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SaturdayApril 6, 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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Spain Ends Atalanta Command with No Hijackings, 29 Pirates Caught

Spain Ends Atalanta Command with No Hijackings, 29 Pirates Caught

Photo: Atalanta

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Spain has passed to Portugal the command of the Atalanta, a European naval vessel for fighting piracy in the Indian Ocean, which it has held for the past four months, during which time there were no hijackings, nine attacks were aborted and 29 pirates were captured.

The deck of the Spanish combat frigate Mendez Nuñez, anchored in the port of Djibouti, was the setting for the change-of-command ceremony, in which Spanish Rear Adm. Pedro Garcia de Paredes handed over responsibility for the Atalanta to his Portuguese colleague, Commodore Jorge Novo, ship’s captain of the Alvares Cabral.

While the Spaniards were in command, piracy dropped significantly. At the time the Spanish military took over last December, five ships carrying 136 people had been hijacked, while today there are only two commandeered vessels with 60 people aboard, the Spanish rear admiral said.

According to Garcia de Paredes, Spain leaves the command with “the satisfaction of having done its duty and of a job well done.”

In that regard, he added that during these four months 29 pirates were captured, of whom 21 were handed over to the judiciary in the Seychelles and Mauritius, while another eight were freed on the Somali coast due to the lack of enough evidence to prosecute them.

He also said that nine attacks were aborted and currently only two vessels remain in the hands of pirates, both under flags of convenience and whose liberation is complicated because they lack the support of any nation or international shipping line.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latino Blotter:  Obsessed Toe Eating Domestic Abuser Arrested Again

Latino Blotter:  Obsessed Toe Eating Domestic Abuser Arrested Again

Photo: Daniel Anaya Loves to Eat Feet

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Daniel Anaya is back behind bars for trying to bit off the toes of his ex-girlfriend, the very crime he was arrested for in February.

Anaya of Santa Fe, New Mexico was arrested in February when he attacked his unidentified ex-girlfriend by biting the tips of her toes down to the bone.  After the incident the ex obtained a restraining order. 

In spite of the restraining order Anaya sought out the woman, who was now living in Albuquerque, and broke into her home on Friday.  Anaya allegedly used a cigar cutter this time to bit into her big toe.  Authorities speculate his toe obsession might come from or be related to the fact he use to work in a shoe store.

In the first incident Anaya also broke into his girlfriend’s home and ‘politely’ asked if he could smell her feet.  When she refused to comply he attacked her and forcibly removed her shoes and socks.  The girlfriend told authorities that Anaya had tired once before to eat her feet and that is why she broke off the relationship.

Anaya, 27, now faces kidnapping, aggravated battery, aggravated stalking and assault charges. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Jessica Chastain Joins Cast of Guillermo del Toro’s “Crimson Peak”

Jessica Chastain Joins Cast of Guillermo del Toro’s “Crimson Peak”

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Jessica Chastin has joined the A-list cast for Guillermo del Toro’s next horror pic “Crimson Peak”.  Chastin joins Emma Stone, Charlie Hunnam and Benedict Cuberbatch.

The Mexican director has described the fright-flick as “a very set-oriented, classical but at the same time a modern take on the ghost story.” The film is set to begin shooting in early 2014.  Legendary Pictures will produce and helped finance the project. 

Del Toro wrote the gothic horror story that centers on a woman who discovers that her husband might not be whom he appears to be.  The horror genre is what Del Toro is most known for.  He garnered an Oscar nomination for ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ and has won critic acclaim for such films as ‘Hellboy’ and ‘The Devil’s Backbone.’ 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Who Is Olivier Martinez Beside Halle Berry’s Baby Daddy?

Who Is Olivier Martinez Beside Halle Berry’s Baby Daddy?

Photo: Halle Berry and Olivier Martinez Expecting

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For those you of who have been living under a gossip-free-rock, 46-year-old Oscar winning actress Halle Berry and finance Olivier Martinez are expecting a baby boy.

Many think of Martinez as that guy with anger management issues.  The guy who brawled with Berry’s ex-lover Gabriel Aubry and countless paparazzos, the guy who is in the news more for his explosive temper than his movie resume.  Worse there are some who view the 47-year-old as an extension of Berry and her global fame. 

Not so. 

Martinez has been acting for the last 23-years and was deemed one of France’s “Most Promising Actors” and at times referred to as the “French Brad Pitt”.  He started his career in French films and made his cross-over to U.S. films some 13-years ago.  His most notable role was in 2002’s “Unfaithful” alongside Diane Lane. 

His more recent projects, like the 2011 thriller ‘Dark Tide’ co-starring Berry, have not garnered the headlines or audience that his relationships have.  He has been linked to models, singers and actresses most notably Mira Sorvino, Julie Binoche, and Kylie Minogue.  In 2012 the actor opened the swanky “Villa Azure” in South Beach, Miami. 

Martinez is French-born with to a Spanish-Moroccan father and French mother raised in a strict working class Catholic household.  He studied at the prestigious French National Conservatory of Dramatic Art.

Berry and Martinez met in the fall of 2010, and became engaged in 2011. Martinez will be a father for the first time while Berry has a five-year-old daughter, Nahla, with Aubry.

Read more by HS News Staff →

UNICEF Reveals Majority of Poor in Mexico are Children

UNICEF Reveals Majority of Poor in Mexico are Children

Photo: Children in Mexico (UNICEF Mexico/Mauricio Ramos)

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More than 20 million children and adolescents in Mexico are estimated to live in poverty, and five million of them in extreme poverty, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today reported in a joint study with the Mexican Government.

“The economy has grown well over the past years but this does not always mean that the poor are better off,” said the UNICEF Representative in Mexico, Isabel Crowley. “The human development indexes in some parts of Mexico are close to those of some of the world’s least developed countries.”

According to the ‘Child and Adolescent Poverty and Social Rights in Mexico’ study, produced by UNICEF and the national social policy evaluation agency CONEVAL, children are overrepresented among the poor.

According to 2010 figures, 46.2 per cent of Mexico’s residents lived in poverty – a figure that rises to 53.8 per cent among children.

The study also found that nearly 14 per cent of Mexican children under five years of age are stunted, meaning they are slowed in their development often as a result of malnutrition. The rate is higher in rural areas and reaches nearly 33 per cent among indigenous children.

The study highlights that child poverty is very damaging to the individuals and the country overall. “When children live in poverty it can have an irreversible impact on their development, and increases the probability of being passed on to future generations,” UNICEF said in a news release.

It added that the joint study is also a “best practice in measuring poverty” for the agency in upper middle-income countries.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Costa Rica Continues to Combat Coffee Fungus

Costa Rica Continues to Combat Coffee Fungus

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Costa Rican authorities will begin on April 22 the distribution of packs of agrichemicals that will enable coffee growers to combat a fungus known as leaf rust, which affects some 65 percent of the country’s coffee plantations.

The aid for growers consists of providing packs containing fungicides for spraying, and which can be picked up at 23 offices of the Agriculture and Stockbreeding Ministry, or MAG, around the country.

The executive director of the Costa Rica Coffee Institute, or Icafe, Ronald Peters, said the agrichemicals chosen are well-known to growers and that he was confident they will help solve the problem.

Official figures show that leaf rust has affected 65 percent of the 93,000 hectares (230,000 acres) of coffee plantations in the country, of which 15,000 (37,000) show grave damage.

Crop losses in the 2012-2013 season from the fungus, which weakens the plant, dries the leaves and causes beans to drop off prematurely, are calculated at $44 million.

Last January the Costa Rican government decreed an emergency to deal with leaf rust, which also seriously affects other Central American countries.

In the decree, the authorities set up a fund of $4 million for a plan that included the purchase of agrichemicals and the training of coffee growers.

The aid will go to small farmers who represent 81 percent of the nation’s 52,000 coffee growers.

These small farmers produce close to 25 percent of the Costa Rican harvest.

Icafe estimates show that the spread of leaf rust entails a risk of losing 10.5 percent of the 2013-2014 crop.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Absolut Mexico Celebrates Mexican Culture With Limited Edition Design

Absolut Mexico Celebrates Mexican Culture With Limited Edition Design

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Absolut Vodka announced its highly anticipated limited edition bottle design, Absolut Mexico, available in the U.S. for the first time after its debut in Mexico last year. The release of Absolut Mexico is the latest limited edition offering from the world’s most iconic vodka brand and pays homage to Mexican culture and multicultural heritage.

Absolut has a long history of creative collaborations, and this limited edition was developed in partnership with Dr. Lakra, one of Mexico’s most renowned contemporary artists and tattooists, from Oaxaca, Mexico.

The work of Dr. Lakra, also known as Jeronimo Lopez Ramirez, has been featured in exhibitions and museums around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Hammer Museum and the Walker Art Center.

Absolut Mexico features original Absolut Vodka in a specially designed bottle that celebrates the spirit of Mexico. Dr. Lakra combines three legendary icons from ancient Mayan culture – Hurakan (Hurricane), Kukulkan (Serpent) and Balam (Jaguar) – and brings them to life on the Absolut bottle through a modern artistic lens that represents Mexico today. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Report Measures Immigrant Assimilation in Post-Recession America

Report Measures Immigrant Assimilation in Post-Recession America

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This Manhattan Institute for Policy Research report is the fourth in a series of examinations of immigrant assimilation in the United States.

It introduces evidence derived from the American Community Surveys of 2010 and 2011. This new information extends a database on the status of immigrants in the United States that goes back to 1900, and provides detailed information for the period since 1980. The new data provide a more complete picture of changes in the immigrant population occurring after the onset of the “Great Recession” in 2007.

The report uses the assimilation index, a summary measure of the degree of similarity or difference between the foreign- and native-born populations in the United States. The assimilation index is computed using three sets of factors: economic (including employment and education indicators), cultural (including English language ability and intermarriage), and civic (including citizenship and military service).

The report provides information on a composite index incorporating all three sets of factors, and component indices examining one set each. The major findings are as follows:

    The immigrant population has shifted dramatically since the recession. Migration rates from Mexico have been very slow for the past five years, while rates from other parts of the world—notably Asia—have quickened.
    Between 2006 and 2011, overall immigration from Asia has seen a net increase of 1.4 million people. This includes major cohorts from mainland China and Vietnam as well as English-speaking countries such as India and the Philippines.
    By 2011, the total number of Mexican immigrants and the total number of immigrants from all Asian countries were roughly equal. In 2007, Mexican immigrants exceeded the number of Asian immigrants by 1.5 million.
    Immigrants are now more assimilated, on average, than at any point since the 1980s. The rise in assimilation can be attributed to this slowdown and shift in the arrival rate of new immigrants. The rise in assimilation has been most apparent along cultural and civic dimensions.
    The immigrant population shows signs of recovering from the recession. Economic assimilation declined as growth slowed, but has regained its pre-recession level.
    Post-recession immigrants are more assimilated than those who arrived before the recession. In general, more recently arrived immigrants tend to be less assimilated. In a stark reversal of this historical pattern, post-recession immigrants are more culturally and economically similar to natives than immigrants arriving as much as a decade earlier.
    The bursting of the housing bubble played a role in increasing assimilation. Metro areas with the largest increases in immigrant assimilation tend to be those that were most affected by the housing boom-and-bust cycle. The evaporation of easy mortgage credit and construction-related jobs likely reversed the flow of new immigrants to these areas.

Read more at Manhattan Institute for Policy Research →

Study: Corporate Diversity Programs Give Illusion of Fairness

Study: Corporate Diversity Programs Give Illusion of Fairness

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Diversity training programs lead people to believe that work environments are fair even when given evidence of hiring, promotion or salary inequities, according to new findings by psychologists at the University of Washington and other universities.

The study also revealed that participants, all of whom were white, were less likely to take discrimination complaints seriously against companies who had diversity programs.

Workplace diversity programs are usually developed by human resource departments to foster a more inclusive environment for employees, but aren’t typically tested for their effectiveness. Nonetheless, their existence has been used in courtrooms as evidence that companies treat employees fairly.

Many diversity programs seem rational, she said. “By their design and goals, we’re inclined to assume they would be successful. The catch is that since very few are tested for efficacy, these rational assumptions may not actually map onto the reality.”

In their study, published in the March issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Kaiser and her coauthors point to a report that examined 1,000 federal civil rights legal decisions and found that “judges increasingly showed deference to organizations’ diversity management structures” as “evidence of an organization’s compliance with civil rights law.”

She and Brenda Major, a psychology professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and their coauthors studied whether diversity programs can simply serve as a cosmetic short-cut that convinces others that companies value diversity and treat employees equally. The researchers used surveys to measure participants’ perceptions of companies’ fairness toward their minority employees.

The researchers found that a hypothetical company that had a “diversity statement” rather than a “mission statement” led participants to believe the company had treated women and minorities fairly, even when they saw evidence that the company’s actual hiring, promotion and salary practices disadvantaged these groups.

For instance, after seeing that women who were identically qualified as men were disproportionately passed over for interviews at a company, participants were less willing to support litigation against the company when they saw that it offered diversity training.

In another part of the study, researchers told participants with corporate management experience to list what their companies do to increase either diversity or environmental sustainability. Participants who thought about their companies’ diversity practices took minorities’ racism allegations against the company less seriously than did managers who thought about the environment.

The researchers recommend that companies look at their records to see if diversity and mentoring programs have led to changes in the hiring, promotion and retention of women and minorities.

Read more by HS News Staff →

JUST IN:  Son of Mega-Church Pastor Rick Warren Commits Suicide

JUST IN:  Son of Mega-Church Pastor Rick Warren Commits Suicide

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Mega-church Pastor Rick Warren issued a family statement that their youngest son, Matthew,  committed suicide on Friday at his home.  The 27-year-old according to family members struggled with mental illness most of his life.

Pastor Warren noted in his statement “In spite of America’s best doctors, meds, counselors, and prayers for healing, the torture of mental illness never subsided.”  Warren and his wife Kay have three adult children and four grandchildren. 

Warren is the pastor and founder of one of the first mega churches in the country, Saddleback Valley Community Church, located in Lake Forest,California.  He has long been considered the pioneer of the megachurch movement that has attracted many Latino followers.  The church has approximately 15,000 weekly attendees.

Evangelical Latino megachurches are becoming commonplace thanks in great part to the path established by Warren.  In 2011 Warren started a new initiative to start new churches representing California’s changing demographics and to answer the faith needs in Latino communities.  Pastor Warren is also the author of the bestseller “The Purpose-Driven Life.”

Click here to read the letter Pastor Warren sent his followers regarding his son’s death.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Shakira Answers Ex-Lover’s Lawsuit – ¡NO! Dinero for You

Shakira Answers Ex-Lover’s Lawsuit – ¡NO! Dinero for You

Photo: Shakira Says no to Ex- Antonio de la Rua

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Shakira is answering charges in her ex-lover’s lawsuit and it basically says you didn’t make me a superstar and I am not giving you any money let alone the $100 million you are suing me for.

Ex-boyfriend, Antonio de la Rua, sued ‘The Voice’ judge late last year for $100 million as compensation for having increased her level of fame during the years in which he worked as her representative.  Shakira and De la Rua, son of former Argentine President Fernando de la Rua, were together as a couple for over 10-years.

De la Rua filed the $100 million lawsuit shortly after Shakira accused him of stealing $3 million from her and using her credit cards without permission.

In her legal filings Shakira claims she was already a star in her native Colombia when she hooked up with De la Rua in 2000 and yes he advised her in business dealings but not in a formal way.  She claims he was never her manager or business partner.

The couple remained professionally linked even when they broke up as a couple.  Their professional dealings ended when her current beau Gerard Pique entered her life.

Shakira and Pique, a futboller with FC Barca, are the parents of 3-month old son, Milan.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spain Sends Condolences for Argentine Flood Victims

Spain Sends Condolences for Argentine Flood Victims

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Spain’s King Juan Carlos has sent a telegram to Argentine President Cristina Fernandez expressing his condolences to the families of those who died in the recent floods in the South American country, and stated his support for the Argentine people in this catastrophe, sources in the royal household told Efe.

The Argentines have organized a massive operation to aid the thousands left homeless by the “tsunami of rain,” as it has been called, in the Buenos Aires city of La Plata and its surroundings, in which 57 people died.

Of the total number of fatalities, 51 died in La Plata as a consequence of last Tuesday night’s torrential rain and flooding, while another six lost their lives in Buenos Aires some 60 kilometers (37 miles) away, where the storm front passed through several hours later.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Parents of Slain Teen Trayvon Martin Settle Wrongful Death with FL Homeowners Association

Parents of Slain Teen Trayvon Martin Settle Wrongful Death with FL Homeowners Association

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Parents of slain African-American teen, Trayvon Martin, have settled a wrongful death suit for a reported $1 million with the homeowners association where the 17-year-old was shot and killed by George Zimmerman in February, 2012.

Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin sued the Retreat at Twin Lakes homeowner’s association in Sanford, Florida where Zimmerman was a resident and neighborhood watch captain. 

The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that the settlement is “thought to be more than $1 million.”  A portion of the settlement documents were made available for public viewing.

The shooting incident sparked outrage across the country due to the fact Martin was not armed at the time of his death.  Zimmerman, a multi-racial Hispanic American, claimed he acted in self-defense. He was later arrested and charged with second-degree murder. His trial is set to begin in June.

There is speculation Martin’s parents will file a civil suit against Zimmerman once the criminal trial concludes.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Peña Nieto Says “No Going Back” on Education Reform in Mexico

Peña Nieto Says “No Going Back” on Education Reform in Mexico

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Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said Saturday that his government is open “to dialogue and to hearing different views” with regard to educational reform, but insisted that “the law is not negotiable” and “there’s no going back on what was enacted to improve the quality of education.”

At a press conference during the Boao Forum on the southern Chinese island of Hainan, Peña Nieto said that “Mexico must take steps to transform education and other areas.”

“Otherwise we’ll be stuck in passivity and inertia, which are not going to help improve our lives,” he said, and making use of his trip to the Far East, pointed to that region as an example.

“Asia has developed significantly in recent years…and we have to ask ourselves why Mexico can’t do the same,” the president said.

The Mexican leader made that statement following protests this week in which thousands of Mexican teachers took part, demanding the repeal of the educational reform measure enacted last February.

Some 8,000 teachers from several states in the country staged a protest march Thursday from the Zocalo, the main square of the Mexican capital, to the Interior Ministry.

In some cases the protests ended in clashes with the police.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Selena Gomez, Justin Timberlake Victims of Dangerous ‘Swatting’ Prank

Selena Gomez, Justin Timberlake Victims of Dangerous ‘Swatting’ Prank

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Selena Gomez is now added to the growing list of celebrities who have been victims of the dangerous ‘swatting’ prank.  Swatting involves pranksters calling 911 and stating an emergency at the victim’s house unbeknownst to the victim that authorities have been called and without a real emergency existing.

Authorities arrived at the Sherman Oaks home of Gomez, Friday around 9:10pm CST after being told that her father had shot her mother inside the home and had over 20 weapons.  The swatter then proceeded to tell authorities Selena’s father was planning on burning down her house, according to TMZ.

When officers arrived Gomez and her mother, Mandy Teefey, were at home and unaware they had been ‘swatted’. Her father, Ricardo Gomez, does not live with the singer and reportedly resides in Texas.

Typically authorities would respond to a call such as this with a fully armed SWAT team.  The dangerous prank puts everyone’s safety at risk and withdraws critical police resources from real emergency situations.

Earlier in the day singer Justin Timberlake was the victim of a similar prank. 

Other celebrity ‘swatting’ victims include P. Diddy, Rihanna, Tom Cruise, Simon Cowell and Miley Cyrus.  A 12-year-old was recently arrested for conducting a ‘swat’ prank at the homes of Justin Beiber and Ashton Kutcher.

 

Read more by HS News Staff →

St. Augustine, Florida Pays Tribute to Ponce de Leon

St. Augustine, Florida Pays Tribute to Ponce de Leon

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St. Augustine, Florida, the oldest city in the United States, pays tribute Saturday to Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon (1460-1521), who discovered Florida in 1513.

Historical reenactments will celebrate this 5th centennial of the discovery of Florida, as will a commemorative Mass in the city’s Cathedral Basilica, where a replica of Ponce de Leon’s baptismal font, brought from Spain, has been installed.

A commemorative ceremony will take place in the Plaza de la Constitucion in St. Augustine around the statue of the Spanish explorer and conquistador.

One of the principal acts of tribute is the Fiesta of La Florida, organized by the Historic Militia of Florida and made up of a dozen non-profits staging parades and recreational activities that evoke those days 500 years ago.

A group dubbed the Men of Menendez will reenact the the Spanish conquest wearing clothes of the period and bearing flags and arms of old conquistadors.

In September 1565, Adm. Pedro Menendez de Aviles landed in the Bay of Matanzas and founded St. Augustine, the oldest European city and port in what is today the United States.

Also planned for Saturday are all kinds of entertaining activities like an exhibition of folkloric dancing from Iberoamerican countries, Latin food and live music.

Read more by HS News Staff →

$500M Not Enough for Maracana Stadium Renovations Ahead of Rio Olympics

$500M Not Enough for Maracana Stadium Renovations Ahead of Rio Olympics

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The costly renovation of Maracana stadium, estimated at some $500 million, does not meet the requirements of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, so that further reconstruction will be necessary, the Brazilian press said.

The new Maracana, expected to be inaugurated late this month, does not meet International Olympic Committee standards in 39 points, including the dimensions of dressing room tunnels and roof strength, according to a document prepared by the organizers of Rio 2016 and reported on the ESPN sports channel.

The IOC requires the roof to be capable of bearing a weight of 120 tons for the fireworks and lighting effects used in Olympic ceremonies, but the Maracana’s new canvas roof can only sustain 81 tons.

The tunnels have a width of 5 meters (16 feet), a height of 3.47 meters (11 1/3 feet), and a 10-percent incline, while the IOC demands dimensions of 6 by 6 meters (20 by 20 feet) and a maximum incline of 3 percent.

Maracana was built for the 1950 World Cup and underwent an extensive renovation for the 2007 Panamerican Games, when seating was greatly expanded.

With a view to the next World Cup, an even more complete renovation was undertaken, so that of the original structure, only the facade of the legendary stadium has been preserved.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Speaking in Whistles: The Whistled Language of Oaxaca, Mexico (VIDEO)

Speaking in Whistles: The Whistled Language of Oaxaca, Mexico (VIDEO)

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By Victor Landa, NewsTaco

This is so NewsTaco!

I watched it this morning – a short documentary about people in the mountains of Oaxaca who communicate through a whistling language.

That’s right, they whistle to communicate full thoughts and sentences. It kinda makes our cell phones seem ridiculous…at short distances.Image

Here’s an exceprt from the post in Open Culture:

Whistled language is a rare form of communication that can be mostly found in locations with isolating features such as scattered settlements or mountainous terrain. This documentary above shows how Dr. Mark Sicoli, Assistant Professor of Linguistics at Georgetown University, conducts field studies among speakers of a Chinantec language, who live in the mountainous region of northern Oaxaca in Mexico. The Summer Institute of Linguistics in Mexico has recorded and transcribed a whistled conversation in Sochiapam Chinantec between two men in different fields. The result can be seen and heard here.

Anyway, once I saw it I had to post it. And I added links to the documentarian, below, so you can check out his credentials.
In the Americas With David Yetman
David Yetman, University of Arizona
David Yetman — Southern Arizona’s ultimate Desert Rat, Tucson Citizen

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 →

Brazil to Receive Grant to Promote Low-Carbon Agriculture

Brazil to Receive Grant to Promote Low-Carbon Agriculture

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Brazil is to receive funding to provide small and medium farmers with grants to encourage the adoption of sustainable farming methods in states critical to Brazil’s biomass—three in the Amazon region (Mato Grosso, Pará and Rondônia) plus four in the Atlantic Forest region (Bahia, Minas Gerais, Paraná and Rio Grande do Sul).

The grants will increase existing funding sources designed to encourage small and medium-sized farmers to undertake projects that result in low carbon emissions and forest restoration. The project’s beneficiary will be Brazil’s Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply Ministry.

Brazil, home to much of the world’s primary forests, a fifth of its freshwater and approximately 20 percent of its biodiversity, is a leader in international efforts to stabilize the climate and reduce by half the deforestation of developing countries by 2025.

The four-year programme will be supported by a £24.9 million ($39.2 million) grant from the United Kingdom’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs through the UK’s International Climate Fund to invest in low carbon agriculture and forest conservation. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) will administer the grant and the project.

Besides financing farmers, the project will invest in training, capacity building and knowledge transfer to improve producers’ ability to adopt measures targeting sustainable land use with low carbon emissions, forest management and environmental protection. It also aims to reduce the poverty and vulnerability of rural populations.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spanish P.M. is First European Head of Gov’t to be Received by Pope Francis

Spanish P.M. is First European Head of Gov’t to be Received by Pope Francis

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Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will travel to Rome on April 15 to be received in the Vatican by Pope Francis, government officials told Efe.

Rajoy will be the first European head of government to be received by the pope, whose Mass to initiate his pontificate was attended by the Spanish leader on March 19.

During the audience, Rajoy will repeat his invitation to the Argentine former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio to visit Spain, a message previously delivered by Crown Prince Felipe during the conversation they had after the Mass at the beginning of Pope Francis’ papacy last month.

After Bergoglio’s election as pope, Rajoy sent him a telegram expressing his wish to maintain and even strengthen relations between “the Holy See and Spain, on the basis of the profound values we share: life, human dignity, freedom, peace and justice.”

Among the heads of government that the successor to Benedict XVI has received in the Vatican are the presidents of Argentina, Cristina Fernandez, and of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Target Apologizes for ‘Manatee Grey’ Color for Plus-Size Women’s Dresses

Retailer Target has apologized to offended customers after a Twitter user discovered that the grey color option for a dress had two different names. The standard sizes’ grey was called ‘Dark Heather Grey’ while the plus-size version was called ‘Manatee Grey.’

NBC News reports that the faux pas was first noticed by Twitter user Susan Clemens on Wednesday. “What the. Plus sized women get ‘Manatee Grey’ while standard sizes are ‘Dark Heather Grey,’” she wrote, including a screenshot of the dress’ page.

Target’s customer service Twitter page quickly replied, “Hey Susan - I’m sharing your comments with the appropriate team and they will review your them as soon as possible. Thanks!”

Jessica Deede, a Target spokeswoman, told NBC that it was an “unintended oversight,” adding, “We never want to offend any of our guests. We apologize for any discomfort that we may have caused.” She added that the page for the dress is currently being updated. The offending option has already been removed.

As Forbes notes, Manatee Grey is actually a fairly common color listed at Target. It’s used to describe other clothes and products. Spokesman Joshua Thomas explained to Forbes that the mistake happened when two teams put in different names for the same color and, again, was all a mistake.

Read more at The Celebrity Cafe →

EU Authorizes Penguin, Random House Publishing Merger

EU Authorizes Penguin, Random House Publishing Merger

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The European Commission gave the go-ahead to the merger of Penguin and Random House to create the world’s No. 1 publishing house, considering that the operation will not harm competition in Europe.

The proposed transaction does “not raise competition concerns, in particular because the merged entity will continue to face several strong competitors,” the executive arm of the 27-member European Union said.

The German conglomerate Bertelsmann SE, owner of Random House, will control 53 percent of the new firm, while Britain’s Pearson PLC, proprietor of Penguin, will have the remaining 47 percent.

Both Penguin and Random House are among the “big six” publishers in the United States, along with Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan and Simon & Schuster.

The merger, the biggest in the publishing sector since 2006 when Lagardere purchased Time Warner Books to create Hachette, will gather within the same company all the publishing business in English of Random House in the United States, Canada, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, India and South Africa, as well as its publishing in Spanish for Spain and Latin America.

Meanwhile, Penguin brings to the new company all its business and assets, including its divisions in the United States, Europe, Australia and Asia, as well as its 45 percent stake in a Portuguese-language publishing house.

Bertelsmann and Pearson say they expect the new company to generate some $4 billion in annual revenues.

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SaturdayApril 6, 2013