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WednesdayMarch 20, 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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Government Halts Graphic Cigarette Label Campaign

Government Halts Graphic Cigarette Label Campaign

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The government has recently decided to drop its campaign for graphic labels on cigarette cartons warning of the dangers of smoking.

The images feature people who suffer from lung cancer and other diseases.

According to Reuters, the government will instead institute a new anti-smoking advertising campaign.

The Food and Drug Administration will create new labels that will fulfill the requirement passed by Congress in 2009 that each cigarette pack must have anti-smoking warnings on the front and back.

According to The Associated Press, the country’s largest tobacco companies have fought against the 2009 legislation, saying that packaging is an important aspect in attracting customers to their product.

The images that will be removed included a man smoking through a tracheotomy hole and a woman sewn up after surgery related to lung disease.

Although smoking has consistently fallen in the recent years, the ruling against the labels has caused the FDA to go back to the drawing board and find another way to deter people from smoking.

Read more at The Celebrity Cafe →

MEXICO: 10 Killed in Mountain Shootout

MEXICO: 10 Killed in Mountain Shootout

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Ten suspected drug-cartel enforcers were killed in a battle with police and soldiers in central Mexico, authorities said.

The confrontation occurred during a joint patrol by police and army troops in the Pinal del Marquesado mountains, the Mexico state government said.

Assailants in an SUV opened fire on the convoy of state police and army vehicles near the entrance to a mountain pass, according to the official account.

“In repelling the gunfire, military and state police personnel killed the 10 occupants of the attacking vehicle,” the statement said, adding that seven assault rifles, a grenade-launcher and a large quantity of ordnance were confiscated.

The army-police patrol was struck by a grenade during the clash, but nobody was hurt in the blast.

El Universal newspaper said on its Web site that the gunmen were members of La Familia Michoacana, a once-powerful criminal organization that has been weakened by internal splits.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Dominican Republic Beats Puerto Rico to Win World Baseball Classic

Dominican Republic Beats Puerto Rico to Win World Baseball Classic

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The Dominican Republic came out on top in the third edition of the World Baseball Classic, shutting out Puerto Rico 3-0 in the final to complete its undefeated run to the championship.

The Dominican squad - on a mission this year after being eliminated in the first round in 2009 - became the first Latin American side to win this international competition, which Japan had dominated until this year.

Edwin Encarnacion got the Caribbean nation off to a fast start in the bottom of the first inning of Tuesday night’s all-Caribbean matchup at AT&T Park in San Francisco, hitting a double off Puerto Rican starter Giancarlo Alvarado that drove in Jose Reyes and Robinson Cano.

The score remained 2-0 until the bottom of the fifth inning, when Erick Aybar hit a double off reliever Hiram Burgos to drive in Alejandro De Aza from second base.

Meanwhile, Dominican starter Samuel Deduno struck out five and gave up two hits and three walks over five scoreless innings en route to the win.

Four relievers - Octavio Dotel, Pedro Strop, Santiago Casilla and closer Fernando Rodney - then worked the final four innings to preserve the shutout.

Rodney, who struck out the final two Puerto Rican batters to clinch the victory, was dominant throughout the 2013 World Baseball Classic, not allowing a single run over 7 1/3 innings while striking out eight and giving up three walks.

Cano, a star second-baseman for the New York Yankees who hit .469 throughout the competition - including four doubles and two home runs - to lead his country to eight wins, was named the tournament’s MVP.

Alvarado, who lasted just one inning after giving up two doubles and a pair of runs, took the loss for Puerto Rico, which was defeated three times by the Dominican Republic during the course of this year’s World Baseball Classic.

Thousands of people poured into the streets of Santo Domingo late Tuesday to celebrate the victory.

“In Rome, Habemus Papam and in the Dominican Republic we have gold! We have gold!” one fan shouted while enjoying the victory at the Dominican capital’s Quisqueya stadium, where a big screen had been set up for the occasion.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Brazil’s Petrobras Looking to Boost Daily Oil Output to 3.4 Million Barrels by 2017

Brazil’s Petrobras Looking to Boost Daily Oil Output to 3.4 Million Barrels by 2017

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Brazilian state-controlled oil company Petrobras, which is striving to boost daily domestic crude and natural gas output to 3.4 million barrels of oil equivalent per day by 2017, said it plans to earmark 62 percent of its investments over the next five years to exploration and production.

“The company’s priority is exploration and production of oil and natural gas,” Petrobras CEO Maria das Gracas Foster said at a press conference in Rio de Janeiro.

The executive gave details of Petrobras’ most recent five-year plan, which was approved last week by the company’s board of directors and calls for investment of $236.7 billion over the next five years.

Of that total, 62 percent ($147.5 billion) will be earmarked for exploration and production, 27 percent ($64.8 billion) for refining, transportation and distribution, and 4 percent ($9.9 billion) for the company’s gas and energy division.

Petrobras produced 2.4 million boe per day in Brazil in 2012 and expects that level of output to remain virtually unchanged throughout 2013.

The company, however, is projecting a sharp increase in output to 3 million boe in 2016, 3.4 million boe in 2017 and 5.2 million boe in 2020 as it ramps up production from promising, ultra-deep “pre-salt” fields.

As part of that goal, the 2013-2017 plan calls for $147.5 billion to be invested in exploration and production, up from $131.6 billion in the 2012-2016 plan. Projected investment in refining, meanwhile, was lowered in the current plan to $64.8 billion, down from $77.4 billion in the previous one.

Foster said two refineries under construction will have been completed prior to 2017, referring to plants that could boost Brazil’s refining capacity from 2 million bpd to 2.4 million bpd, and therefore the company can “give more priority to production.”

Investment in the “pre-salt” frontier - which comprises a series of recently discovered, ultra-deep fields off the coasts of the southeastern states of Espirito Santo, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Santa Catarina - is expected to boost that region’s share of Brazil’s total production from 10 percent at present to nearly 30 percent by 2017 and more than 35 percent by 2020.

“Petrobras currently produces 300,000 (boe) per day in the pre-salt with just 17 wells. That production in 2017 will be 1 million (boe) per day. In 2020, it will be 2 million per day. Pre-salt is a reality,” Foster said.

But accessing those fields, so-named because they are located under, water, rocks and a shifting layer of salt at depths of up to 7,000 meters (22,950 feet) below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, will be very costly and pose an enormous technical challenge.

Read more by HS News Staff →

PM Rajoy: Spanish Government Will Revise 2013 Economic Outlook

PM Rajoy: Spanish Government Will Revise 2013 Economic Outlook

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Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Wednesday that his government will almost certainly revise its economic outlook for 2013.

He made the remarks in Parliament to the leader of the main opposition Socialists, Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, who inquired whether the government was maintaining the economic forecasts it sent to Brussels in April 2012.

“We’re studying all the available information, talking with the (European) Commission, and if it’s necessary we’ll proceed with a correction, a change to those forecasts, just as the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission have done,” Rajoy said.

He then added more categorically: “In fact, I believe we’re going to change the forecasts.”

Rajoy recalled that Spain must present its stability program - or economic projections for 2013 - to the European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm, by the end of April.

Hinting that the forecast would be revised downward, the premier said the outlook must reflect the reality of the recession-hit Iberian nation and that of the whole of the European and global economy.

Economy Minister Luis de Guindos, meanwhile, told reporters Wednesday that the government’s new macroeconomic forecasts for 2013 will be “very conservative” so the path to fiscal consolidation is “very credible.”

Rajoy told Parliament that his government had largely met its economic targets for 2012, noting that gross domestic product declined by 1.4 percent compared with a projected 1.5 percent drop, while the budget deficit was lowered to 6.7 percent of GDP compared with a target of 6.3 percent of GDP.

Unemployment in Spain topped 26 percent at the end of 2012, compared with a government forecast of 24.6 percent, and the jobless rate among people under 25 stood at 55.1 percent.

The Iberian nation is in recession for the second time since the 2008 global financial crisis followed hard on the heels of the collapse of a decade-long property boom.

During Rajoy’s appearance before Parliament, Rubalcaba recommended that changes be made to Spain’s austerity-focused economic policy, but Rajoy said the same strategy would be maintained because the groundwork for recovery is being laid.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spanish Firms Expect to do More Business in LatAm Than Spain by 2016

Spanish Firms Expect to do More Business in LatAm Than Spain by 2016

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Ninety-five percent of the big Spanish companies intend to increase their sales in Latin America over the next three years, while only half of them expect to see increased sales in North America or Eastern Europe.

And 81 percent of the 38 publicly listed companies surveyed for IE Business School’s sixth “Outlook for Spanish Investment in Latin America” believe that in 2016 they will be making more sales in Latin America than in Spain.

The report also forecasts increasing or stable Spanish investments throughout the region, but the preferred destinations will be Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Peru, the latter of which has been a surprise standout in recent years.

The main strength the big Spanish firms see in Latin America is the region’s thriving domestic market, as well as specific advantages such as the competitiveness of the Mexican economy and the training of Colombian and Chilean professionals.

With regard to the risks in the region, the firms cite crime in Colombia and Mexico and challenges to property rights in Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador and Venezuela, while at the same time emphasizing that Peru, Uruguay, Chile and Panama are the safest markets in all senses.

The director of the report, IE Business School professor Juan Carlos Martinez Lazaro, said that small and medium-sized firms will continue to consolidate their position in this “second wave” of Spanish investment in Latin America.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Toxic Smoke Lingering Over Panama City, Panama

Toxic Smoke Lingering Over Panama City, Panama

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A cloud of toxic smoke on Wednesday covered part of the Panamanian capital as a fire burned in the city’s largest trash dump.

Activities in Panama City were continuing normally with the exception that some schools near the site of the fire suspended classes for the day.

The head of the Sinaproc emergency management agency, Arturo Alvarado, issued a call to the public for calm saying that the smoke’s level of toxicity “is not something to be alarmed about.”

“We’re not going to get poisoned,” Alvarado told the media.

Meanwhile, Deputy Health Minister Serafin Sanchez said on television that the emission of gases from the trash dump fire “is completely toxic,” though he admitted that authorities still must perform tests to determine the level of toxicity.

The Health Ministry recommended in a communique that people use damp handkerchiefs or facemasks and close the windows of homes near the fire.

The huge fire in the Cerro Patacon dump started Tuesday night but has been “largely brought under control,” municipal sanitation director Enrique Ho Fernandez told the media.

Panama’s fire chief, Pablo Tuñon, said that 32 firetrucks had been dispatched to Cerro Patacon where their crews are working to put out the blaze.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Chipotle Cancels Boy Scout Event Sponsorship for Stance on Gay Members

Chipotle Cancels Boy Scout Event Sponsorship for Stance on Gay Members

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On March 3, Chipotle Mexican Grill held an event in the Salt Lake area offering free items to Boy Scouts in uniforms.

However, members and supporters of the LGBTQ community were outraged that Chipotle’s support seemed to go against their policy of not supporting “organizations that discriminate against a person or a group on the basis of age, political affiliation, race, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual orientation or religious belief,” as the Boy Scouts currently have a ban on gay leaders and scouts.

In protest, the community leaned in on Chipotle and asked them to clarify their support and their policy.

Chipotle originally stood by their support for the Scouts, saying it was for the children, “many of whom are fans and customers.” The Tex-Mex chain also had an event planned for May, during which they would give out food coupons for the Great Salt Lake Council’s Utah Scout-O-Rama fundraiser.

Despite their original stance however, Chipotle has cancelled their sponsorship of the event with Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold telling ThinkProgress Tuesday, “…Community support decisions like this are made in a decentralized way and this one was inconsistent with our own policy. We believed that terminating the sponsorship and remaining consistent with our policy was the right thing to do, and we have reinforced our policy with the team that makes these decisions to try to prevent similar issues in the future.”

This announcement came just one day after admitting the support of such an organization was indeed a violation of Chipotle’s corporate non-discrimination policies.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Selena Gomez Sings “Mario Kart Love Song” with Jimmy Fallon (VIDEO)

Selena Gomez Sings “Mario Kart Love Song” with Jimmy Fallon (VIDEO)

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Selena Gomez is making the late night rounds to promote her movie Spring Breakers, and last night she appeared on Jimmy Fallon’s “Late Night” to sing a little song.

Fallon and Gomez, donning their best Mario mustaches, sang Sam Hart’s “Maria Kart Love Song” on Tuesday night’s show.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Rand Paul May Support Path to Citizenship – Latinos Say Who Cares

Rand Paul May Support Path to Citizenship – Latinos Say Who Cares

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There is a lot of buzz about Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul’s sudden embrace of immigration reform and a possible ‘path to citizenship’ but not from Latinos.  Coming from a man who is the face of the Tea Party and just two years ago wanted to rewrite the constitution to deny birthright citizenship – the about face is remarkable.

So why aren’t Latinos bringing out the tequila to toast?  Why isn’t Spanish-language media all over this pronouncement like they were all over Jeb Bush’s fill-flop on immigration?

Why aren’t Latinos toasting the man who filibustered for 13 hours without a break to protect them from a possible drone strike death and protects their right to go into sugar-induced comas with a Big Gulp?

Simply put it’s because Paul is “coco loco” “chiflado” “loquito”  – translation: he’s crazy town.  It’s like saying to someone who hasn’t been lucky in love I have the man of your dreams and his name is Jeffry Dahmer.  It is also his questionable gene pool being the son of Ron Paul, his own ‘odd father’. Image

Latinos are worried that Paul has inherited his dad’s clinical propensity for paranoia.  Did the apple fall far from the arbol?  I don’t think so,  to quote Bill Maher “the shit doesn’t fall far from the bat” with those two.

Paul made the startling about face on immigration when he addressed the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday.  Yes, I know what were they thinking? Why the hell did they let him in the front door – not sure?  Maybe they thought as a licensed ophthalmologist he was offering free glaucoma tests.

Paul has not garnered much Latino voter enthusiasm as a potential 2016 Presidential candiate even at the Chamber meeting where he spoke in Spanish or paid homage to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, told us of his Texas days along side Latinos and recited Pablo Neruda’s poetry.  Apparently one of the things Paul does on his episodic visits to sanity is read poetry, who knew.

Latinos know when they look him in the eye (and hopefully not get checked for “lazy eye” since that is what he ultimately thinks of minorities) they find a deluded hater.  This is the man that vows to eliminate the Federal Reserve, Department of Education, American With Disability Act, to name a few, and revoke the Civil Rights Act.  There’s a reason his own party has called him “too kooky for Kentucky.” 

So let’s see we will have a population that is dumber, trading monopoly money for food, hobbled and segregated all while dodging a drone strike in their back yard. 

He is certifiable if he believes that this move will win over Hispanic voters – well - because they aren’t crazy.  More importantly they have a long memory. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican Police Arrest 11-Year-Old Girl Selling Crack in Cancun

An 11-year-old girl was arrested for selling marijuana and crack in a poor neighborhood of the Caribbean resort city, Cancun, Mexican authorities said Wednesday.

The suspect, who was on a motorcycle, was pulled over for speeding at 12:45 a.m. Wednesday, the Cancun Public Safety Office said in a statement.

Noticing that the young biker was nervous, the officers searched her belongings and found the drugs.

The girl told police that someone she identified only as “Jonathan” supplied her with marijuana and crack to sell in the slums of Cancun, according to the official statement.

Mexican drug-dealing outfits sometimes hire youngsters to work as sellers or distributors.

Cancun is Mexico’s leading destination for foreign tourists, especially visitors from the United States.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Bruno Mars Discusses Mistakes, Songwriting in April’s GQ

Bruno Mars Discusses Mistakes, Songwriting in April’s GQ

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GQ: You want to shock the world?

Bruno Mars: Hell yeah! I’ve got nothing else to do.


For GQ‘s April issue, Chris Heath met with Bruno Mars in Los Angeles to discuss the singer-songwriter’s past, present and future in “The Mars Expedition.”

The men discuss that just as his star was on the rise following the release of “Just the Way You Are” in 2010,  Mars was arrested in a Vegas bathroom and charged with cocaine possession. When asked by Heath if he was scared when police arrived he answered, ‘Oh yeah, of course. I was given a number one record and I’m out doing dumb sh*t.’

Asked what he learned from his drug charge, Mars says he learned it can all be taken away. Even if you’ve worked for years to make a name for yourself and garner a huge following, it can be taken away.

‘You’ve prepped your whole life. It’s all you know how to do. You’re a kid experiencing life in fucking Sin City, and that was the lesson: It can all be taken away. Put you in a weird place. Embarrass you.’

To read more about Mars, click here to read Heath’s full GQ piece.

 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Pope Francis Eagerly Looking Forward to World Youth Day in Brazil

Pope Francis Eagerly Looking Forward to World Youth Day in Brazil

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Pope Francis I is “very excited” about his July visit to Brazil to participate in World Youth Day, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said here Wednesday after a meeting with the new pontiff.

The new pope still had not had time to confirm his visit to Brazil, given that his predecessor - Benedict XVI - had originally been scheduled to make the trip, but he did so during his 30-minute meeting with Rousseff.

The Brazilian president is the second head of state to meet with the pontiff after on Monday Francis received the president of his native Argentina, Cristina Fernandez.

The pope expressed to Rousseff his wish to visit Sao Paulo’s Sanctuary of Our Lady of Aparecida, the country’s patron saint, after he spends time in Rio de Janeiro for the World Youth Day events.

Rousseff, who emerged from her meeting with the pope smiling broadly, said that Francis is a “very charismatic” person.

Above all, the Brazilian leader emphasized Pope Francis’ “great commitment to the poor” and the most needy.

Upon responding to Argentine reporters who asked her about what she thought of a pope from Argentina, Rousseff said: “You are very lucky because he’s a great pope, but as our people always say, the pope is Argentine but God is Brazilian.”

After her meeting with Pope Francis, Rousseff, who on Tuesday attended the inaugural Mass of his pontificate along with delegations from 130 countries, headed back to the airport to return to her country.

Read more by HS News Staff →

2013 Billboard Latin Music Awards Artist Roster

2013 Billboard Latin Music Awards Artist Roster

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Telemundo announced that internationally renowned singer and actress Lucero, leading finalist and social media maven Don Omar, La Arrolladora Banda el Limon de Rene Camacho, Gerardo Ortiz, Michel Telo, and Vallenato’s world ambassador Carlos Vives will perform at this year’s Billboard Latin Music Awards presented by State Farm, produced and broadcast live Thursday, April 25 at 7PM/6c from BankUnited Center at the University of Miami in Florida. 

· Renowned singer and actress Lucero returns to the stage with love in her heart, having recently announced her new relationship.  Lucero, also known as “Mexico’s Sweetheart,” has an artistic career that spans over three decades, and has sold 27 million albums worldwide. She has won several accolades in many countries including the USA and her native Mexico.

· Don Omar, also known as the “King of Reggaeton,” is this year’s top Billboard Latin Music Awards finalist up for 18 awards.  The fan favorite, who is also an entrepreneur and social media phenomenon, has been continuously ranked on Billboard’s Social 50 chart since it launched in 2010, reaching the highest position for a male Latin musical act. 

· Also hitting the stage is successful banda music group La Arrolladora Banda el Limon, led by clarinetist René Camacho.  Since its launch in 1997, the band, from Sinaloa, Mexico, quickly rose and remains at the top of the Mexican regional music scene, having launched 30 records and close to 350 songs. Comprised of over a dozen band members, the group is a seven-time finalist at this year’s Billboard Latin Music Awards.

· The Billboard Latin Music Awards will also welcome the “King of Corridos,” Gerardo Ortiz, a phenomenon in Regional Mexican music who has revolutionized the genre with innovative musical arrangements.  Gerardo Ortiz is up for six awards this year. 

· World music sensation Michel Telo busted onto the music scene in 2012 with his international hit “Ai Se Eu Te Pego!,” a number one in most European and Latin American countries. The Brazilian singer, who is up for seven awards, debuted in the U.S. with a live performance at the 2012 Billboard Latin Music Awards. 

· After a four-year absence, Colombian singer, composer, and actor Carlos Vives returns to the world stage with the long awaited album “Corazón Profundo.”  The album’s first single “Volvi A Nacer” debuted at #1 on the Billboard Latin Airplay chart, and ultimately spent three weeks at the top of the chart.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Eva Longoria Says She Misses Playing Gabby Solis

Eva Longoria Says She Misses Playing Gabby Solis

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American actress Eva Longoria said she misses “Desperate Housewives” and her fellow cast members on the hit show, whose eighth and final season ended nearly one year ago.

“Definitely!” she said when asked in an interview with Parade magazine if she is still in touch with her former co-stars of the TV drama series.

“I actually just hung up the phone with Felicity Huffman (a cast member in the series). I miss the cast, and I miss the character of Gabby. That show was life-changing, so I’ll always hold those memories very dear to my heart,” Longoria said.

“Desperate Housewives” went off the air in May of last year after eight seasons chronicling the infidelities, mishaps and dirty laundry of the residents of the fictitious Wisteria Lane.

Longoria, 38, is currently the executive producer of a new reality show titled “Ready for Love,” which premieres on NBC on March 31 and will provide a new twist on the TV dating show format.

“We use matchmakers to find the person that’s going to be the best match for our three guys. I interviewed hundreds of guys, and I handpicked these three myself. They’re some of my best friends now, and I would absolutely introduce them to my sister or my friends,” the actress said.

Longoria, who dated Spanish singer Eduardo Cruz, brother of Spanish actress Penelope Cruz, said she looks for “humor” and “intelligence” in a potential romantic partner.

“Patience is also a big one in a relationship, and knowing that people are always growing. I’ve learned you either grow together or you grow apart.”

Longoria was married for three years to NBA player Tony Parker before they divorced in January 2011.

She was romantically linked later that year with Cruz and subsequently briefly dated New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Madura Holds Double-Digit Lead in Venezuela’s Presidential Race

Madura Holds Double-Digit Lead in Venezuela’s Presidential Race

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The ruling party candidate in Venezuela’s April 14 special presidential election, Nicolas Maduro, leads the opposition standard-bearer by double digits in two polls released Tuesday.

A survey taken by Datanalisis amid ceremonies honoring the deceased President Hugo Chavez, and to which Efe had access, indicated that erstwhile Vice President Maduro is leading the opposition coalition candidate Henrique Capriles by 15 points.

The poll, taken by telephone among 1,027 people between March 11-16, with a margin of error of plus/minus 3.04 percent, showed that 48.8 percent of interviewees would vote for Maduro compared with 33.8 percent for Capriles.

Just over 16 percent were undecided or did not answer, and 1.2 percent will not vote for either candidate.

Almost 69 percent had a positive opinion of the leftist Chavez’s presidency, from 1999 until his death on March 5 after a 21-month battle with cancer, compared with 19.7 percent who had a negative view of it.

Another polling firm, Hinterlaces, found Maduro leading Capriles by 53 percent to 35 percent.

The company surveyed 1,110 adults during the period March 11-16.

The difference between the two candidates reached 40 percent when people were asked which they thought would win the presidential election, regardless of their own electoral preferences.

Some 61 percent said Maduro would win compared with 21 percent who said Capriles.

The study also asked whether Chavez’s Bolivarian Revolution has helped or harmed Venezuela, to which 70 percent answered that it has helped the country, 25 percent said it has done harm, and 5 percent were undecided or did not answer.

Chavez won another six-year term in last October’s election. The winner of next month’s ballot will serve the balance of that mandate.

Read more by HS News Staff →

IOC Inspects Madrid’s Olympic Park for 2020 Bid

IOC Inspects Madrid’s Olympic Park for 2020 Bid

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The Madrid 2020 Olympic Organizing Committee on Tuesday showed IOC representatives the strong public support for the city’s bid, presented proof of its financial ability to host the Games and unveiled what it hopes will be its trump card: the Olympic Park.

On the second day of inspections by the International Olympic Committee’s Evaluation Commission, the organizing committee sought to impress upon inspectors the popular, political and corporate support for the capital’s bid.

It also sought to convince the panel members that, despite the current economic crisis, Spain will be able to complete the necessary Olympics-related infrastructure build-out thanks to investments made in previous years.

The commission members got a first-hand look at some of that infrastructure during a visit to the Olympic Park, where the track-and-field stadium - La Peineta, under renovation to serve as the new home of the Atletico Madrid soccer club - would be located.

Opposite the stadium is the site of the aquatics center, which is in the construction phase. The gymnastics pavilion, velodrome and BMX racing track are to be built in the same area only if Madrid is selected to host the 2020 Games.

The IOC representatives later visited the IFEMA fairgrounds, where the combat sports and other indoor competitions would be held.

Industry, Energy and Tourism Minister Jose Manuel Soria, meanwhile, told the IOC inspectors that the recession-battered Spanish economy is showing “positive signs” and expressed confidence that it would provide a lift to a potential 2020 Madrid Games.

“There are favorable signs indicating that, despite significant imbalances, for example in terms of unemployment, there are more and more multinational companies choosing to invest once again in our country,” Soria said.

Education, Culture and Sports Minister Jose Ignacio Wert, for his part, cited polls showing that 81 percent of Spaniards support Madrid’s bid for the 2020 Games.

Read more by HS News Staff →

After Cancer Battle, Singer Draco Rosa Launches New Album

After Cancer Battle, Singer Draco Rosa Launches New Album

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After a two-year battle against cancer, Puerto Rican singer-songwriter Draco Rosa launched Tuesday his new album “Vida” (Life) on which he teams up with 16 artists including Ricky Martin, Shakira and Alejandro Sanz.

Others accompanying Rosa are Juan Luis Guerra, Calle 13, Juanes, Marc Anthony, Tego Calderon, Mana, Ruben Blades, Jose Feliciano, Enrique Bunbury, Andres Calamaro, Romeo Santos, Ednita Nazario and MiMa.

The new Rosa album is being released almost two years after he was diagnosed with cancer and not quite three months since doctors pronounced him cured.

“It’s titled ‘Vida’ because I’m happy to be alive. After two years of the illness, they confirmed that I was free of cancer on Dec. 31,” the artist said about his new production.

The singer of “Esto Es Vida” (This Is Life), “Reza por Mi” (Pray for Me), “Frio” (Cold), and “Blanca Mujer” (White Woman), and songwriter of some of Ricky Martin’s greatest hits, said that when he found out about his disease, he didn’t understand what would happen, but now that he’s cured he feels “very thankful for the chance to begin” a new life.

Among the tracks on the “Vida” album is “Mas y Mas” (More and More), Roca’s first-ever duet with Ricky Martin.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Auction of Princess Diana’s Dresses Net $1.3 Million

Auction of Princess Diana’s Dresses Net $1.3 Million

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Britain’s Kerry Taylor auction house sold in a public bidding on Tuesday 10 dresses that belonged to the late Princess Diana for 862,800 pounds ($1.3 million).

A midnight blue velvet gown designed by Victor Edelstein that Diana wore at a 1985 White House dinner was the garment that brought the most at the celebrated London auction house: $362,563.

The first wife of Britain’s Crown Prince Charles wore the gown at a gala dinner hosted by President Ronald Reagan where she shared a dance with actor John Travolta.

Another velvet dress - this one black and designed by Catherine Walker - that Diana wore in 1997 at a Vanity Fair photo shoot went for $163,153.

Going for the same price was another pleated velvet evening gown created by Walker - one of Diana’s fashion favorites - that she wore in 1985 during a state visit to Australia.

A sequined sea-green evening dress by the same designer that Diana also included in her luggage on the Australia trip brought $135,961 at the auction.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Justin Bieber Super Fan Briana Tejeda Dies - Singer Tweets Love

Justin Bieber Super Fan Briana Tejeda Dies - Singer Tweets Love

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“Just got news about little Briana,” tweeted Justin Bieber. “I was honored to meet her.’

On Sunday, one of the popstar’s biggest fans who, thanks to social media, was able to meet him, passed away on after a battle with leukemia. She was 11 years old.

Briana Tejeda’s family tweeted in return:

Briana was able to meet, and snag a smooch from, Bieber backstage when he performed in Nashville, TN.

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Spain Sees its Investments in LatAm as Secure

Spain Sees its Investments in LatAm as Secure

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Spain’s top official for relations with Latin America said Tuesday that the investments of Spanish companies in Latin America are safe despite the problems in specific countries such as Argentina and Bolivia.

In remarks made in Barcelona, where he is scheduled to meet with representatives of firms that have investments in Ibero-America, including Abertis, Agbar and Gas Natural, Jesus Gracia said that Spain is the second-largest investor nation in Latin America.

The countries of the region respect the legal security of foreign investments, including Spanish ones, the secretary of state for International Cooperation and Ibero-America said.

Gracia said that, despite the conflicts between Spanish oil company Repsol and the Argentine government or Bolivia’s nationalization of Abertis subsidiary Sabsa, in general Spanish investments in Latin America are safe and “the outlook is good.”

Also, he expressed his wish for the existing conflicts to be resolved with satisfactory agreements for all parties.

Meanwhile, Gracia said he supported a foreign policy to strengthen Spain’s diplomatic and commercial presence in the emerging countries of Asia and Latin America, despite the general context of budget cutbacks.

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WednesdayMarch 20, 2013