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ThursdayApril 4, 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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Blog del Narco Publishes Their Story in “Dying for the Truth”

Blog del Narco Publishes Their Story in “Dying for the Truth”

Photo: Blog del Narco New Book

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On March 2, 2010 Blog del Narco decide to begin reporting what was really happening in their beloved Mexico. The drug war was raging in the country causing terrible instability. The authorities and traditional media wanted to believe that nothing was happening while things were in crisis.

The general public was being affected by the battle that was happening in their streets, often in broad daylight. This has been a painful and distressing time when many innocent people were affected. Yet the violence grew, seeming to be unstoppable.

Blog del Narco has been a window to let people know the violent events that occur daily in Mexico.

Blog del Narco’s new book, “To die for the truth” published by Feral House, is a testament to what we have suffered for years in Mexico, days of the drug war. We decided to write it because we do not know what will happen tomorrow, but we know that there is now a book; there are letters that tell the cruel and sad truth that our country has lived for years.

We hope you have a chance to delve into the stories that have been reflected in “Dying for the truth.”

“To die for the truth” (version in English and Spanish) is available; clicking the following link can purchase it:

Read more in Spanish at Blog del Narco
Read more Narco News here

Read more by HS News Staff →

Oops! Rock in Rio Ticket Buyers Crash Website

Oops! Rock in Rio Ticket Buyers Crash Website

Photo: Oops! Rock in Rio Ticket Buyers Crash Website

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The Rock in Rio Web site collapsed Thursday in the first few minutes after starting to sell tickets to the September festival, but once tech personnel solved the problem ticket sales progressed at a rate of about 1,200 per minute.

Around 400,000 people tried to log onto the Web site simultaneously at 10 a.m., when ticket sales began, overwhelming it and causing it to crash, organizers said.

Two hours later the Web site was finally “stabilized” and about 20 sales per second were being made.

A total of 595,000 tickets have been offered for sale for the seven-day festival, which runs from Sept. 13-15 and 19-22, and - of those - 140,000 were sold at the presale last October when organizers still did not know which bands were going to perform.

Rock in Rio this year will feature mega-stars like Bruce Springsteen, Beyonce, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Muse, Bon Jovi and Justin Timberlake.

Ticket sales are being made exclusively online, a decision by organizers to avoid the tremendously long lines of ticket buyers that resulted for the 2011 event.

Tickets cost 230 reais ($115) per day, with 50 percent discounts for retirees and Brazilian students.

Buyers who live abroad must pay an additional 52 reais ($26) delivery charge.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Colombian “Emerald Czar” Victor Carranza Dies, Age 78

Colombian “Emerald Czar” Victor Carranza Dies, Age 78

Photo: Victor Carranza (Mauricio Vélez)

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Colombian “emerald czar” Victor Carranza, a mining tycoon who was investigated for alleged ties to right-wing militias and other crimes, died on Thursday, officials at the Fundacion Santa Fe de Bogota hospital told Efe. He was 78.

Carranza was hospitalized two weeks ago suffering from cancer of the prostate and lungs.

In recent years, prosecutors had investigated allegations by demobilized former members of the far-right AUC paramilitary federation who accused him of founding and bankrolling militia groups, ordering massacres and maintaining links to drug traffickers.

A U.S. State Department document disseminated last December identified Carranza as a paramilitary leader with the alias “Clodomiro Agamez” and accused him of the 1997 massacre of 12 people in the southern province of Guaviare.

The Colombian army had prior knowledge of the attack and aided and abetted it, according to the diplomatic cable.

Ex-militia members made the paramilitary allegations against Carranza during statements to prosecutors in August 2010.

According to those accounts, Carranza formed a group known as Los Carranceros that allied itself with the AUC to carry out activities in those regions.

Founded in the mid-1980s to battle leftist rebels, the AUC degenerated into a loose alliance of death squads involved in drug trafficking, extortion and other criminal activities.

The militia federation ostensibly demobilized in 2006 as part of a peace process with the government of Colombian former President Alvaro Uribe.

Carranza also was under investigation for the disappearance two decades ago of one of his main competitors in the so-called “green war” for control of emerald-rich areas of the central provinces of Boyaca and Cundinamarca.

The mining mogul consistently denied the accusations and none of the various charges against him stuck.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Illinois to Expand Services Offered to Immigrants at Welcome Centers

Illinois to Expand Services Offered to Immigrants at Welcome Centers

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Illinois, which in 2007 opened its first welcome center for immigrants, continues to expand those services with an eye toward becoming the state that treats immigrants the best, according to a report presented Thursday by Gov. Pat Quinn.

He praised the work of the director of the Governor’s Office of New Americans, Denise Martinez, and said that “all the New Americans in our state deserve the best opportunities possible to achieve their goals.”

Martinez, in turn, said that the office’s task has been to promote the full integration of immigrants all over Illinois, taking advantage of their “linguistic, cultural and economic” contributions.

In a state where 20 percent of the residents are immigrants or the children of immigrants, Quinn said in the report that the welcome centers doubled the support that immigrants receive from the 25 state agencies that offer services.

Quinn mentioned other initiatives, such as the fund that since 2011 has been taking in private contributions to finance the university studies of young undocumented foreigners.

Also, he emphasized the law signed in January that will allow the issuance of temporary driver’s licenses to undocumented people who have lived in Illinois for more than a year if they pass a driving exam and have insurance.

The Office of New Americans, in association with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, has facilitated the citizenship application process and registered thousands of immigrants to vote.

Read more by HS News Staff →

U.S. Senate to Look Into Rights of Mexicans on Death Row

U.S. Senate to Look Into Rights of Mexicans on Death Row

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The Senate has asked the Foreign Relations Secretariat for a report on the number of Mexicans on death row in the United States and efforts being made to provide them with legal assistance.

Human rights activists have expressed concern about a possible “wave of executions” of Mexicans in the United States, Sen. David Monreal, who sponsored the measure, said, without explaining the source of the information.

The goal is to learn about the situation of Mexicans on death row in the United States and provide them with more legal assistance so their human rights will not be violated, the senator said.

Mexico just marked nine years since the International Court of Justice, or ICJ, issued a ruling ordering the United States to review the cases of scores of Mexicans sentenced to death in that country.

The ICJ ruled on March 31, 2004, in the Avena and Other Mexican Nationals case that Humberto Leal Garcia’s rights had been violated.

The ICJ, which is based in The Hague and is the United Nations’ highest judicial organ, ruled that U.S. authorities should review the death sentences of 51 Mexicans.

The international judicial panel found that Leal and the other Mexicans were denied the guarantee under international law to be informed of their right to consular assistance to mount a defense in court, a right established under Article 36 of the Vienna Convention.

Leal was executed by the state of Texas by lethal injection in July 2011.

The Mexican was put to death after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to grant a stay of execution and Texas Gov. Rick Perry declined to use his power to delay the execution for 30 days.

The Mexican government, the Obama administration and dozens of former U.S. officials, diplomats and military officers all urged Perry to suspend the execution pending a vote in Congress on a bill to comply with the 2004 ICJ decision.

The 38-year-old Leal was sentenced to death for the 1994 kidnapping, rape and murder of 16-year-old Adria Sauceda.

As of 2011, 58 Mexicans were on death row in the United States, of whom 39 were part of the Avena case, the National Human Rights Commission, or CNDH, said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Demian Bichir to Make Directorial Debut with ‘Refugio’

Demian Bichir to Make Directorial Debut with ‘Refugio’

Photo: Demian Bichir to Make Directorial Debut with 'Refugio'

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Mexican actor Demian Bichir, who made audiences weep with compassion in A Better Life, is stepping behind the camera for the upcoming film Refugio.

Bichir is also the screenwriter for the indie film which is being produced by Lucas Akoskin and Alex Garcia of BN Films. Bruno, Bichir’s brother and fellow actor, will co-produce.

Refugio tells the story of a young man born into the circus. As he travels across the U.S. and Mexico in search of his long lost love, he grows from a boy to a man.

Principal photography is scheduled to begin this fall and will take place in both the U.S. and Mexico.

Bichir can next be seen in The Heat with the hilarious Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock, as well as the Robert Rodriguez’s Machete Kills starring Danny Trejo.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Police Dog in Recovery After Being Thrown from 2nd Floor Window

Police Dog in Recovery After Being Thrown from 2nd Floor Window

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A police officer’s job is dangerous and it makes no difference if that officer has two legs of four furry ones.

On Sunday, police in Fontana, California sent police dog Jaris into a home in which an armed and dangerous parolee, Bryan Bills, was attempting to avoid being taken back into custody.

As Jaris ran towards Bills, 28, the man used the dogs momentum to throw him out of an open second floor window. The dog reportedly landed on his head on the concrete below. Though it was not immediately clear whether Jaris had any brain damage, a witness says he was stumbling and had blood coming from his nose.

Bills was arrested for resisting an officer, violating parole, and intentional injury to a police service dog.

Jaris, a 6 1/2-year-old Belgian malinois, was taken to a vet specialist in Orange County for X-rays on Monday. On Tuesday, officers noticed more swelling on Jaris’ nose and a bulge on his head.

A veterinarian who specializes in treating police service dogs looked over Jaris and said the swelling could be from damage between the sinus and the brain. He may have to undergo surgery, but it was unclear when or if it would be necessary.

More than 8,000 people on Facebook have wished Jaris a speedy recovery.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Small Business Owners Support Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Small Business Owners Support Comprehensive Immigration Reform

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Small business owners throughout the United States have a pulse on the goings on within their local communities. They recognize that immigrant workers and their families are also consumers, which helps to create additional jobs and bolster local economies. Within that context, two new polls highlight small business owners’ perspectives of immigration and its positive effects on the ground in communities. Overwhelmingly, the surveys show small business owners, regardless of political affiliation, support comprehensive immigration reform.

Small Business Majority recently released the results from a poll exploring the extent to which small businesses support comprehensive immigration reform. The results stem from an internet survey conducted in early March of a sample of 500 small business owners from across the United States. Main Street Alliance and the American Sustainable Business Council released the results of a similar survey yesterday. Their results derive from a telephone interview survey of small business owners also conducted in March. The sample populations for both surveys were demographically, geographically, and politically diverse, with strong bipartisan agreement across party lines for most items in each report.

The detailed Small Business Alliance report and Main Street Alliance report both contain similar key findings around small business owners’ views on immigration reform and immigration’s impact on local economies and communities:
Most small business owners – nine in ten – in the Small Business Majority report recognize that our current immigration system is tragically flawed and the majority of respondents support a bipartisan effort to reform it. Similarly, the Main Street Alliance report shows strong small business support for immigration reform, with further emphasis on the role of immigrants in the economy and in communities.

The Small Business Majority report shows that small business owners recognize that immigration and immigration reform is good for America (84 percent) and that immigrant entrepreneurs help facilitate business and economic growth for the country (66 percent).

According to the Small Business Majority report, almost three-quarters of small business owners recognize the need to allow more high-skilled workers to enter the country to benefit the overall economy, while 64 percent agree that there is an economic need to allow more less-skilled workers to enter the U.S.

Many small business owners (73 percent) in the Small Business Majority report see a need to revise the guest worker system by creating a new worker visa that would allow portability and mobility for workers to change employers as part of a protection from abusive employers, as well as a path to transition beyond temporary status.

The Main Street Alliance report shows that two-thirds of small business owners support a roadmap to citizenship for immigrants already living in the U.S., and 61 percent favor a roadmap to citizenship for future immigrants over a temporary worker program with no path to citizenship. Most small business owners (three-fourths) in the Small Business Majority report support a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in the U.S.

Furthermore, the Main Street Alliance report finds small businesses largely agree with the following three statements about immigration’s role in American communities, economy, and society:

82 percent agreed with the statement: “Generations of new Americans, both business owners and workers, have helped build strong local economies and communities. Today, outdated and out-of-touch immigration policies are hindering our economic progress. Addressing immigration is important.”

71 percent agreed with the statement: “Our immigration policies should encourage the economic integration of new American immigrants. This will strengthen the customer base for small businesses, bring new talent to the nation and help those businesses grow and create jobs.”

67 percent agreed with the statement: “Small business owners and their employees are like family. When an employee’s family is separated by our current immigration laws, it impacts morale and focus in the workplace. Keeping families together is important to ensure a productive and focused workforce for small businesses.”

These two survey reports offer yet more evidence that small business owners value immigration reform not only for its economic impact, but for the role it plays in strengthening families and communities.  While small businesses see the positive impacts of immigration in local economies and communities, big business is also beginning to get that message too, as the example of Facebook supporting a new comprehensive immigration reform group suggests. More and more, immigration reform is being recognized for what it is—one of the ways that we can create a better and more productive country that benefits everyone.

Read more at Immigration Impact →

7 Members of Cuban National Ballet Defect During International Tour

7 Members of Cuban National Ballet Defect During International Tour

Photo: Defected ballerinas (Cafe Fuerte Web)

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Seven members of the Cuban National Ballet defected during a recent tour in Mexico and all but one have crossed the border into the United States, a Miami-based news Web site reported.

Six of the defectors crossed the U.S.-Mexico border into Texas and have been in Miami since last Friday after petitioning for political asylum, the Cafe Fuerte Web site said.

“It’s the toughest decision I’ve ever made, but we’re not thinking about the past, just the future. We decided to seek out a better artistic life and economic wellbeing for our families,” Annie Ruiz Diaz, a 24-year-old dancer, told Cafe Fuerte.

In addition to Ruiz, Ariadnni Martin, 20; Randy Crespo, 22; Luis Victor Santana, 23; Edward Gonzalez, 23; and Jose Justiz, 20, also have arrived in Miami.

A seventh member of the group, Alejandro Mendez, 20, is still in Mexico, Cafe Fuerte said.

The members of the Cuban National Ballet traveled to Mexico on March 17 at the outset of the company’s 2013 international tour.

Read more by HS News Staff →

U.S. Extends Temporary Protected Status for Hondurans, Nicaraguans

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano has extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for eligible nationals of Honduras and Nicaragua for an additional 18 months, beginning July 6, 2013, and ending Jan. 5, 2015.

Current Honduran and Nicaraguan beneficiaries seeking to extend their TPS status must re-register during the 60-day re-registration period that runs from April 3, 2013, through June 3, 2013. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) encourages beneficiaries to register as soon as possible once the 60-day re-registration period begins.

The 18-month extension also allows TPS re-registrants to apply for a new employment authorization document (EAD).

Eligible Honduran and Nicaraguan TPS beneficiaries who request an EAD and meet the re-registration deadline will receive a new EAD with an expiration date of Jan. 5, 2015.

USCIS recognizes that some re-registrants may not receive their new EADs until after their current EADs expire. Therefore, USCIS is automatically extending current TPS Honduras EADs that have a July 5, 2013, expiration date for an additional six months. These existing EADs are now valid through Jan. 5, 2014.

For the complete article - please visit Temporary Protected Status Extended for Hondurans and Nicaraguans on the uscis.gov website.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Italy’s Santini Succeeds Spain’s Arzak as World’s Best Female Chef

Italy’s Santini Succeeds Spain’s Arzak as World’s Best Female Chef

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Italy’s Nadia Santini has been named the Veuve Clicquot 2013 Best Female Chef, an honor that Britain’s Restaurant magazine bestows each year.

Santini, who runs Dal Pescatore in Canneto sull’Oglio, deserves the honor because of her “exceptional” cooking, the magazine said.

“The cuisine is refined but not changed,” Santini said. “Dal Pescatore is an expression of the evolution of the food on our table and the surrounding environment.”

“Dal Pescatore’s regular presence on the list and status as one of the very best restaurants in Italy is partly down to Santini’s sublime regional cooking but her easy, welcoming presence can be felt in the dining room too and has contributed immeasurably to this family run success,” the magazine said.

Santini, who was born in San Pietro Mussolino in the Veneto region, studied at the University of Milan and learned about cooking from her husband’s family.

Antonio Santini’s grandmother, Teresa, and mother, Bruna, taught the chef the intricacies of Mantuan cuisine.

“Tortelli comes stuffed to bursting with a mixture of pumpkin, amaretto, Parmesan and mostarda while turbot arrives partnered with a respectably minimalistic garnish of parsley, anchovies and capers suspended in a delicate olive oil sauce,” the magazine wrote of Dal Pescatore.

Santini succeeds Spain’s Elena Arzak, who won the Veuve Clicquot 2012 Best Female Chef award.

The prize honors Madame Clicquot, known as “The Grand Dame of Champagne,” who perfected the art of making the bubbly beverage nearly 200 years ago.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Connecticut Drug Bust Leads to 100 Arrests

Connecticut Drug Bust Leads to 100 Arrests

Photo: Confiscated items (The Cannabis Boards)

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In a massive drug enforcement operation led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), more than 100 individuals were arrested early Wednesday in five states and Puerto Rico on state and federal charges related to the large-scale trafficking of heroin and cocaine from the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico into and around southeastern Connecticut.

On the morning of April 3, more than 700 law enforcement officers and agents involved in the operation executed scores of federal and state arrests in Connecticut, New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Puerto Rico.

Fifty-three individuals were arrested on federal narcotics and money laundering charges and 50 on state narcotics and related charges. Additional defendants were previously arrested during the course of the investigation, and several individuals are still being sought by law enforcement.

The arrests stem from a 15-month investigation that included the use of court-authorized wiretaps on 15 telephones, extensive physical surveillance and controlled purchases and seizures of cocaine and heroin.

The investigation revealed two overlapping conspiracies centered in New London County, Connecticut one involving heroin distribution and one involving cocaine distribution.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Daddy Yankee Publicist: Ignore Rumors, Rapper is NOT Gay!

Daddy Yankee Publicist: Ignore Rumors, Rapper is NOT Gay!

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It seems the ongoing rumors regarding the sexual orientation of reggaeton artist Daddy Yankee has reached an all-time high.

This week, numerous Spanish-language media outlets began reporting the Puerto Rican rapper had officially come out as a homosexual. A photo of a man resembling Daddy Yankee kissing another man also began circulating.

According to the Spanish-language media, the 36-year-old performer allegedly released a statement confirming he was gay, saying, “I am a human being like any other, with virtues and defects, and I don’t believe that this is a defect.”

However, it seems it may have all been a hoax, as an agency identifying itself as a Daddy Yankee’s publicist has released a statement saying the claims about his homosexuality are completely false and only continue due to online rumor mills and falsehoods.

Online blogs and social media are once again to blame for the spread of false news reports, which other media outlets have also shared regarding a public figure. The reports circulating regarding Daddy Yankee’s declaration of homosexuality was falsely written by an online outlet known for fabricating false information and spreading it through social media sites.

The rumors about the rapper’s sexual orientation began to swirl after he was asked at a press conference what he thought of gay marriage. Yankee, who was born Ramon Anata, stated, “I have people on my team who are gay, and I respect them entirely and give them work.” He went on to say he believes the gay marriage is something the governments and religious figures need to figure out while taking into account human rights.

At this point, there are conflicting rumors and alleged statements coming from every direction so it is hard to tell what is real and is simply a rumor.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Witnesses Share Horrific Stories During Trial of Guatemalan Ex-dictator

Witnesses Share Horrific Stories During Trial of Guatemalan Ex-dictator

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A survivor of the massacres carried out by the Guatemalan army during the 1982-1983 rule of strongman Efrain Rios Montt said Wednesday at the retired general’s genocide trial that soldiers “ripped out” the heart of one of his children.

“They opened up her chest, they ripped out her heart. I don’t know if it was with a knife or a machete,” Francisco Velasco testified in court about the killing of his 12-year-old daughter.

“What crime did my girl commit?” the 52-year-old Velasco asked rhetorically.

He said the troops killed at least 33 Ixil Indians, including 12 of his relatives, in August 1982 at Saquil in the northwestern province of Quiche.

“I want real justice,” Velasco said in a hall of the Supreme Court, where the historic trial of Rios Montt, 86, and his erstwhile intelligence chief, 67-year-old retired Gen. Jose Rodriguez, is taking place.

“We’ve come here to demand justice for ourselves,” said another witness, 54-year-old Francisco Guzman Rodriguez, who described how soldiers killed seven of his relatives.

Nearly 100 survivors have testified in the trial of Rios Montt and Rodriguez for the killings of 1,771 Ixils between March 1982 and August 1983.

The trial, which began March 19, marks the first time any Guatemalan ruler has been called to account for the massacres and atrocities of the country’s 1960-1996 civil war.

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

Read more by HS News Staff →

Argentina Inundated with “Tsunami of Rain,” 54 Die

Argentina Inundated with “Tsunami of Rain,” 54 Die

Photo: Flooding in Argentina (ZUMA24.com)

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The death toll from the heavy rains that have recently fallen on Buenos Aires and nearby parts of the country now stands at 54, Argentine authorities said Wednesday.

The “tsunami of rain,” as it has been called, has forced thousands of people to be evacuated and caused significant damage to homes and infrastructure.

The Argentine government is working with provincial and local authorities to evacuate homes, for instance in the La Plata neighborhoods of Las Lomas and Tolosa where some of them are flooded with more than 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) of water.

Of the 48 confirmed fatalities in La Plata, 60 kilometers (37 miles) south of the national capital, only 24 have been able to be identified, said Buenos Aires provincial security minister Ricardo Casal, adding that among the identified dead was just one younger person - a 21-year-old man - and all the rest were people over age 50.

The governor of Buenos Aires province, the capital of which is La Plata, Daniel Scioli, had told the media earlier on Wednesday that the number of fatalities there exceeded 46, while six people are known to have died in the city of Buenos Aires itself.

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez on Wednesday afternoon went first to La Plata, her birthplace, and later to Mitre, one of the Buenos Aires neighborhoods most affected by the storms, to survey the flooded areas and speak with local residents.

The Argentine government also decreed three days of national mourning for the victims of the weather catastrophe and deployed army troops to the flooded areas to help assist the people affected by the storm.

Scioli stressed the priority of “saving the lives that can be saved.”

“The priority is human (life), after which the material damage will be evaluated and how those affected can be helped to recover what they’ve lost,” he said.

“It was a deluge without historical precedent. So, the people have been surprised in the worst way and some did not have time to be able to escape this fatal trap,” Scioli said.

The governor said that army troops and firefighters are going “house to house” to rescue the people who took refuge from floodwaters in trees or on the roofs of their homes.

“The situation is very complex,” said Scioli, who called the deluge a “tsunami of rain” and added that the local schools have been established as evacuation centers.

Argentine Security Secretary Sergio Berni said that more than 3,000 people have been evacuated and warned that authorities are not ruling out an increase in the death toll in La Plata as rescue and recovery efforts continue.

Argentine Planning Minister Julio de Vido said that more than 73,000 homes were still without electricity in the wake of the storm, although power had been restored to some 177,000 homes that had suffered power outages in Buenos Aires.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Four Killed in Shootout on Puerto Rican Highway

Four Killed in Shootout on Puerto Rican Highway

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Four people were killed and another wounded in a running gunfight on the Jose de Diego highway, Puerto Rican police said Wednesday.

More than 100 shell casings were recovered at the scene of the Tuesday night shootout, including some from an AK-47 assault rifle, according to the police report.

The first multiple murder of 2013 in Puerto Rico took place on Feb. 21 in the eastern district of Canovanas, leaving three people ages 16 to 29 dead.

Less than two weeks later, three young men were murdered in another incident.

The third multiple murder, in which three more people died, came on March 3 in San Juan’s Barrio Obrero neighborhood.

Puerto Rico for years has been beset by a crime wave linked to drug trafficking that every weekend results in an average of 10 murders, the majority of them involving score-settling between groups of criminals warring over control of street-corner sales.

The increase in pressure from U.S. authorities on the Mexican border has diverted smuggling routes to the Caribbean and especially to Puerto Rico, from where the drugs can more easily be shipped to the continental United States.

A portion of the drugs remains in Puerto Rico for internal consumption, and small-time traffickers fight each other for control of the sale of cocaine, heroin and other illegal substances.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spaniard Finishes Ponce de Leon’s Route Via Jet Ski

Spaniard Finishes Ponce de Leon’s Route Via Jet Ski

Photo: Alvaro de Marichalar

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Spanish adventurer Alvaro de Marichalar arrived on Wednesday in St. Augustine, Florida, after a 14-day solo journey on board his jet ski retracing the route explorer Juan Ponce de Leon took when he set sail and discovered Florida 500 years ago.

“It was a very tough route, but full of experiences and complete, because I managed to do it right on the fifth centennial of Ponce de Leon’s trip,” he said.

Marichalar spoke by telephone with Efe as he was refueling his jet ski, which he named Numancia, just a few miles from St. Augustine, where Florida Gov. Rick Scott and other officials, sponsors and a crowd of fans who had followed his journey - which he began on March 20 in San Juan - were awaiting his arrival.

“I’m really exhausted. Tonight I’ve been sailing for 37 hours non-stop because I wanted to arrive on time,” the adventurer, who made the journey without any support craft accompanying him, said hoarsely.

“It’s been a real adventure finding out where to refuel and solving problems that were coming up,” the 51-year-old businessman said.

After spending his last “very cold” night on board the jet ski and making it through “a couple of really bad storms,” upon his arrival in St. Augustine, the oldest city in the continental United States, Marichalar unfurled and waved the Spanish flag he had carried with him on the journey.

“The Spanish flag is the one that has flown in the U.S. for the longest time,” he said, although he also brought with him the British and French flags, given that Florida authorities had wanted to involve those countries in the celebrations of the quincentennial of the discovery of Florida by the Old World.

“It’s been a spectacular welcome, with a beautiful atmosphere. The Americans have thrown themselves into this and they’ve made me feel very good,” he said enthusiastically in another conversation with Efe after reaching the shore.

Marichalar began his jet ski journey - charted at 1,624 nautical miles - on March 20 from the dock at San Juan’s Club Nautico.

“Juan Ponce de Leon arrived at the (site of the future) city of St. Augustine, in Florida, on April 3, and I intend to arrive right on the same date 500 years later, and at least try to carry the flag of Spain to that town,” Marichalar told Efe minutes before setting out.

Ponce de Leon arrived at St. Augustine on the feast of “Pascua Florida” (Easter Sunday), 1513, the reason he gave that name to this southeastern U.S. state.

Starting in 1982 and prior to this trip, Marichalar has made 38 ocean expeditions - logging some 30,000 miles on board his jet ski - and set 11 world records.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Puerto Rican Task Force Uncovers Marijuana Laboratory

Puerto Rican Task Force Uncovers Marijuana Laboratory

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Recently, the U.S. Marshals Service led Puerto Rico Violent Offenders Task Force uncovered a substantial marijuana laboratory while following-up on a lead pertaining to federal and state fugitive Jose Cosme-Rios aka “Pocholo.”

Cosme-Rios, has a state warrant out of Puerto Rico for an alleged murder and a federal warrant for allegedly violating his conditions of release from a prior federal criminal case.

Upon executing the warrant of arrest and making entry into the residence located in the Caimito Ward, Task Force Officers and Deputies immediately encountered the strong odder of marijuana.

In an adjacent room they found more than 20 adult size marijuana plants, 5 smaller plants, a substantial amount of marijuana individually packaged for street level sale, an undetermined amount of U.S. currency and the lamps, chemicals, and other equipment needed to maintain a hydroponic laboratory.

The evidence was transferred to the Puerto Rico Police Department Drug Division for further processing. The fugitive was not at the residence.

Read more by HS News Staff →



ThursdayApril 4, 2013