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FridayApril 5, 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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Costa Rica to Bring Internet Access to Every Public School

Costa Rica to Bring Internet Access to Every Public School

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The government of Costa Rica announced Friday a plan to install access to the Internet in every public school in the country in order to reduce the digital divide and have better teaching tools.

At present 4,800 public schools have access to the Internet and this year will reach 100 percent with the installation of the service in the 151 that still do not have it, the state-owned telephone and electric company ICE said in a communique.

The connections, most of them broadband, are part of a joint project of ICE, the Public Education Ministry and the Science and Technology Ministry.

“We are committed in matters of education to reducing the digital divide,” Education Minister Leonardo Garnier said in a communique, in which he also noted “the importance of this firm for the future of education in Costa Rica.”

Costa Rica, a country of 4.5 million inhabitants, has around 940,000 students in public school.

The investment of Costa Rica in education is 7 percent of GDP and nearly 98 percent of the populace can read and write, according to official figures.

More than 90 percent of children complete primary education and 86 percent go on to attend high school, though the dropout rate at the secondary level is 11 percent.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico Inaugurates Memorial to 70,000 Victims of Drug-War

Mexico Inaugurates Memorial to 70,000 Victims of Drug-War

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A memorial to the more than 70,000 people killed in drug-war violence in Mexico since December 2006 was inaugurated Friday in Mexico City.

“To build a Mexico at peace, this place is a reminder that we must accelerate efforts to eliminate all room for violence and impunity,” Government Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio Chong said during the ceremony.

Located in Chapultepec Park, the memorial consists of 64 large steel panels engraved with quotes from figures such as Martin Luther King Jr., Octavio Paz, Edmund Burke and Rainer Maria Rilke inviting visitors to reflect on justice, memory and the loss of loved ones.

President Enrique Peña Nieto’s approach to fighting crime is based on the conviction that “violence is not fought with more violence,” Osorio Chong said.

The memorial was completed last November as then-President Felipe Calderon was preparing to leave office, but authorities delayed the inauguration in the hope of winning support from the various groups representing the victims.

That consensus never materialized and the most prominent of those organizations, the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, repudiated the project in Chapultepec Park.

Indeed the Movement’s founder, Javier Sicilia, has called on the government to turn Mexico’s still-incomplete Bicentennial Monument into a memorial to victims of violence.

The 104-meter (340-foot) tower of light, whose budget is now up to $78 million, has been plagued by cost overruns, delays and allegations of corruption.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Report: 53 Mexicans Currently Sitting on Death Row in the U.S.

Report: 53 Mexicans Currently Sitting on Death Row in the U.S.

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Fifty-three Mexican nationals are in U.S. prisons awaiting execution, including 13 in Texas, which annually leads the nation in the number of people put to death.

This week, Mexico’s Senate formally 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 13 death-row Mexicans in Texas are the ones at greatest risk of dying, attorney and capital-punishment opponent Sandra Babcock told Efe.

Texas executes an average of 19 prisoners a year.

Babcock noted that the defense of 51 of the 53 Mexicans facing execution in is based on a March 2004 ruling by the International Court of Justice.

The ICJ ordered the United States to review the death sentences imposed on Humberto Leal Garcia and 51 other Mexicans because they had not been informed of their right to consular assistance to mount a defense in court.

Leal was executed by Texas in July 2011 after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to grant a stay and Texas Gov. Rick Perry declined to intervene.

Access to consular assistance can make the difference between life and death for a foreign defendant, Babcock said.

None of the Mexicans on death row in the United States currently has a scheduled execution date.

But according to lawyer Richard Burr, who represents a Mexican on death row in Texas, his client and others are vulnerable because a district judge can set an execution date without warning.

Read more by HS News Staff →

4 Bodies, Including 13-Year-Old Boy Found on Road in Chihuahua

Four people, one of them a 13-year-old boy, were found fatally shot on a road in the northern border state of Chihuahua, Mexican authorities said Friday.

The bodies were discovered Thursday night on the road linking the city of Parral with the village of Guadalupe y Calvo, state Attorney General’s Office spokesman Carlos Gonzalez told Efe.

“All of the bodies present bullet wounds in different parts of the body and in the head,” he said.

Shell casings from more than one type of gun were found with the bodies and authorities suspect the killings were the work of organized crime.

Chihuahua, the most violent of Mexico’s 32 states, has been the scene in recent years of a battle among rival drug cartels to control smuggling routes in the neighboring United States.

Some 70,000 people have died since December 2006 in conflict among the cartels and between the criminals and Mexico’s security forces.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Study: Majority of Americans Support Legalizing Marijuana

Study: Majority of Americans Support Legalizing Marijuana

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A new poll has found that the majority of Americans now support the legalization of marijuana.

The poll, conducted by the Pew Research Center, shows that 52 percent of those polled support the legalization of marijuana, while 45 percent are still opposed. When the poll was last taken in 2010, only 45 percent supported legalization.

Pew’s poll shows how America’s view on marijuana has changed drastically over the last four decades. When the poll was taken in 1969, just 12 percent supported legalization, while 84 percent were opposed.

Pew conducted the poll from March 13-17, asking 1,501 adults from all 50 states and Washington, DC about their opinions on marijuana.

Even when you look at age groups separately, public opinion on marijuana use has changed significantly. In 2008, just 36 percent of Millennials (people born after 1980) supported legalization. In the 2013 poll, that jumped to 65 percent. Half of Baby Boomers also support legalization. Generation X members (Americans born from 1965-1980) are also in favor, with 54 percent approving.

Marijuana use is also up, with 48 percent saying they have tried the drug. That’s up from 38 percent a decade ago.

As The Washington Post notes, the poll comes after Washington State and Colorado voters approved recreational marijuana use. But it still remains illegal on the federal level. The poll found that six in 10 Americans believe that marijuana laws are for the states to enforce, not the federal government. Both Republicans and Democrats polled even say that it’s not worth the cost to enforce federal laws.

Other beliefs on marijuana have lost support over the the decades. Only 38 percent believe its use leads to using harder drugs and just 32 percent see smoking it as morally wrong.

Read more at The Celebrity Cafe →

Brazilian Scientists to Study Solar Explosions With Stratospheric Balloons

Brazilian Scientists to Study Solar Explosions With Stratospheric Balloons

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A team of Brazilian scientists plan to use a pair of stratospheric balloons to study the energy produced by explosions on the Sun, the head of the project said.

The specially equipped balloons have to reach the stratosphere - 40 kilometers (25 miles) above the Earth’s surface - because the frequencies the researchers want to study cannot penetrate the atmosphere, Pierre Kauffmann told Efe.

Balloons represent a less costly alternative to satellites, according to Kauffmann, a scientist with the Center for Radioastronomy and Astrophysics at Sao Paulo’s Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie.

The first balloon flight, tentatively scheduled for the summer of 2014, will pass over Russia.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Why Walgreens’ Decision To Provide Primary Care Is A Glimpse Into The Future Of U.S. Health Care

Why Walgreens’ Decision To Provide Primary Care Is A Glimpse Into The Future Of  U.S. Health Care

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On Thursday morning, Walgreens became the first-ever chain retailer to announce that it would become a direct provider of primary care services, moving beyond the pharmacy’s current practice of administering vaccinations to diagnosing and treating Americans with asthma, diabetes, and high cholesterol. The decision holds particular promise for Americans suffering from chronic conditions by giving them an easily-accessible “medical home” for managing illnesses that require preventative or ongoing care — and it might just herald the future of the American health care industry.

Walgreens has been planning something along these lines for some time now. In January, the company announced that it would be launching its own take on Obamacare’s Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) — coordinated arrangements in which normally stratified health workers collaborate to provide better patient care while lowering costs — in an effort to become “care extenders” that implement the plans drawn up by physicians. As this announcement proves, they were serious about that:

Walgreens officials say they will have nurse practitioners and physician assistants at more than 300 Take Care Clinics in 18 states and the District of Columbia to do tests and make diagnoses – and also write prescriptions, refer patients for additional tests and help them manage their conditions.

“We’re not trying to take over primary care, but we think we can help support physicians and transform the way care is delivered to provide more access points at a time when people need it the most,” said Heather Helle, a division vice president at Walgreens. [...]

She said physicians will help oversee Walgreens’ clinics – and the clinics can transmit test results and other information electronically to doctors’ offices. She noted that clinics could help people find doctors too. Many would have an affiliation or other link with the stores’ clinics.

Retail clinics generally appeal to consumers looking for convenience and cost savings. Costs are roughly 30 percent to 40 percent less than similar care at doctor’s offices and 80 percent cheaper than at an emergency room, according to a 2011 study published in the American Journal of Managed Care.

The cynically-minded may point out that there’s a financial motivation to all this, as Walgreens’ main revenue source is its pharmacies, where the costs of generic versions for prescription drugs are considerably higher than at independent, online, and wholesale retailers. Still, this shift would provide substantially added value to purchasing those drugs at Walgreens chains by eliminating the need for a hospital trip, and the idea of an ubiquitous source of cheap primary care should excite health reform advocates, as the planned coordination model is exactly the sort of innovation that reformers and Obamacare are hoping will take root.

American Academy of Family Physicians president Dr. Jeffrey Cain slammed Walgreens’ decision, stating that it could be risky and confusing for patients to receive care through non-doctor practitioners — but this critique completely ignores the needs and realities of U.S. health care. The fact is, increasing reliance on practitioners and physician assistants to provide primary care is absolutely critical to meeting increased patient demand as an increasing number of Americans gain coverage under Obamacare. That’s why the reform law encourages the expansion of community health clinics and these collaborations in the first place.

Having easily-accessible chain pharmacies like Walgreens to carefully monitor patients’ chronic care needs is also likely to increase patients’ compliance with their treatments. That’s huge, considering that noncompliance — especially with medication regimens — leads to $300 billion in wasteful health expenditures every year. Pharmacy-based primary care medical homes would also open up access to disadvantaged populations, like low-income Americans or Americans living in isolated rural communities.

Read more at Think Progress →

Victor Valdes Reiterates Intention to Leave FC Barcelona in 2014

Victor Valdes Reiterates Intention to Leave FC Barcelona in 2014

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FC Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes expressed admiration for England’s Premier League in an interview where he also reiterated his intention to leave Barça when his current contract expires in June 2014.

“I like the Premier League, of course,” Valdes told the British publication FourFourTwo. “I like the respect of the crowd towards footballers in England. It is a different way of living football. They clap a simple tackle in England.”

British media have linked Valdes with several Premier League clubs, such as Arsenal and Liverpool, since the 31-year-old announced in January that he would be leaving Barcelona.

“I want to try new cultures, new football, new challenges. I have had great times here, I love it at Barcelona. I will always come back here, but I have this wonderful job which allows me to travel. And I want to travel,” Valdes said.

Highlights of his long tenure with Barça include five La Liga titles and three Champions League crowns.

Valdes, veteran of nearly 500 matches with Barcelona, shined as a replacement for the injured Iker Casillas in the Spanish national team’s recent 1-0 victory over France in a World Cup qualifier.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spanish P.M. Respects Courts Dealing with Corruption Case Involving Princess

Spanish P.M. Respects Courts Dealing with Corruption Case Involving Princess

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Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Thursday expressed his respect for all the judicial decisions connected with the naming of Princess Cristina, youngest daughter of King Juan Carlos, as a suspect in a corruption case.

At the same time, the premier also emphasized that he equally respects the presumption of innocence.

Rajoy addressed Princess Cristina’s situation during a joint press conference with visiting U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

When asked if his administration is concerned by the judge’s decision to name the princess as a suspect, Rajoy said that this is not problem of mood but rather of respect for all the decisions that the judiciary may make.

“We will always respect (them), as we respect the principle of presumption of innocence,” the prime minister reiterated.

Rajoy was also asked about the possibility that his government may be considering measures to improve the image of the monarchy, such as including the Royal Palace in the transparency law, calling on Cristina to renounce her position in the line of royal succession or undertaking to implement the regulation regarding the abdication of the king, to which he responded that “none of that is being considered.”

Investigating magistrate Jose Castro on Wednesday ordered Cristina to appear before him on April 27 to give a statement.

The judge is investigating allegations that Cristina’s husband, Iñaki Urdangarin, embezzled more than 6 million euros ($7.7 million) after using his connections to obtain lucrative, no-bid public contracts for the Noos Institute, a non-profit foundation he headed for several years.

Following Castro’s ruling, the office of the anti-corruption prosecutor said it would appeal, insisting it found no evidence that the princess had any connection to the Noos case.

Statements given by Urdangarin’s former business partner, e-mails and testimony from a royal secretary raise doubts about whether the 47-year-old Princess Cristina was unaware of her husband’s activities at Noos, the judge said.

Through a spokesman, the royal household expressed surprise Wednesday over the judge’s “change of position” in regard to designating Cristina as a suspect and said it was “absolutely” in accord with prosecutors’ decision to challenge Castro’s decision.

Urdangarin, a 45-year-old former Olympic handball player, has been under investigation as a suspect since December 2011.

He told the court on Feb. 23 that the royal household played no role in the activities of Noos.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Blog del Narco: Blog Author Reveals She is a Single Women Who Loves Mexico

Blog del Narco: Blog Author Reveals She is a Single Women Who Loves Mexico

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For the past three years this blog has chronicled Mexico’s drug war with images and stories that few others dare show. Attracting millions of readers, with both positive and negative reviews but also a great deal of speculation about its author’s identity.

Hispanically Speaking News is an exclusive partner offering news of the cartels and their violence from Blog del Narco in English to the US Market.

Blog del Narco – has become a must-read for authorities, drug gangs and ordinary people because it lays tells the stories in a truthful and honest manner. Not one to censor as most media outlets insist, the pictures are often gruesome and unaltered.

The anonymous author has been a source of mystery. People wonder who he is, how he comes into possession of these pictures and what is his motivation is for such risky reporting. Now, in the first major interview since launching the blog, the author has spoken to the Guardian and the Texas Observer – and revealed that she is in fact a young woman.

“I don’t think people ever imagined it was a woman doing this,” said the blogger, who asked to use the pseudonym Lucy to protect her identity. “Who am I? I’m in my mid-20s, I live in northern Mexico, and I’m a journalist. I’m a woman, I’m single, and I have no children. And I love Mexico.”

The telephone interview is the first time Lucy has spoken directly about her motivations for running a blog that could cost her life. In the early days, her male colleague who manages the technical side engaged in a few short, anonymous email exchanges with reporters, but neither has spoken out since. “I’m in love with my culture, with my country, despite all that’s going on. Because we’re not all bad. We’re not all narcos. We’re not all murderers. We are well educated, even if many [foreign] people think otherwise,” she said.

Read more Narco News here

Read more by HS News Staff →

Teachers in Mexico Protest Educational Reforms

Teachers in Mexico Protest Educational Reforms

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Some 8,000 teachers marched through the streets of this capital on Thursday to protest the educational reforms promulgated in February.

Starting very early in the morning, contingents of teachers from all across the country began congregating in Mexico City’s giant Zocalo plaza to begin the march that ended up at the interior ministry.

The demonstration, called by the CNTE teachers organization, was aimed at expressing to the government of President Enrique Peña Nieto the teachers’ objection to an overhaul the education workers say harms their rights and lacks social consensus.

The initiative, one of the most significant that Peña Nieto has pushed since he took office Dec. 1, puts an end to old customs such as the union prerogative of placing its members in vacant positions.

It also establishes a system of obligatory evaluation for teachers.

In remarks to Efe, the leader of the union chapter from Michoacan state, Juan Jose Ortega, said that they are demanding that the reform be overturned and a national consultation held to develop a new initiative that guarantees the teachers’ labor rights.

The CNTE leader in the southern state of Guerrero, Gonzalo Juarez Ocampo, told MVS radio that teachers are in favor of an evaluation, but he added that this “must be comprehensive” and take into account the broad differences among the regions of the country.

He defended the need to implement an evaluation of all the processes and actors that “allows the problems to be detected and to seek alternatives. An evaluation that seeks sanctions has no future.”

“We see in the government an authoritarian attitude and one of repression,” he added, alluding to the presence of more than 2,000 federal police in Guerrero, where a group of teachers on Thursday morning blocked the Autopista del Sol highway connecting the Mexican capital with the Pacific resort city of Acapulco.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Beyonce, Jay-Z in Cuba to Celebrate Fifth Wedding Anniversary

Beyonce, Jay-Z in Cuba to Celebrate Fifth Wedding Anniversary

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Beyonce and Jay-Z are in Cuba where on Thursday they had breakfast at a restaurant in Old Havana to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary.

The couple arrived on the island on Wednesday accompanied by several members of the family on a private visit, according to what employees of the Hotel Saratoga told Efe.

After breakfasting at the La Moneda Cubana restaurant adjacent to the Plaza de la Catedral, the couple strolled around Old Havana, Efe learned.

With her long hair tightly braided and put up in a huge, loose bun, wearing a yellow, black and gray patterned miniskirt and flat shoes, Beyonce tried a daiquiri - a traditional Cuban cocktail - and ate a salad, according to the owner of the establishment.

“She seemed very pleasant to me, very friendly, normal and supernice. I really like how she sings and dances,” Nanette Morales, the owner’s 15-year-old daughter, told Efe.

Meanwhile, at the door of the restaurant dozens of local residents, tourists and others gathered and waited until the singers came out to greet them or leave the restaurant to be able to take photos of Beyonce and Jay-Z with their cell phones.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Police Foil Plot to Assassinate Mexican Lawmakers

Police Foil Plot to Assassinate Mexican Lawmakers

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Several people were arrested here Thursday on suspicion they planned to kill two leftist legislators, the Mexican Attorney General’s Office said.

The purported targets of the plot were brothers Ricardo and David Monreal, prosecutor Mariana Benitez told the media.

Ricardo, a member of the lower house of Congress, managed Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s unsuccessful presidential campaign last year, while brother David is a senator affiliated with the Labor Party.

The suspects were detained early Thursday at a capital hotel after intelligence work uncovered the alleged assassination plot, Benitez said.

The information indicated that “a group of people traveled to Mexico City armed, with the goal of attacking the lives of the legislators,” the prosecutor said, reading from a statement.

Authorities immediately informed the Monreal brothers about the potential threat and provided them with “all the security instruments necessary to protect their (physical) integrity,” Benitez said.

Police seized weapons and communications gear from the suspects, she said.

“In their first statements, they accepted that they were indeed in Mexico City to effect the murders of the lawmakers,” the prosecutor said.

Benitez declined to answer questions from reporters.

Read more by HS News Staff →

FridayApril 5, 2013