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The Colorado House of Representatives passed a bill on Friday to allow qualified undocumented college students to pay in-state tuition at public universities.
After 10 years of negotiations and seven previous rejections, the measure passed by a vote of 40-21, with three Republicans joining the Democratic majority in support.
The bill, SB13-33, co-sponsored by Democratic Sens. Mike Johnston and Angela Giron, says that those who benefit from it must have graduated from a Colorado high school.
They must also have lived at least three straight years in the state, and must sign a sworn statement saying they have begun the process of regularizing their immigration status or that they will start the process as soon as possible.
During its first year in force, the measure will benefit some 500 students.
In 2006, the Colorado legislature passed a package of measures including one banning any public benefits for undocumented persons.
Since it was considered that the beneficiaries of reduced tuitions were the parents and not the students, many young college students with their papers in order had to pay the much higher foreign-student tuition because of their undocumented parents.
Bills to remedy that situation were proposed in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
All were rejected.
The enactment of the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program last August spurred Johnston and Giron to draft SB13-33.
Gov. John Hickenlooper has indicated he will sign the bill.
Mexican authorities arrested 21 suspected killers-for-hire linked to numerous homicides, kidnappings and other crimes in the La Laguna region, which straddles the northern states of Durango and Coahuila, officials said.
Durango state Attorney General Sonia de la Garza told Milenio Television Thursday that the detainees, including two minors, are wanted in connection with a spate of crimes.
They include the murder of a candidate for mayor of the town of Lerdo and attacks on the mayor of Gomez Palacio, Rocio Rebollo, apparently because of her “cooperation with the security operation in Durango.”
According to the prosecutor, the suspects also are implicated in attacks against the offices of the El Siglo de Torreon daily in Coahuila state, and the abduction of five employees to force them to “stop publishing articles about crimes in which they participated.”
“The Siglo de Torreon employees were released,” De la Garza said, but the attacks on the offices have continued and left one dead and two wounded last week.
The detainees also are suspected of abducting and killing police officers in Lerdo and Gomez Palacio who refused to provide information about “Operation Safe Laguna,” a federal anti-crime initiative launched in October 2011.
The suspects allegedly once belonged to a crime group known as Los Dandys or Organizacion del Poniente, but recently branched out on their own or were working for the Sinaloa cartel, headed by notorious fugitive Joaquin “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzman, De la Garza said.
The U.S. unemployment rate fell two-tenths of a percent in February to 7.7 percent, as 236,000 net jobs were created, the Labor Department said Friday.
Economists had been expecting the creation of just 157,000 net jobs and forecast that the jobless rate would remain unchanged at 7.9 percent.
The February jobless figure was the lowest since President Barack Obama took office in 2009 amid a severe economic crisis, while net job creation last month was the highest since last November.
The private sector led the way by creating 246,000 jobs, more than offsetting the loss of 10,000 jobs in the public sector.
The U.S. economy has created an average of 191,000 jobs over the past three months.
Average hourly earnings rose 0.2 percent to $23.82, while the length of the average work week in the private sector was 34.5 hours.
In February, the number of long-term jobless remained unchanged at 4.8 million, while 2.6 million people were not included in the unemployment tally because they have not sought work in more than four weeks.
The department’s broader U6 unemployment rate, which includes part-time workers who would prefer full-time jobs and people who have given up looking, came in at 14.3 percent in February.
More than 200 federal agents from different departments carried out a search operation Friday in the Metropolitan Detention Center Guaynabo in suburban San Juan, the FBI office in Puerto Rico said.
The agents examined the entire prison, FBI spokesman Moises Quiñones told the media, though no reason was given for the operation.
The massive search came after the Feb. 26 murder of Lt. Osvaldo Alvaroti, an investigative officer at MDC Guaynabo, who was shot while driving home from work.
Senior officials from the Federal Bureau of Prisons oversaw the search, according to the press, which reported that cell phones, chargers, drugs and knives were seized from the inmates during the search.
Taking part in Friday’s operation were agents of the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and ICE Homeland Security Investigations.
The head of the FBI for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Carlos Cases, said on Feb. 28 that maximum efforts would be undertaken to get to the bottom of Alvaroti’s murder.
El Nuevo Dia newspaper reported that four inmates at MDC Guaynabo, from whom Alvaroti seized several cell phones, were being investigated by federal authorities as possible suspects in the murder.
Roughly 30 heads of state and government and other dignitaries from around the world have gathered to attend Hugo Chavez’s funeral, which was followed by an extraordinary legislative session in which Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro will be sworn in as acting president.
Chavez’s funeral began at 11:00 a.m. Friday at the Caracas Military Academy, where the late leader’s body will lie in state for at least another week, officials said.
Throngs of the late president’s supporters lined the streets of Caracas on Wednesday to accompany his funeral cortege on its route from the Military Hospital to the Military Academy, which thousands of Venezuelans have since visited to bid Chavez farewell.
Spain’s Crown Prince Felipe and the presidents of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos; Ecuador, Rafael Correa; Cuba, Raul Castro; Brazil, Dilma Rousseff; Haiti, Michel Martelly; Peru, Ollanta Humala; Bolivia, Evo Morales; Uruguay, Jose Mujica; and Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang, are in Caracas for Friday’s funeral.
Also in the Venezuelan capital to pay their final respects to Chavez, who died Tuesday after a 21-month battle with cancer, are the presidents of Chile, Sebastian Piñera; Costa Rica, Laura Chinchilla; Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad; and Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, as well as delegations from more than 50 countries.
Maduro announced Thursday that Chavez’s body will be preserved and kept on display in a glass tomb in the manner of Russian revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin.
“So, like Ho Chi Minh, like Lenin, like Mao Zedong, the body of our commander-in-chief will remain embalmed ... for our people to be able to have him forever,” the vice president said.
Maduro will be sworn in as acting president in a ceremony scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. Friday and will call elections, National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello said on state television Thursday.
Now that the weekend is finally upon us, let’s take a look at the what’s opening in theaters today.
Oz: The Great And Powerful
-Stars: James Franco, Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz
-Genre: Adventure, Action, Fantasy
-The gist: When Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz, he thinks he’s hit the jackpot—fame and fortune are his for the taking—that is until he meets three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams), who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone’s been expecting. Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it is too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity—and even a bit of wizardry—Oscar transforms himself not only into the great and powerful wizard but into a better man as well.
-Stars: Abbie Cornish, Will Patton, Maritza Santiago Hernandez
-The gist: A Texas woman finds the young daughter of an illegal immigrant who has become separated from her mother. Saddled with a child she doesn’t wish to care for, the woman then searches for the child’s mother, a quest that takes her south of the border.
-Stars: Matthew Fox, Tommy Lee Jones, Eriko Hatsune
-Genre: Drama, War, History
-The gist: Starring Academy Award-winner Tommy Lee Jones, Matthew Fox, and newcomer Eriko Hatsune, Emperor brings to life the American occupation of Japan in the perilous and unpredictable days just after Emperor Hirohito’s World War II surrender. As General Douglas MacArthur (Jones) suddenly finds himself the de facto ruler of a foreign nation, he assigns an expert in Japanese culture - General Bonner Fellers (Fox), to covertly investigate the looming question hanging over the country: should the Japanese Emperor, worshiped by his people but accused of war crimes, be punished or saved?
Dead Man Down
-Stars: Colin Farrell, Noomi Rapace, Terrence Howard, Dominic Cooper
-Genre: Action, Thriller
-The gist: Victor (Colin Farrell), a right hand man to an underground crime lord in New York City is seduced and blackmailed by Beatrice (Noomi Rapace), a crime victim seeking retribution. Their intense chemistry leads them spiraling into payback delivered in violent catharsis.
Greedy Lying Bastards
-The gist: Hurricane Sandy. Wildfires in the West. “Brown-Outs” in the East. Farmers losing crops to the worst drought since the Dust Bowl. Climate change is no longer a prediction for the future, but a startling reality of today. Yet, as evidence of our changing climate mounts and the scientific consensus proves human causation, there continues to be no political action to thwart the warming of our planet. “Greedy Lying Bastards” investigates the reason behind stalled efforts to tackle climate change despite consensus in the scientific community that it is not only a reality but also a growing problem placing us on the brink of disaster. The film details the people and organizations casting doubt on climate science and claims that greenhouse gases are not affected by human behavior. From the Koch Brothers to ExxonMobil, to prominent Senators and Justices, this provocative exposé unravels the layers of deceit threatening U.S. democracy.
On March 22, Ana Piterbarg’s Everybody Has a Plan will open in New York City, followed by select cities.
The Argentine film, Everybody Has a Plan (Todos Tenemos un Plan) is the debut feature film by Piterbarg and stars Viggo Mortensen (in his third Spanish language) and Soledad Villamil. A film noir shot in Argentina’s Tigre Delta –one of the world’s seven largest deltas– which tells the story of Agustín (Mortensen in a tour-de-force performance), a man desperate to abandon what for him, has become a very frustrating existence after years in Buenos Aires. After the death of his twin brother, Pedro (also played by Mortensen), Agustín decides to start a new life, adopting the identity of his brother and returning to the mysterious region of the Delta, in the Tigre, where they lived when they were boys. However, shortly after his return, Agustín will find himself unwillingly involved in the dangerous criminal world that was a part of his brother’s life.
Watch the trailer for Everybody Has a Plan starring Viggo Mortensen below.
An Argentine federal court on Friday convicted former President Carlos Menem of aggravated smuggling in connection with illegal arms sales during his 1989-1999 tenure, a crime that carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.
The verdict overturns a lower court’s ruling two years ago and orders that tribunal to sentence Menem, 82, and the other defendants convicted in the case.
Menem, who was not in court to hear the verdict, has parliamentary immunity as a senator.
The three-judge panel of Raul Madueño, Luis Maria Cabral and Juan Carlos Gemignani also convicted former Defense Minister Oscar Camilion and retired army Col. Diego Palleros.
A one-time administrator and several ex-employees of state arms maker Fabricaciones Militares also were convicted in the case.
But the appeals court upheld the lower court’s decision to absolve Menem’s erstwhile adviser and former brother-in-law, Emir Yoma, and two men who held senior positions in the foreign ministry.
Under Argentine law, Menem and the others convicted in the case may appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.
Members of the Argentine government conspired to send weapons to Croatia between 1991 and 1995, in violation of a U.N. embargo against arms sales to belligerents in the Balkan conflict.
The conspirators also sold arms to Ecuador in 1995, when that country was engaged in an undeclared war with Peru over a border dispute, and despite the fact that Argentina - as one of several nations mediating the dispute - was expressly banned from selling weapons to either party.
In both instances, the perpetrators are said to have falsified documents to disguise the true destination of the arms shipments, claiming that the consignments for Croatia were bound for Panama and those going to Ecuador would be sent to Venezuela.
Menem was first prosecuted for the arms deals in 2001, but a Supreme Court that was still packed with judges he had appointed threw out the charges.
Yesterday, U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Indio station seized 230 pounds of marijuana that was dropped by an ultra-light aircraft.
Border Patrol agents were notified at approximately 11 p.m. by the CBP Air and Marine Operations Center of a possible ultra-light traveling north from the U.S/Mexico border fence. Border Patrol agents responded to the last known location indicated by Air and Marine Operators. While conducting surveillance of the area, agents observed a black GMC Sierra truck with visible packages inside the cab and a metal cage in the bed of the truck. Metal cages are frequently used for dropping narcotics from ultra-light aircrafts.
Agents conducted a vehicle stop and discovered ten packages of Marijuana, weighing over 230 pounds, with an estimated value of over $184,000.
The smaller of Colombia’s two main guerrilla groups on Friday handed over two German captives to a humanitarian commission, ending their four-month ordeal, the International Committee of the Red Cross said.
The ICRC said in a statement that brothers Uwe and Günther Breuer were freed by the National Liberation Army, or ELN, “in a rural zone of Norte de Santander province,” where they had been kidnapped on Nov. 3 while touring the area.
The operation was delayed one day due to logistical problems.
The humanitarian commission that received the men was made up of the ICRC, two Colombian officials, a priest and a German diplomat.
The Breuer brothers “are being taken by civilian helicopter with ICRC emblems to the Aguas Claras Airport in Ocaña, Norte de Santander,” the organization said.
They are to be turned over there to German embassy officials and Colombian government representatives.
Since 1994, the ICRC has participated in operations leading to the release of 1,500 people held by Colombian illegal armed groups.
The ELN, with an estimated 1,500 fighters, is still holding Canadian engineer Gernot Erich Wober, vice president of Geo Explorer, a subcontractor of Canada’s Braeval Mining Corporation, which operates the Snow Mine project in northern Colombia.
Wober was one of six people grabbed in an Jan. 18 ELN raid on the Snow Mine camp. The rebels released the other five captives last month.
As if the auctioning off of a real person’s virginity wasn’t controversial enough an online Brazilian sex shop is now accepting bids for the “virginity” of a new life-like sex doll named Valentina. According to Sexônico, bids for Valentina’s de-flowering has already reached $105,000.
On Wednesday, the first international convention of inflatable dolls kicked off in Brazil, and the announcement of the Valentina auction was announced just ahead of the event.
Valentina is described as having green eyes, “fleshy lips,” and “full breasts”. The doll also features human-like skin, which is what is said to make her the generation sex doll, a “real doll.”
Sexônico is not just offering sex with the new doll, however. Along with “alone time” with Valentina, the winning bidder will be provided with accommodations at Sao Paulo’s Motel Swing, a by-the-hour motel. Should the bidder not live in the area, roundtrip plane tickets will be included. Valentina will also be provided with special lingerie for her “special night,” and there will reportedly be a candlelit dinner and an aromatic bath with rose petals. Possibly the most disturbing however, is the digital camera included in the package, likely included to help provide video and photographic evidence of the event.
In a country where prostitution in legal, one has to wonder why someone would be willing to drop more than $100,000 on one night with a sex doll you don’t even get to keep.
A family is heartbroken after the death of a 2-year-old Colorado boy in Mexico.
The boy’s parents, Randy and Jen Charrette, were renting a home in Sayulita, which is not far from Puerto Vallarta, and had hired a local woman and her mother to watch 2-year-old Axel and a 7-year-old Kalden with in Mexico.
According to a statement from the Charrettes, who are from just outside Telluride, on February 28th, while they were out, the boys were left in the care of Nancy Saralee Solorio Pérez. Solorio Pérez’s ex-boyfriend, Eleodoro Carlos Rodríguez Sánchez, arrived at the home. After letting him onto the walled property, she realized he was in a drug-fueled, violent state.
Frightened, Solorio Pérez locked herself in a bathroom without the boys. While she was safe in the bathroom, Rodríguez Sánchez went after Axel. He reportedly attacked the toddler, took him outside, then threw him into a pool, where he was left to drown. Kalden was still in the house, though prosecutors say he did not witness the murder of his younger brother.
The Charrettes had been in Mexico for 2 months when the attack occurred, having left Colorado for an 8-month stay in the country.
Rodríguez Sánchez was arrested and charged with rape and murder. It is unclear who was raped. The babysitter, Solorio Pérez, has also been charged with murder for failing to stop the attack. She is also charged with lying about what happened to medical personnel.
Those with the Mexican Consulate have stated the Charrettes’ case is of utmost importance, as the safety of U.S. tourists are top priorities.
The family has since returned to Colorado where their local community has come together to help the family during this time of tragedy. Neighbors have even opened their home to the Charrettes’ relatives coming in from out of town.
Family spokesman Brian Scranton says a bike trail is also being named after the young life lost.
Agents working roving patrol duties in the Mines Road area noticed a suspicious white 2004 Chevrolet Truck transporting cylinder shaped pipes in the flatbed of the truck. As agents drove closer to the truck, the driver became noticeably nervous. Border Patrol Agents conducted a routine immigration stop on the vehicle and proceeded to question the driver on his citizenship and destination.
A service canine was also dispatched to perform a cursory inspection of the vehicle which resulted in an alert.
The driver, identified as a 61-year old male U.S. Citizen from Houston, Texas and the vehicle were transported to the Colombia-Solidarity Bridge for further questioning and an intensive inspection of the truck and flatbed. The agents performed an x-ray scan of the trailer where several anomalies were discovered within the flatbed trailer portion inside the metal cylinders that he was transporting.
After the inspection, the subject and truck were then taken to the Laredo West Station where agents removed the end caps from the cylinder shaped pipes where they discovered the bundles. The substance inside the bundles tested positive for cocaine.
A total of 53 bundles of cocaine were extracted, with a total weight of 129.6 pounds, with an estimated value of $4.14 million
Actor James Franco debuted his star on Hollywood’s iconic Walk of Fame in a ceremony followed by a crowd of curiosity-seekers and where he was accompanied by movie director Sam Raimi and his comedian pal Seth Rogen.
This was star No. 2,492 to be installed on Hollywood Blvd. in front of El Capitan Theater, very close to the ones honoring Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem.
“I wish that I could put a bunch of names on this star because this is a collaborative business,” an emotional Franco said.
“The people behind the scenes, the people who have been there for me, all the way through, if I could, I’d put all your names on there. Thank you, and I’ll always remember this,” the 34-year-old actor said.
Franco was nominated for an Oscar for his work in “127 Hours,” and this weekend premieres “Oz the Great and Powerful,” directed by Raimi.
Cuban author Zoe Valdes has been named this year’s recipient of Spain’s Azorin Novel Prize for “La mujer que llora” (The Weeping Woman), a work about a lover and muse of Pablo Picasso.
The award, organized by the Planeta publishing company and the Alicante provincial government, is accompanied by a cash prize of 68,000 euros ($88,635).
Valdes’ work, submitted under the pseudonym Gloria Julian Cecil, traces the steps of surrealist photographer and painter Dora Maar - possibly the lover who “had the biggest intellectual influence” on Picasso - after the couple’s breakup following a nine-year relationship.
Maar was the model for Picasso’s “Weeping Woman,” a famous oil on canvas that he painted in 1937 near the start of their relationship.
The author said she devoted between six and seven years to the novel, which focuses on the eight-day journey that the “abandoned” Maar made from Paris to Venice in the company of two young writers, James Lord and Bernard Minoret.
Her reflections on her relationship with Picasso during that trip mark a turning point in her life and the start of a stage of personal “isolation” that ended many years later with her death in 1997.
A work with autobiographical elements, “La mujer que llora” is a novel “about love, abandonment, solitude, and also those moments of immense sadness and joy” experienced by those who have “faith in art.”
The White House regretted having to cancel the public’s access to guided tours of the presidential mansion due to the $85 billion in cutbacks that took effect last week as part of the so-called sequester, and blamed it on Congress.
“And we are obviously disappointed about that kind of decision, but it would have been far better, in our view, if Congress had taken action to delay the sequester,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said in response to a question at his daily press briefing.
“The fact is the Secret Service, like other agencies of government, is affected by the sequester,” he told reporters.
“And the Secret Service presented options that ranged from canceling tours to potential furloughs and cuts in overtime. And in order to allow the Secret Service to best fulfill its core mission, the White House made the decision that we would, unfortunately, have to temporarily suspend these tours,” the spokesman said.
A large part of these White House visits are organized by the offices of members of Congress and, following the decision on Tuesday, congressional staffers had the job of telling their voters about the cancelation of such events.
The White House decision was criticized by several Republican leaders including House Speaker John Boehner, who said that despite the cuts, the Capitol will remain open to tourists.
Nonetheless, Carney said that, for now, the White House intends to go ahead with its traditional Easter Egg Roll.
The cancelation of the visits sparked protests from a student group at a Lutheran school in Iowa, scheduled to visit the White House on March 16.
In a video posted on Facebook, the students say: “The White House is our house. Please let us visit.”
A new study based on in-depth interviews of rural Latino men in western Oregon finds that these men need sexual health services designed for their needs, including more male health providers, more convenient clinic hours, and Spanish-speaking doctors.
The results are published in the March issue of the American Journal of Men’s Health.
Latinos in the United State experience disproportionately high rates of unintended pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV/AIDS. These sexual health disparities have the potential to grow as Latinos continue to be the largest and fastest growing minority in the United States.
Harvey’s research team interviewed 49 Latino men who have immigrated to the United States within the last 10 years. The average age was 24. The majority of the men came from rural areas of Mexico. More than half had never seen a health care provider, and 88 percent had never seen a provider specifically for sexual and reproductive health services.
In addition, the men expressed a preference for male providers and a need for bilingual providers. Language can be a barrier. At many community clinics, the study participants said the providers did not speak Spanish and translators were sometimes offered.
Today, Center for American Progress called an event towards LGBT undocumented immigrants with the founder of Define American Jose Antonio Vargas, and launched “Dual In Shadows: Undocumented Immigrants LGBT.” In light of the results of the Williams Institute UCLA, which has at least 267.000 LGBT-identified among the adult population of the undocumented, the CAP report details the disparities and difficulties that make these individuals are among the most vulnerable members of our society, recommending approval of the reform immigration with a path to citizenship, the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, and a modification of the detention and asylum standards to address the issues facing this community.
Compared to all undocumented immigrants, some of the conclusions of the report are:
LGBT-identified who are undocumented immigrants are more likely to be male. From identified as LGBT immigrants, 67 percent are men and 33 percent are women. Out of all undocumented immigrants, 57 percent are men and 43 percent are women.
LGBT-identified who are undocumented immigrants are younger. Forty-nine percent of LGBT undocumented immigrants are under 30, compared to 30 percent of all undocumented immigrants.
LGBT-identified who are undocumented immigrants are less likely to be Hispanic. Seventy-one percent of LGBT identified illegal immigrants are Hispanic, while 77 percent of all illegal immigrants are Hispanic.
“The LGBT community, particularly LGBT undocumented immigrants have much to risk with the immigration debate moving forward. The unique challenges facing this community should receive fair consideration and attention that determines the best way to reform our immigration system and provide a path to citizenship. Today’s report makes us open our eyes to the complexity of these problems and reminds us that, as a matter of conscience and justice, we must be aware of the specific charges facing LGBT immigrants, “said Angela Maria Kelley , vice president for policy Immigration and Defense Center for American Progress.
Undocumented immigrants face numerous LGBT difficulties, both endemic to their lack of status and sexual orientation and gender identity. Both undocumented individuals and LGBT Americans face job insecurity, income insecurity, gaps in health insurance coverage and mental health disparities. For those who are LGBT and undocumented, their double minority status gives gravity by the detrimental effects on their social, economic and physical well-being.
Taking a path to citizenship would allow LGBT 267.000 of undocumented immigrants who have peace of mind that no deportations would separate them from their families. The path to citizenship allowed to earn higher wages and better access to social services and increased job security. But without legislation such as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to protect against discrimination in employment, wage differentials and health still persist after legalization.
The actress of Mexican origin, Eva Longoria, who will return to the big screen with her new film “Frontera,” believes women must train themselves professionally in order to shed the role society has traditionally imposed on them.
“It’s always been harder for women,” Longoria said Thursday in an interview with Efe, the day before International Women’s Day.
“We have to make ourselves into successful women and challenge the role society has assigned us,” she said, immediately expressing her satisfaction that every day there are more female executives in the film industry and other professions.
The former star of the hit TV series “Desperate Housewives” said specifically that the foundation which bears her name promotes the education and business success of Hispanic women in the United States.
The foundation provides Latinas with the necessary tools and capital to start a business, while working to keep young girls in school so they will be able to attend college.
“My work is focused on helping Hispanic women get a better education and become businesswomen,” she said.
Longoria returns to the big screen this year in “Frontera,” in which she will co-star with Mexico-born actor Michael Peña and Oscar nominee Ed Harris. According to the actress, the movie “humanizes” what goes on along the border between Mexico and Arizona.
The film tells the story of a sheriff whose wife is killed in a robbery by a Mexican who had crossed the border into the United States.
The United States should remove Cuba from its list of countries that sponsor terrorism as a gesture of goodwill so that progress can be made on a broad range of matters of bilateral interest, political and academic leaders said on Thursday.
“There is no evidence that Cuba is sponsoring terrorist groups,” Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said during a forum organized by the Washington Office on Latin America.
McGovern, who recently met for more than two hours with Cuban President Raul Castro, on Thursday urged the Barack Obama administration to seize the moment to improve relations with Cuba.
When asked by Efe about how many Democrats and Republicans in Congress support that request, McGovern said that there is a “growing consensus” and that “if there were a secret vote, it would be overwhelming” in terms of its support for removing Cuba from the list.
Also speaking at the WOLA event was Wayne Smith, former Chief of Mission at the U.S. Interests Section in Cuba, who said that the United States is the one who is “isolated” in the international community because of its measures against the island.
Ambassador Anthony Quainton, who was involved in Cuba’s original designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, said that “the time has come, for our mutual interests, to remove Cuba from the list.”
The U.S. government included Cuba on the list in 1982, arguing that Havana supported insurgent groups in the Americas.
In its latest annual report, the State Department once again accused Cuba of harboring members of “terrorist” groups like Colombia’s FARC or Spain’s ETA, as well as fugitives sought by U.S. law enforcement.
McGovern pointed out Thursday that Bogota, Washington’s closest ally in the hemisphere, appreciates Cuba’s “constructive role” as the host country for the Colombian government’s peace talks with the FARC.
In recognition of International Women’s Day, Avon Foundation for Women Ambassador Salma Hayek Pinault and Avon Products, Inc. CEO Sheri McCoy announced that four global organizations and one government campaign have received 2nd Avon Communications Awards: Speaking Out About Violence Against Women for their outstanding work to bring attention to the need to end violence against women.
Hayek noted: “I just presented at the Academy Awards and I was not even half as nervous and scared as I am today, but also not half as excited as I am to be with you.”
The awards, presented at the United Nations Headquarters during the 57th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, are part of the Avon Speak Out Against Domestic Violenceprogram, which has donated nearly $50 million globally to end violence against women since its launch in 2004.
The CSW, which this year focuses on the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls, drew nearly 6,000 representatives from UN Member States, UN entities and NGOs from around the world for a two-week session.
Click here for a full list of the winners which include a radio program from Peru that received the Global Award for Excellence in Communication.
The “Strong Women, Strong Voices” radio program—using radio, a favored medium particularly in rural communities—skillfully weaves together stories using language accessible to both Spanish-speaking and indigenous women that dramatizes the stories of women overcoming prejudice, abuse and sexual violence. Radio and storytelling is very adaptable, but real impact comes also from an organization with both a strong infrastructure and well-analyzed and realized strong theory of change.
Mexican authorities on Thursday arrested a minor suspected of involvement in last month’s rape of six Spanish women in the Pacific resort city of Acapulco.
After this latest arrest, “each and every one of those implicated (in the crime) has been arrested,” Martha Elva Garzon, attorney general of the southern state of Guerrero, said.
The teenage suspect was transferred to the same juvenile detention center in Chilpancingo, the state capital, where the first minor arrested for the rapes is already being held, she said in a press conference in which no questions were allowed.
Gunmen raped the six Spanish tourists in the wee hours of Feb. 4 in Playa Bonfil, located in the eastern section of Acapulco.
The victims and several male companions were outside their bungalow when the masked assailants armed with handguns accosted the group.
After gagging the men, the attackers forced the group inside the bungalow and assaulted the six Spanish women, though they spared a Mexican woman who was with them.
Mexico’s attorney general announced on Feb. 13 that six detainees ranging in age from 16 to 30 had “fully confessed” to the rapes.
In a press conference in the resort city, Jesus Murillo Karam said authorities were still pursuing a seventh suspect.
On Thursday, Garzon said her office had concluded its investigation of the crime.
Authorities also revealed the identities of the five adult suspects, two of whom were allegedly involved in another rape last October in the same area of Acapulco.
The body of late President Hugo Chavez will be preserved and kept on display in a glass tomb in the manner of Russian revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin, the Venezuelan government said Thursday.
“I want to tell the nation and the world ... it has been decided to the prepare the body of the comandante president, embalm it, so it can be eternally open for the people to have it there always,” Vice President Nicolas Maduro said on state television.
The tomb will rest inside a future Museum of the Bolivarian Revolution, to be built at the barracks then-Lt. Col. Chavez used as a command post during his failed coup in 1992, Maduro said from the Military Academy, where the leftist president’s body now lies in state.
“So, like Ho Chi Minh, like Lenin, like Mao Zedong, the body of our commander-in-chief will remain embalmed ... for our people to be able to have him forever,” the acting head of state said.
Maduro also said Chavez’s body will remain at the Military Academy for at least seven more days “for all the people to be able to see him, without limitation.”
The state funeral will take place Friday with 33 heads of state and government in attendance, the vice president said.
Chavez, 58, died Tuesday of a heart attack after battling cancer for 21 months.
The streets of Caracas are bathed in red in honor of Chavez, who made the color the symbol of his Bolivarian Revolution.
Thousands of red-clad Venezuelans lined the streets on Wednesday as Chavez’s coffin was carried from the Military Hospital to the Military Academy, where people stood in line as long as 10 hours for an opportunity to get a glimpse of the fallen leader.
Chavez underwent four operations, as well as courses of chemotherapy and radiation treatment, since first being diagnosed with cancer in June 2011.
He spent more than two months in Cuba due to complications that followed his Dec. 11 cancer surgery in Havana.
First elected in 1998, Chavez won another six-year term in last October’s election.
New elections are to be held within 30 days and Maduro is expected to be the candidate of the governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela.
Very few voters have a favorable opinion of Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez who died earlier this week, but they’re also not very optimistic that U.S. relations with Venezuela will get any better.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just six percent (6%) of Likely U.S. Voters share a favorable opinion of Chavez. Sixty-seven percent (67%) view the late Venezuelan leader unfavorably, while 27% are not sure.
The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on March 6-7, 2013 by Rasmussen Reports.
“The eighth General Congregation that will meet this evening will vote on the date to begin the Conclave”, Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, announced.
“It is likely,” he clarified, “that the Conclave will begin early next week: perhaps Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday. It definitely will not be tomorrow or Sunday,” concluded Lombardi. Once the meeting concluded the congregation decided on Tuesday as the date for the conclave to begin.
The entire complement of 115 Cardinal electors who were expected have arrived.
Once a Pope dies or steps down, fifteen full days must elapse before the Conclave begins, in order to await those who are absent; nonetheless, the College of Cardinals is granted the faculty to move forward the start of the Conclave if it is clear that all the Cardinal electors are present.
Fr. Lombardi also mentioned the Domus Santa Martha, which will be the residence of the cardinals during the Conclave, explaining that the cardinals’ rooms are assigned by lot drawn during the Congregations. “No cardinal chooses who will be his neighbor nor which room they would prefer.
He noted that the newly elected Pontiff will also remain for a short period at the “Domus” while the papal apartments in the Apostolic Palace are unsealed and renovated.
FIFA announced Thursday that people attending the Confederations Cup soccer matches in June and the World Cup next year - both to be held in Brazil - will not be allowed to smoke in the stadiums.
“There will be competitions without tobacco. We acknowledge that the use of tobacco can harm people in the stadium. It will not be permitted to smoke inside the stadiums at the Confederations Cup or at the World Cup,” FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke announced at a press conference in Rio.
The chief of international soccer’s governing body added that “there is nothing worse than sitting in a stadium next to a person who’s smoking and having them blow all the smoke in one’s face.”
He added, however, that the six stadiums to be used in the Confederations Cup matches and the two for the World Cup will have specially-designated areas where tobacco use will be allowed and people can go there to light up during breaks in the action.
“Smokers will not be left without any place to smoke during the breaks,” he said.
Valcke displayed two of the signs that will be posted in all the stadiums saying that smoking is prohibited there.
The FIFA boss, who has already admitted being an ex-smoker, specifically asked two other smokers - former soccer star Ronaldo and Brazilian Sports Minister Aldo Rabelo - to pose for photos exhibiting the signs.
“Another incentive to stop smoking,” said Ronaldo.
On its Web site, FIFA said that it will also prohibit any type of advertising or promotional material related to tobacco in the stadiums.
The organization said that this will not be the first time the no-smoking restriction has been imposed, given that all World Cup matches since 2002 have been played at “tobacco-free stadiums.”
The mischievous monkey is back and now coming to your home television with the video release of Curious George: Swings Into Spring.
The full-length feature has George and best pal Hundley exploring Spring and all its joys while partaking in endless adventures.
Curious George was first introduced to us in 1941 in a book authored by Margaret and Hans Rey. The couple who wed in Brazil, wrote seven original Curious George stories that have sold over 25 million copies.
Outgoing Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said in an interview with KTTV-TV that among his plans for the future is to run for governor of California, although he did not specify when that might occur.
The 60-year-old Democrat, who will end his tenure as mayor on June 30 after two consecutive terms, the maximum allowed by law, reiterated that his first move after leaving office will be joining a think-tank.
“I think California has lost its luster and we’ve got to work to regain that luster. So I’m going to affiliate with a think-tank to kind of rethink what I think is the right road ahead,” Villaraigosa said on KTTV-TV’s “Good Day LA” program.
Villaraigosa’s 2005 election victory made him the first Latino mayor of Los Angeles in 133 years.
Rumors about his future began circulating months ago after he chaired the Democratic National Convention and it was suggested that he might move on to occupy some post in Washington, as well as the post of California governor, which he admitted was a rather tempting proposition.
“One day I’d like to run for governor but there’s not a vacancy last time I looked,” he said.
The state’s incumbent governor, Democrat Jerry Brown, was elected in 2010.
On Tuesday, Los Angeles held municipal elections to decide who will be Villaraigosa’s successor, but none of the candidates managed to garner an absolute majority.
The two candidates with the most votes, Councilman Eric Garcetti and Controller Wendy Greuel, both Democrats, will face off in a May 21 runoff.