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SundayMarch 10, 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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Coast Guard Detains 71 Haitians Off of Coast of Puerto Rico

Coast Guard Detains 71 Haitians Off of Coast of Puerto Rico

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Border Patrol officers and U.S. Coast Guard personnel detained 71 Haitian migrants who arrived on several islands off the coast of western Puerto Rico, officials said.

The first group of migrants was spotted early Friday, when the Coast Guard detained two Haitians on the islet of Monito, the Border Patrol said in a statement.

A Coast Guard ship and Border Patrol helicopters rescued 69 other Haitians who had arrived on Desecheo Island, located near the city of Rincon.

The majority of the migrants were dehydrated and bruised, and were taken to hospitals for treatment, officials said.

The migrants were later transported to the Border Patrol’s Ramey Station in Aguadilla, a city in western Puerto Rico, and will be deported.

This is the second large group of migrants detained in Puerto Rico in recent days.

A group of 67 Cubans, Dominicans and Haitians was detained last week.

A Haitian woman in that group died, officials said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latina Health Advocates Urge Congress to Improve Immigrants’ Rights

Latina Health Advocates Urge Congress to Improve Immigrants’ Rights

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The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) joined other leaders in immigrants’ rights and health equity to send a letter to President Obama and members of Congress urging that programs and public services that meet basic human needs be included in immigration reform, including programs that improve access to affordable health care.

The letter was endorsed by over 360 national, state, and local groups. Jessica González-Rojas, executive director of NLIRH issued the following statement:

“All people, including Latinas and immigrant Latinas, deserve access to affordable, quality, and comprehensive health care, including reproductive health care. Federal policies restricting immigrant Latinas’ access to health care have enacted a high human toll –  by contributing to widened reproductive health disparities –  and have defied sound public health policies.

These policies have also enacted a high financial cost, by limiting access to vital preventive reproductive and sexual health care, including cervical cancer screenings, contraception, and prenatal care. Immigrant women and families are the backbones of their communities, contribute to their schools, churches, and local economies, and make our nation stronger. We look forward to working with policymakers to find commonsense solutions that keep our families healthy and our communities strong.”


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IDB Supports Increased Investment, Exports for Uruguay with $550 Million Loan

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has approved a $550 million operation for Uruguay to fund the Program for Strategic International Positioning, which aims to substantially increase investment and exports by strengthening the regulatory and institutional framework, promoting and facilitating trade, and boosting entrepreneurial innovation.

The operation is notable for the following:

    It is the first IDB operation structured as a programmatic policy-based loan with a deferred drawdown option, which enables countries to draw on the resources as required.
    It is the first to use the new Reallocation Program approved by the IDB in July 2012, which provides that countries can prepay debt with the Bank to give them access to resources additional to the IDB’s regular allocation for the country.
    It is the Bank’s first policy reform operation in the area of trade and integration that carries out the mandate of the IDB’s Ninth General Increase in Resources.

One program component will support Uruguay’s efforts to consolidate a set of sweeping reforms designed to strengthen the overall policy framework for attracting investments.

Other activities include the signing of bilateral investment and trade treaties to prevent double taxation. This will improve transparency in the taxation of investment in line with global standards of fiscal transparency.

In addition, the program will support the consolidation of the regulatory framework for the development of large investment projects in infrastructure through public-private partnerships.Two other components include actions to support trade promotion and facilitation, as well as improve capacity for business innovation.

The program is expected to help increase the country’s average annual investment rate from 19 percent of GDP in 2009-2011 to 22 percent of GDP in 2014-2016. It is also expected to increase annual exports from $12.8 billion in 2011 to $16.5 billion in 2016. Other results will include reducing time and costs required for export activities and increasing business innovation.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Guatemalan Authorities Dismantle 2 Gangs, Arrest 34 Members

Guatemalan Authorities Dismantle 2 Gangs, Arrest 34 Members

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Two criminal organizations run by the Mara 18 and Mara Salvatrucha gangs have been dismantled and 34 people arrested in Guatemala, the National Civilian Police, or PNC, said.

The suspected gang members were arrested in a joint operation with army troops and prosecutors in the eastern section of Guatemala City, the PNC press office said in a statement.

The suspects belonged to Mara Salvatrucha’s “Peewee Locos” group and Mara 18’s “Batos Locos” group, the PNC said.

The criminal organizations have been linked to at least a dozen murders and extortion rackets targeting bus operators and small businesses, the National Civilian Police said.

The gang crackdown, which was carried out on Friday, was the result of a long intelligence operation conducted by police, Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez told reporters.

The areas where the operations were staged are “free of criminals,” Lopez said.

The suspects - 11 of whom are women - are charged with conspiracy to commit murder, criminal conspiracy, extortion and other crimes.

Youth gangs are responsible for 22 percent of the average 16 murders a day committed in Guatemala.

Mara 18 and Mara Salvatrucha were originally formed by Salvadorans.

Mara Salvatrucha is a criminal organization that evolved on the streets of Los Angeles during the 1980s, with most of its members young Salvadorans whose parents fled their nation’s erstwhile civil war for the United States.

Because many of the gang members were born in El Salvador, they were subject to deportation when rounded up during immigration crackdowns in California in the 1990s.

Sent “home” to a land they barely knew, they formed gangs that spread throughout El Salvador and to neighboring countries in Central America, where membership is now counted in the tens, or even hundreds of thousands, and gang members are engaged in murder, drug dealing, kidnapping and people smuggling.

In addition to those activities, gang members are blamed throughout Central America for a spike in rapes and robberies, and for running protection rackets to extort “taxes” from bus companies and owners of small businesses.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican Priest Gets Rev. Jackson’s Backing for Immigration Reform Caravan

Mexican Priest Gets Rev. Jackson’s Backing for Immigration Reform Caravan

Photo: Alejandro Solalinde

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The Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition is backing Alejandro Solalinde, a Mexican priest known for his work with Central American migrants, and the Caravan of Hope that will travel across the United States this spring to press for immigration reform.

Solalinde visited the coalition’s church on the South Side of Chicago on Saturday and said he was surprised at the “decided support” expressed by the black community for the human rights of Central American immigrants.

“For me, it was a surprise, and a historic response to our drama,” Solalinde told Efe. “The African-American community, with which we had not had much contact, is very informed and familiar with our drama.”

Jackson did not meet with the Mexican human rights activist because he was in Caracas to attend the funeral of President Hugo Chavez.

Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition plans demonstrations against violence in the United States and will promote the Caravan of Hope, which starts April 29 in San Diego, California, and will visit several cities before concluding on May 31 in Washington.

Mexico has “a responsibility” to safeguard the lives of migrants passing through its territory, 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.

The United States, for its part, has to accept the fact that it “has been the cause of the suffering” in the region “caused by transnational corporations that enrich a few and impoverish the majority,” Solalinde said.

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

“My life will always be threatened,” Solalinde said.

“What concerns and hurts me the most are the abuses and deaths of the thousands of people” who cross Mexico daily heading north “with no guarantees,” the human rights activist said.

Solalinde will wrap up his visit to Chicago on Sunday with a Mass at St. Pius V Catholic Church.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Emilio Estefan Celebrates 60th Birthday

Emilio Estefan Celebrates 60th Birthday

Photo: Emilio and Gloria Estefan with their children

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Cuban-American musician, producer and businessman Emilio Estefan celebrated his 60th birthday on the weekend with a big party in Hollywood, Florida, surrounded by family and friends, among whom was a sizable group of faces well known in South Florida.

The party, attended by more than 700 invited guests, took place Saturday at the Bongos Cuban Cafe in Hollywood, which is part of the chain owned by Estefan and his wife Gloria located in the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino north of Miami.

Emilio Estefan, who actually turned 60 on March 4, was outfitted in an elegant blue suit and sunglasses and was accompanied by his wife, who wore black and a long patterned dress.

The couple’s children - Emily and Nayib - as well as their niece Lily Estefan, the host of Univision’s “El gordo y la flaca,” were also present.

Among the invited guests passing across the red carpet at the entrance to the party were singer Carlos Ponce, along with Alexia Echevarria, one of the stars of “Real Housewives of Miami,” accompanied by her husband.

An enormous four-level birthday cake decorated with musical motifs and with the number “60” on the top, was one of the gifts presented to Estefan, the winner of 19 Grammys.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spain Withdraws Troops From Military Base in Afghanistan

Spain Withdraws Troops From Military Base in Afghanistan

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Spanish troops in Afghanistan withdrew Saturday from their base at Moqur almost three years after their arrival, redeploying to Spain’s principal Afghan base in the town of Qala i Naw, the Spanish Defense Ministry said.

The Ricketts Base in Moqur was the last combat post under Spanish command on the battlefront in the western Afghan province of Badghis.

From now on, units of the Afghan National Army trained by Spanish troops will assume full responsibility for guaranteeing security in the area, for which they will have consultation and support from the base at Qala i Naw.

Before the withdrawal, the last Spanish contingent stationed in Moqur paid tribute to those fallen in battle and raised their flag for the last time.

The ceremony was presided over by brigade Gen. Carlos Aparicio Azcarraga, posted at ISAF General Headquarters in Kabul, accompanied by army Col. Fernando Garcia Gonzalez-Valerio, head of Spanish forces in Qala i Naw.

For almost three years, Spanish troops have worked to improve security and governability in the region, while aiding the development of the Afghan inhabitants.

The last Spanish soldier to die in Afghanistan, Sgt. David Fernandez Ureña, was stationed at this base in Moqur.

Read more by HS News Staff →

INFOGRAPHIC: America’s New Minority, The Writing is on the Fence for the GOP

INFOGRAPHIC: America’s New Minority, The Writing is on the Fence for the GOP

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With the United States’ changing demographics, whites will drop under 50% of the population in the 2040s.

Every Republican Presidential candidate since 1968 has won the white vote, but with the population shift can the GOP compete?

Check out 59 Liberty’s infographic covering the changing electorate.

Click to enlarge.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Jeb Bush Says He is Still in Support of Immigration

Jeb Bush Says He is Still in Support of Immigration

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Former Florida governor Jeb Bush is defending his stance on immigration reform after accusations that he is backing down on helping undocumented workers find a path to citizenship.

According to The Tampa Bay Times, after the release of his book, “Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution,” critics pointed out that Bush seemed to imply that undocumented workers should be able to become permanent residents, not citizens. Bush has repeatedly stated in the past that he is in support of an immigration package that allows illegal immigrants to become citizens.

Bush told CBS’ Face the Nation, “I haven’t changed. I support a path to legalization or citizenship so long as the path for people that have been waiting patiently is easier and costs less, the legal entrance to our country, than illegal entrance.”

Bush stated in the interview that he believes the nation needs comprehensive immigration reform that does not make it easy for people to come into the country illegally. He said he is happy to see people like Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. and the rest of the senators in a bipartisan group coming together on the issue of immigration.

Read more at The Celebrity Cafe →

Venezuela to Hold Presidential Election April 14

Venezuela to Hold Presidential Election April 14

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The National Electoral Council, or CNE, has decided that an election will be held April 14 to choose Venezuela’s president from now until 2019, the term begun by the late Hugo Chavez, council chairwoman Tibisay Lucena announced Saturday.

Lucena said at a press conference that the electoral campaign will last 10 days, between April 2 and April 11 at midnight, and that presidential candidates may register from this Sunday at 8 a.m. until Monday at 2:30 p.m.

The CNE also approved a request by the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) to send a “mission of accompaniment,” as it did to the October 7 election that Chavez won last year.

Lucena said that the timetable was established by “closely studying the legal, constitutional and technical limitations…while contemplating all the audits and other actions needed to guarantee the purity and transparency of the process.”

The scheduling of the election follows the death of Chavez last Tuesday at age 58 after 20 months of battling cancer.

The Venezuelan Constitution establishes that in case of the president’s “absolute absence,” new elections must be held within 30 days.

If this absolute absence occurs during the first four years of the president’s administration, the vice president becomes acting president.

Nicolas Maduro, who was sworn-in Friday as acting president, will be the ruling-party candidate, just as Chavez himself announced last Dec. 8 before undergoing his last surgery and knowing that he might not pull through.

Meanwhile the MUD opposition coalition announced Saturday that it offered its presidential candidacy to Henrique Capriles, who ran and lost to Chavez in last October’s election.

“We have agreed to offer Henrique Capriles the presidential candidacy, the secretary of MUD, Ramon Guillermo Aveledo, announced in a public appearance.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Obama Considers Thomas Perez for Labor Secretary Position

Obama Considers Thomas Perez for Labor Secretary Position

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U.S. President Barack Obama is considering the Hispanic Thomas Perez, now assistant U.S. attorney general for civil rights, as the next secretary of labor, administration sources said.

The sources, who asked to remain anonymous, told the press that Obama wants his second-term Cabinet to reflect a wide coalition that includes women and minorities, blacks and Hispanics, groups that contributed to his reelection last November.

Perez, 51, has been in charge of the Justice Department’s civil rights division since 2009.

If Obama does name Perez and he is confirmed by the Senate, he will replace Hilda Solis, who stepped down in January. Solis was the first Hispanic in history to hold that position.

The president has already appointed the heads of the Treasury, Defense, Energy and State Departments, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the White House Office of Budget and Management, some of which have been confirmed and have taken office.

Latino community activists in the United States hope that Obama appoints a Hispanic for at least one of the vacant positions in his Cabinet, which include Commerce and Transportation.

Up to now, the only Latina picked by Obama for one of the 23 posts in the Cabinet has been the daughter of Mexican immigrants, Edith Ramirez, as next chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission.

Read more by HS News Staff →

2 Killed in Egypt Clashes after Soccer-riot Sentences

At least two protesters were killed here Saturday and 70 others were injured in clashes involving fans of Cairo soccer club Al-Ahly and security forces, Egyptian authorities told Efe.

The victims of the clashes - one of whom died of tear-gas asphyxiation and the other from buckshot wounds - were killed outside the downtown Semiramis hotel, officials said.

The demonstrators threw rocks and fired flares at the security forces.

Those clashes occurred hours after thousands of Al-Ahly fans set fire Saturday morning to a police officers’ club complex and the headquarters of the Egyptian Soccer Federation in Cairo.

The protests erupted after a Cairo court early Saturday handed down prison sentences for a February 2012 massacre at a soccer stadium in Port Said. The Al-Ahly supporters took to the streets because they deemed the sentences too lenient.

In a continuation of an earlier ruling in January, the court affirmed death sentences against 21 people convicted in the deadly riot and also sentenced five people to life behind bars and 19 others to various prison terms.

But its decision to acquit 28 defendants touched off the violent protests. Seven police officers were among those acquitted, while Port Said’s former security chief, Maj. Gen. Essam Samak, and a second police official got 15-year prison terms.

A total of 74 people died at Port Said Stadium on Feb. 1, 2012, in clashes between Al-Ahly supporters and fans of local team Al-Masry, who stormed the field after their team’s 3-1 victory. Most of those killed were supporters of the Cairo club.

The Cairo court’s initial January ruling sparked riots in Port Said that left more than 40 dead.

On Saturday, hundreds of people who had gathered in a downtown square of that Mediterranean city reacted with anger and sorrow upon hearing the ruling.

“My son, my dear son is innocent,” a woman shouted inconsolably upon learning that Ahmed Al-Mansi had been sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Surrounded by relatives and friends, the woman told Efe that the sentence was “unjust,” saying her son is only 18 and is going to lose the best years of his life behind bars.

“Why did he go to that game?” the anguished mother asked rhetorically.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Technology Fair Showcases IT Sector as Job-growth Engine

Technology Fair Showcases IT Sector as Job-growth Engine

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The CeBIT technology fair, which this year is dedicated to “Shareconomy,” has shown that IT is one of today’s biggest job-growth engines.

CeBIT 2013, which has Poland as its partner country, has focused attention on “this sweeping trend that emphasizes sharing knowledge, resources and experience to create new forms of collaboration.”

This year, 74 Polish companies used CeBIT - which opened on March 5 and ends Saturday in the German city of Hanover- as a platform to start operating their businesses on an international scale.

The IT sector is one of the biggest drivers of employment, with the creation of 900,000 new jobs in Germany this year.

The EU commissioner for the digital agenda, Neelie Kroes, and the co-CEO of the German software company SAP, Jim Snabe, presented a new Internet platform to help graduates in sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics find work.

This platform was first launched in Spain because of its sky-high unemployment rate among people under 25.

The CeBIT computer fair, attended this year by some 4,100 companies from 70 countries, has presented new IT models for shared use, while debating the security of IT services provided via cloud computing.

However, the number of visitors, according to the organizers’ preliminary estimates, was only about 285,000, or 9 percent fewer than in 2012, and far below the golden years like 2001, when some 8,100 companies and 850,000 visitors came to the fair.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Suicide Bomber Kills 8 Children, 1 Police Officer in Afghanistan

Suicide Bomber Kills 8 Children, 1 Police Officer in Afghanistan

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At least eight children and a policeman died Saturday in a suicide bomb attack in the city of Khost, capital of the like-named province in eastern Afghanistan, local police told Efe.

The attack, in which two other youngsters were wounded, occurred around noon, according a local police official who chose to remain anonymous.

“A suicide attacker detonated a bomb near a patrol made up of Afghan police and international forces,” the provincial governor of Khost, Barialai Rawan, said in a communique.

But a spokesperson for the allied command denied to the local news agency AIP that any international troops were in the patrol attacked by Afghan insurgents.

Another Taliban suicide attack on Saturday morning left nine civilians dead near the Defense Ministry in the Afghan capital, Kabul, soon after United States Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel kicked off a surprise official visit to Afghanistan.

NATO said that Hagel was “in a safe place” during the attack, which occurred around 9:00 a.m. when the terrorist rode a bicycle up to the main entrance to the Defense Ministry.

According to a report by the U.N. mission to Afghanistan published last week, the war in Afghanistan left a total of 2,759 civilians dead and 4,805 wounded in 2012.

Insurgents were responsible for 81 percent of civilian victims last year in the central Asian country.

The process of withdrawing international troops from Afghanistan is underway and scheduled to be completed by the end of 2014.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Bolivia Partners with Spanish Firms For Gas Plant

Bolivian state-owned energy company YPFB signed a contract with Sener Ingenieria y Sistemas SA and Ros Roca Indox Cryo Energy for the design and construction of a natural gas liquefaction plant.

YPFB President Carlos Villegas, Ros Roca Vice President Salvador Roca and Sener director Luis Cavalieri inked the deal Friday in the eastern Bolivian city of Santa Cruz.

Bolivian Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera and Energy Minister Juan Jose Sosa also attended the signing ceremony.

The liquefaction plant is to be built in the eastern town of Rio Grande and have the capacity to process 13 million cubic feet of natural gas and produce 200 metric tons of liquefied natural gas per day.

Villegas said YPFB plans to invest $137 million in the project, which will benefit 140,000 domestic users and 5,000 commercial users in 26 municipalities across Bolivia’s nine regions.

“We’re incorporating an important, advanced technology, because with the plant to be built in Rio Grande we’re going to have the chance to embark on a natural gas liquefaction process,” he said.

According to YPFB’s chief, the consortium pledged that by October 2014 it will have completed construction of the liquefaction plant and the satellite regasification stations and delivered the tanker trucks for transporting the fuel to the different municipalities.

YPFB expects that output from the new plant will enable Bolivia to reduce consumption of diesel, liquefied petroleum gas and gasoline.

Read more by HS News Staff →

SundayMarch 10, 2013