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SundayMarch 31, 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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2 Men Arrested For Raping Tourist in Brazil

Two men were arrested for robbing and raping a foreign tourist aboard a microbus in Rio de Janeiro and beating her boyfriend, Brazilian police said Sunday.

Jonathan Foudakis de Souza, 20, and Wallace Aparecido Souza Silva, 22, were arrested in the neighboring city of Sao Gonzalo on Saturday night, just a few hours after the incident occurred.

The victims identified the two suspects, one of whom was the driver of the microbus.

The tourist, whose identity and nationality have not been released, told investigators that she and her boyfriend were attacked in the early morning hours Saturday while riding from the Copacabana district to the Lapa section, police said.

The suspects ordered the other passengers to get off the bus in the Botafogo district and took the foreigners to the nearby city of Niteroi, holding them hostage for six hours, police said.

The victims were robbed and left in Itaborai, another Rio de Janeiro suburb, where they requested assistance from police.

The tourists provided police with information about the microbus that allowed investigators to quickly identify the owner and find the person who rented it to use for public transportation.

One of the suspects had the woman’s cell phone in his possession, police said.

A Brazilian woman went to the same police station and told officers that the suspects, who do not have prior criminal records, raped her a week earlier on the same microbus.

The woman saw the men’s photos on the Internet and recognized them as the individuals who picked her up in a microbus in Copacabana, abducted and raped her, and later left her in Sao Gonzalo.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Extreme Trafficking: Latino Doctor Arrested for Illegally Trafficking $10M Worth of Oxycodone in NYC

Extreme Trafficking: Latino Doctor Arrested for Illegally Trafficking $10M Worth of Oxycodone in NYC

Photo: NYC Police - Dr. Hector Castro

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Dr. Hector Castro and Patricia Rodriguez were arrested for illegally trafficking oxycodone through the Itzama Medical Center in New York City to the tune of $10 million.

The long-term prescription pill investigation called ‘Operation Cuba Libre’ was overseen by immigration and drug enforcement agencies.  Castro is the founder and medical director of the Itzama Medical Center and Rodriguez its office manager.

“Doctor Hector Castro and his staff allegedly abused their trusted positions as medical professionals to illegally distribute prescription drugs for a profit,” said James T. Hayes Jr., special agent in charge of the investigation. The investigation revealed an extensive interstate network of pill traffickers who got prescriptions from Castro and Rodriguez.

Castro and Rodriguez are believed to have carried out two separate prescription-related criminal schemes that together resulted in the diversion of well over 500,000 narcotic pills worth at least $10 million onto the black market.

In conjunction with the arrest of Castro and Rodriguez, Pennsylvania authorities are prosecuting another 43 drug traffickers to whom Rodriguez supplied prescriptions.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Pope Francis Calls for Peace at First Easter Mass

Pope Francis Calls for Peace at First Easter Mass

Photo: Pope Francis

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Pope Francis called on Easter Sunday for peace in a world “still divided by greed looking for easy gain, wounded by the selfishness which threatens human life and the family, selfishness that continues in human trafficking, the most extensive form of slavery in this twenty-first century.”

“Peace to the whole world, torn apart by violence linked to drug trafficking and by the iniquitous exploitation of natural resources! Peace to this our Earth! Made the risen Jesus bring comfort to the victims of natural disasters and make us responsible guardians of creation,” the pope said.

Francis pleaded during his first Easter as pontiff for peace in Syria and the Korean peninsula, where tensions have risen following North Korea’s declaration of a “state of war” against South Korea and threats to attack the United States.

The 76-year-old pope told the approximately 250,000 people gathered in St. Peter’s Square and nearby streets that he was overjoyed to have been elected to the papacy just before Holy Week.

The pontiff did not give a homily during Easter Mass because he gave his Easter message and “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world) blessing right after the service.

“What a joy it is to announce this message: Christ is risen! I would like it to go out to every house and every family, especially where the suffering is greatest, in hospitals, in prisons? Most of all, I would like it to enter every heart, for it is there that God wants to sow this Good News: Jesus is risen, there is hope for you, you are no longer in the power of sin or of evil! Love has triumphed! Mercy has been victorious! God’s mercy always triumphs!” the pope said.

The pope’s Easter message ended the Holy Week rites, and the pontiff will return to St. Peter’s Square on Monday to pray the Regina Coeli at noon.

Pope Francis was elected the 266th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church on March 13.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Venezuela Celebrates Easter by Remembering Their Own “Son of God”

Venezuela Celebrates Easter by Remembering Their Own “Son of God”

Photo: Bolivar, Jesus Christ and Hugo Chavez

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Interim Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro compared Jesus’ disciples reaction to his death to the country’s reaction to its own “Son of God”, former President Hugo Chavez dying.

Maduro who is making a name for himself with his extreme rhetoric, was speaking on Easter to a crowd in the state of Barinas.  He noted Jesus’ follwers were not ready for him to die, so much so that they questioned their faith in God.  So to did Venezuelans, he pointed out, question their faith in God when Chavez died on March 5.

Many die-hard, left-leaning supporters of Chavez and his appointed successor Maduro are trying to honor Chavez in as many ways as possible.  Many of today’s Easter masses were given in honor of Chavez.  There is even an animated video about Chavez arriving in heaven, that Venezuelans are enjoyed today.

The “Vive TV” video depicts Chavez in heaven with the great political players in Latin American history: Simon Bolivar, Che Guevara, Eva Peron amongst others.  There are now numerous outdoor venues where artists portray the deceased Chavez along side Jesus Christ and Simon Bolivar - the new Venezuelan version of the trinity. 

Chavez, 58, died after a nearly two-year battle with cancer where he was honored with multiple masses, memorials and a state funeral.

Maduro was Chavez’ hand picked successor and will face election on April 14, 2013 against Miranda state Governor Henrique Capriles.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Atlas Becomes Top Team in Mexican Soccer After Defeating Cruz Azul

Atlas beat Cruz Azul 2-1 to become the new leaders in the Clausura 2013 Mexican soccer tourney at the beginning of the 12th week of the championship.

Luis Ramos scored in the 39th minute of Saturday’s match and Vicente Matias Vuosso added a goal in the 55th minute for the visitors, while Israel Castro found the net for the home squad, who remain out of the qualifying zone, in the 51st minute.

The first period was rather lackluster except for the fact that Ramos managed to knock a header in.

After the break, the Blues put on the pressure and Atlas responded with play going back and forth until Castro received the ball on a play initiated by Colombia’s Teofilo Gutierrez and evened the score with a shot from the right.

But Atlas responded just 4 minutes later with another goal of their own, thus securing their tourney lead with eight wins, two ties, two defeats and 26 points, one more than Tigres, who are slated to play Puebla and if they manage to get at least a tie will recover the lead.

Cruz Azul is currently in 11th place with 14 points.

Also on Saturday, Monterrey pounded UNAM Pumas 3-0 on late goals by Luis Mardigal in the 80th minute, Humberto Suazo in the 86th minute and Cesar Delgado in extra time, and San Luis did the same to Chiapas, the 3-0 result coming on goals by Juan Cuevas in the 23rd minute on a penalty kick, Javier Muñoz in the 62nd minute and Marco Perez Riego in the 66th minute.

Meanwhile, Morelia crushed Atlante 4-0, with the latter’s Israel Martinez starting off his team’s bad luck express with an own goal in the 4th minute, followed by goals by Hector Mancilla in the 21st minute, and two by Carlos Ochoa, one in the 86th minute and the second 5 minutes later.

Santos Laguna tied Queretaro 1-1, although it looked like they would notch a clear win up until the very last seconds. The first score came on a shot by Oribe Peralta Morones in the 38th minute and then an own goal by teammate Felipe Baloy in the 94th minute snatched a draw from the jaws of victory.

Also on Saturday, Toluca beat Tijuana 1-0 on a goal by Wilson Mathias in the 7th minute and Leon and Pachuca battled to a scoreless tie.

On Sunday, Tigres will go up against Puebla and America will face off against Guadalajara.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Rafael Amaya Stars in Telemundo’s New Telenovela Focused on Drug Trafficking

Rafael Amaya Stars in Telemundo’s New Telenovela Focused on Drug Trafficking

Photo: Rafael Amaya in "El señor de los cielos"

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Mexican actor Rafael Amaya plays the lead role in “El señor de los cielos,” the new soap opera that Telemundo will air in April.

The role of Aurelio Casillas, an ambitious and manipulative man who becomes one of Mexico’s most powerful drug traffickers, is one of the strongest that Amaya has been called upon to play and he says he couldn’t be happier.

“This is the story of a man who came from nothing and became one of the richest and most powerful. How did he do is? Certainly, it’s all fiction, but it’s what we explore in this story,” the 36-year-old actor born in Sonora state told Efe in an interview.

Casillas, a man blinded by ambition, got the nickname “El señor de los cielos” (The lord of the skies), because he used an impressive fleet of aircraft to make his drug shipments.

Amaya - who stars in the program along with Fernanda Castillo, Ximena Herrera, Angelica Celaya and Gabriel Porras - says that the role of Casillas allows him to explore the dark side of life, something that he enjoys as an actor.

“For me, the most important - the most fascinating - thing is human behavior. And my character is a very interesting individual because he’s a very emotionally intelligent man. He’s a man of the people, who is able to ‘read’ others and knows when someone is going to betray him and who is useful to him for what. He’s an excellent strategist,” Amaya said.

The story, although violent, carries a very important message, Amaya said: “It’s deep, it’s born from the deepest feelings. Aurelio was blinded by power and by ambition, but here we see that power isn’t everything, that money isn’t everything.”

Amaya began his performing career with the youth musical group Garibaldi. His career as an actor in soap operas kicked off in 2001 with a role in “Sin pecado concebido,” along with Angelica Rivera, the wife of Mexico’s current president, Enrique Peña Nieto.

He has starred in a number of successful soaps since then, in particular “Alguien te mira” and “La reina del Sur,” the latter of which he considers to be a revolutionary production in the genre.

Amaya says that “El señor de los cielos” is another step in the evolution of the soap opera and advises his fans not to miss it because “We’re doing things that have never been done. You’re going to enjoy it.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Florida Celebrates 500 Years and Spanish Explorer Ponce de Leon

Florida Celebrates 500 Years and Spanish Explorer Ponce de Leon

Photo: St. Augustine

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Florida this weekend is commemorating the 1513 arrival of Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon on its shores, a landing and expedition that marked the beginning of the Spanish presence on mainland North America and, in effect, put the continent on the map.

It was on Easter Day - March 27, 1513 - that the crew of the vessels commanded by Ponce de Leon spotted an unknown coastline where no European had ever been known to set foot.

On April 3 - although historians are not in agreement on that date - the Spanish commander landed on the coast north of where the city of St. Augustine now stands, near Ponte Vedra Beach, marking the beginning of the modern history of North America.

Five hundred years have passed since that historic date, although Steve Higgins, the communications director of the beautiful St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum, told Efe that it is a shame that “almost nothing (of that era) is taught in schools” nowadays.

“More than a century before the famous ‘Pilgrim Fathers’ arrived on the coast at Plymouth (Massachusetts), the Spaniards were already here” and they gave rise to the country’s “first melting pot of cultures,” Higgins said.

This 500th anniversary is “a very important commemoration not only for Florida but also for the entire United States,” Higgins said, noting the expositions and events taking place these days at the lighthouse of Victorian design built in 1871.

The lighthouse houses a museum on its three floors and is devoted to the preservation and dissemination of historical heritage.

Numerous events to commemorate the state’s founding are being held this year all across Florida, in Miami, St. Augustine, Pensacola, Gainesville, Melbourne Beach and Ft. Pierce, among other cities.

The celebrations include expositions, conferences, gastronomic events, music, recreations of historic events in period costumes, parades and folk dances.

St. Augustine, in particular - the oldest city in the United States, founded by Spain’s Pedro Menendez de Aviles in 1565 - is devoting special attention to its program for the 500th anniversary celebrations.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Solar Energy Projects in Chile Receive $40 Million Loans

Solar Energy Projects in Chile Receive $40 Million Loans

Photo: Photovoltaic solar power plants

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The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approved a loan package for $41.4 million to private sector firms for the construction, operation, and maintenance of three photovoltaic solar power plants in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile. The financing consists of a loan for $20.7 million from the IDB’s ordinary capital and a loan for $20.7 million from the Canadian Climate Fund for the Private Sector in the Americas, which is administered by the Bank.

The plants in the Pozo Almonte and Calama Photovoltaic Project, whichwill have a peak generating capacity of 26.5 megawatts, will supply power to the Collahuasi and Codelco mining companies.

The project’s major benefits will be to help develop local energy sources to diversify Chile’s energy matrix, whose generating capacity is 75 percent dependent on imported fuels. It will also replace fossil fuels with a renewable energy resource for power generation for the mining industry, which consumes 18 percent of the country’s electricity and accounts for 19 percent of the country’s GDP, and reduce CO2 emissions by 56,000 tons annually.

The operation supports Chile’s National Energy Strategy, which aims to more than double the contribution of unconventional renewable energy to the country’s energy matrix in the next 10 years.

It is estimated that energy consumption in Chile will grow annually between 6 percent and 7 percent until 2020. The new IDB operation will help to bridge the gap between energy supply and demand by utilizing a local energy source that is clean, competitive, and abundant in the country, and can be developed quickly to boost growth of the Chilean economy.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Raramuri Indians Pray for Expulsion of Narcos in Mexico

The Raramuri Indians are using Holy Week to pray for the expulsion of drug traffickers from their lands in northern Mexico’s Chihuahua state.

“These feast days are to tell them (drug traffickers operating in the Sierra Tarahumara region) that we are not going to leave, that we are going to stay here, that this is our land and we are going to defend it,” the Rev. Javier Avila, a defender of Indian rights, told Efe.

Avila has been working to defend the rights of the Raramuris, also known as Tarahumaras, for 30 years, working out of a small church in Creel, a city in Chihuahua’s mountains.

Holy Week this year served as both an effort to save Indian traditions and a rallying point for resistance, the Catholic priest said.

Avila said he lost track of the threats he had received from drug cartels and took all of them seriously.

The Indians concluded their Holy Week celebrations by burning an effigy of Judas on Saturday night, with members of the community dancing and singing as the blames lit up the sky, burning off all the bad things.

For the Indians, this Judas represented drug traffickers, who have forced residents to plant cannabis and stop growing the traditional corn crop.

The Raramuris, renowned for their ability to cover long distances on foot, are being forcibly recruited by Mexican drug traffickers to smuggle narcotics into the United States.

Drug cartels force young men to smuggle drugs across the border into the United States, where some of them have ended up in prison.

Raramuris are paid up to 1,000 pesos ($81) to grow marijuana, Manuel Gonzalez, an elderly security guard at the Best Western Hotel in Creel, said.

“They have nothing else and that’s a nice bit of dough,” Gonzalez said.

“The Raramuris scare easily and they are nearly prisoners to hunger, and if they do not cooperate, they will kill them,” he said.

The Raramuris inhabit communities in the Sierra Tarahumara region of Chihuahua, an impoverished area of Mexico where severe droughts in recent decades have brought hunger and despair.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Is There Something Worse Than Being Called a Wetback?

Is There Something Worse Than Being Called a Wetback?

Photo: U.S. Congressman Don Young

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Have you heard the one about the “50-60 wetbacks” picking tomatoes that were replaced by a machine?  If you haven’t, your head is in the sand or in the Rio Grande. 

Republican U.S. Congressman Don Young of Alaska was chatting away sharing his gnat size knowledge on immigration policy during an interview on a local radio station.  He thought it relevant to mention the good old days on his folks California farm and noted the following:

“My father had a ranch; we used to have 50–60 wetbacks to pick tomatoes.  It takes two people to pick the same tomatoes now.  It’s all done by machine.” 

With all the fervor, rage and political grandstanding that have come from his comment, it is timely to ask if there is something worse than being called a wetback for Latinos.

Young (his name by the way does not reflect his appearance or his policies) apparently vomits out whatever comes to mind.  It must be comforting to former Governor Sarah Pallin to know she’s not the only political mediocrity to come out of Alaska.

He kind of reminds me of that crumped uncle that still calls African-Americans ‘’negroes” and only progressed to calling them “coloreds” after Obama ‘s re-election.  You know the kind that asks your Asian friends with MBAs about the starch on his shirts and why their people can’t get his Ming Chow Palace carryout order correct.

Being in his 21st term in Congress, and having been under federal investigation over the last 6 years for everything from earmark spending to bribery to questionable campaign contributions – Young’s expiration date is up. 

I personally am never offended with an offensive comment when the people saying it, are in themselves offensive.  What can one really expect from these gaff-aholic types?

To his credit the Congressman did an immediate walk-back on the wetback comment. “I know that this term is not used in the same way nowadays,” Young said.  See what I meant, not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

Poor thing must not have read the inter-office memo from his fellow Republicans that are trying to reverse their own extinction.  The memo reads something like “remember we like Latinos, illegal or not, don’t insult them or their cousins across the border at least not until we start winning elections.”

Are Latinos more offended being pandered to for their vote or being called wetback?  Do most Latinos even associate themselves with a term more associated with the undocumented?  Do Republicans even realize that most Latinos aren’t ‘wetbacks’?

What is clear is that this pandering, this sudden about face on immigration, this sudden effort for Republican outreach is MORE offensive than being called a wetback. 

The term ‘wetback’ was coined in 1944 by Border Patrol to identify those immigrants whose clothes were still wet from swimming across the Rio Grande from Mexico to enter the U.S. illegally.  The term became more offensive when it became the moniker for a massive deportation initiative in the ‘50s.

In 1954 “Operation Wetback” was launched to stem the tide of undocumented entering the country from Mexico.  The operation involved going to Hispanic communities searching for those immigrants inside their homes and many times deporting them and their American born children.

So can there really be something worse than being called a wetback?  The Republicans don’t seem to think so they view this as the greatest crime against the very Hispanics they are trying to engage and just realized they needed.

Speaker John Boehner immediately condemned the comment, to his credit he does all he can for the cause by ‘browning’ his skin some might argue orange-izing it to better relate to minorities.

While Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) said the comment “could hurt Republicans and their relationship with the Hispanic community.

Interestingly, the only Hispanic senior Senator, Marco Rubio was too busy to comment or admonish Rep. Young.  And yes this is more offensive than Young’s ‘wetback’ comment for me personally.

His office said he was observing a religious holiday.  I didn’t realize Good Friday meant your mouth was wired shut to things other than meat.  Or maybe because the term wetback is a direct insult to Mexican immigrants versus Cuban immigrants he wasn’t motivated enough to comment.  Not sure.

Republicans are all over this and throwing one of their own under the bus for such “disrespectful” language.  So why can’t they also condemn as disrespectful and racially biased all twenty-three plus Voter ID laws they authored that will disproportionately harm Latino voters.  Or stop supporting initiatives to overturn Affirmative Action or stop barring undocumented students from accessing state-rate tuition, and the list goes on.

Just this week there were other Republicans who didn’t get the ‘be nice to Latinos’ memo and they didn’t get admonished.  There’s North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory wanting to put a ‘scarlet letter’ on drivers license for undocumented students and closing the decade’s old state office on Latino affairs.  How about Sen. John McCain insisting he will continue to use the term “illegal alien” when describing the undocumented even when he was told straight to his face Latinos find that term very offensive.

Yes! Yes, there are things worse than being called a ‘wetback’!

Get rid of those anti-Latino initiatives amongst many others and make an earnest effort on comprehensive immigration reform, that would show real respect to Latinos, which would make the ‘wetback’ label a mere sting.

Google+ Author: Estelle Gonzales Walgreen

Read more by HS News Staff →

As Immigration Reform Looms, What Comes Next?

As Immigration Reform Looms, What Comes Next?

Photo: NewsTaco

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By Victor Landa, NewsTaco

If there was ever a doubt about what the majority of Americans are thinking regarding immigrants and immigration, a just-published Pew Research Center for People & the Press study has put an emphatic period at the end of it.

Here’s what the study found, in a nutshell:

    71% of Americans believe there should be a way for Undocumented to stay legally
    43% say they should be allowed to apply for citizenship
    24% think they should be eligible for permanent residency

The study is pithy and dripping, with layers of nuance. But overall there’s a sense of momentum towards increasing acceptance and tolerance of undocumented immigrants. And that’s a good thing, given the rumors of an imminent congressional compromise on immigration reform.

Not that a survey and a reform bill settle anything.Image

This is America, after all, where we love to debate and take the perfecting of our union thing to an antagonistic extreme. But the Pew study and the looming reform do point to a critical mass of sorts.

There’s a feeling that things are about to turn a corner; that the rhetorical bickering over immigration will be left in the rear view mirror and that the days of immigration as a political wedge are behind us as well (okay, not entirely, I know, it will never be that way, but immigration as a menacing thing won’t be that menacing any more…).

The study’s stark revelation is that the whiter the person polled and the lower their education, the more negative their attitude toward immigrants and immigration – and the more false their assessment of each.

Another stark reality: America is changing. Immigration reform, as most Americans think it should happen and as congress – whatever their motivation- seems to be leaning toward, will direct that change in a definite way. And the rest, the 27% who according to the Pew study believe the undocumented should not be allowed to stay? Let’s just say they’re the part of the union that needs tweaking.

And that leads to what will be left in the wake of what’s now rumored to be an inevitable immigration reform. It just may be time to start thinking in earnest about the kind of America we’ll build after comprehensive immigration reform. It matters specifically to U. S. Latinos because we’re in the center of the storm and when things settle we’ll be at the forefront of moving forward.

There’s always a twist in these things, and the twist here is that the forefront won’t come easily. We’ll be there, working and purchasing and doing the things that Americans do day-to-day to move the country forward, but the fight for equity isn’t going to magically disappear.

There will still be disparities at all levels (I don’t think I need to list them). The idea is that immigration reform is going to pivot the great American questions decisively in the Latino direction: What is America? What is America’s future?

Let’s get to tweaking, but know that it won’t be easy.

This article was first published in NewsTaco.

NewsTaco provides you with innovative and insightful news, critique, analysis and opinion from a Latino perspective in a 24-hour world.

Read more at NewsTaco →

INFOGRAPHIC: The Evolving Demographics of Hispanic Americans

INFOGRAPHIC: The Evolving Demographics of Hispanic Americans

Photo: Hispanically Speaking News

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A recent report, “Hispanics in the United States: Not Only Mexicans,” has revealed that the Hispanic population has become more diverse. 

While Mexicans make up 60% of the Hispanic Population, research shows that many Central Americans have migrated over the last 20 years. 

HSN looked at key socio-economic, demographic and education information to paint a better picture of hispanics in america today.


Read more by HS News Staff →

Special Restaurant in Albuquerque Serves Food, Hugs, and Inspiration

Special Restaurant in Albuquerque Serves Food, Hugs, and Inspiration

Photo: Tim Harris

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Tim’s Place, a restaurant in Albuquerque, probably has great food, but what makes it newsworthy is its inspiring owner.

Tim Harris is the owner of Tim’s Place and is known for greeting his customers with hugs. According to The Huffington Post, Harris is the first person with Down syndrome to own a restaurant.

The restaurant’s website lists Harris’ many accomplishments, including being named Homecoming King and Student of the Year in high school, graduating from Eastern New Mexico University, and winning dozens of gold medals as a Special Olympian.

Tim’s Place is known as “the world’s friendliest restaurant” and serves breakfast and lunch seven days a week. But you have to stay for desert, which is advertised as calorie free on the website. Here’s a hint as to the recipe: the official hug count on the website reads 32,475.

According to the National Down Syndrome Society, Down syndrome is a result of “a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21.” They also state that “Down syndrome is the most commonly occurring chromosomal condition.” Over 40,000 people in the U.S. live with Down syndrome.

March 21 was World Down Syndrome Day.

Read more at The Celebrity Cafe →

U.S. Marshals Apprehend Fugitive After 31 Years on the Run

U.S. Marshals Apprehend Fugitive After 31 Years on the Run

Photo: U.S. Marshals

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U.S. Marshal Bobby Mathieson announces the capture of Ronald Orville Garcia. Garcia was wanted by the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) in Virginia after failing to appear for court in 1982 on drug charges.

Deputy U.S. Marshals for the Eastern District of Virginia (E/VA) and District of Nebraska’s Metro Fugitive Task Force (MFTF) working with Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office were able to confirm the identity of 64-year-old Garcia Tuesday afternoon. The MFTF then arrested Garcia based on his warrant.

In 1981, the DEA within E/VA arrested Garcia for allegedly selling cocaine. The subject was released on bail while awaiting trial, expected to appear for all court appearances. In early 1982, Garcia did not appear for a scheduled hearing.

As the enforcement arm of the federal courts, the U.S. Marshals immediately began efforts to locate and apprehend Garcia for Bail Jumping. In late 2002, and again in 2005, the U.S. District Court in the Central District of California (C/CA) issued additional federal arrest warrants against Garcia for Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Distribute. Since that time, the DEA and U.S. Marshals have collaborated in an effort to capture this fugitive.

In January, Deputy U.S. Marshals (DUSMs) in Norfolk, VA were contacted by officials in California. Deputies learned of a male living in California who allegedly stole the identity of a person in another state. It is suspected that by using the other person’s identity, the male in California illegally obtained a California Driver’s License. DUSMs confirmed the male as Garcia and tracked him to his residence in Sonoma County, CA.

While continuing investigations, DUSMs within both E/VA and the District of Nebraska (D/NE) were contacted by the Lancaster County Sheriff’s. Sheriff’s deputies informed DUSMs that they had contacted a male pursuant to a traffic stop.

It is believed that the suspect was traveling back to California when stopped by the sheriffs. Garcia allegedly provided a Washington state license to law enforcement officers which displayed his picture but a name other than his true identity. The subject later claimed to be Garcia. Upon further questioning and verifications with USMS E/VA, Lancaster County authorities eventually learned of the subject’s true identity. Garcia is now currently awaiting extradition to either E/VA or C/CA.

To many, it seemed as though this fugitive had disappeared forever. However, the U.S. Marshals remained steadfast and continued to work diligently for approximately 31 years to capture him. Thanks to the joint efforts of multiple law enforcement agencies, justice will be served on 64-year-old Ronald Garcia.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Former Spanish Terrorist Group Leader Xabier Lopez Peña Dies

Former Spanish Terrorist Group Leader Xabier Lopez Peña Dies

Photo: Xabier Lopez Peña

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Xabier Lopez Peña, a jailed former leader of Spanish terrorist group ETA, died Saturday in France after having been hospitalized earlier this month due to heart problems, sources with ETA prisoner-support organization Herrira said.

Lopez Peña, alias “Thierry,” was transferred on March 11 from the Fleury-Merogis Prison outside Paris to a hospital for medical care, according to the Etxerat association, which also advocates for the rights of ETA prisoners.

After experiencing complications, Lopez Peña was moved to another hospital in the French capital. He was underwent an operation the following day but subsequently suffered a stroke.

Lopez Peña was identified as ETA’s military chief at the time of his arrest in May 2008 in Bourdeaux, France.

He is believed to have ordered the December 2006 car bombing at Madrid’s Barajas airport, an attack that killed two Ecuadorians and ended a nine-month ETA cease-fire.

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 →

54 Arrested, 7 Cops Wounded on Chile’s Day of the Young Combatant

Some 54 people were arrested and seven police were wounded when violent protests broke out over the past two nights in working-class neighborhoods of Santiago commemorating Chile’s Day of the Young Combatant.

The Carabineros militarized police said Saturday that 49 people were arrested in the Chilean capital, while the other detentions were made elsewhere in the country.

The Day of the Young Combatant commemorates the death of the brothers Eduardo and Rafael Vergara Toledo, slain by police on March 29, 1985, during a popular protest against Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s 1973-1990 military dictatorship.

Groups of young people - many of them hooded - clashed with police before dawn Saturday as had already occurred Friday in some of the poorer parts of the capital.

The protesters raised barricades, broke power lines in some neighborhoods and wielded guns and Molotov cocktails to attack police, who drove them back with tear gas and water cannons.

The incidents were concentrated in the La Pincoya neighborhood on Santiago’s north side, in Cerro Navia on the northwest and Peñalolen on the east side, as well as at Villa Francia in the Estacion Central municipality where the two young militants were killed in 1985.

The observation of the Vergara brothers’ death has given rise in recent years to acts of violence and vandalism by small anarchist groups.

Nonetheless, Chile’s deputy interior secretary, Rodrigo Ubilla, said early Saturday that the special operation deployed by the Carabineros this year had been successful and that the commemoration of this conflicted date was “calmer” than in previous years.

In 2012, for example, 22 people were hurt and 228 arrested in the capital and other Chilean cities amid disturbances associated with the annual Day of the Young Combatant, while at least two vehicles were set on fire in the capital.

Years preceding 2012 had been even more violent.

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SundayMarch 31, 2013