 decision ruled that the woman could not adopt the now 12-year-old girl conceived by artificial insemination and born to one of the members of this lesbian couple.  The girl has been raised by both of them and lives with them.  Neither the girl nor the lesbian couple have been identified.

The original decision caused a loud outcry by the Puerto Rican gay and lesbian community who took to the streets to protest.  The decision upheld a law banning gay couples from adoption children.

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Dominican Boy Being Cured of Disfigurement Thanks to Modern Medicine

Dominican Boy Being Cured of Disfigurement Thanks to Modern Medicine

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Dominican toddler Joel de la Rosa is surrounded by people wanting to improved his quality of life, including Dr. Alejandro Berenstein, who on Tuesday performed a modern procedure on the boy to correct a malformation of his face.

De la Rosa was flown in from the Dominican Republic by the Healing the Children organization, to be treated for a malformation that causes a swelling on one side of his face due to the retention of lymphatic fluid.

Healing the Children, which offers kids from all over the world access to medical treatment, found no hospital that could treat the 2-year-old’s condition until it came upon the Vascular Birthmark Institute at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital in New York, directed by the Mexican Dr. Alejandro Berenstein.

“We have a system of defense in the body, which is the lymphatic system. For reasons we don’t understand, the child has a collection of lymphatic fluid on the left side of his face and below his chin which doesn’t drain in a normal way and forms cysts,” Berenstein told Efe.

Berenstein, a pioneer in the use of minimally invasive procedures to treat conditions related to the vascular system in the brain, head, face and spinal column, performed the procedure using a modern ultrasound and X-ray system as a guide.

The procedure applied Tuesday was the first of about four that the little boy will need before returning to his country six months from now, but the doctor warned that the problem could recur.

He also told Efe that he has trained personnel in the Dominican Republic who could take over treament of the boy, whose mother Ramona Rosado is waiting for his return.

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Chanel, Valentino Wow at Paris Fashion Week

Chanel, Valentino Wow at Paris Fashion Week

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Chanel unveiled a ready-to-wear 2013 fall-winter collection at Paris Fashion Week dominated by neutral tones, while Valentino meticulously explored all that the color palette has to offer.

Karl Lagerfeld’s creations for Chanel wound their way around a giant globe, reflecting the design house’s presence around the world at the Grand Palais in Paris.

Boots allowed little leg to show on models wearing garments that ranged from gray to black, with touches of pink and Klein blue, a deep blue, and splashes of orange, red and yellow.

Actresses Milla Jovovich and Jessica Chastain, Princess Caroline of Monaco and singer and actress Vanessa Paradis attended the show.Image

Valentino, for his part, paid homage to Flemish art with a delicate ready-to-wear collection that featured lush colors, embroidery and flowers.

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Mexican Actors Fernando Colunga, Blanca Soto to Star in New Univision Soap Opera

Mexican Actors Fernando Colunga, Blanca Soto to Star in New Univision Soap Opera

Photo: Mexican Actors Fernando Colunga, Blanca Soto to Star in New Univision Soap Opera

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The Univision television network on Tuesday announced that its new primetime soap opera “Porque el amor manda,” starring Mexican actors Fernando Colunga and Blanca Soto, will debut on March 11.

The new “telenovela” by Televisa, produced by Juan Osorio, tells a love story focused on a successful female business executive who falls in love with her male secretary, the network said in a communique.

After spending several years trying to make a living in Chicago, Jesus Garcia (Colunga’s character) discovers that he has a daughter with his former girlfriend in Monterrey, Mexico.

Anxious to get to know the little girl, he decides to return to his country, but he falls into a trap linked with a money laundering operation and is arrested.

With a criminal record and no income, Jesus undertakes the difficult task of finding work and learns that a top executive, Alma Montemayor (Soto) is looking for a secretary, he begins to work for her and their romantic involvement commences.

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Mexico and New Zealand Leaders Celebrate 40 Years of Diplomatic Relations

Mexico and New Zealand Leaders Celebrate 40 Years of Diplomatic Relations

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Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key agreed to work together to wrap up the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, an effort to create a free trade area spanning the Asia-Pacific region, this year.

Mexico and New Zealand will continue to emphasize “close cooperation” in other trade and multilateral initiatives, the leaders said in a statement released following their meeting Tuesday at Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City.

A commitment has been made “to finish the TPP in 2013, achieving a high-quality agreement that liberalizes trade and investment in an exhaustive manner,” Peña Nieto and Key said.

The TPP was initially signed in 2005 by Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore, with Malaysia, Peru, Australia, Canada, Mexico, the United States and Vietnam joining later.

TPP members are negotiating the creation of the world’s most dynamic trade zone, a market with about 658 million people.

Peña Nieto thanked Key for New Zealand’s support “so that Mexico could join the process of negotiating the TPP.”

Both Key and Peña Nieto said the TPP would be positive in promoting economic integration in the Asia-Pacific region.

“The conclusion and implementation of this ambitious agreement will promote trade, employment and growth in Mexico and New Zealand,” the leaders said.

Ministers from the countries that belong to the TPP, which Mexico officially joined last October, plan to meet this month.

Key is the first foreign head of government to visit Mexico since Peña Nieto took office on Dec. 1, the government said.

The prime minister’s visit also coincides with the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Mexico and New Zealand.

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Sean Penn Mourns The Death Of Venezuelan Leader Hugo Chavez

Sean Penn Mourns The Death Of Venezuelan Leader Hugo Chavez

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Sean Penn is mourning the loss of a friend, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

He also maintains that he is not the only one mourning, the entire country and the whole world are too, The Hollywood Reporter noted.

“Today the people of the United States lost a friend it never knew it had. And poor people around the world lost a champion,” the Milk actor said.

“I lost a friend I was blessed to have. My thoughts are with the family of President Chavez and the people of Venezuela.”

Sean Penn has been a longtime, great supporter of Chavez.

He once made a surprise appearance last December in a candelight vigil in Bolivia, to support Chavez’s health. Penn also reassured that Chavez was one of the most important leaders the planet could have ever asked for.

“I’ll wish him nothing but that great strength he has shown over and over again. I do it in love, and I do it in gratitude.”

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez died of cancer at the age of 58 yesterday, TMZ reported.

He was in Cuba for a few months to receive an intensive treatment for cancer.

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Venezuelans Prepare for State Funeral and Official Mourning for Hugo Chavez

Venezuelans Prepare for State Funeral and Official Mourning for Hugo Chavez

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Venezuelans on Wednesday are mourning President Hugo Chavez, who died after a two-year battle with cancer, while government officials make preparations for his funeral and succession.

The armed forces fired a 21-gun salute to Chavez at 8:00 a.m. and announced that a cannon would be fired once an hour until the late president was buried on Friday.

The order for the continuous salute was given by Defense Minister Adm. Diego Molero, armed forces strategic command chief Gen. Wilmer Barrientos said.

“This is one of the top honors for a head of state,” the general told VTV.

The 58-year-old Chavez died on Tuesday after battling cancer for nearly two years.

Chavez’s death was announced by a tearful Vice President Nicolas Maduro, who will serve as interim president.

Elections will be held within 30 days and Maduro is expected to be the candidate of the governing Venezuelan United Socialist Party.

The Venezuelan leader’s death made headlines around the world and his funeral is expected to be attended by several world leaders.

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez, Uruguayan President Jose Mujica and Bolivian President Evo Morales have already arrived in Caracas, while other leaders are expected to arrive on Thursday, Foreign Minister Elias Jaua said Wednesday.

Chavez had undergone four operations, as well as courses of chemotherapy and radiation treatment, since first being diagnosed with cancer in June 2011.

The leftist president spent more than two months in Cuba due to complications that followed his Dec. 11 cancer surgery in Havana.

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REPORT:  Mexico Making Progress in Its Battle Against Heroin and Synthetic Drug Cultivation

REPORT:  Mexico Making Progress in Its Battle Against Heroin and Synthetic Drug Cultivation

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Mexico, the country most affected by drug-related violence, is making significant progress in battling heroin and synthetic drugs, the International Narcotics Control Board, or INCB, said in its annual report.

“Large-scale law enforcement operations targeting the cultivation of opium poppy and the manufacturing of heroin in Mexico have yielded unprecedented results,” the INCB, a U.N. agency, said.

While Mexico officially reported seizing 685 kilos of heroin in 2011, the Defense Secretariat confirmed the seizure of an additional 3,640 liters (961 gallons) of a liquid that laboratory tests confirmed was heroin.

“The seizure represented the largest of its kind ever carried out in Mexico,” the INCB said.

Opium seizures totaled 1.45 tons in 2011, Mexican officials said.

Cocaine seizures in Mexico remained relatively stable in 2011 at 9.4 tons, following a substantial decline from 21.6 tons in 2009 to 9.4 tons in 2010,” the INCB report said.

Drug-related violence “continued to constitute a major threat to public security nationwide” in Mexico, the U.N. agency said.

“According to figures released by the Government of Mexico, over 60,000 people have been killed as a result of drug-related violence since 2006. The Attorney General reported that 12,903 people were killed between January and September 2011 alone, representing an 11-per-cent increase over the same period the previous year,” the INCB report said.

The INCB, which was established in 1968, is an independent and quasi-judicial agency charged with monitoring implementation of United Nations international drug control conventions.

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New Smartphone App Monitors Brainwaves And Enhances Meditation, Creating Less Stress

New Smartphone App Monitors Brainwaves And Enhances Meditation, Creating Less Stress

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A new smartphone application has been created to monitor brain waves in order to ease stress while simultaneously making people more relaxed.

The app, made by a Canadian company known as Personal Neuro Devices, lets the user pick how long the meditation lasts and also makes it possible for the user to have a guided audio meditation, as reported in Business Times.

The app is also accompanied by a candle that gets brighter, having a direct relation to the quality of the meditation.

Stimulating relaxation and concentration, the application must be used with headphones that monitor electrical activity around the forehead, and is also accompanied by a graph that tracks the benefits of the meditation.

“It doesn’t matter whether you’re meditating as part of a secular practice, or spiritual practice. It all creates the same change in the brain,” said Chad Veinotte, the director of Personal Neuro Devices, as stated in Independent.

So far, the application is available for only the Android. An iPhone application is said to be released in the near future.

Read more at The Celebrity Cafe →

Mexican Authorities Set to Prosecute Powerful Union for Embezzling $157 Million

Mexican Authorities Set to Prosecute Powerful Union for Embezzling $157 Million

Photo: Elba Esther Gordillo Charged in Mexico

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Former teachers union boss Elba Esther Gordillo will go to trial on embezzlement and racketeering charges, judicial officials said.

Judge Alejandro Caballero accepted a motion from federal prosecutors to try Gordillo, who allegedly embezzled $157 million in union funds.

Caballero refused to accept defense attorneys’ arguments that the documents provided by the Finance Secretariat to support the charges against Gordillo were invalid because they were not certified by the financial institutions that executed transactions for the disgraced union chief.

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

Gordillo was arrested on Feb. 26 along with three close associates for allegedly using union funds to pay personal expenses.

The suspects have been denied bail because of the seriousness of the charges against them.

Gordillo, once described by scholar M. Delal Baer as “Jimmy Hoffa in a dress,” used union funds to pay credit card bills, make purchases at luxury stores, have cosmetic surgery, purchase real estate and cover other spending, prosecutors allege.

The former union boss was expelled from the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, in 2006 for helping create the New Alliance Party, or PANAL, which tried unsuccessfully to form a coalition with Enrique Peña Nieto, who won last year’s presidential election.

Gordillo, who reportedly suffers from high blood pressure, chronic hepatitis C and kidney problems, among other ailments, was moved late last week to a prison with better medical facilities.

The SNTE’s No. 2 official, Juan Diaz de la Torre, was named as the new head of the 1.2-million-member-strong union last Thursday.

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Spanish King Begins Rehabilitation Exercises After Surgery

Spanish King Begins Rehabilitation Exercises After Surgery

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Spain’s King Juan Carlos began rehabilitation exercises on Tuesday, while the operation for a herniated disc that he underwent last weekend continues to mend “in a positive way,” doctors said Tuesday.

According to the medical report read Tuesday by Gaspar Palet, director of the Madrid medical center where he is still hospitalized, the monarch was operated Sunday by neurosurgeon Manuel de la Torre, who removed herniated disc segments in separate intervetebral spaces in the lumbosacral area of the back, a surgical operation that took three hours to complete.

“Late in the afternoon, Juan Carlos got up and walked around the room,” said the latest medical bulletin, adding that he was scheduled to begin “rehabilitation exercises” on Tuesday.

After a visit Monday by Queen Sofia and the couple’s daughters, Princesses Elena and Cristina, on Tuesday it was Crown Prince Felipe who went to the clinic where the monarch is recovering from his operation.

The king will probably remain hospitalized for a week, while his total recovery will take between two and six months, according to the neurosurgeon who operated on him.

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WednesdayMarch 6, 2013