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TuesdayMarch 26, 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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Senators Working on Immigration Reform Bill to Visit U.S.-Mexico Border

Senators Working on Immigration Reform Bill to Visit U.S.-Mexico Border

Photo: Nogales Arizona - Border Fence

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Several members of the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” senators who are negotiating immigration reform will visit the U.S. border with Mexico as part of their efforts to reach an accord.

In a communique, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said that he and three of his colleagues will travel to Nogales, Arizona, on Wednesday to discuss the negotiations underway for a plan to legalize the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States.

McCain will be accompanied by Democratic Sens. Charles Schumer of New York and Michael Bennet of Colorado and by fellow Arizona Republican Jeff Flake.

On Monday, during a townhall meeting in Arizona, McCain warned that he could offer no guarantees about when an immigration reform bill might be introduced, though he did say that “progress” had been made in the difficult negotiations.

During a naturalization ceremony Monday at the White House, President Barack Obama again urged Congress to come up with a bill for immigration reform by next month.

Though that is the intention of the Group of Eight, negotiations have run into a number of stumbling blocks, such as how to control the future flow of immigration, limiting visas for families and formulating a guest worker program.

Congress will resume work the second week in April.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico’s Mexichem Acquires Assets of U.S. PolyOne for $250,000

Mexico’s Mexichem Acquires Assets of U.S. PolyOne for $250,000

Photo: Mexichem Acquires PolyOne Assets

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Mexichem, one of Latin America’s largest chemical and petrochemical companies, said it was acquiring all of U.S.-based PolyOne Corporation’s vinyl dispersion, blending and suspension resin business.

Mexichem is acquiring the non-core resin assets for $250 million in cash, PolyOne said.

The deal will allow the Mexican chemical company “to participate in the North American market with highly specialized products and in specific niche markets,” Mexichem chlorovinyl operations director Carlos Manrique said.

The acquisition will also bolster the company’s operations, “thanks to the intrinsic competitive advantages of the North American region due to shale gas, as well as Mexichem’s vertical integration,” Manrique said.

Mexichem is a proven leader and has substantial expertise in base resin manufacturing. We believe they will be able to more fully unlock the potential of our resin production assets, and we look forward to working with them in the future as a supplier,” PolyOne chairman, president and CEO Stephen D. Newlin said in a statement.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and customary closing conditions, the companies said.

The board of directors of state-owned oil giant Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, approved the formation earlier this year of a $556 million joint venture with Mexichem.

Mexichem has more than 10,000 employees and annual revenues of over $3 billion.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spain: PM Rajoy Says Terrorist Group ETA Must Announce Dissolution

Spain: PM Rajoy Says Terrorist Group ETA Must Announce Dissolution

Photo: Spain: PM Rajoy Says Terrorist Group ETA Must Announce Dissolution

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Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy demanded the “definitive dissolution” of the Basque terrorist group ETA, which warned Tuesday that the expulsion of its negotiators from Norway will bring “negative consequences.”

“I like to think positively, I don’t want to talk about negative consequences, and the positive ones will be for everyone once ETA announces its final disappearance as a terrorist organization,” Rajoy said in Paris at a joint press conference with French President Francois Hollande.

The dissolution of ETA “can only be good for everyone,” the Spanish premier said.

Rajoy’s brief statement came after ETA said the expulsion of its negotiators from Norway would bring “negative consequences” and will impede the “resolution of the conflict.”

In a communique published by Naiz.info, the online news site aligned with the leftist Basque independence movement, ETA entered into detail about its expulsion from Norway.

Oslo ordered ETA’s Josu Ternera, David Pla and Iratxe Sorzabal to leave, alleging the lack of “gestures” indicating their will to go forward with the process begun in October 2011 with the announcement of a definitive end to the violence.

The communique became known the same afternoon that a French court in Paris sentenced former ETA military chief Garikoitz Aspiazu Rubina, alias “Txeroki,” to eight years in jail.

His girlfriend, Leire Lopez Zurutuza, with whom he was arrested on Nov. 17, 2008, received a five-year sentence.

ETA has killed nearly 900 people since taking up arms in 1968 to seek a Basque nation comprising parts of northern Spain and southern France.

Read more by HS News Staff →

University of Puerto Rico President Victim of Scam, School Loses $150,000

University of Puerto Rico President Victim of Scam, School Loses $150,000

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The president of the University of Puerto Rico on Tuesday admitted that he was the victim of a scam and allowed the university to be defrauded out of $150,000 when he believed a con artist who passed himself off as a top government official.

Miguel Muñoz told WKAQ radio that the unknown man who contacted him by telephone pretended to be Puerto Rico’s public affairs secretary, Jorge Colberg.

The swindler, according to Muñoz, told him that the UPR was going to receive $15 million from the government although for that to occur the institution first had to submit three checks for $50,000 each to cover administrative expenses.

“That call arrived at (my) office, saying that there were some funds originally allocated to the municipalities and that they were going to allocate $15 million to the UPR,” Muñoz said.

He said that the UPR Finance Office issued the three checks and they were delivered, although payment was stopped on the last one when irregularities were discovered.

The Nuevo Dia daily on Tuesday on its Web site reported the fact that a conspiracy has been operating in Puerto Rico with several people passing themselves off as government officials in speaking with mayors and others, saying that the marks would receive millions of dollars in funding if they made seemingly relatively small pre-payments to cover so-called “administrative expenses.”

So far, two people have been arrested in connection with the UPR case.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Bolivia Approves France’s Total Giving Gazprom Stakes in Gas Fields

Bolivia Approves France’s Total Giving Gazprom Stakes in Gas Fields

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The Chamber of Deputies has approved changes in the operating contracts held by French oil major Total for two gas fields in eastern Bolivia, opening the way for Russia’s Gazprom to acquire stakes in the fields, officials said Tuesday.

Both the Energy Ministry and the Chamber of Deputies’ press office confirmed the change to the contracts.

Lawmakers approved the contract modifications during a session on Monday night.

Gazprom reached an agreement with Total and Argentina’s Tecpetrol in 2010 to acquire a 20 percent stake in the Aquio block and the adjacent Ipati well.

The deal, however, required the approval of Bolivian authorities.

“With these new contracts, Total is surrendering 25 percent of its stake in the contract, that is, it will keep 60 percent of the total interest. Tecpetrol retains its 20 percent (stake) and Russia’s Gazprom enters with a stake of 20 percent in both areas,” Energy Minister Juan Jose Sosa said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

“Revolution” Actress Danilla Alonso Joins PETA Campaign to Stop Animal Cruelty

“Revolution” Actress Danilla Alonso Joins PETA Campaign to Stop Animal Cruelty

Photo: Daniella Alonso Joins PETA

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New York actress Daniella Alonso has joined the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’s campaign promoting fashion without cruelty.

Alonso, currently starring in NBC’s “Revolution,” appears in a sensual pose wearing a bodice and miniskirt of synthetic leather, together with the words “Pleather Yourself.”

Revolutionize Your Wardrobe: Spare Cows and Exotic Animals a Miserable Life and an Agonizing Death By Choosing Fake. For Their Sake,” says the PETA poster on which Alonso appears in a Robert Sebree photograph.

“I don’t understand why anyone would want to use the skin of an animal that has been tortured and abused,” Alonso, whose mother is Puerto Rican and whose father is from Peru, said.

Alonso joins other Latino artists like Eva Mendes, Roselyn Sanchez and Penelope Cruz in the fight to promote fashion choices that don’t entail the mistreatment and death of animals.

“Many of the millions of cows and other animals who are killed for their skins endure the horrors of factory farming, which include extreme crowding and deprivation as well as castration, branding, tail-docking, and dehorning - all without being given any painkillers. At slaughterhouses, animals routinely have their throats cut and are dismembered while they are still conscious,” PETA said.

Last week PETA announced that it will sponsor the care of a chicken rescued from mistreatment as a way of saying thanks to Puerto Rican singer Ricky Martin for becoming a vegetarian

Read more by HS News Staff →

Buenos Aires Inaugurates New Airport Terminal, Doubling Passenger Capacity

Buenos Aires Inaugurates New Airport Terminal, Doubling Passenger Capacity

Photo: Ezeiza international airport

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Argentina’s main international airport on Tuesday officially inaugurated a new terminal that will allow it to double its passenger capacity.

The Ezeiza airport’s new Terminal B was inaugurated in a ceremony attended by Argentina’s president, Cristina Fernandez.

The new terminal required an investment of 570 million pesos ($111.3 million) on the part of the terminal’s operating company, Aeropuertos Argentina 2000, according to a communique issued by the firm.

With the new terminal, Ezeiza, located about 30 kilometers (19 miles) from Buenos Aires, now has 42,300 square meters (447,000 square feet) of apron for parking aircraft, five new passenger gates, 28,795 square meters (304,000 square feet) of covered space inside the terminal, 34 immigration posts, 20 check-in areas, 376 new vehicle parking places and 720 square meters (7,600 square feet) devoted to food service areas or shops.

The Ezeiza airport served 8.9 million passengers in 2012.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Pope Francis’ Manuscript on ‘Mission of Church’ Revealed to Cuban Cardinal

Pope Francis’ Manuscript on ‘Mission of Church’ Revealed to Cuban Cardinal

Photo: Cuban Cardinal Jaime Ortega

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Cuba’s Catholic prelate, Jaime Ortega, made public in Havana a manuscript with remarks made by Jorge Bergoglio about the mission of the church in a session before the conclave that elected him pope.

The manuscript was presented “exclusively” to Cardinal Ortega by Bergoglio before the Argentine prelate became Pope Francis I, and the thinking it contains “could have guided the selection of the cardinals” on March 13, Cuban Catholic Church magazine Palabra Nueva said Tuesday.

The Havana archbishop asked Bergoglio for a copy of his speech at the general gathering of cardinals prior to the conclave to preserve it “since it coincides” with his own thinking about the Church.

Bergoglio initially told Ortega that he did not have a copy of his remarks but the next day he delivered to the Cuban cardinal his own handwritten text and gave him the OK to distribute it.

Palabra Nueva says that in a later meeting in The Vatican between the Cuban cardinal and Pope Francis I, the pontiff “verified his authorization for the dissemination of the text.”

The manuscript, which can be read on Palabra Nueva’s Web site, says that preaching the Gospel “is the Church’s raison d’etre.”

Regarding the characteristics that the new pontiff should have, Bergoglio said that he should be “a man who, from the contemplation of Jesus Christ and from the adoration of Jesus Christ, helps the Church to move outside itself to the existential peripheries.”

“When the Church does not move outside itself to preach the Gospel it becomes self-referential, a kind of theological narcissism,” he said.

“This should shed light on the possible changes and reforms that need to be made for the salvation of souls,” Bergoglio added.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Brazil’s New Oil Refinery in 33 Years Slated to Open 2014

Brazil’s New Oil Refinery in 33 Years Slated to Open 2014

Photo: Brazil's Petrobras

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Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff vowed that a refinery in the northeastern state of Pernambuco initially conceived as a joint project with Venezuela will be completed.

“There are people who say the Abreu e Lima won’t happen. They are prophets of doom, prophets of doom who are wrong,” she said during a speech in Serra Talhada, Pernambuco.

Brazil’s first new refinery in 33 years will be processing 230,000 barrels of oil per day by March 2015, Rousseff said.

Petrobras and Venezuelan state oil giant PDVSA agreed in 2005 to build the refinery as a joint project.

But Petrobras began constructing the plant in 2007 without any contribution from PDVSA, whose financing arrangements have yet to be accepted by Brazil’s BNDES state development bank.

Negotiations on PDVSA’s joining the project were suspended due to the March 5 death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, though Petrobras continues to hold out hope that Venezuela will fulfill its commitments.

Petrobras CEO Maria das Graças Foster said last week that a meeting has been scheduled to discuss PDVSA’s incorporation in Abreu e Lima, which would require an investment of $17.35 billion.

The original accord called for PDVSA to take a 40-percent stake in the venture.

Petrobras has invested $11.7 billion in the project and the refinery is around 70 percent complete, Foster said.

Abreu e Lima is set to begin operating in November 2014.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Fisherman Discovers Two-Headed Bull Shark Fetus in Florida

Fisherman Discovers Two-Headed Bull Shark Fetus in Florida

Photo: Two Headed Bull Shark (Michigan State University)

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A fisherman in the Florida Keys discovered a live bull shark fetus with two heads, something that scientists had never seen before in that species.

The discovery took place in April 2011, but it was not made public until now with its publication in the Journal of Fish Biology after scientists from Michigan State University studied it and confirmed the initial observations.

The fisherman found the fetus when he opened up the uterus of a bull shark he had caught in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Upon noticing that the fetus was alive and had two heads he contacted a scientific team.

MSU’s Michael Wagner, the co-author of the study, said in his analysis that the specimen exhibited axial bifurcation, a deformity where the embryo begins to split into two separate organisms but does not complete the process.

“Halfway through the process of forming twins, the embryo stops dividing,” he said.

This phenomenon has been observed in other shark species.

Wagner acknowledged that there are those who might link this rarity to the effects of pollution from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf, but he insisted that there is no evidence that would establish that relationship.

The difficulty in finding rare specimens such as this one is due, in part, to the fact that creatures with genetic anomalies tend to die shortly after being born.

Read more by HS News Staff →

New Coach Shakira Helps ‘The Voice’ Nab 13.4 Million Viewers

New Coach Shakira Helps ‘The Voice’ Nab 13.4 Million Viewers

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The debut of Colombian singer Shakira on NBC’s music competition “The Voice” was viewed by 13.4 million people, according to figures released by Nielsen on Tuesday.

The television program received a viewer share of 4.7 percent among adults ages 18-49 making it the most-viewed show on Monday night by that market segment.

Shakira, who is temporarily replacing Christina Aguilera, is joining R&B artist Usher, who also made his own debut on Monday replacing Ceelo Green, Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine and country singer Blake Shelton as a judge on the show.

The songstress is seeking to transmit all the energy she displays while performing onstage into this new professional challenge and before the show she had already made her intentions clear, saying, “Never underestimate a Colombian woman.”

Show-business media on Tuesday played up the appearance of Shakira and Usher on “The Voice” and said that the two singers contributed new energy to the program, while MTV said that the Colombian was “entertaining” during the two-hour program.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Former Mexico Mayor Found Drunk When Arrested for Extortion and Harrassment

Former Mexico Mayor Found Drunk When Arrested for Extortion and Harrassment

Photo: Ex-Mexico Mayor Emmanuel Nivon Gonzalez Arrested

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A former mayor of Tapachula, a city in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, was arrested for allegedly harassing and running an extortion racket targeting a high-level police commander investigating him for misuse of public funds, prosecutors said.

Emmanuel Nivon Gonzalez, also a former conservative National Action Party, or PAN, gubernatorial candidate in Chiapas, was arrested early Sunday, the Chiapas Attorney General’s Office said in a statement.

Nivon Gonzalez was detained after Tapachula police chief Carlos Rosales Amaya filed a criminal complaint against him “for making death threats and attempted extortion,” the AG’s office said.

Rosales Amaya alleges that the former mayor told him “he would do him great damage” if he continued investigating the supposed sale of 70 automobiles during his 2011-2012 administration, the AG’s office said.

Nivon Gonzalez was drunk when he was arrested by municipal police at the El Jacalito bar, the establishment where he allegedly threatened the police chief, the AG’s office said.

The politician was mayor of Tapachula from January 2011 to March 2012, when he resigned to make his failed bid for the governorship of Chiapas.

Manuel Velasco, of the Green Party, was elected Chiapas’s governor in the July 1, 2012, general elections

Read more by HS News Staff →

Eva Mendes Pleads for Privacy Even for Her Dogs from Paparazzi

Eva Mendes Pleads for Privacy Even for Her Dogs from Paparazzi

Photo: Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes

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Actress Eva Mendes said in an interview with New York Magazine that she would love to have more privacy in her personal life, so that even her dog and that of her boyfriend, Ryan Gosling, were protected from being harassed by paparazzi.

The actress’s dog is called Hugo and Gosling’s is George.

“I’ll go somewhere and they’ll be like, ‘Hey, Hugo!’ and I’m like, ‘How do you know Hugo’s name?’ That’s so creepy!” said Mendes who is of Cuban descent, who wished magazines had to blur the animals’ faces they way British tabloids blur the faces of celebrities’ kids.

During the interview, Mendes backed off giving any details about her relations with Gosling, as shown by her answer when asked how they met.

“That’s where I start to shut down. Because it gets into personal territory that I don’t feel comfortable talking about. So sorry,” she said.

Nor did she want to say anything about the character she plays in the film that her boyfriend is going to direct, “How to Catch a Monster.”

“I don’t want to disclose anything because I feel like there are no more surprises anymore, whether it’s in film, about the ending of a story, or what a character looks like - by the time we see the movie, we’ve seen paparazzi shots of the actor wearing the wig. Where’s the mystery? Where’d it go? I want it back,” Mendes said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Romania Dismantles Migrant Smuggling Ring Working in Mexico, U.S.

Police dismantled a criminal organization that helped about 600 Romanians enter the United States illegally via Mexico, the organized crime prosecutor’s office said Tuesday.

At least 60 people are being questioned as suspects in the ring operating out of Craiova, a city in southern Romania.

“The candidates were selected to arrive fraudulently in the cities of Cancun and Mexico City, Federal District, and were handed over to other members of the group after paying and taken to the United States, with a destination of Los Angeles or New York,” police said in a statement.

The criminal organization also helped those wishing to go to Canada to enter that country from the United States.

Immigrants were charged about $8,000 by the organization to get them to their destination.

The organization, whose bosses are underworld members in Craiova, earned around $1 million from the people smuggling operation, prosecutors said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER UPDATE: Woman Who Stole Teacher’s Identity Sentenced

LATINO BLOTTER UPDATE: Woman Who Stole Teacher’s Identity Sentenced

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On Monday, a Texas elementary school teacher was able to look at the face of the woman who turned her life upside down with she stole her identity.

More than a decade ago, Candida Gutierrez, now 32, was turned down for a mortgage. As she looked into why, she realized her identity had been stolen.

When she tried to clear things up and even get a new Social Security number, however, she discovered that the woman who had stolen her identity had also filed for a new SSN, claiming to be Gutierrez.

In a shocking twist, Gutierrez was determined to be the fraud and the other woman, later identified as undocumented immigrant Benita Cardona-Gonzalez, was granted the new number. The real Gutierrez was even forced to use a special identification number to file federal taxes, a number usually given to undocumented immigrants.

Roughly 12 years later, Gutierrez finally saw the woman who stole her life admit to what she did. The punishment however, did not seem to fit the crime, as Cardona-Gonzalez was only facing 18 months in prison.

This week, Cardona-Gonzalez was sentenced to the full 18 months for “total identity theft” and possessing fraudulent identification documents.

Read more by HS News Staff →

MX and US Face Off in World Cup Qualifier with 3 Mex-Ams on US Team

MX and US Face Off in World Cup Qualifier with 3 Mex-Ams on US Team

Photo: Omar Gonzalez, Herculez Gomez, and Joe Corona

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Tonight’s match between Mexico and the U.S. should prove to be interesting not only because of the long-standing rivalry, but also because of the players.

Three members of the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team, midfielder Joe Corona, defender Omar Gonzalez, and striker Herculez Gomez are Americans born to Mexican parents.

When not playing with the USMNT Gomez actually plays in Mexico’s Liga MX for Santos Laguna. Gonzalez plays for L.A. Galaxy in MLS. Like Gomez, Corona also plays in Liga MX but for Club Tijuana.

As the pressure brought on by heritage wasn’t enough, the rivalry between the U.S. and Mexico is a long-standing one that has resulted in Mexico winning almost twice as often as they’ve lost. However, in a “friendly” this past August, the U.S. pulled out a win, something the Mexican fans were not too happy. At that time, the U.S. had not wona match in Mexio

Tonight, the U.S. will take on Mexico at Azteca Stadium in Mexico for a World Cup qualifier.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Dominican Bodega Owner Pedro Quezada Wins $338.3M Jackpot

Dominican Bodega Owner Pedro Quezada Wins $338.3M Jackpot

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The man believed to be the winner of the fourth largest jackpot in Powerball history is New Jersey bodega owner Pedro Quezada.

The 44-year-old Dominican-born father of five says he is the winner of the $338.3 Powerball jackpot.

The odds of winning the Powerball are about 1 in 175 million. Monday’s winning numbers were 17, 29, 31, 52, 53, and the Powerball number was 31.

Powerball is played in 42 states and the largest single-ticket jackpot was $365 million. It was won by a group of workers from a Nebraska meatpacking plant in Lincoln in 2006.

Should Quezada be confirmed the only winner, he could either take the lump sum, which after taxes comes out to $152 million after taxes.

The Quezada family’s neighbors say they are thrilled that a hard working man like Quezada has won, especially considering the hardship they had experienced in recent years.

Two years ago, the family’s home was broken into and everything of value was stolen. Then last year, their bodega, Apple Deli Grocery, was almost completely destroyed by a fire.

Quezada’s son, Casiano, said his family will likely keep their bodega open and maybe open another, adding, “I know he’s going to do something good with the money.”

Lottery officials scheduled a news conference Tuesday to formally announce Quezada the winner.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Amanda Knox to Face Retrial of Murder Case in Italy

Amanda Knox to Face Retrial of Murder Case in Italy

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On Tuesday, the Italian Supreme Court ordered American Amanda Knox to stand trial once again for the murder of her roommate in 2007, throwing out the acquittal that released her from prison after serving 4 of the 26 years of her sentence.

According to prosecutors, Knox and her then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito killed Knox’s roommate, Meredith Kercher, a British student, after a drug-fueled sexual assault.

Knox, then 20, had been living in Perugia, Italy while attending the University for Foreigners of Perugia. In November of 2007, Kercher’s almost nude body was found in the apartment.

Kercher, who was 21, was stabbed to death in their apartment, her throat had been slashed.

In 2009, Knox and Sollecito were convicted of Kercher’s murder. Knox was sentenced to 26 years in prison, while Sollecito was given 25. After serving four years, the pair was released following the successful appeal of their verdicts.

With Tuesday’s Supreme Court decision, Knox, whose is currently living in Seattle, may be ordered back to Italy for the retrial. She has written a book titled, “Waiting to be Heard” about the ordeal and it will be out this April.

A PR person for the Knox family told CNN it was “painful” to hear a retrial had been ordered, and claimed the prosecution’s case against her “has been repeatedly revealed to be completely unfounded and unfair.


“The prosecution responsible for the many discrepancies in their work must be made to answer for them, for Raffaele’s sake, my sake, and most especially for the sake of Meredith’s family. Our hearts go out to them.

“No matter what happens, my family and I will face this continuing legal battle as we always have, confident in the truth and with our heads held high in the face of wrongful accusations and unreasonable adversity.”

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Ailing Barca Coach Tito Vilanova Returns to Spain after Cancer Treatment

Ailing Barca Coach Tito Vilanova Returns to Spain after Cancer Treatment

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FC Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova returned to Spain on Tuesday after a 10-week stay in New York to undergo treatment for throat cancer, the club said.

The 44-year-old Catalan arrived at Barcelona’s El Prat International Airport at 8:30 a.m. and went straight home to rest, club management said.

No date has been set for Vilanova’s return to coaching duties, a Barça spokesperson told Efe.

The club has a practice scheduled for Tuesday, but most of the players are away on international duty. It remains unclear whether Vilanova will be on the sideline for the club’s La Liga match with Celta this weekend.

Barcelona’s plan calls for Vilanova to gradually resume his responsibilities as head coach.

Club personnel whisked Vilanova out of the airport through a special exit to avoid the throng of reporters waiting outside the terminal.

Barça released photos of a smiling Vilanova flanked by his assistants and a pair of Civil Guard officers.

Vilanova was first diagnosed with cancer in 2011 and underwent surgery. But the tumor returned and he had to have a second operation in December.

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Brazilian Chocolate Master Diego Lozano Creates Easter Sculpture Exhibit

Brazilian Chocolate Master Diego Lozano Creates Easter Sculpture Exhibit

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An exhibit of chocolate sculptures is giving residents of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the opportunity to celebrate Easter with a look at the human universe and its creations.

The works were designed by master chocolatier Diego Lozano for Easter, an important holiday for the candy industry, which traditionally provides chocolate Easter eggs to millions of children.

Lozano is a native of Sao Paulo, where runs a school that trains chocolatiers.

In 2007, Lozano won the title of Brazilian Chocolate Master and was a finalist the following year in the World Chocolate Masters competition, which crowns the world’s most talented chocolatier.

The 20 chocolate sculptures, which will be on display until Easter Sunday at a Rio de Janeiro shopping center, thrill visitors with their colorful forms, ranging from a hog to a surfer riding a wave.

The exhibit also has a workshop where children can decorate Easter eggs for free.

The chocolate sculptures will be donated to charity once the exhibition ends, organizers said.

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Russia Is Launching Mexico’s Communication Satellite

Russia Is Launching Mexico’s Communication Satellite

Photo: Mexico's Satmex Ready for Launch

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A Proton-M rocket is scheduled to put Mexico’s Satmex-8 communications satellite into orbit on Tuesday, Russia’s Roscosmos space agency said.

The rocket is to lift off at 11:07 p.m. Moscow time from the Baikonur space complex in Kazakhstan, the Interfax news agency reported.

This will be the first launch of a Proton-M since one of the rockets failed to put a Russian Yamal series satellite into orbit in December.

Roscosmos experts determined that the rocket’s failure was caused by a problem with a turbopump.

Satmex-8 was originally scheduled to be put into orbit on Dec. 27, but its launch was postponed until the cause of the Proton-M’s failure was determined.

The satellite, which was manufactured by U.S.-based Space Systems/Loral, belongs to Satelites Mexicanos, or Satmex.

Satmex provides broadband, video, audio and data services to nearly 50 countries in the Americas.

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“Modest” Recovery Predicted for Spanish Economy in 2014

“Modest” Recovery Predicted for Spanish Economy in 2014

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The economy will contract 1.5 percent this year and will experience a “modest” recovery in 2014, when the gross domestic product will expand by 0.60 percent, the Bank of Spain said Tuesday.

The drop in the GDP this year will lead to a “notable reduction” in employment of 3.8 percent, pushing the unemployment rate higher, the central bank said in its latest bulletin.

Net job creation will begin in 2014, leading to “slight” improvement in the unemployment rate, which hit 26.02 percent in 2012, the Bank of Spain said.

The budget deficit will be around 6 percent both this year and in 2014, indicating that “the magnitude of pending fiscal adjustment is still significant” despite the “intense” efforts already made to cut spending, the central bank said.

Domestic spending is expected to fall 4.3 percent this year after dropping 3.9 percent in 2012, the Bank of Spain said, adding that consumer spending would drop up to 3 percent in 2013 because of weak wages.

Investment in housing will fall for a sixth straight year and is likely to drop more than in 2012, plummeting up to 10 percent, the central bank said.

Spain has been battered by an economic meltdown caused by fallout from the global financial crisis and the bursting of the real estate bubble at the end of the past decade.

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Chilean Court Won’t Indict Former Pres. Bachelet for Tsunami Deaths

Chilean Court Won’t Indict Former Pres. Bachelet for Tsunami Deaths

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A Chilean court on Monday rejected a request to indict former President Michelle Bachelet for the 156 deaths blamed on a botched tsunami warning after the magnitude-8.8 earthquake of Feb. 27, 2010.

The request was presented by Raul Meza, the attorney for relatives of some of the victims.

Bachelet has testified twice, once in writing and once in person, regarding the question of the responsibility she may bear in the tsunami alert that followed the earthquake and which prosecutors say - if it had been timely and executed properly - could have prevented numerous deaths.

The temblor caused 526 deaths in all, of which 156 occurred as a result of the tsunami that wiped out several coastal and island communities.

Bachelet left office within weeks of the quake as her four-year term ended.

The new mention of Bachelet in the case comes just days before she returns to Chile, possibly to seek another term as head of state in the November elections, after having resigned the executive directorship of UN Women some days ago.

The chairman of Bachelet’s Socialist Party, Osvaldo Andrade, said last week that after her arrival she would issue a statement regarding her view of a new presidential candidacy.

Chilean navy commander Edmundo Gonzalez acknowledged in May 2010 that his service was at fault for canceling the tsunami warning issued after the massive quake.

The navy “relaxed a little” after its hydrographic service cancelled the tsunami warning issued immediately after the quake, Adm. Gonzalez told members of a congressional investigative committee.

Gonzalez said he did not have all relevant information at the time the naval hydrographic service decided to lift the tsunami alert.

A similar lack of complete data led others, including then-President Bachelet, to make flawed decisions as they struggled to cope with the emergency, the navy chief said.

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HBO Latino Announces New Spanish-Language Line-up

HBO Latino Announces New Spanish-Language Line-up

Photo: HBO Latino Announces New Spanish-Language Line-up

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Includes exclusive broadcast premiere of all-new, original HBO Latino special Habla Women, U.S. TV debuts of Brazilian drama series Preamar and two-part telefilm Mandrake, Estrenos Latinos films every weeknight, as well as HBO® original programs and the best Hollywood movies from the main network in Spanish

HBO Latino, Home Box Office’s dedicated Spanish-language premium channel, has announced their exciting roster of new premium series, films and specials for the Spring 2013 TV season. These new programs are sure to excite the nation’s bilingual Hispanic households.

Making their U.S. television premieres exclusively on the service this spring are the first season of the HBO Latin America series Preamar and the two-part telefilm Mandrake, a follow-up to HBO Latin America’s drama series of the same name.  HBO Latino will also premiere the new documentary Habla Women, the latest installment in the successful Habla franchise.

In addition, Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters and HBO’s award-winning and critically acclaimed originals, including the new season premiere of Game of Thrones®, will be offered in Spanish.

HBO Latino content will also be featured on HBO On Demand®.  Among the programs to be made available are Preamar, Mandrake, Habla Women and Estrenos Latinos, with the English-subtitled series and films accessible the day after their premiere on the channel.  Preamar will reside in “HBO Series”, Mandrake and Estrenos Latinos in “HBO Movies” and Habla Women in both “HBO Documentaries” and “HBO Specials”.

Series, Specials and Films (exclusive to HBO Latino)
Habla Women – Sometimes funny, often poignant, always truthful, Habla Women is the latest installment in this award-winning franchise from HBO Latino that has put the faces and voices of U.S. Latinos on screen like no other show before. Interviewees include actress Gina Rodriguez, chef Daisy Martinez, boxer Marlen Esparza and more. Habla Women premieres April 18 at 8 pm/7c.

Preamar (Brazil) – This series follows João Ricardo Velasco, a successful businessman who has just lost everything except his glamorous apartment in the stock market. João finds a new career working for Xeriffe, an organization that controls the informal marketplace of Rio’s beaches, all the while keeping the truth about his dire financial situation from his wife, children and in-laws. Preamar premieres April 5 at 10 pm/9c with two episodes, followed by other episodes on subsequent Fridays at the same time.

Mandrake (Brazil) – In a follow-up to the popular TV series, these telefilms follow Mandrake (Marcos Palmeira), a criminal lawyer from Rio de Janeiro who delves into Rio’s underbelly on behalf of his clients.  As Mandrake’s personal and professional problems lead him to lose himself and create distance with his business partner, a young lawyer from Mandrake’s past brings him a complicated new case that could change the course of his life. Part 1 premieres April 1 at 8 pm/7c. Part 2 premieres April 8 at 8 pm/7c.

Estrenos Latinos (exclusive to HBO Latino)
Cutting edge, critically acclaimed Spanish-language films from North America, Latin America, Spain and the Caribbean make their premiere Friday nights at 8 pm/7c with four new films making their U.S. television debut throughout the spring season. Encore Estrenos Latinos films will also be featured every weeknight. New films include:

El Rumor De Las Piedras (Venezuela) – After a tragic mudslide, Delia struggles to make ends meet for her two sons while determined to keep her teenager out crime. Premieres April 5 at 8 pm/7c.

El Último Elvis (Argentina) –  “Elvis” Gutiérrez is a star impersonator by night and a factory job worker by day. More connected to his persona as the King than to his own family, Gutiérrez retreats from reality until a tragic accident forces him to grapple with the real world. Premieres April 12 at 8 pm/7c.

Espacio Interior (Mexico) – Based on an incredible true story, Lazarus, kidnapped and held hostage for eight months in a cramped room, is forced to reveal information about his family to stay alive. He falls into despair until a seemingly meaningless event makes him realize he still controls his mind and spirit. Premieres May 3 at 8 pm/7c.

Elliot Loves (U.S.) – This film depicts two stages of a Dominican-American’s life: first as a boy trying to bond with his young mother, then as a gay 21-year-old looking for love in New York City. Premieres June 7 at 8 pm/7c.

HBO Original Programming
The best of HBO’s award-winning original programs are offered on HBO Latino in Spanish, including HBO series and films, documentaries, comedy, music, family shows, sports specials and the best sports on television.  Highlights include:

Game Of Thrones – In the most anticipated season yet, it’s anybody’s game. Summers span decades. Winters can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne continues. From royal families to fierce rivalries, direwolves to dragons, the third season of this Emmy®-winning drama series is back and bigger than ever.  Premieres March 31 at 9pm/8c.

Hollywood Blockbusters
HBO Latino also offers the best in Hollywood movies — dubbed in Spanish — including a guaranteed new movie every Saturday night. Upcoming Saturday premieres include:

Prometheus (April 6), featuring Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba, Logan Marshall-Green and Charlize Theron; The Campaign (April 13), starring Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis and Jason Sudeikis; and Ice Age: Continental Drift (April 27), voiced by Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Seann William Scott, Josh Peck, Aziz Ansari, with Jennifer Lopez and Queen Latifah.Coming in May are Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted and Magic Mike.  All films have additional play dates throughout the month.

HBO Latino is a dedicated Spanish-language premium channel that delivers compelling and relevant programming to the U.S. Latino market.  Exclusive to the channel are the regular U.S. premieres of Spanish-language series, films, and documentaries acquired from North America, Latin America, Spain and Caribbean, as well as original short-form programming.  Additionally, HBO Latino offers the best Hollywood movies and HBO original programming from the network’s main channel in Spanish. Visit http://www.hbolatino.com for more information and scheduling. HBO Latino is included with an HBO subscription.

Check out the latest news and updates, share favorite moments, get sneak peeks, view compelling video content and more, all in Spanish, by following HBO Latino on
Facebook (www.facebook.com/hbolatino)
YouTube (www.youtube.com/hbolatino)
Twitter (www.twitter.com/hbolatino).

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JUST IN:  Mexico City Under Evacuation Order, Buildings Sway on 5.94 Earthquake

JUST IN:  Mexico City Under Evacuation Order, Buildings Sway on 5.94 Earthquake

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BREAKING NEWS:  Mexico City is evacuating all of its high-rise buildings as an earthquake alarm sounded.  There are thousands of people fleeing into the streets.  This is a developing story.

Early reports indicate a 5.94 magnitude earthquake occurred around 7:00 a.m. local time, 15 minutes later authorities sounded the earthquake alarm ordering the evacuations. 

Yesterday afternoon in Guatemala City, Guatemala a 6.2 magnitude earthquake that was 125 miles deep occurred.  The Mexico City building sway could be the result of that deep earthquake.

As of now there are no reports of damage or injury. 

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Consultants Say Madrid Would be Ready for 2020 Olympics

Consultants Say Madrid Would be Ready for 2020 Olympics

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Madrid in the year 2020 will be in better shape to organize the Olympic Games than it is now, according to a report by consulting giant PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The document was presented to the International Olympic Committee’s Evaluation Commission last week during the inspectors’ visit to the Spanish capital to appraise Madrid’s bid for the 2020 Games.

With regard to the 37-parameter analysis, the PwC report sets out to compare Madrid’s current position with that of other cities, to analyze the recent evolution of Spain in the context of the economic crisis, and its possible progress up to the year 2020.

Among the aspects studied were transportation and infrastructures, health and safety, intellectual innovation and capital, sustainability and the environment, demographics, costs, accessibility and business capacity.

Of the 37 parameters, the report forecasts that 65 percent will progress favorably over the next seven years while 23 percent will remain stable.

Madrid already has some favorable conditions for holding the Games and is in a better position that any of the previous Olympic cities for mass transport and a low risk of natural disasters.

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TuesdayMarch 26, 2013