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TuesdayMarch 12, 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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Argentine Singer Diego Torres Welcomes Daughter

Argentine Singer Diego Torres Welcomes Daughter

Photo: Argentine Singer Diego Torres Welcomes Daughter

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Argentine singer Diego Torres announced Tuesday that he and the model and show host Debora Bello are the proud parents of a daughter.

“Nina is born, our daughter we have so been waiting for, at 1:16 p.m. today. Thanks for the messages! She’s perfect and beautiful!” the artist said on Twitter, where he also posted a picture with the baby’s footprint.

Local media said that Bello, 37, gave birth at the Otamende hospital in the Argentine capital.

Torres, the 42-year-old creator of such hits as “Color Esperanza” (The Color of Hope) and “Tratar de Estar Mejor” (Trying to Be Better), is preparing to resume his acting career and has already begun filming the telenovela “Vecinos en Guerra” (Neighbors at War), which will air this year.

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Pedro Almodovar’s New ‘Excited’ Comedy Does Well in Debut

Pedro Almodovar’s New ‘Excited’ Comedy Does Well in Debut

Photo: Pedro Almodovar's New 'Excited' Comedy Does Well in Debut

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Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar’s latest film I’m So Excited (originally Los amantes pasajeros), which was released in Spain, gave him his best opening weekend to date.

I’m So Excited is an airplane-set comedy starring Javier Cámara, Cecilia Roth, Lola Dueñas and Raúl Arévalo. Almodovar described the film as “a light, very light comedy,” which is a long way from his last film, the psychological thriller The Skin I Live In.

ImageOn Monday it was announced I’m So Excited brought in $2.6 million in its opening weekend, beating out 2006’s Volver as his most successful opening.

The film was released by Warner Bros. and is said to have been a success thanks to a loyal Almodovar following and great marketing (including flash mobs dancing to The Pointer Sisters “I’m So Excited”).

Though he usually takes his film to various film festivals, Almodovar chose not to go to any major European festivals with this film.

Excited is Almodovar’s first comedy since 1988’s Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.

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Venezuelan Government Holds Another Tribute for Deceased President Chavez

Venezuelan Government Holds Another Tribute for Deceased President Chavez

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The acting president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, government officials and military officers participated Tuesday in a religious ceremony to pay homage to the late President Hugo Chavez, who died a week ago in this capital after a lengthy battle with cancer.

A trumpet call was sounded at 4:25 p.m. at the Military Academy, the time last Tuesday at which Chavez died. His body has lain in state in the funeral chapel there since last Wednesday.

“This revolutionary - comandante Hugo Chavez - was ahead of his time, was misunderstood by some, vilified by others, the wicked ones. They tried to profane his honor, that of his eternal spirit,” said Maduro at the conclusion of a ceremony officiated at by Father Numa Molina.

He said that Chavez “reclaimed” South American liberator Simon Bolivar - officially said to have been born in Caracas - and “he brought him down” from the statues to transform him into a “man of the street.”

Maduro also took advantage of the occasion to congratulate Chavez’s daughter Maria Gabriela on her birthday and assured her that her father is at her side and that “the struggle continues.”

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua said during the ceremony broadcast by all the country’s radio and television stations that a week after the death of the former president the people continue to stand in line to view his body at the funeral chapel.

“A week has passed. President Chavez has been bathed in the love of a people. Hundreds of thousands, humble men and women, children and the elderly, have seen him, have blessed him, have cried for him,” Jaua said.

He recalled that dozens of heads of state from all over the world paid tribute to the fallen president, whom he described as “a man who made history and will continue making history.”

Chavez, 58, died at the Military Hospital in Caracas of a massive heart attack after a 21-month battle with cancer, and the next day his body was taken - escorted by a huge multitude of mourning citizens - to the Military Academy.

Maduro announced on March 7 that Chavez’s body will be “eternally” embalmed so that his followers may continue to see it as other nations have done for key figures in world socialism such as Mao Zedong, Vladimir Lenin and Ho Chi Minh.

Next Friday, the body of the late president will be taken to the Cuartel de la Montaña barracks in Caracas, where Chavez took refuge when, as a military officer, he headed a failed coup d’etat in 1992.

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FactoryMade Ventures Forms Joint Venture With Lucha Libre AAA

FactoryMade Ventures Forms Joint Venture With Lucha Libre AAA

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FactoryMade to Operate and Extend Wrestling League’s IP in U.S. and International Territories Outside Mexico; Starlight Runner Entertainment to Lead Innovative Transmedia Development Initiative

FactoryMade Ventures has formed a joint venture with the leading Mexican wrestling experience, Lucha Libre AAA. The boutique entertainment and media incubator announced today its partnership with the owners of Lucha Libre AAA, the Roldan Pena family ( Marisela Pena Herrada , Joaquin Roldan Retana and Dorian Roldan Pena ) and Antonio Cue Sanchez-Navarro , a real estate, finance and sports entrepreneur in Mexico and a former owner of a Major League Soccer team. The partners will reimagine, operate and expand the league on multiple platforms and entertainment experiences in the U.S. and select international territories.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with the Roldan Pena family and Antonio to take the classic Lucha Libre AAA experience from household name in the Latino community to a dynamic, general audience entertainment brand in the U.S.,” said FactoryMade’s CEO John Fogelman and Co-CEO Cristina Patwa .

The professional wrestling sport Lucha Libre (meaning “free fighting”) began in Mexico in the 1930s, and its popularity has grown to become the second largest sport in the country behind soccer. Founded in 1992 by its creator, Antonio Pena Herrada , Lucha Libre AAA rose to become Mexico’s dominant wrestling league with an audience of 1 million people for more than 1,000 live events per year and a significant television presence on Televisa with a reach of 52 million viewers. The league has also branched to ancillary platforms across merchandise, licensing, gaming, movies and digital media, and it receives sponsorship from leading consumer product advertisers such as Corona, Ford, Telcel and Comex.

“Our partnership with FactoryMade enables us to transform our league for viewers beyond Mexico in a way that leverages the rich history and legacy of one of Latin America’s most popular entertainment experiences over the last 20 years,” said Dorian Roldan . “Taking a page from my grandfather’s heritage with Hispanic brands, I personally see this as a unique opportunity to bring an exciting, credible and authentic brand to second and third generation Latinos in the U.S.,” added Cue Sanchez-Navarro.

The joint venture will hold exclusive licenses in all territories excluding Mexico to the wrestling league’s intellectual property, which includes its renowned brand, over 250 characters (Luchadores) and its multi-platform entertainment formats. The partners will initially focus on expanding its presence in the U.S. through live events and sponsorship, pay-per-view television, scripted and non-scripted series, licensing and merchandise.

FactoryMade and Lucha Libre AAA have also brought onboard Starlight Runner Entertainment, a New York-based production company specializing in the global transmedia growth of leading entertainment properties. Lucha Libre AAA will be the first entertainment-sports league to be reimagined for the American and global market and launched with Starlight Runner’s proprietary franchise development methodology embedded in its DNA at inception.

“The team united behind bringing Lucha Libre AAA to the United States has provided us with an extraordinary opportunity to use our transmedia techniques to build an exciting multi-platform world of heroes, villains and spectacle,” said Starlight Runner CEO Jeff Gomez . “This new experience will resonate with the aspirations of the powerful emerging Latino audience and the youth market beyond.”

Starlight Runner Entertainment, which Fast Company listed as one of “The 10 Most Innovative Companies in Media” in 2011, has done similar transmedia work for large multi-platform entertainment properties including Avatar, Pirates of the Caribbean, Transformers and Microsoft’s Halo. While Starlight Runner works with premiere Hollywood studios such as Sony, The Walt Disney Company and 20th Century Fox, the company has also been brought onboard by global brands such as Coca-Cola, Mattel and Pepperidge Farm to create storylines and multi-platform extensions for their products.

In addition to its partnership with Lucha Libre AAA, FactoryMade co-owns ventures Tres Pistoleros Studios and the El Rey Network with acclaimed filmmaker Robert Rodriguez . El Rey is a new general entertainment, English-language US cable channel backed and carried by Comcast Corp that will launch in January 1, 2014.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Hispanic Health: Puerto Ricans Urged to Get Flu Shots in Light of High Incidence Rates

Hispanic Health: Puerto Ricans Urged to Get Flu Shots in Light of High Incidence Rates

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Puerto Rico’s health secretary called on people Tuesday to get flu vaccinations in view of the alarm created by the high incidence of the disease on the Caribbean island.

Francisco Joglar asked citizens to go to the vaccination centers distributed around the island, particularly children and teens up to age 19, the age group suffering 57 percent of cases registered in recent days.

“This flu vaccination alert is an urgent call to action so that parents get moving to get their children vaccinated and so we don’t have to mourn any deaths from the flu. Just a little more than 35 percent of the population has been vaccinated, and that is unacceptable because the doses are available,” Joglar said.

He said that many people have been worried over the past few days by media reports about a scarcity of the Tamiflu, one of the medicines most often used to fight the infection.

“Faced with this confusion, as health secretary I have the responsibility to repeat that the only effective treatment is prevention by means of flu shots and the asepsis assured by washing your hands often and covering your mouth when you cough,” Joglar said.

Health Department figures show a total of 9,397 cases of flu in Puerto Rico since the season of highest incidence began last Oct. 1.

The world flu epidemic in 2009 left 54 people dead in Puerto Rico, a year when there were fewer registered cases than in the current season to date.

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Latinos Urged to Participate in More Clinical Trials and Drug Studies

Latinos Urged to Participate in More Clinical Trials and Drug Studies

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Professionals connected with the research and development of new pharmaceutical products are emphasizing the need for Hispanics to participate more in medical studies as a tool for learning about the effects of certain drugs on that community.

The low participation in drug trials of Latinos, who - although they make up almost 16 percent of the population - comprise only 3 percent of the total number of people who take part in them, is a negative factor affecting the long-term health of the entire country.

The situation is explained by factors such as a lack of confidence, disinformation and a scarcity of Latino physicians.

Gabriela Martinez is a 46-year-old Mexican who contracted the HIV virus that causes AIDS more than 20 years ago, along with her now-deceased husband and one of her children.

“After overcoming many obstacles I began to participate in clinical studies with a project known as PAC, a program to recruit HIV-positive people that changed (my life) and educated me, because I understood that I not only had to fight HIV but (also) to begin to get to know my body,” she told Efe.

The participants in these tests are generally white and middle-class.

According to Sara Tylosky, president of Farma Consulting International, who investigates health issues in the Hispanic population, if researchers don’t examine how a medication works in a certain sector of the population they will not be able to know its effects when it goes on the market.

She said part of the problem lies in the lack of Latino doctors who work in the pharmaceutical industry.

“Less than 1 percent of the doctors who do the tests are Hispanic,” Tyloski said.

Mark Gonzalez, the director of patient recruitment for Anaheim Clinical Trials in Southern California, says that these studies are valuable because they show that medications are metabolized differently in different races and ethnic groups.

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REPORT:  Immigrant Temporary Workers Systematically Exploited and Abused, Most from Mexico

REPORT:  Immigrant Temporary Workers Systematically Exploited and Abused, Most from Mexico

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Unions and human rights defense organizations on Tuesday denounced before a panel of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights what they describe as the “systematic exploitation” of immigrant temporary workers in the United States.

Workers who come seasonally to the United States to perform jobs in sectors from agriculture to traveling carnivals suffer violations of their rights to liberty, personal security and non-discrimination, witnesses said.

“The exploitation is systematic,” Elizabeth Freed, the spokesperson for the Transnational Legal Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, told the gathering.

Freed said that between 70 percent and 80 percent of those workers come from Mexico and, in many cases, they are not paid the agreed-upon amount for their labor.

According to a survey by the Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, 52 percent of 220 workers recruited in Mexico with H-2 visas never saw a written contract from their employers.

In addition, 58 percent of them were forced to pay a fee for being recruited, which is illegal.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government sent to the hearing a delegation comprised of representatives from the Departments of State, Homeland Security and Labor, who admitted “irregularities” existed while they assured those present that they are working to eliminate any abuses.

Also presented at the hearing was the videotaped testimony of Mexican Leonardo Cortes, from Zacatecas, who has come to the United States in at least six different years to perform seasonal work.

“First, they told us that we would earn between $7.50 and $8.00 per hour. However, once we had the visa, the amoung changed to $500 every two weeks. Finally, we earned $240 for 17 days of work,” he said.

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100 Year History of Flamenco in New York to be Celebrated

100 Year History of Flamenco in New York to be Celebrated

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New York celebrates flamenco’s magical enchantment starting Tuesday with an expo of some of the marks it has made on the intense cultural life of the Big Apple over the past 100 years.

“This exhibition is the biggest thing that ever happened to flamenco here - five months of telling people the history of flamenco in New York,” Carlota Santana, founder of Flamenco Vivo, told Efe.

Conceived as a multimedia expo open until Aug. 3, one of its gems is a rare 1934 recording by Federico Garcia Lorca and Antonia “La Argentina” Merce during a performance in New York.

“The idea of creating the company was to take the flamenco of the “tablaos” (flamenco bars) into the theater. And that’s what we’ve done for 30 years,” Santana told Efe, before receiving the Order of the Civil Merit Cross from the Spanish consul in the city, Juan Ramon Martinez Salazar.

For Santana, a New Yorker by birth but an Andalusian at heart, taking the expo to the New York Public Library and the Lincoln Center shows that flamenco “is on the same level” as other revered arts like ballet and modern dance.

“My goal was to take flamenco from a lowly folk art not worth anything right to the top,” the flamenco dancer said.

For his part, the Spanish attache for cultural affairs in New York, Iñigo Ramirez de Haro, assured Efe that flamenco “is in the best of health” and is one of the Spanish cultural expressions most loved by American audiences.

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Mexican Authorities Arrest 17 Members of Vigilante Group Acting as Community Police

Mexican Authorities Arrest 17 Members of Vigilante Group Acting as Community Police

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Army troops detained 17 members of an armed group that claimed to be a “community police force” in the western state of Michoacan, where a police chief was murdered by drug traffickers in a separate incident, Mexican federal prosecutors said.

Soldiers arrested 16 men and a woman who claimed to be members of the community police force in the city of Buenavista Tomatlan, the federal Attorney General’s Office’s Michoacan bureau said.

Army troops detained the suspects on the highway that links Buenavista Tomatlan to the city of Tepalcatepec and seized two vehicles, including a municipal police department patrol car reported stolen recently.

Soldiers seized 14 assault rifles and pistols of different calibers from the suspects, prosecutors said.

The suspects were taken to Morelia, the capital of Michoacan, where they were handed over to federal prosecutors.

Soldiers detained 34 men claiming to be members of the community police force in Buenavista Tomatlan last Thursday.

The armed group has links to the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion drug trafficking organization, federal prosecutors said.

The group presumably receives its funding from Sinaloa drug cartel boss Joaquin “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzman, prosecutors said.

The community police force has been given the job of wiping out the Caballeros Templarios, a gang that controls drug production and trafficking in Michoacan.

A police chief, meanwhile, was murdered in another part of Michoacan, state prosecutors said.

The body of Salvador Gonzalez Magaña, who served as police chief in the city of Tarimbaro, was found around 7:00 p.m. Monday in a ravine in the town of Cuitzillo El Grande.

Gonzalez Magaña was tortured and shot numerous times, state prosecutors said.

The police chief was involved in a shootout recently with criminals engaged in drug smuggling.

Tarimbaro is one of the poorest cities in Michoacan.

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

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

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

A total of 914 drug-related murders occurred in Mexico in February, the government said in a report released Friday.

Some 3,157 people have been killed since President Enrique Peña Nieto took office on Dec. 1.

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Puerto Rico’s Old San Juan Designated National Landmark

Old San Juan has been designated a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior, an acknowledgement that is expected to raise the international visibility of this city’s colonial quarter.

The interim director of the Puerto Rico State Historic Preservation Office, Berenice Sueiro, told Efe on Tuesday that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced 13 additions to the NHL list, among which is the Old San Juan Historic District/Distrito Historico del Viejo San Juan.

“This is a recognition that cannot be quantified and a great source of pride,” said Sueiro.

She said that, besides the benefit that the recognition will bring in numbers of new tourists, it also constitutes support for the financial aid that could be allocated to the restoration of the most damaged portions of the Puerto Rican capital’s colonial area.

Within the United States, Old San Juan “contains the largest collection of buildings representing four centuries of Spanish culture, religion, politics, and architecture,” the Interior Department said in a statement.

Sueiro said that the nomination is a first step toward getting Old San Juan accepted as a candidate for the United Nations list of World Heritage Sites.

That list has included La Fortaleza, which houses the Puerto Rican government and some murals in San Juan, since 1983.

The historic part of the city is located on the Isleta de San Juan, a 3-square-mile island off the coast which is linked to the rest of San Juan by two bridges.

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California Authorities Seize 36 Chihuahuas from Two Homes

California Authorities Seize 36 Chihuahuas from Two Homes

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Authorities is California seized three dozen Chihuahuas from one family on this week and are now looking for homes for the little pups.

On Monday, officials with the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter removed 25 Chihuahuas, including 10 puppies, at a home in Watsonville, Calif. Earlier that same day, the animal shelter removed 11 Chihuahuas, including 6 puppies, from a relative’s home in the same town.

The dogs were not fixed and were allowed to breed indiscriminately. Authorities say there appeared to be three liters. The 36 dogs consist of 16 puppies and and 20 adult dogs.

It was also noted that the people in possession of the dogs were not only hoarding animals, but hoarding objects and other possessions.

Authorities were tipped off by a call from the landlord of one of the apartments where the dogs were found.

Animal neglect charges have not been filled. However, should misdemeanor charges be filed, the Chihuahua hoarders face up to one year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $20,000, and would be banned from owning a pet for up to 5 years. A felony animal neglect charge carries a maximum sentence of one year in state prison, and they person is banned from owning a pet for up to 10 years.

Those looking to adopt the Chihuahuas can call Santa Cruz Animal Shelter at (831) 454-7200 or visit www.scanimalshelter.org. The dogs will be available for adoption on March 20.

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Soccer Legend Diego Maradona Legally Recognizes His 2nd Child Out of Wedlock

Soccer Legend Diego Maradona Legally Recognizes His 2nd Child Out of Wedlock

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Argentine soccer icon Diego Armando Maradona went Tuesday to his country’s consulate in Dubai to recognize a baby born last month to his ex-girlfriend as his legal offspring.

The retired superstar who led Argentina to victory in the 1986 World Cup acknowledged Diego Fernando Maradona “as he always said” he would, attorney Jorge Auruccio told the media in Buenos Aires.

From this point on, the child “will receive the complete legal treatment appropriate to a son: no more, no less,” Maradona’s lawyer said.

Diego Fernando was born Feb. 13 in Buenos Aires to Veronica Ojeda.

The 52-year-old father, who now works in Dubai as a consultant to companies that organize sporting events, initially said he would travel to Argentina to formally recognize the child, but decided instead to handle it through the consulate.

Diego Fernando is the fourth child of Diego Armando Maradona, who has two adult daughters with former spouse Claudia Villafañe and a son born out of wedlock in Italy in 1986.

He is also the grandfather of Benjamin, the offspring of his daughter Giannina and rising soccer star Sergio “Kun” Aguero.

Maradona recently revealed that he is romantically involved with Rocio Oliva, 22, who plays for the women’s squad of Argentine soccer club River Plate.

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Messi’s Golden Foot Goes on Sale for $5 Million

Messi’s Golden Foot Goes on Sale for $5 Million

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At this point in his career, it is easy to argue that Barça’s Lionel Messi is currently the best player in professional soccer right now. However, not many would have guessed being the best meant people wanted a solid gold replica of his bare foot.

In 2012, Japanese jeweler Ginza Tanaka made a cast of the Argentine striker’s foot. From that cast, Tanaka created the golden foot to commemorate Messi winning his fourth consecutive Ballon d’Or.

The foot went on sale last week for about 500 million (about US $5.2 million) along with 50 limited edition Messi footprint plates made of 300 grams of gold each, which will cost 8.75 million yen (about US $93,000).

Messi’s eldest brother, Rodrigo Messi, was on hand for the unveiling in Tokyo, and said, “It’s amazing that you can make an object so well, with an exceptional mold, which shows every feature of Leo’s foot.”

Part of the proceeds from the sale will go to Messi’s children’s foundation.

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Spain Seeks Expansive Relationship with Brazil’s Defense Sector

Spain Seeks Expansive Relationship with Brazil’s Defense Sector

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Spain wants to broaden the “intense” economic and political relationship it has with Brazil into the defense realm, the Iberian nation’s defense minister said EFE.

“This is about a longstanding and fruitful relationship” that also opens possibilities to work together in security and defense, areas in which the two countries have joint responsibilities “for the maintenance of world security,” Pedro Morenes said.

He arrived in Brasilia from Cape Verde, where he had met with the president and defense minister to discuss matters related to the Atlantic region, where there are problems with drug, weapons and human trafficking that both countries intend to fight jointly.

Morenes told Efe that Spain is interested in cooperating with Brasilia in the development of the defense industry.

“Brazil has decided to broaden its operational capacity” in defense and Spain “wants to be at its side,” sharing experiences and exploring the possibilities for cooperation and joint business ventures, he said.

In the aeronautics sector, cooperation with Brazil will allow the sharing of Spain’s accumulated experience in the development of the European A400 M military transport and tanker aircraft, said Morenes regarding a similar project planned by the Brazilian air force.

Another matter that the minister will discuss with Brazilian authorities is the possibility of cooperating in the disaster and natural catastrophe management area via Spain’s military Emergencies Unit.

Morenes will be discussing these issues with Brazilian counterpart Celso Amorim.

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Colombia’s President Santos Says FARC Guerilla Membership Down to Less Than 8,000

Colombia’s President Santos Says FARC Guerilla Membership Down to Less Than 8,000

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Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said that the Andean nation’s largest guerrilla group, the FARC, now has fewer than 8,000 fighters.

“The number of people under arms in the FARC is 7,800,” the president told reporters after a Cabinet meeting, citing figures from military intelligence.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, has battled a succession of Colombian governments since the mid-1960s.

As for the National Liberation Army, or ELN, Santos said it has fewer than 1,500 members, though it once had some 4,000 combatants.

Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon said last December that the FARC, which once numbered as many as 20,000 fighters, no longer has more than 8.000.

Peace talks between the Colombian government and the FARC have been held in Havana since last November in hopes of reaching a negotiated end to the conflict, which has afflicted the Andean nation for more than half a century.

The two sides began their seventh round of talks on Monday, facing the challenge of closing a deal on agrarian policy.

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Chile’s Former Antarctica Military Bases Now Home to Polar Research

Chile’s Former Antarctica Military Bases Now Home to Polar Research

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The navy bases that Chile began builing in Antarctica in 1947 have evolved into facilities coveted by scientists interested in polar research.

The military bases, constructed to cement the South American country’s territorial claims in the frozen continent, in many cases now share space with scientific research stations.

The Arturo Prat naval station, located on King George Island, is the oldest of the four Chilean bases that operate year-round.

Chile also has eight summer bases and seven shelters scattered around the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula.

A fleet under the command of Commodore Federico Guesalaga sailed from Valparaiso in early 1947 for the South Shetland Islands, the Antarctic area closest to South America.

The expedition arrived in an area of Greenwich Island that was baptized Chile Bay.

More than half a century later, Chile now uses its Antarctic bases for polar research, especially the areas of high scientific interest.

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Latin America News:  Peru Inaugurates Two Solar Power Plants

Latin America News:  Peru Inaugurates Two Solar Power Plants

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President Ollanta Humala has inaugurated two solar power plants in the southern Peruvian regions of Tacna and Moquegua built by Spain’s Solar Pack and Gestamp Solar.

“Energy in the poorest towns is an instrument of social inclusion,” Humala said during the inauguration ceremony.

The $95.7 million Tacna solar power plant sprawls over 121 hectares (nearly 300 acres) and has the capacity to generate 47,196 MW annually.

The Moquegua solar power complex, which also cost $95.7 million, covers 123 hectares (nearly 304 acres) and has the capacity to generate an estimated 50,676 MW annually.

Peru’s energy mix must be balanced. We cannot depend on energy sources that pollute. We are promoting renewable energy,” Humala said.

South America’s first solar power plant went online in Peru last October.

The power plant, which is located in the region of Arequipa, was built by Spain’s T-Solar.

“We are investing in renewable energy. We are the first country in the region to develop renewable energy,” the president said during Monday’s ceremony.

Peru must now work to develop “wind energy” sources to further diversify the energy mix, Humala said.

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NEW YORK: Man Dies After Rear-Ending City Bus

NEW YORK: Man Dies After Rear-Ending City Bus

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A New York man is dead after his vehicle slammed into the back of a NYC bus in the early morning hours on Monday

At around 4:30 a.m., 23-year-old Luis Angel Duran was coming up behind an MTA bus at the corner of Jamaica and Euclid Avenues in Brooklyn.

It is unclear why, but it appears Duran did not slow his 2003 Honda Accord at all and plowed into the back of the bus, which was stopped at the corner, and hurtled into the nearby BP gas station.

Police say Duran, the son of Dominican parents, was pinned in his vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene. He was just half a mile from his Cypress Hill home.

The gas station owner spoke with NY Daily News and said he did not believe Duran even tried to slow down, adding, ‘You see the amount of demolition? There’s no skid marks. He never saw it coming.’

Police are still investigating why Duran did not stop.

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Justin Timberlake Confirms He Will Perform at 2013 Rock in Rio Fest

Justin Timberlake Confirms He Will Perform at 2013 Rock in Rio Fest

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Singer and actor Justin Timberlake has confirmed he will perform in the 2013 Rock in Rio festival, organizers announced.

Timberlake will be the headliner on the World Stage on Sept. 15.

His addition to the lineup means that the appearances of Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band and John Mayer have been rescheduled for Sept. 21, Rock in Rio said.

Organizers also announced that American Idol winner Phillip Phillips is to perform during the Sept.13-22 festival.

“We’re very happy to bring Justin and we thank Bruce and John for having adjusted their schedules with the date of their appearances and they will put on a great show” Rock in Rio founder Roberto Medina said.

Confirmed as the festival’s other headliners are Beyoncé, Metallica, Bon Jovi, Muse and Iron Maiden.

The 2011 Rock in Rio event drew 700,000 people with artists that included Metallica, Coldplay, Maná, Snow Patrol, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Guns N’ Roses, Elton John, Stevie Wonder and Shakira.

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Gun Violence in Mexico Claims More Innocent Lives

Gun Violence in Mexico Claims More Innocent Lives

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A minor and a man died during a series of “chases and confrontations between armed civilians” in Reynosa, a border city in northern Mexico, officials said.

The minor “was hit by a bullet that killed him while he was traveling with his father in a private vehicle,” the Tamaulipas state Attorney General’s Office and the Public Safety Secretariat said in a joint statement.

Jose Luis Vargas Hernandez, a 37-year-old taxi driver, was also killed in the shootouts.

The man’s body was found by police inside his taxi on an avenue in Reynosa, located across the border from McAllen, Texas.

Gunmen blocked avenues in the border city and engaged rivals in shootouts.

Reynosa is controlled by the Gulf cartel, which has been battling Los Zetas for smuggling routes in the area.

After several years as the armed wing of the Gulf cartel, Los Zetas went into the drug business on their own account and now control several lucrative territories.

A total of 914 drug-related murders occurred in Mexico in February, the government said in a report released Friday.

Some 3,157 people have been killed since President Enrique Peña Nieto took office on Dec. 1.

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Joaquin Sorolla’s “Niñas en la Playa” Painting Could Fetch $4 Million at Auction

Joaquin Sorolla’s “Niñas en la Playa” Painting Could Fetch $4 Million at Auction

Photo: Courtesty Sothebys: Joaquin Sorolla "Niñas en la Playa"

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The summer scene that Spain’s Joaquin Sorolla (1863-1923) captured in the oil painting “Niños en la Playa” (Children on the Beach) will be auctioned off on May 23 in London for a sum estimated at between $2.6 million and $3.7 million, Sotheby’s said.

The work, which Sorolla painted in 1916 and reflects his personal vision of a beach in his native Valencia, will go on sale for the first time since being acquired by the artist’s family for its collection in the 1950s.

According to the head of Sotheby’s 19th Century Paintings Department, Adrian Biddell, Sorolla masterfully expressed his emotion upon returning to the city where he was born, with an intimist view combined with a pictorial technique at its most accomplished.

“As well as being an exquisite painting, with a wonderfully fresh contemporary feel to it, it also has a fascinating history,” Biddell said.

Sorolla spent the summer of 1916 in El Cabañal, Valencia, a time that allowed him to take a break from working on the monumental series of panels entitled “Vision of Spain,” for which he had been commissioned by the Hispanic Society in New York.

During that summer, Sorolla painted four works of a “startling creativity,” Biddell said, among them “Niños en la playa”, which was “immediately recognized as a masterpiece by influential Valencian dealer Justo Bou, who sold it very quickly to the distinguished collector and Sorolla admirer Maria Bauza de Rodriguez.”

“Then in the late 1950s, Sorolla’s grandson and leading expert on the artist, Francisco Pons-Sorolla, identifies it as a crucial work in his oeuvre, and acquires it,” Biddell said.

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Dominican Gold Medalist Felix Sanchez Honored with Laureus Sports Awards

Dominican Gold Medalist Felix Sanchez Honored with Laureus Sports Awards

Photo: Felix Sanchez Honored with Laureus Sports Award

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Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt and British heptathlete Jessica Ennis took the honors as sportsman and sportswoman of 2012, respectively, at the Laureus Sports Awards gala in Rio de Janeiro.

It was Bolt’s third Laureus prize as sportsman of the year.

Laureus recognized the European Ryder Cup squad, captained by Spain’s Jose Maria Olazabal, as best team on the strength of its win over the United States in last year’s competition.

Dominican Felix Sanchez, gold medalist in the 400-meter hurdles at the 2012 London Olympics, received the award for comeback athlete of the year.

The prize for breakthrough athlete went to British tennis player Andy Murray, who won two golds in the London Games, while Brazilian swimmer Daniel Dias, winner of six golds at the 2012 Paralympics, was chosen as top athlete with a disability.

Felix Baumgartner, the Austrian skydiver who broke the speed of sound, received the award in the action sports category.

U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps’ record 22 Olympic medals - 18 gold, two silver and two bronze - earned him a special Laureus Academy award.

The Laureau lifetime achievement award was bestowed on former Olympian Sebastian Coe, who organized the 2012 London Games.

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Papal Conclave Begins with Much Pomp and Ceremony

Papal Conclave Begins with Much Pomp and Ceremony

Photo: Papal Conclave, Rome

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Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the dean of the College of Cardinals, celebrated Mass on Tuesday ahead of the start of the enclave to select the Roman Catholic Church’s next pope.

Sodano called for unity in the Catholic Church and asked God to provide the faithful with another pontiff with a “generous heart” who will work tirelessly for justice and peace in the world.

The 115 cardinal electors, other members of the clergy, the diplomatic corps and thousands of the faithful attended the “pro eligendo Romano Pontifice” Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica.

“St. Paul teaches us that all of us must also work together for the unity of the church and we must cooperate with the successor to St. Peter, a visible foundation of ecclesiastical unity,” Cardinal Sodano said.

The 85-year-old Sodano, who will not vote in the conclave, expressed the cardinals’ gratitude to Benedict XVI for all his work and asked God to provide the Roman Catholic Church with another “good shepherd.”

The 115 cardinal electors gathered at 4:15 p.m. (1515 GMT) for the procession into the Sistine Chapel, which they entered at 4:30 p.m. (1530 GMT).

The cardinals then locked themselves in the chapel and thus began the conclave to select Benedict XVI’s successor, holding the first vote later in the day.

The first round of voting will be followed by the traditional “fumata,” the smoke signal issuing from the Vatican rooftop, which if white indicates a new pope has been elected, and if black, no one has yet been selected.

The next pope will need a two-thirds majority of the cardinals present. Since there are 115, he will need a minimum of 77 votes.

The College of Cardinals, called the “most exclusive club in the world,” is composed of 207 cardinals from 66 countries, 51 of which have cardinal electors.

Of these cardinals, two were appointed by Paul VI, 117 by John Paul II, and 90 by Benedict XVI, who stepped down on Feb. 28.

The leading candidates, according to observers, are Italian Angelo Scola, the 71-year-old archbishop of Milan; Brazilian Pedro Odilo Scherer, the 63-year-old archbishop of Sao Paulo; Canadian Marc Ouellet, the 69-year-old president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America’ and Archbishop of Boston Sean O’Malley, a 68-year-old Capuchin.

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13-Year Old Latino Boy Left Paralyzed by LAPD to Receive $24 Million Settlement

13-Year Old Latino Boy Left Paralyzed by LAPD to Receive $24 Million Settlement

Photo: LAPD Largest Settlement

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A U.S. jury awarded $24 million to a 13-year-old Mexican who was left paralyzed after being shot by a Los Angeles police officer in December 2010, an official in Mexico’s foreign ministry told Efe here Monday.

The verdict was that the boy, whose identity has not been made public, will receive from the LAPD $14 million for medical expenses and another $10 million in punitive damages, the head of the ministry’s office of expatriate services, Roberto Rodriguez Hernandez said.

The situation unfolded on Dec. 16, 2012, when an LAPD officer “fired at a minor who, in reality, was not armed” but merely holding a toy gun while playing with other kids.

The bullet “hit the spine” of the boy and left him a paraplegic, Rodriguez Hernandez said.

Though the officer claimed the boy was armed and that he told the youngster to drop the weapon before he fired his gun, the jury rejected the cop’s account.

Rodriguez Hernandez said that cases like this “are not too common” due to the high indemnity awarded and “the seriousness of the damage caused.”

The Mexican foreign ministry is now seeking to have the family’s immigration status completely normalized, alleging that they have been the “victims of a crime.”

The Mexican government assisted the boy’s family via the PALE program, launched in 2000, which has signed contracts with law firms linked to consulates in the United States to resolve “almost 60,000 cases” involving Mexicans in the neighboring country.

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Cardinals Start Voting Process for New Pope

Cardinals Start Voting Process for New Pope

Photo: Voting for Pope Begins

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The College of Cardinals tasked with choosing a new pope for the Roman Catholic Church began voting Tuesday to elect a successor to Pope Benedict

The 115 cardinals attended a special Mass before retreating into the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel for prayer and deliberations. They will remain secluded from the outside world until a new pope is elected.

There is no telling how long the process will take. They will take no more than four votes per day—two in the morning and two in the afternoon. The world will know when the church has a new leader when white smoke billows from a special chimney installed on the chapel roof.

Their selection must receive at least 77 votes - a two-thirds majority. There is no clear favorite.
Pope Benedict surprised the world last month, when after eight years he became the first Roman Catholic Church leader in 600 years to step down voluntarily.

When not in the Sistine Chapel, the cardinals will be housed in a Vatican residence hall with no television and no telephone access.

The Catholic News Service reports that some cardinals housed on higher floors may even have to keep their shutters closed to block any view of the streets of Rome outside Vatican walls.
Some Vatican observers say the Church is badly in need of reform after the child sex scandal and what they see as a growing irrelevancy of Church doctrine.

They predict the cardinals will elect a younger pope. But the experts also say the more traditional-minded cardinals will push for a conservative.

The cardinals will officially enter the conclave at 5:00 p.m. local time Tuesday. The first possible smoke sighting from the Sistine Chapel chimney should emerge around 7:00 p.m.

However, a vote taken late Tuesday is likely to be inconclusive because of the lack of a frontrunner.

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Spanish Navy Training Ship, the Juan Sebastian de Elcano, Heads for Americas

Spanish Navy Training Ship, the Juan Sebastian de Elcano, Heads for Americas

Photo: Spanish Navy Training Ship, the Juan Sebastian de Elcano, Heads for Americas

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The Spanish navy training ship Juan Sebastian de Elcano, named after the first man to circumnavigate the earth, sailed from the Canary Islands on Sunday for Puerto Rico on a new training cruise and will take part in different events in the Americas, the navy said.

The ship, which is on its 84th training cruise, will cross the Atlantic twice, visiting the ports of San Juan, Puerto Rico; Colon, Panama; Miami, Florida; Newport, Rhode Island; Den Helder, Netherlands; Santander, Spain; Bayonne, France; and Marin, a port city in the northwestern Spanish province of Pontevedra.

The vessel will sail a total of about 11,500 nautical miles on its 100-day voyage, the navy said.

The Juan Sebastian de Elcano will join other training vessels from across Latin America in the “Tall Ship” armada that will sail from Puerto Rico to follow the route taken by Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon in 1513.

The ship will also take part in the ceremonies marking the quincentennial of the discovery of the Pacific Ocean in Colon, Panama, and the 500th anniversary of the discovery of Florida in Miami.

The vessel, under the command of Capt. Alfonso Gomez Fernandez de Cordoba, has a crew of 23 officers, 22 non-commissioned officers, 140 crewmen and five civilian officials.

The ship has been sailing the world’s oceans since 1928 to train the Spanish navy’s future officers.

Most of the Spanish navy’s officers have trained on the schooner, including King Juan Carlos, who shipped out as crown prince in 1958, and his son, Crown Prince Felipe, who sailed on the Elcano in 1987.

The ship was named for Juan Sebastian de Elcano, the first man to circumnavigate the earth from 1519 to 1522 with Ferdinand Magellan’s expedition in search of a western route to the Spice Islands.

Of Magellan’s original five-ship fleet carrying 237 men, only 18 sailors on the Nao Victoria, the only surviving vessel, made it back to Seville in September 1522 under Elcano, who assumed command after Magellan’s death in the Philippines.

The ship’s coat of arms is the one granted by the Spanish Crown to Elcano: A gold castle in a field of gold with cinnamon sticks, nutmeg and clove, crowned with the motto in Latin, around a globe, “Primus circumdedisti me,” or “The First Who Went Around Me.”

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Blog del Narco: Police Commander Killed in Michoacán

Blog del Narco: Police Commander Killed in Michoacán

Photo: Salvador González Magaña, Police Commander Tarímbaro Township

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Salvador González Magaña, director of Public Safety Tarímbaro Township, was killed Monday afternoon in the metropolitan area of Morelia, were he was assigned to serve and protect.

This was confirmed by Páramo Benjamin Garcia, the mayor of the town, who said by telephone that the body was located in the town of Cuitzillo El Grande.

However, it remains to be determined if the police commander was killed on the spot or if his body was dumped in the area.

Read more Narco News Here

Read more in Spanish at Blog del Narco

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Latino Voters Favor Gun Restrictions

Latino Voters Favor Gun Restrictions

Photo: Latino Voters on Gun Control

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The grim statistics and on-going stories about children, men and women killed by guns in America have led many to conclude that enough is enough; something must to be done to curb the senseless loss of lives gun violence. That something needs to be done is without controversy as Americans across the ideological divide desire safer communities. The controversy occurs over what needs to be done. The ensuing gun debate pits those who believe that the road to safer communities will come by way of reductions and restrictions against those who believe such efforts will do little to reduce gun-related violence.

Latino Decisions conducted a national survey of the Latino electorate to establish where these voters stand on different gun control policy options under consideration in national, state and local governments. Specifically, these voters were asked if they supported or opposed: (1) requiring background checks before people can buy guns in stores and gun shows; (2) establishing a national database of gun owners; (3) making it illegal for people with documented mental illness to purchase and own guns; (4) limiting the capacity of magazines; (5) a ban on semi-automatic and assault weapons, and (6) allowing teachers. The results clearly indicate the majority of Latino voters hold a consistent set of opinions, supporting proposals that would reduce and restrict guns and ammunition.

Over half of all Latino voters support all five of the gun control restrictions included in the survey. The majority (57%) also oppose expanding laws to allow teachers or authorized campus personnel to carry loaded weapons in public schools. Policies that emphasize prevention and tracking are the most widely supported. Criminal background checks for potential gun owners is the most popular proposal, with 84% in favor, and a mere 13% opposed. A national database of gun owners is also widely supported by 69% of Latino voters. Another restrictive policy option, banning the mentally ill from owning guns, is supported by 64%. Limits on weapons and ammunition also garner significant support from Latino voters, including 64% in favor of a ban on high capacity magazines, and 54% favoring a ban on semi-automatic and assault weapons. Most Latinos do not want loaded weapons in their public schools, 57% oppose the proposition of allowing teachers and/or security personnel to carry loaded guns on campus.

The current debate over gun control largely falls along partisan lines. On the one hand, Democratic lawmakers, and President Obama, are calling for a ban on assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines, background checks, and other measures which are outlined by the House Democratic Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. On the other hand, Republican lawmakers and the NRA are opposed to many of these measures and prefer to focus on deterrence efforts and preventing persons with mental disorders from purchasing guns. Where do Latino attitudes fall along the Democratic and Republican divide?

 

In most instances Latino voters are on the same side of these policy issues, regardless of their partisan identification. To put these numbers in sharper context, 50% of Latino voters identify as Democrats, 38% as Independent, and 11% Republican.

The illustration above shows most self-identified Democrats, Independents and Republicans agree on several policy proposals, including background checks, banning mentally ill from owning guns, creating a national gun owner database, and limiting magazine capacity. Latino Democrats and Republicans are also on the same side on the matter of armed school personnel, less than half of Republicans (42%) and Democrats (35%) support the idea, though a very slight majority (51%) of independents are in favor. Banning assault weapons is the only issue where a clear partisan division emerges, with 65% of Democrats in favor, compared to only 41% of Republicans, and a mere 31% of independents

Last week the Senate Judiciary Committee held its first hearing on Senator Dianne Feinstein’s efforts to reinstate the ban on assault weapons. Our survey shows that Latinos are not indifferent to these debates. Large numbers are supportive of the Democratic proposals that allow law-abiding Americans access to certain types of guns and rifles. Latinos, like many Democrats, draw the line when it comes to assault weapons and high capacity magazines. A majority favor background checks and the use of a national databank of gun owners. There is little enthusiasm for having armed teachers and security guards in public schools. In short, our results demonstrate that gun violence and gun control matter to Latinos, and we contend the perspectives of the Latino electorate should not be lost on lawmakers tasked with the critical effort to address the tragedies of gun violence in the United States.

About the poll

Latino Decisions interviewed 500 Latino registered voters via landline and mobile phone, across all 50 states, from February 20-28, 2013.  Interviews were conducted in English or Spanish, at the preference of the respondent, and all interviewing staff was fully bilingual.  The survey averaged 7 minutes in length and has an overall margin of error or +/- 4.4%

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“Tanta Agua”  Wins Miami Film Fest’s Grand Jury Prize

“Tanta Agua”  Wins Miami Film Fest’s Grand Jury Prize

Photo: "Tanta Agua" Wins Miami Film Fest's Grand Jury Prize

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The film “Tanta agua” (So Much Water) by Uruguayans Ana Guevara and Leticia Jorge won big at the Miami International Film Festival, or MIFF, which this year is celebrating its 30th anniversary and has become one of the most prestigious events in the United States for Ibero-American filmmaking.

“Tanta agua,” a low-budget co-production by Uruguay, Mexico and the Netherlands and which already had made a big splash in San Sebastian and at the Berlinale film festival, won the MIFF’s Knight Grand Jury Prize, which comes with $15,000 cash.

In addition, and separately from the prize itself, a similar amount of money will be presented to the U.S. distributor who buys it next month. If it does not sell within 30 days, however, that additional amount will go to the film’s production company, CTRL Z FILMS.

The same film, which - using the circumstance of a torrential rain during a family vacation - dives into the complex world of puberty, also won the Jordan Alexander Ressler Screenwriting Award, which comes with a cash prize of $5,000.

The Knight Prize for Best Documentary, with its $10,000 stipend, went to the U.S. film “Gideon’s Army,” directed by Dawn Porter.

The prize for Best Performance, along with $5,000, went to the cast of “Una pistola en cada mano” (A Gun in Each Hand), by Spain’s Cesc Gay, and the award for Best Director, with an equal stipend, went to Ana Piterbarg for “Todos tenemos un plan” (Everybody Has a Plan), a co-production among Spain, Argentina and Germany.

This edition of MIFF, sponsored by Miami Dade College, or MDC, screened 138 films from 41 countries.

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PERU: 36 Injured, 14 Dead in Bus Crash

PERU: 36 Injured, 14 Dead in Bus Crash

Photo: PERU: 36 Injured, 14 Dead in Bus Crash

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Fourteen people died and 36 were injured when a passenger bus went off the road and down a mountainside in southern Peru, the highway police reported on the weekend.

The accident occurred on Saturday night at Kilometer 860 on the Panamericana Sur highway when the driver of an interprovincial bus owned by the Lucerito transport company lost control, evidently in heavy fog, and the bus plunged down the side of a chasm some 180 meters (585 feet) deep.

Some of the injured were taken to the hospital in Camana and the most seriously hurt were sent to another health facility in the city of Arequipa, the regional capital, local media reported.

Police and personnel from the Public Ministry went to the crash site to help rescue the injured and begin removal of the dead.

The Arequipa region, where Camana is located, has been experiencing torrential rains over the past few days which have caused serious damage to local infrastructure and roads in this important area of southern Peru.

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Storm in Brazil Kills Two, Damages City of Sao Paulo

Storm in Brazil Kills Two, Damages City of Sao Paulo

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A heavy storm that began Saturday afternoon killed two people and caused landslides, flooding and traffic jams in Sao Paulo, the authorities in Brazil’s largest city reported Sunday.

A 14-year-old girl was swept away by the current as runoff washed along Rua Vergueiro, which links the central Avenida Paulista with the southern part of the city, and a 32-year-old man who tried to help her was also swept away by the floodwaters, the Civil Defense authorities said.

The bodies of the pair, who drowned, were recovered Sunday morning by local firefighters in the Liberdade neighborhood some distance from where the victims were last seen.

The Military Police reported that several people required aid from Civil Defense, the Fire Department and police along the heavily traveled street.

The Traffic Engineering Company, or CET, said that 132 stoplights were damaged and 15 trees fell over, some of them crushing nearby cars.

Several of the city’s tunnels were closed by authorities as a precaution and the roof of the food court area in the Shopping Continental mall in the Jaguare district collapsed without injuring anyone. Meanwhile, 16 neighborhoods lost their electrical service.

The Congonhas airport, the city’s second largest and with a substantial number of domestic flights, was closed for almost an hour on Saturday evening and official alerts were declared in 38 zones in the metropolitan area.

On Friday, a similar electrical storm in Sao Paulo caused 265 kilometers (164 miles) of traffic jams, the fourth-largest such problem in the city’s history, the CET said.

A large number of automobiles were swept away by floodwaters in different spots around the city and along Avenida Paulista, which is the financial heart of Sao Paulo, buildings and businesses were without power for several hours.

The weather report says that over the next few days the city will experience high temperatures, with sunshine in the morning and thunderstorms in the afternoon.

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TuesdayMarch 12, 2013