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TuesdayMarch 19, 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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Brazilian Rains Have Now Claimed 17

Brazilian Rains Have Now Claimed 17

Photo: Brazilian Rains Have Now Claimed 17

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Brazilian authorities on Tuesday confirmed the death of a young man connected with the heavy rains that fell in the hilly portion of Rio de Janeiro state over the past few days, bringing the known death toll to 17.

The body of the young man, whose identity was not released, was found by rescue teams in the Quintandinha neighborhood of the city of Petropolis, which was one of the communities most seriously affected by the landslides and flooding caused by the rain.

In addition to the 17 known dead, about 40 people were injured in various ways in incidents connected with the rain and about 100 homes suffered severe structural damage and will have to be demolished, officials said Tuesday.

Brazil’s weather service said that the storm that began Sunday night delivered within just a few hours all the rain that had been expected for March, traditionally a rather rainy month.

The hilly region of Rio de Janeiro during each austral summer experiences intense rains that in January 2011, for instance, killed about 1,000 people.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Extreme Trafficking:  $4.3 Million Worth of Found on Tractor-Trailer at Border

Extreme Trafficking:  $4.3 Million Worth of Found on Tractor-Trailer at Border

Photo: Marijuana Found at Border

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On March 16, Laredo North agents assigned to the Border Patrol Checkpoint located on Interstate Highway 35 encountered a White tractor-trailer driven by Miguel Angel Escamilla, a 31-year old male, United States Citizen from Laredo at the primary inspection lane.

As the driver was being questioned as to his citizenship, a service canine alerted to the trailer and was referred for further inspection.

Agents utilized non-intrusive detection technology that revealed anomalies in the cargo area. The cargo contained cardboard boxes filled with plastic bottle sprayers, microwave ovens and other miscellaneous items. After conducting a physical inspection of the anomalies within the cardboard boxes, agents discovered several bundles wrapped in clear cellophane containing a green leafy substance that tested positive for marijuana. A total of 223 bundles were removed from the cargo area. The pot weighed 5,459 pounds and has a street value of $4,367,200.

The narcotics, vehicle and subject were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Large Zeta Drug Cell Linked to Russia and Central America Dismantled

Large Zeta Drug Cell Linked to Russia and Central America Dismantled

Photo: Mexican Drug Cartels

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On March 11, Victor Petrovic Ivanov, director of the Federal Drug Control Service of the Russian Federation (FSKN) informed Russian President Vladimir Putin that a drug trafficking network linking Central America and Russia headed by Mexican national Martín Sánchez Flores, who is allegedly tied to the Zetas cartel–one of Mexico’s most notorious and brutal organizations–, was dismantled this month.

According to Ivanov, the operation was launched during the beginning of March with the help of Nicaragua. In February 2012, Russia and Nicaragua signed an agreement in which each country vowed to cooperate with one another in the fight against drug trafficking and organized crime. According to Nicaragua’s El Nuevo Diario, the agreement stipulates the exchange of technical assistance, counsel and information, logistical aid, and coordinated operations against drug trafficking and organized crime.

Ivanov praised his country’s operation with Nicaragua stating that the joint effort and support of Nicaragua has enabled the two countries to gradually sever the extensive contacts of drug trafficking networks in smuggling drugs (namely cocaine) from Central America to Europe and Russia.

Nicaraguan police spokesman Fernando Borge said that during the operation that brought down Flores’ network, Operation Temis, 63 raids were undertaken in Nicaragua–namely Managua, Rivas, Masaya, Matagalpa, and Chinandega–the last of which is where Flores’ was captured.

Read more at Justice in Mexico Project →

Probation for Immigrant Advocate for Disrupting Congressional Hearing

Probation for Immigrant Advocate for Disrupting Congressional Hearing

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The Rev. Jose Landaverde, one of Chicago’s most prominent immigrants’ rights activists, will have to remain aloof from protests for the next six months as a condition for avoiding a jail term, a federal judge in the District of Columbia ruled on Tuesday.

“I will have to keep myself to the margin of problems in whatever location in the United States. If not, I can be put in jail,” Landaverde told Efe in a telephone interview.

The Salvadoran-born pastor risked a prison term of up to six months for interrupting a Feb. 11 congressional hearing where Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano testified.

Landaverde, who was at the hearing with 11 other activists, shouted “devil” at Napolitano, who has presided over a record number of deportations.

The judge hearing the case agreed to the request of the defense attorney that the activist be given a six-month probation term, Landaverde told Efe.

“I must not be arrested for anything and I’ll have to respect the restriction order that they gave me not to come near the Capitol,” he said.

Landaverde, a veteran of confrontations with police and immigration agents during acts of civil disobedience in Chicago, said of the struggle in favor of undocumented immigration that “other members of my church will continue it.”

“But I, perhaps, should leave Chicago for a time so I don’t get myself into trouble,” he said.

At the next court hearing, scheduled for Sept. 23, the federal judge will examine Landaverde’s conduct during the probation period and could rule the case closed.

The pastor is the chief religious official at Our Lady of Guadalupe Anglican Mission in Chicago’s mainly Mexican Little Village neighborhood, which provides a wide range of services to a flock that includes undocumented immigrants.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Prince Felipe of Spain Invites Pope Francis to Visit

Prince Felipe of Spain Invites Pope Francis to Visit

Photo: Crown Prince Felipe in Spain

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Pope Francis asked Tuesday after the health of King Juan Carlos in his conversation with Crown Prince Felipe, who invited the pontiff to visit Spain with these words: “We will be delighted if you come.”

“Well, we’re nearby…” the Argentine pope said in a relaxed tone during the talk they had at St. Peter’s Basilica, sources of the royal household told Efe.

Pope Francis, who greeted the more than 130 foreign delegations attending High Mass at the beginning of his pontificate, conversed cordially in St. Peter’s Basilica with Felipe and his wife, Princess Letizia.

Both bowed before him and, upon taking his hand, Prince Felipe expressed best wishes to the pope in the name of Spain’s king and queen.

The pope then asked about the health of King Juan Carlos, who is convalescing following a March 3 back operation, after which Prince Felipe said: “He is well and recovering.”

Finally, the crown prince gave the pope his verbal invitation to visit Spain.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Blog del Narco: Armed Civilians and Police in Shootout in Nuvo Leredo Tamaulipas

Blog del Narco: Armed Civilians and Police in Shootout in Nuvo Leredo Tamaulipas

Photo: Blog del Narco: Murder in MX

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Today a confrontation between armed civilians and army troops in Nuevo Laredo left a toll of two civilians killed.

The Attorney General’s Office and the state Department of Public Safety stated that the incident took place at 10:40 in the morning.

“In the city of Nuevo Laredo a clash was reported between armed civilians and members of the Ministry of National Defense, killing two civilians.” the sources from Tamaulipas said.

According to the Ministry of National Defense (Department of Defense), the Federal Police arrived at the scene and the confrontation occurred at the intersection of Yucca and Azucena, in the Valleys Fractionation Elizondo.

The Attorney General reported that a vehicle Ford Mustang 1999 model, red color, with license plates from the state of Texas was located at the scene.

“In witness whereof two dead men, 20 to 30 years old, and unidentified gunshot wounds in different parts of their bodies.”

Read more in Spanish at Blog del Narco

Read more Narco News

Read more by HS News Staff →

Gen. Efrain Rios Montt Geneocide Trial Begins in Guatemala

Gen. Efrain Rios Montt Geneocide Trial Begins in Guatemala

Photo: Genocide Trial Gen. Efrain Rios Montt

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The genocide trial of former strongman Gen. Efrain Rios Montt began Tuesday inside a packed courtroom in the Guatemalan capital.

The erstwhile dictator made yet another attempt to delay the process by discarding his four-man legal team in favor of a new attorney.

Judge Jazmin Barrios not only ordered the trial to proceed, but booted Rios Montt’s new lawyer, Francisco Garcia, from the courtroom and barred him from the case after he demanded she recuse herself.

Garcia argued that he and the judge are “enemies,” citing clashes in a previous case.

Barrios, however, said the earlier disagreements had been resolved and denied any bad blood between her and the attorney.

When Garcia persisted with his demand for recusal, the judge threw him out of the courtroom and instructed the attorneys representing Rios Montt’s co-defendants to serve as the former autocrat’s counsel for the duration of Tuesday’s hearing.

Barrios left open the possibility that Rios Montt could reinstate one of the four lawyers he fired earlier Tuesday.

Outside the courtroom, Garcia told reporters he plans to pursue his demand for Barrios to be removed from the case.

Judge Miguel Angel Galvez ruled in January that there was sufficient evidence to prosecute Rios Montt and retired Gen. Jose Mauricio Rodriguez for the killings of 1,771 Ixil Indians between March 1982 and August 1983.

Rios Montt, 86, is accused of masterminding the bloodbath, while the 67-year-old Rodriguez is charged with carrying out the mass killings as a part of a “scorched earth” campaign during Guatemala’s 1960-1996 civil war.

The trial marks the first time any Guatemalan ruler has been called to account for the massacres and atrocities of the civil war.

Rios Montt presided over the bloodiest phase of a conflict that claimed more than 200,000 lives. Most of the dead were Indian peasants slaughtered by the army and its paramilitary allies.

Read more by HS News Staff →

How is Thalia Involved with Diego Luna’s Possible Divorce?

How is Thalia Involved with Diego Luna’s Possible Divorce?

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During a concert in Mexico City recently, an intoxicated Camila Sodi revealed to the audience that her marriage to Diego Luna may be ending.

While on stage, the 26-year-old actress-turned-singer expressed, “My marriage is done … ¡Salud! to this p*nche sadness I have right now!”

So what could Thalia possibly have to do with the rumored divorce?

It turns out Thalia (born Ariadna Thalía Sodi Miranda), who is in the midst of divorce rumors herself, is actually Sodi’s aunt - her mother’s sister.

Thalia, 41, is said to be helping Sodi with the split. However, neither Luna, 32, nor Sodi have confirmed they’re actually divorcing.

While Luna’s marriage may be ending, his best friend, Gael Garcia Bernal may be planning a secret wedding to his girlfriend Dolores Fonzi in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Garcia Bernal and Fonzi has two children together, Lazaro and Libertad.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Immigration News:  Speaker Boehner Gives Support to Bipartisan Immigration Reform Plan

Immigration News:  Speaker Boehner Gives Support to Bipartisan Immigration Reform Plan

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House Speaker John Boehner gave his support Tuesday for a provisional plan for U.S. immigration reform, to be worked on by a bipartisan group of eight House members.

“Last week the senior leaders met with our four members, who’ve been meeting with four Democrats now for over four years. And they’re essentially in agreement over how to proceed,” the Ohio Republican told a press conference.

The provisional plan of the bipartisan group is “a pretty responsible solution” to the immigration problem in the United States, Boehner said.

The No. 2 Democrat in the House, Steny Hoyer of Maryland, said the lawmakers are close to an agreement and predicted that the group’s final bill will be ready “in the near term.”

According to Boehner, the work of this group is “just the beginning of the process,” given that more than half of the members of the House of Representatives have never been involved in the subject of immigration reform and, consequently, they will need “a lot of education” before any plan can go forward.

Boehner avoided commenting on a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, included in plans already presented by the White House and a group of eight senators from both parties.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Cuba Ready to Go from Analog to Digital TV Thanks to Chinese

Cuba Ready to Go from Analog to Digital TV Thanks to Chinese

Photo: Analog v Digital Cuba

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Cuba announced Tuesday that it is “prepared” to perform a digital television test that uses a method developed by Chinese experts, local media reported.

“Cuba is prepared to successfully perform the test” on Wednesday, said the director of the island’s Telecommunications Research and Development Institute, or Lacetel, Glauco Guillen, during the first international digital TV forum being held in Havana.

The official said that Cuba is pushing to transform its analog TV to a digital system using the Chinese approach “in the service of the needs of society.”

The forum - being held within the framework of the 15th International Computer and Telecommunications Fair and Convention taking place this week in Havana - is aimed at pushing for the implementation of China’s DTMB method for digital television and fostering the cooperation of the Asian nation with Latin America.

Cuba wants to shift over from analog to digital TV in keeping with the accords signed between Havana and Beijing to foster technological cooperation.

The deputy director of the industry and technology division of the Chinese National Commission for Development and Reforms, Wu Hao, said that “we want to work together to push this application in Cuba and develop ... digital television and industry ... to benefit (all) peoples.”

He also said that Beijing places great importance on communication with the region, adding that digital TV is “on the rise” worldwide, and thus China and its industries are ready to work with Latin America “at all levels” to contribute to the development of an industry based on the principle of “openness and innovation.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Ryanair Signs $15.6 Billion Deal with Boeing for 175 Airliners

Ryanair Signs $15.6 Billion Deal with Boeing for 175 Airliners

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Irish budget airline Ryanair Holdings said Tuesday it has signed an agreement with Boeing to purchase 175 737-800 airliners for around $15.6 billion (12 billion euros).

In a statement, Ryanair said the deal would allow it to expand its fleet to more than 400 airplanes by 2018, when the last of these jets are to be delivered, and boost the airline’s traffic to more than 100 million passengers by March 2019.

The low-cost carrier currently has a fleet of 305 Boeing 737 passengers jets, 75 of which will be replaced by the new aircraft.

The purchase agreement - which Ryanair said was the largest-ever aircraft order from a European airline - was signed in New York by Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary and Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Ray Conner.

According to Ryanair, the deal will create more than 3,000 new jobs across the airline and sustain thousands of skilled manufacturing jobs at Boeing and its suppliers.

Although the agreement still must be approved by Ryanair’s shareholders, O’Leary said the Boeing 737-800s have been the “cornerstone” of the airline’s success thanks to their “great engineering and phenomenal reliability.”

These aircraft are capable of transporting between 162 and 189 passengers on short- to medium-haul flights and are equipped with luxury features such as leather seats and Wi-Fi.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Ryanair had opted to purchase the 737-800s instead of the Boeing 737 Max, a new family of aircraft currently under development.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Immigration News: Number of Illegal Border Crossing Deaths Rose by 27% in 2012

Immigration News: Number of Illegal Border Crossing Deaths Rose by 27% in 2012

Photo: U.S.-Mexico Border Fence

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The number of immigrant deaths on the southwest U.S. border with Mexico increased 27 percent between 2011 and 2012, the National Foundation for American Policy said Tuesday.

According to a NFAP study based on statistics from the Border Patrol, 477 immigrant deaths were reported in 2012, compared with 375 in 2011.

Stuart Anderson, executive director of NFAP, said in a press release that these figures are particularly alarming considering the drop in the number of immigrant arrests in recent years.

An undocumented immigrant trying to cross the border illegally these days has eight times more chance of dying in the attempt than was the case 10 years ago, the analysis said.

“If Congress adopted reforms to allow the legal entry of foreign-born workers in sufficient numbers, the tragedy of immigrant deaths at the border would largely disappear and illegal entry to the United States would be reduced,” Anderson said.

The author of the study said that that the increase in border security has contributed to this problem, pushing the undocumented into more remote and dangerous areas.

An estimated 5,500 undocumented immigrants have died attempting to enter the United States since 1998.

“Since the failure of Congress to pass immigration reform legislation in 2007, more than 2,000 people have died near the southwest border,” Anderson said. “If another 5 years goes by without Congress approving new legal temporary visas for workers, it is predictable that an additional 2,000 people will die simply because they wanted to work in America.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Picasso Ceramics Garner Over $2 Million at Sotheby Auction

Picasso Ceramics Garner Over $2 Million at Sotheby Auction

Photo: Pablo Picasso: "Vase gros oiseau vert"

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A collection of 100 ceramic pieces made by Pablo Picasso was auctioned Tuesday in London for a total of 1.4 million pounds ($2.2 million), almost three times more than the maximum estimated price.

Among the pieces that brought the highest bids at Sotheby’s was “Vase Gros oiseau Vert,” a vase standing 57.5 centimeters (22.6 inches) high, half bird and half faun, reflecting the motifs that inspired the Spanish artist at the time of its creation.

The vase, which had a maximum estimated price of $53,000, sold for $157,732.

“The majority of the pieces offered achieved values above their maximum estimated prices,” a spokesman for Sotheby’s told Efe emphasizing the “great success” of the auction.

Also sparking interest was “Vase Azteque aux quatre visages,” a vase with a decorated handle and an Aztec face, which went for $139,620.

“Hibou Brillant,” a decorated plate of an owl, exceeded its maximum estimated auction price of $10,500 and brought $94,388.

Picasso discovered his passion for ceramic sculpture when in 1946, at age 64, he became acquainted - by chance - with the owners of the Madoura house of ceramics in the southern French town of Vallauris.

In creating thousands of pieces over the following decades, the artist explored new creative techniques combining painting, sketching, engraving and sculpture.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Costa Rican Volcano Park No Longer Charging Admission Due to Violence

Costa Rican Volcano Park No Longer Charging Admission Due to Violence

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As the violence at Costa Rica’s Arenal Volcano National Park (Parque Nacional Volcán Arenal) continues, park officials have made the decision to no longer charge admission to the park.

Hoping the lack of fees and money in the park will discourage robbers from entering looking, the admission fee of $10 will no longer be charged.

On average, about 200 people visit the park daily and it is one of the most visited attractions in the country.

The park lies within the 790 square miles Arenal Tilaran Conservation Area, protecting eight of Costa Rica’s 12 life zones and 16 protected reserves in the region between the Guanacaste and Tilarán mountain ranges, and including Lake Arenal. The park is most directly accessed from La Fortuna, but is also easily accessed via Tilarán and the north shore of Lake Arenal.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Sea Lion Takes a Stroll Through Brazil Town (VIDEO)

Sea Lion Takes a Stroll Through Brazil Town (VIDEO)

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Over the weekend a polite sea lion was spotted walking the streets of one Brazilian city.

A little after 5 p.m. Saturday afternoon a sea lion wobbled his way up to the streets of Balneário Camboriú (even used a crosswak—how cute) and gave many a little show.

Police and firefighters were able to coax the 9-foot-long sea mammal back to the South Atlantic Ocean at Leão Marihno.

South American sea lions are not considered an endangered species and are often found along the coasts and islands of South America.

Watch his return to the water here.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Selena Gomez Jokes She Made Bieber Cry (VIDEO)

Selena Gomez Jokes She Made Bieber Cry (VIDEO)

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Someone get Justin Bieber some ice, ‘cause he just got burned by Selena Gomez on late night television

How do you get a fist bump from late night funnyman David Letterman? Well, if you’re Selena Gomez you make him laugh by telling him you made Justin Bieber cry.

During her appearance on Late Show with David Letterman Monday night, Gomez, 20, confirmed with Letterman that her relationship with Bieber, 19, is over, adding that she is not dating anyone “yet” and is just fine with that.

“Now, the last time he was on, he and I got into a conversation and he said something and I said something, and then he said something and I said something, and I made him cry,” Letterman said.

Gomez jokingly added, “Well then, that makes two of us.”

Everyone laughed and Letterman gave her a fist bump.

Watch the video below.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Pope Francis Surprise Phone Call to Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires on Inauguration Day

Pope Francis Surprise Phone Call to Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires on Inauguration Day

Photo: El Papa in Buenos Aires, Argentina

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The thousands of people who spent a sleepless night in the main square of Buenos Aires, Plaza de Mayo, to watch the Mass inaugurating their former Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio had a pleasant surprise.

At 7:32 am Rome time—that is, 3:32am in Argentina—the speakers placed outside the cathedral in the square began to carry the voice of Pope Francis. He was calling, from the Vatican, to greet them.

Apparently the Pontiff placed a call to a local priest at the Cathedral from there the call was connected and broadcast to Plaza de Mayo, so he could say hello to his first flock. 

“Dear sons and daughters, I know you have gathered in the square. I know that you are saying prayers, I need them very much. It is beautiful to pray because we look to heaven and know that we have a good Father who is God,” Pope Francis said.

A huge wave of applause greeted the Pope’s words and he continued:

“I want to ask a favor of you. I want to ask for us to walk together, to care for one another, for you to care for each other. Do not cause harm. Protect life. Protect the family; protect nature; protect the young; protect the elderly. Let there not be hatred or fighting. Put aside envy.” And, in the city’s slang, he added: “No le saquen el cuero a nadie [literally, “don’t flay or skin anyone alive”, that is, don’t gossip, don’t criticize one another]. Talk with one another so that this desire to protect each other might grow in your hearts. And draw near to God. God is good. He always forgives and understands. Do not be afraid of him. Draw near to him and may the Virgin bless you. May she, as a mother, protect you. Please do not forget this bishop who is far away but who loves you very much. Pray for me!”

Francis concluded, imparting the papal blessing to all present before closing the connection.

Read more by HS News Staff →

More than 500 Rally in Advance of Senate Hearing on Immigration Policy that includes Women &Families

More than 500 Rally in Advance of Senate Hearing on Immigration Policy that includes Women &Families

Photo: Senate Hearing on Immigration

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Sen. Mazie Hirono (HI) and Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40) speak in advance of Senate Judiciary hearing

More than 500 people from a coalition of women’s groups gathered at the Capitol Monday to amplify the voices of immigrant women and show that women’s voices are essential to immigration policy reform. Advocates are asking Congress to remember that immigrant women are vital contributors to the American economy and to advance policies that defend women and families and support healthy families for strong communities.

In support of that goal, Senator Mazie Hirono (HI) presided over a historic, full hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee on how comprehensive immigration policy reform should address the needs of women and families. Advocates packed the hearing room to offer support for reform that advances women and families, overflowing into an additional room to view the hearing live via television.

The hearing and the rally are the highlights of March for Immigrant Women: A Month of Action for Citizenship, Families, and Justice, a national effort to elevate voices in support of immigrant women.

“We need to ensure that our immigration system continues to allow immigrant women to build strong families and strong communities,” said Senator Hirono (HI) at the rally. “Immigration reform should make the family immigration system stronger, not weaker. We cannot stand by and let a broken system keep families separated.”

Women make up more than half of immigrants in the United States, but immigration policies rarely address gender issues and have historically created unequal treatment for women. Immigrant women are the drivers of integration — they encourage their families to learn English, succeed in school and business, pursue naturalization and fulfill civic responsibilities. Effective conversations about immigration policy changes must include immigrant women to succeed.

At Monday’s rally, prominent speakers, including Senator Hirono (HI); Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40); MomsRising Executive Director/CEO Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner; Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center; Jessica González-Rojas, executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH); Miriam Yeung, executive director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF); and Michelle Brané, director of the Migrant Rights and Justice Program at the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC), offered remarks that underscored the incredible contributions of immigrant women and urged Congress to address gender issues in immigration reform policy.

“Comprehensive Immigration Reform must enable all undocumented immigrant women — stay at home moms, domestic workers and caretakers — to come out of the shadows. It must also end the enforcement policies that continue to shatter families and cruelly separate mothers from their sons and daughters. Monday’s rally has amplified these women’s voices, and I will continue to fight to make sure they are heard as we work together to secure comprehensive immigration reform.”

A broad coalition of women’s rights groups, including NLIRH, NAPAWF, WRC, Advocates for Youth, Asian American Justice Center, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, Choice USA, First Focus Campaign for Children, Forward Together, Labor Council for Latina American Advancement, MomsRising, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Council of Jewish Women, National Council of Women’s Organizations, National Domestic Worker’s Alliance, National Immigration Law Center, National Organization for Women, National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, Raising Women’s Voices for the Health Care We Need, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, South Asian Americans Leading Together, United States Student Association, United We Dream, We Belong Together and YWCA USA participated in the rally, showing that a growing chorus of voices recognize that immigration is a women’s rights issue.

“Immigration is a women’s rights issue,” said the National Coalition for Immigrant Women’s Rights. “Strong families produce strong communities and a strong economy. Smart reform must put the family unit back at the core of our immigration policy process. Immigrant women made their voices loud and heard Monday. Now is the time to include those voices to achieve reform that supports women, families and American values.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Thalia and Prince Royce a Happy Duet

Thalia and Prince Royce a Happy Duet

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Mexican singer Thalia, who next week will begin her first concert tour in a decade, is busy learning to dance bachata under the guidance of rising star Prince Royce.

“I still can’t get the dance!” said Thalia about the rhythm from the Dominican Republic, which she included on her new album with “Te perdiste mi amor,” written for her by Royce.

Thalia and Royce spoke with reporters about the album and the video they taped together and which combines sequences from a concert she recorded last September in New York, as well as images of both during rehearsals.

Amid laughter, Thalia told the “prince of the bachata” that he would have to give her additional dance lessons so that she could be ready for her “Viva Tour,” which will take her to Chicago, Los Angeles and Houston.

Royce, 23, said that “it was a honor” to write a song “for an artist of Thalia’s stature, with a career and success not only in music but also in television.”

“I learned a lot. It went super-good on the dance floor and the studio, it was something different for me. I enjoyed it a lot,” said the New York musician of Dominican origin, who added that the number, which they sing in English and Spanish, is No. 1 on iTunes and the videoclip exceeded 1 million views on YouTube in just a few days.

Thalia said that she was happy with the success of the duet among the fans of both artists and added that it wasn’t difficult for her to perform bachata

Read more by HS News Staff →

ICE Nabs Man Wanted for Kidnapping, Attempted Murder in El Salvador

ICE Nabs Man Wanted for Kidnapping, Attempted Murder in El Salvador

Photo: ICE Nabs Man Wanted for Kidnapping, Attempted Murder in El Salvador

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A citizen of El Salvador and Honduras, who was previously removed from the United States, and is wanted in El Salvador for kidnapping and attempted murder, was arrested today by officers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).

Melvin Noe Sanchez-Izaguirre, 34, was arrested outside his residence in Manassas, Va., by officers of ERO Washington’s Fugitive Operations Team. An ICE ERO officer assigned to INTERPOL notified the team of an active Red Notice on Sanchez by law enforcement in San Salvador.

Sanchez illegally re-entered the U.S. after ICE removed him to Honduras in 2012. He evaded extradition from Honduras to El Salvador when he was removed in 2012 because the last name he used on his Honduran identity differed from his El Salvadorian identity. Sanchez will remain in ICE custody pending his removal proceedings and a final order of removal by an immigration judge.

“Those who evade the law in another country cannot come to hide in our communities,” said M. Yvonne Evans, director of the Washington, D.C. field office. “ICE works closely with INTERPOL and foreign law enforcement partners to ensure those who are wanted for crimes in their country, and are here illegally, will be removed and held accountable for their actions.”

ERO enforces the nation’s immigration laws by identifying and arresting removable aliens, and by detaining and removing priority aliens from the United States. ERO prioritizes the arrest and removal of convicted criminal aliens, those aliens who pose a threat to national security, immigration fugitives, and recent border entrants.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Musician Jason Molina Loses Battle with Alcohol at 39

Musician Jason Molina Loses Battle with Alcohol at 39

Photo: Jason Molina Dies - Alcoholism

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Musician and songwriter Jason Molina has lost his battle with alcohol dying at age 39 reportedly from organ failure due to his alcohol consumption.

The alternative music icon produced 15 albums in his career, his most recent in 2010 was ‘Autumn Bird Songs’.  Molina is best know as the front man for the Magnolia Electric Co. and Ohia songs. In 2009 Molina stopped touring “to deal with severe alcoholism,” according to his record label Secretly Canadian.

Molina was reported to have spent the last years of his life on a West Virigina farm while going in and out of rehab for his addiction. 

The musician died at his home on Saturday, March 16, 2013,  in Indianapolis with his record label immediately launching a memorial fund to pay his medical expenses. 

Click here to contribute to this incredible talent’s legacy.

Read more by HS News Staff →

U.S. Military Live-Fire Exercises Gone Wrong Leaves 7 Dead & 7 Others Wounded

U.S. Military Live-Fire Exercises Gone Wrong Leaves 7 Dead & 7 Others Wounded

Photo: Hawthorn Army Depot Accident

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Seven U.S. Marines were killed and another seven were wounded during live-fire training exercises in Nevada, the military said Tuesday.

The accident occurred late Monday night at Hawthorne Army Depot.

The troops belonged to the 2nd Marine Division, based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

The wounded were taken to hospitals in the area for medical examinations and treatment.

The identities of the troops who died will not be revealed until their families are officially notified.

The cause of the accident, about which no details have been given, is under investigation.

The division commander, Maj. Gen. Raymond C. Fox, sent condolences to the families of the military involved in this “tragic accident,” and said the Marine Corps will ensure “they are supported through this difficult time.

“We mourn their loss, and it is with heavy hearts we remember their courage and sacrifice,” he said in a communique.

Four marines were killed instantly in the explosion and two more died on their way to hospital, where a seventh passed away, NBC News said.

Hawthorne is a munitions depot and training center in western Nevada covering an area of 59,535 hectares (147,000 acres) and is used as a training center for special operations forces.

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Puerto Rico’s Unemployment Rate Ticks Down to 14.6%

Puerto Rico’s Unemployment Rate Ticks Down to 14.6%

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Puerto Rico’s unemployment rate came in at 14.6 percent in January, 0.7 percentage points lower than in the same month of 2012, Labor Secretary Vance Thomas said.

He said at a press conference that the number of jobless on the U.S. commonwealth totaled 177,000, 11,000 fewer than a year ago.

But the workforce participation rate also fell, from 42.5 percent to 41.7 percent, according to figures provided by Thomas.

The January unemployment figures are the first to be released in Puerto Rico since new Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla took office early that month.

Thomas said an executive order published in January requires government agencies to regularly send all available employment data to the Puerto Rico Institute of Statistics for inclusion in the U.S. commonwealth’s Inventory of Statistics.

The goal of the initiative is to ensure transparency of information and availability of first-hand data.

Thomas said February’s data will be made public on March 29 and subsequent statistics will be published on the third Friday of every month.

The director of the Puerto Rico Institute of Statistics, Mario Marazzi, said the executive order is proof that transparency is a priority for Garcia Padilla’s administration.

Ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service late last year slashed Puerto Rico’s credit rating by two notches to Baa3, or one level above speculative grade.

In a report accompanying the downgrade, it said “economic growth prospects remain weak after six years of recession and could be further dampened by the commonwealth’s efforts to control spending and reform its retirement system, both of which are needed to stabilize the commonwealth’s financial results.”

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Cuba’s Tech Fair Attracts Lots of Attention from Chinese

Cuba’s Tech Fair Attracts Lots of Attention from Chinese

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Chinese firms such as Haier, ZTE and Huawei are the largest contingent at Cuba’s 15th International Information Technology Fair and Convention.

Spain and Italy are also well represented at the event in Havana.

Companies from China are Cuba’s “strategic allies” in the telecommunications sector, the fair’s executive secretary, Raul Bejerano, said during the opening ceremony.

The fair will showcase products and services that contribute to “technological sovereignty” and to identifying projects favoring regional integration, he said.

The agenda includes the first International Forum on Digital Television, an opportunity to share experiences with the China’s DTMB digital television standard.

Present at the fair’s opening was the deputy director of China’s National Development and Reform Commission, Wu Hao, who said Beijing is “finalizing” the demonstration of DMTB in Havana and will offer Cuba and other Latin American nations assistance in implementing the standard.

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Daniel Martinez-Leffew, 12, Has A Message for Justice Roberts About His Gay Dads (VIDEO)

Daniel Martinez-Leffew, 12, Has A Message for Justice Roberts About His Gay Dads (VIDEO)

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The adopted son of a gay couple recently recorded a video message for Supreme Court Justice John Roberts regarding California’s Proposition 8.

Daniel Martinez-Leffew, 12, lives in northern California with his dads Bryan and Jay and his younger sister.

Old enough to understand that his loving fathers are not legally able to marry in the state of California due to Prop 8, Daniel made the YouTube video to share how his family is no different than Justice Robert’s, who also has two adopted children.

Born with the genetic disorder known as Goldenhar Syndrome, Daniel says he was considered “unadoptable” by most, so it just goes to show how loving his fathers are and how important that they be recognized as a family like any other.

Bryan and Jay have their YouTube video and posted their son’s message there.

Here is what they had to say about Daniel’s video:

So our kids know that Prop 8 is coming to the Supreme Court soon and that could be a very big deal for our family. When they found out that one of the Justices hearing the case had two adopted children, they said, “Hey! They’re just like us!”...and so, in a moment that made his dads very proud, Daniel decided to write a letter to Justice Roberts in the hopes that he will see that our families are not so different.

Watch Daniel’s video here.

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Sofia Vergara Freezing Her Eggs as She Prepares for 2nd Child

Sofia Vergara Freezing Her Eggs as She Prepares for 2nd Child

Photo: Sofia Vergara Wants More Family

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Sofia Vergara confirmed to Vogue that she is preparing to have a second child through a process that involves freezing her eggs.

The 40-year-old “Modern Family” star said she has to be careful of what she eats and that she is already taking hormone pills, to be followed by injections.

The Colombian actress’ first child, Manolo Gonzalez, is 21.

“(T)hey want to get as many good eggs as they can because usually you produce them but they’re not good. They have to be perfect, perfect, perfect ones,” Vergara told the magazine.

“My boyfriend (Nick Loeb) is 37, younger than me, never had kids. So,” she said.

Vergara proudly displayed the engagement ring Loeb gave her last year.

“I love it, because it’s big enough. If it had been bigger, I couldn’t have worn it every day. And if it had been smaller, I wouldn’t have liked it,” she told Vogue.

Vergara earned $19 million in 2012 to become the highest-paid woman on television, according to Forbes magazine.

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Dominican Republic v Puerto Rico in World Baseball Classic Final

Dominican Republic v Puerto Rico in World Baseball Classic Final

Photo: 2013 WBC Final: Dominican Republic v Puerto Rico

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The World Baseball Classic final will be an all-Caribbean affair after the Dominican Republic scored a convincing 4-1 win over the Netherlands at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

The Dominicans have been on a mission in 2013, four years after suffering a shock first-round exit from this international competition due to two one-run losses to the Dutch squad.

In the third edition of the WBC, the Caribbean nation has reached the final with a perfect 7-0 record, including Monday’s win over the Netherlands, and will next take on Puerto Rico, who eliminated two-time defending champion Japan with a 3-1 victory in the first semifinal on Sunday.

The Netherlands took an early lead when shortstop Andrelton Simmons scored on a RBI groundout off the bat of Wladimir Balentien in the top of the first inning.

Starting pitcher Diegomar Markwell made that advantage hold up for four innings, but in the bottom of the fifth the Dominican Republic’s explosive lineup came alive when the southpaw started missing the strike zone and falling behind the count.

Carlos Santana and Moises Sierra got the fireworks started with back-to-back doubles that tied the score at 1-1.

Shortstop Jose Reyes then drove in Sierra and subsequently moved to third base on a single by veteran infielder Miguel Tejada.

Manager Hensley Muelens responded by yanking Markwell and turning the ball over to Tom Stuifbergen, but the Dutch squad’s woes continued when the Dominicans stretched their lead to 3-1 on a wild pitch by the reliever.

First baseman Edwin Encarnacion then drove in Tejada for the fourth and final run of the game.

With the three-run lead in hand, Dominican starter Edinson Volquez was removed from the game and right-hander Kelvin Herrera came on and continued to shut down the Dutch batters.

Pedro Strop and Fernando Rodney capped off the strong pitching effort in the eighth and ninth innings to send the Caribbean nation into the final.

Volquez got the win and Markwell took the loss.

The Dominican Republic will be seeking its third straight win over Puerto Rico in Tuesday’s final, after defeating the U.S. commonwealth 4-2 in the first round and then 2-0 in a second-round contest to determine seedings for the semifinals.

The only other Caribbean squad to reach the World Baseball Classic final was Cuba, which lost 10-6 to Japan in the competition’s inaugural championship game in 2006.

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HISPANIC EDUCATION:  Latino Students in Virginia Schools Highly Segregated

HISPANIC EDUCATION:  Latino Students in Virginia Schools Highly Segregated

Photo: Hispanic Education: UCLA Civil Rights Project

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In the first of a multi-part series of reports on school segregation trends in the Eastern region of the country, the Civil Rights Project at UCLA released a new study showing Latino students are increasingly segregated in schools, particularly in Northern Virginia, where they make up the largest minority group.

The report, “MILES TO GO:  A Report on School Segregation in Virginia, 1989-2010”, also shows low-income students account for about three-quarters of the student body in the state’s intensely segregated schools, highlighting a persistent and ongoing overlap between racial isolation and concentrated poverty in segregated schools.  16% of black students in the state of Virginia now attend an intensely segregated school, 90-100% minority, increasing from about 12% in 1989.

Northern Virginia is the only region in the state reporting a pattern of more intense concentration of Latino students than black students in segregated minority settings.  Northern Virginia is also the first region in the state to report that none of its largest school districts are predominantly (80%) white.

Despite Virginia’s long history with school desegregation, little political attention has been paid to the growing multi-racial diversity of the state’s enrollment and rising levels of isolation for its black and Latino students.

Click here to read the entire report. 

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Spanish Researchers Examine New Mechanism for Development of Cancer

Spanish Researchers Examine New Mechanism for Development of Cancer

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A team of Spanish researchers has examined a new mechanism contributing to the development of various tumors, including chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

The results, published in Nature Genetics, link cancer for the first time to errors in chromosome protection.

The work is being headed up by Carlos Lopez-Otin, with the University Oncology Institute at the University of Oviedo; Elias Campo, with the Clinic Hospital and University of Barcelona, and Maria Blasco, the director of the National Oncological Research Center.

The team examined mutations affecting POT1, one of the genes implicated in protecting the ends of chromosomes, known as the telomeres.

All the mutations found in POT1 to date prevent this gene from fulfilling its function, causing the DNA at the ends of the chromosomes to be left without protective covering.

“We’ve spent a great deal of time studying the biology of the telomeres, given that alterations in their maintenance are associated with cancer and aging,” Blasco said.

“Although mechanisms by which the tumor cells alter the telomeres are known, the mutations in POT1 reveal another route unknown until now,” she added.

Quesada said that this is the first time that a gene essential for protecting the telomeres has been found to be mutated.

He emphasized to Efe that it is known that there are tumors in other organs - the lung, for example - that present similar mutations in POT1 and “therefore, we suspect that they contribute to their development.”

“Now that this mechanism is defined, we can investigate that possibility,” he said.

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Pope Francis I Officially Inaugurated as Pope with Most Latin American Leaders in Attendance

Pope Francis I Officially Inaugurated as Pope with Most Latin American Leaders in Attendance

Photo: Pope Francis I Inauguration Mass

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Pope Francis celebrated a Mass here Tuesday morning to mark the start of his papacy and afterward waited inside St. Peter’s Basilica to receive the dozens of government delegations present for the inauguration ceremony.

After praying before an image of the Virgin and bidding farewell to the estimated 200,000 people who had gathered for the occasion, the pope left St. Peter’s Square amid applause and the waving of flags.

Francis went to the sacristy of the chapel where Michelangelo’s Pieta is located to remove his liturgical vestments.

He then moved to the Main Altar in the center of the basilica to greet each of the 132 official delegations who had attended the inauguration.

The dignitaries included Spanish Crown Prince Felipe and his wife, Letizia, and Argentine President Cristina Fernandez, who as the head of state of the homeland of the new pope - the former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Aires - was at the head of the country delegations.

The presidents of Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Italy, Mexico, Panama and Portugal also greeted the pontiff inside St. Peter’s Basilica.

Also in attendance for the inauguration were Spain’s prime minister, the German chancellor, the vice presidents of Cuba, Nicaragua, the United States and Venezuela, the French prime minister, the wives of the presidents of El Salvador and the Dominican Republic and the foreign ministers of Colombia, Guatemala and Peru.

On Wednesday, the pope will greet more than a score of delegations representing other Christian churches who attended the ceremony, which lasted just over two and a half hours.

Prior to the Mass, Pope Francis received the fisherman’s ring and the lambs’ wool pallium symbolizing his ministry as the 266th pope.

In his homily, the first Jesuit and the first Latin American to reach the papacy told the faithful that “authentic power is service, and that the pope too, when exercising power, must enter ever more fully into that service.”

He referred to Joseph’s role as “protector” of Mary and Jesus and said that mission extends to all human beings.

“It means protecting all creation, the beauty of the created world, as the Book of Genesis tells us and as St. Francis of Assisi showed us,” the pope said.

The pontiff chose to name himself after that Italian founder of the Franciscan Order, who lived in the 12th and 13th centuries and is known for renouncing wealth and for his love of animals and nature.

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Latin America News: Death Toll in Brazil Climbs from Powerful Storms

Latin America News: Death Toll in Brazil Climbs from Powerful Storms

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At least 13 people died in the powerful storm that deluged the hilly portion of the southeastern Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro, state Gov. Sergio Cabral said in a press conference on Monday.

Among the victims are two Civil Defense first responders in the city of Petropolis who were buried by a landslide as they were trying to help people affected by the rains.

Most of the other reported victims were in homes that were buried by some of the 21 other landslides registered in different parts of Petropolis, a city of 300,000 located about 70 kilometers (43 miles) from the city of Rio de Janeiro and one of the region’s main urban centers.

Authorities fear that the death toll could rise because additional landslides have been continuing to occur in Petropolis as well as in nearby cities like Duque de Caxias and Xerem and in the towns of Mangaratiba, Niteroi and Angra dos Reis, but the most serious situation was in Petropolis.

In the city of Rio de Janeiro, a low pressure area bringing rain and heavy winds on Sunday night paralyzed the metropolis and left several neighborhoods without electric power.

In addition, at least 12 rivers overflowed in Rio de Janeiro state and the rains caused landslides that covered several regional highways.

More rain fell in Petropolis in a 24-hour period than had been expected for the entire month of March, traditionally a fairly rainy month, the state government said.

According to Cabral, who traveled to Petropolis to personally coordinate rescue efforts, at least 140 families with 325 children among them were taken to shelters because their homes are located in high-risk areas.

“We repeat our request that people who live in high-risk areas go to the shelters, at least until the state of maximum alert is lifted,” Cabral said.

The governor also said that the Rio de Janeiro state government approved the disbursement of three million reais (about $1.5 million) to help with reconstruction tasks and that the city hall had temporarily hired 500 people to help clean up those streets in Petropolis that on Monday morning were either flooded or buried in mud or huge piles of earth that had cascaded down from rainsoaked hillsides.

Petropolis and nearby Teresopolis and Nova Friburgo were the cities that were most heavily affected by the rains that in early 2011 left about 1,000 people dead in what was considered the worst natural disaster ever to strike Brazil.

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TuesdayMarch 19, 2013