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ThursdayApril 11, 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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JUST IN:  5.2 Magnitude Earthquake Shakes Guerrero – Quake Felt in Mexico City

JUST IN:  5.2 Magnitude Earthquake Shakes Guerrero – Quake Felt in Mexico City

Photo: 5.2 Earthquake Zihuatanejo, Mexico

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The U.S. Geological Survey is reporting a 5.2 magnitude earthquake near the city of Zihuatanejo in Guerrero, Mexico.  The quake that occurred at 10:45 p.m. local time was felt in Mexico City. 

The quake’s epicenter was some 27 miles from Zihuatanejo and 177 miles away from the capital city.  Mexican officials are reporting buildings were swaying in Mexico City but no damage or deaths have been reported thus far. 

The earthquake is being reported as 33.3 miles deep and closest to Tres Palos, Mexico in the state of Guerrero which is some 27 miles away from Acapulco with a small population of over 5,000 people. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico Registers 4,249 Deaths Since Peña Nieto Took Office in December

A total of 4,249 drug-related killings occurred in Mexico from December 2012, when President Enrique Peña Nieto took office, to March 2013, marking a drop of 14 percent from the comparable four-month period in 2011-2012, the Government Secretariat said.

Some 685 fewer murders occurred between Dec. 1, when Peña Nieto took office, and March 31, compared to the prior period, Deputy Government Secretary Eduardo Sanchez said.

Drug-related killings also fell 17 percent compared to the August-November 2012 period, Sanchez said.

A total of 184 law enforcement agents were murdered during the Peña Nieto administration’s first four months, the official said.

The war on drugs launched by former President Felipe Calderon, who was in office from 2006 to 2012, left about 70,000 people dead, or an average of 32 per day, in Mexico, officials say.

Calderon, of the conservative National Action Party, or PAN, deployed thousands of soldiers and Federal Police officers across the country to fight drug cartels.

Read more by HS News Staff →

He Did What? Man Attempts to Saw Off His Own Arms at Home Depot

He Did What? Man Attempts to Saw Off His Own Arms at Home Depot

Photo: He Did What? Man Attempts to Saw Off His Own Arms at Home Depot

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On Wednesday, a man walked into a California Home Depot and tried to saw his arms off.

At around 12:24 p.m., an unidentified man walked into the West Covina Home Depot, walked to the handsaw aisle, and began trying to cut off both of his arms.

According to witnesses, the man began sawing as customers watched, stunned and horrified. The man managed to cut down to the bone using various handsaws, one used to cut drywall, before West Covina police officers and a paramedic shopping in the store found him in the aisle, facedown in a pool of blood.

Before officers became aware of what happened they thought the man had been the victim of an attack.

Using rags and nylon rope, the emergency responders created tourniquets to stop the bleeding. The man, who had no identification on him, was rushed to Queen of the Valley Medical Center where he underwent surgery.

Authorities are still investigating and took statements from a number of witnesses.

Little is known about the man, but witnesses say he appeared to be in his 40s.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Edgar Ramirez, Olivia Munn, Eric Bana Teaming Up for Thriller Film

Edgar Ramirez, Olivia Munn, Eric Bana Teaming Up for Thriller Film

Photo: Edgar Ramirez, Olivia Munn, Eric Bana Teaming Up for Exorism Film

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Edgar Ramirez, Eric Bana, and Olivia Munn have reportedly signed on to star in a new paranormal thriller from director Scott Derrickson and producer Jerry Bruckheimer.

The film, Beware the Night, follows a New York Irish Catholic police officer (Bana) as he investigate cases of demon possessions, exorcisms, and werewolves. The officer meets a priest (Ramirez) who begins helping with the investigation. Munn will play Bana’s wife.

Bruckheimer recently spoke to Deadline:

“‘Beware The Night’ is a project we’ve been developing for many years, confident that a story which combines the paranormal with a gritty New York City police story is both original and strongly appealing to audiences,” Bruckheimer said. “We’re excited to work with Culpepper and his team at Screen Gems, and director Scott Derrickson, who has emerged as a uniquely talented filmmaker with the ability to both entertain and terrify audiences in equal measure. We’re also thrilled to have Eric Bana, Edgar Ramirez, and Olivia Munn, three really fine actors whose strongly defined roles in ‘Beware The Night’ will allow them to give full range to their skills.

Though Mark Wahlberg was rumored to have been offered the lead, but declined and Bana was cast.

Shooting it set to begin in the Bronx in May.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spanish CEO: Economy Will Emerge Healthier After Crisis

Spain will emerge from the current crisis with a much healthier economy, Spanish power giant Iberdrola’s CEO, Jose Ignacio Sanchez Galan, said here Thursday during an event at Harvard University.

Sanchez Galan is in the United States to present “Spain: A Land of Opportunities,” a report from the Spanish Business Council for Competitiveness, or CEC, which comprises more than a dozen of the Iberian nation’s leading companies.

Despite Spain’s current economic woes, it is ranking as one of the world’s 10 “most-promising” countries for foreign direct investment, the executive said.

The flexibilization introduced through decisive reforms and historic reductions in public spending and private debt, coupled with a surge in exports, is transforming Spain’s economy and its international image, Sanchez Galan said.

“In the past we were so dependent on a single product, construction, that it was not health. Now we are making efforts so that after this crisis, we have an economy of much healthier growth,” the Iberdrola chief said.

The CEC report predicts the Spanish economy will begin to grow again in 2014, if not sooner, and notes that the level of knowledge-based assets as a percentage of the gross domestic product in Spain was 25.8 percent, not much below the 29.5 percent of GDP in Anglo-Saxon countries

In comments to Efe, Sanchez Galan touted the results from his presentations here and on Wednesday in New York.

“I believe that they have been very positive. As Antonio Garrigues said yesterday: if we Spaniards don’t talk about our countries’ virtues, who will?,” the utility executive said.

The CEC’s endorsement of the positive forecast for the Spanish economy reassures “potential investors in our country,” he said.

““Yesterday in New York there was a great number of international (investment) funds and today we had some present here. This is very positive, because we have many positive things to say and they are perceiving that there is a change of tendency in Spain,” Sanchez Galan said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Nobel Laureate Calls For an End to Censorship

Nobel Laureate Calls For an End to Censorship

Photo: J.M. Coetzee in Colombia

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South African-born Nobel literature laureate J.M. Coetzee offered an impassioned critique of censorship during a seminar at the Universidad Central de Bogota.

Drawing from the themes of his 1996 book, “Giving Offense: Essays on Censorship,” the famously reticent 73-year-old author recounted personal experiences with censorship in apartheid South Africa.

Though his novels “In the Heart of the Country” (1977), “Waiting for the Barbarians” (1980) and “Life & Times of Michael K” (1983) were all critical of apartheid, government censors left them untouched because he was a white, middle-class intellectual who did not write “for mass consumption,” Coetzee said.

The writer recounted how he came to learn that some of the members of the “anonymous committee of censors” were respected intellectuals and personal acquaintances of his.

Once dubbed “the writer of writers” by the late Carlos Fuentes and hailed as “one of the best living novelists” by fellow Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa, Coetzee has imbued his fiction with a symbolic, sometimes allegorical, style that questions all forms of racism and subjugation.

The seminar, Three Days with J.M. Coetzee, ended in the author’s receiving an honorary doctorate from Universidad Central.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Bruno Mars’ Sisters Land Their Own Reality Show

Bruno Mars’ Sisters Land Their Own Reality Show

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Talent must run in the family, because Bruno Mars’ sisters have landed their own shown WEtv.

The reality show will chronicle the sisters’ move from Hawaii to Los Angeles to live with a fourth sister and work on their music career.

ImageTahiti, Tiara, Presley, and Jamie Hernandez perform as The Lylas and the show will follow their journey in the music industry as they hope to achieve success similar to their brother’s.

Mars, who was born Peter Hernandez, moved from Hawaii to Los Angeles and lived with Jamie when he was first starting out.

The show does not have a premiere date, but will air this fall on Fridays. It will include eight hour-long episodes.

According to WEtv’s vice president of production & development, “The Lylas are fierce, independent women, leaving their home—and in some cases their relationships and kids—for a chance at pursuing their love of music. Their story is one filled with all of the drama and chaos that comes from making a major life change, with the added spice of doing it alongside your sisters.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

TRAGEDY: Giselle Esme Ayala Found Dead After Spring Break Party

TRAGEDY: Giselle Esme Ayala Found Dead After Spring Break Party

Photo: Giselle Esme Ayala Found Dead After Spring Break Party

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A California college student was found dead in the water after going missing from a Spring Break party.

On Saturday, the body of 18-year-old Giselle Esme Ayala was discovered in the water by a runner near Campus Point at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Ayala, a sociology major at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, was attending the Deltopia Spring Break party at the bluffs near Del Playa Drive in Isla Vista on Friday. Her friends reportedly last saw her at 11 p.m. when she went to the restroom, and became worried when they could not find her the next day. At around 7 p.m. Saturday, Ayala’s friends officially reported her missing.

After her body was discovered in the water on Saturday, it was determined Ayala suffered injuries constant with a fall. Though complete autopsy results will likely not be available for weeks, authorities suspect Ayala fell from a cliff near the party.

Deltopia, called Floatopia before being moved from the beach for rowdy behavior, draws 10 to 15 thousand partygoers each year. A spokesperson for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office said underage drinking was definitely present at the massive party, with 23 people arrested and 71 criminal citations given out.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Film Centered on Central American Migrant Earns 11 Ariel Nominations in Mexico

Film Centered on Central American Migrant Earns 11 Ariel Nominations in Mexico

Photo: "La Vida Precoz y Breve de Sabina Rivas"

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Director Luis Mandoki’s “La vida precoz y breve de Sabina Rivas” leads the nominations for the Ariel - Mexico’s equivalent of the Oscar - with 11.

But the Hollywood veteran’s tale about a young Central American woman seeking a better life was left out of the battle for film of the year honors among “El premio,” “Los ultimos cristeros” and “La demora.”

“El premio” will be up for a total of 10 awards when the Ariels are presented at a gala on May 28.

Nominated in the category of best actor are: Hernan Mendoza (“Despues de Lucia”), Roberto Sosa (“El fantastico mundo de Juan Orol”), Francisco Cruz (“Entre la noche y el dia”) and Carlos Vallarino (“La demora”).

Tessa Ia (“Despues de Lucia”), Paula Galinelli Hertzog (“El premio”), Ursula Pruneda (“El sueño de Lu”), Roxana Blanco (“La demora”) and Greisy Mena (“La vida precoz y breve de Sabina Rivas”) will vie for the best actress award.

The ceremony will include the presentation of the Gold Ariel for lifetime achievement to actress Columba Dominguez, actor Mario Almada and filmmaker Rafael Corkidi, organizers told Efe.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Hispanics at The Masters 2013 Tournament

Hispanics at The Masters  2013 Tournament

Photo: Sergio Garcia - The Masters 2013

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The Masters Tournament opened today with the honorary tee shots from golfing legends Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player.  The Masters is one of the PGA’s four major championships with a winning purse of nearly $8 million. 

Though many eyes will be on Tiger Woods, the tournament’s youngest champion at 21-years-old, and Guan Tianlang, the tournament’s youngest competitor at 14 years, there are several Hispanic golfers that were invited to compete. 

The Masters 2013 tournament invitees include Angel Cabrera (Argentina) who was the first Latin American to win the Masters in 2009.  The Masters also invited three Spaniards: Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Sergio Garcia and Jose Maria Olazabal, who won the Masters in 1994 and 1999.  None of these Hispanic players are odds-on-favorites to win the Green Jacket this year.

The Masters is also one of the PGA championships that attracts a lot of eye candy in the audience.  This year eyes will be on ski racer Lindsey Vonn, Tiger Woods new girlfriend and the always barely-dressed Paulina Gretzky who is dating golfer Dustin Johnson.

Southern Bubba Watson, a left-handed pro, won The Masters last year at 34-years-old. 

You can follow your favorite players performance at the Augusta National Golf Club where the Tournament is played by clicking here

Read more by HS News Staff →

I’m So Excited: Almodovar’s New Comedy to Have NorthAm Debut at LA Film Fest

I’m So Excited: Almodovar’s New Comedy to Have NorthAm Debut at LA Film Fest

Photo: I'm So Excited: Almodovar's New Comedy to Have North American Debut at LA Film Fest

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Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar’s latest film I’m So Excited (originally Los amantes pasajeros), gave him his best opening weekend to date when it had its world premiere in Spain last month.

Now, the film will make its North American debut at opening night of the Los Angeles Film Festival this June.

Excited is Almodovar’s first comedy since 1988’s Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, and is long way from his last film, the psychological thriller The Skin I Live In.

The film was released by Warner Bros. and is said to have been a success thanks to a loyal Almodovar following and great marketing (including flash mobs dancing to The Pointer Sisters “I’m So Excited”).

The L.A. Film Festival will show more than 200 feature, shorts, and music videos. It opens June 13 and will run until June 23. Tickets will go on sale for April for the general public, while Film Independent members can purchase tickets on April 11.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Jay-Z ‘Open Letter’ Rap to His Cuba Critics – Yes that Means You Sen. Rubio

Jay-Z ‘Open Letter’ Rap to His Cuba Critics – Yes that Means You Sen. Rubio

Photo: Jay-Z Issues "Open Letter" Rap on Cuba Trip

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Rapper Jay-Z has just addressed his Cuba-trip critics that include well known Cuban-American politicians, with a rap titled ‘Open Letter’.

The music mogul and his wife Beyonce celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary on the island nation last week.  The trip was greeted by frenzy in Cuba but criticism stateside as U.S. Congressmen Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart Ross questioned the legality of the trip.

Even Cuban-American Senator Marco Rubio chimed in with his scorn, lucky for us he’s not too busy working on comprehensive immigration reform and has time to deal with such critical issues as Jay-Z’s travels.  These prominent Cuban-Americans feel travel to Cuba or opening relations with the country will only keep the Communist regime of the Castro brothers in power.  Clearly these Cuban-Americans want to give the 53-year-old Cuban embargo policy some more time to work. 

Travel to Cuba though more open today than before can only happen through cultural exchange licenses granted by the U.S. government.  Those licenses cannot be granted for tourist purposes only as some are alleging the Jay- Z - Beyonce trip was. 

Jay-Z’s critics, which may be more Obama critics than anything else, want to know if the President knew about the trip or worse sanctioned it.  If you are to believe the ‘Open Letter’ rap lyrics the President ok’d the trip and was going to get ‘impeached’ over the matter.  White House spokesperson, Jay Carney said President did not ok the trip just because maybe he is busy with comprehensive immigration reform amongst other things.

The U.S. Treasury Department did a mea culpa and acknowledged that they granted the licenses for the rapper’s group to travel as a ‘cultural learning experience’ but were not aware that the rapper himself and his superstar wife were going to be part of the trip. 

The lyrics go something like this

“I done turned Havana into Atlanta,” Jay-Z raps in “Open Letter,” which he released Thursday. “[…] Boy from the hood, I got White House clearance… Politicians never did s—- for me except lie to me, distort history… They wanna give me jail time and a fine. Fine, let me commit a real crime.”

Even if the trip is a bust the song probably won’t be, it was produced by Timbaland and Swizz Beatz.  Check it out here:

Google+ Author: Estelle Gonzales Walgreen

Read more by HS News Staff →

AMERICAN IDOL 2013: Lazaro Arbos May Have Had the Worst Performance “Ever”

AMERICAN IDOL 2013: Lazaro Arbos May Have Had the Worst Performance “Ever”

Photo: ALazaro Arbos May Have Had the Worst Performance "Ever"

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The last remaining Latino singer on this season of American Idol may finally be heading home after what one judge suggested was the worst performance in AI history.

On Wednesday, the six remaining contestants were told to sing two songs, one from the Bacharach/David catalog and one they wish they had written themselves.

Cuban-born singer Lazaro Arbos, 22, has been struggling in recent weeks, but has managed to stay in the game thus far. However, after Wednesday night’s performance, Lazaro may be on his way home to Miami.

Judge Randy Jackson almost seemed stunned (in the worst way possible) after Lazaro sang the Carpenters’ “(They Long to Be) Close To You” and had serious trouble singing clearly, changing keys, and just staying on pitch. Jackson said it was quite possibly “the worst performance” on American Idol, “ever.”

Even judge Mariah Carey, who has been Lazaro’s biggest fan since auditions, had trouble critiquing him. After his second song, “Angels” by Robbie Williams, Mariah said this song choice was “more in the direction…of a performance…that would maybe be…preferable?”

Yikes.

If Lazaro has continuously been out-shined and clearly out sung for weeks now, why hasn’t he been sent home?

The answer is likely (just being honest here) this.

Image

Read more by HS News Staff →

NALEO Urges North Carolina Legislature to Uphold Voting Rights of Latinos

NALEO Urges North Carolina Legislature to Uphold Voting Rights of Latinos

Photo: North Carolina

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The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund released excerpts of a letter sent to North Carolina legislators in opposition of H.B. 589:

“On behalf of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, I write to express our opposition to H.B. 589.  The voter ID mandate this legislation proposes would weaken democracy by preventing eligible North Carolina voters from participating in elections.  At the same time, this unfair legislation would burden a state budget which the Governor’s Budget Director Art Pope described in a January 2013 Charlotte Observer article as containing little money for expanded government services.

“The NALEO Educational Fund opposes H.B. 589 because its implementation would impose a new and added barrier to electoral participation that would likely have a disproportionate impact on Latino and other historically underrepresented voters.  Under the proposed law, most voters would be required to show one of a limited list of state or federal government-issued photo IDs in order to cast a ballot.

“Strict voter ID laws that require voters to produce particular photo IDs create obstacles to voting that can go as far as permanently disenfranchising voters who do not have and are ineligible to obtain documents – like birth certificates – commonly needed to get government-issued IDs.  In total, the North Carolina State Board of Elections estimates that nearly 613,000 North Carolinians who are already registered to vote lack DMV-issued state IDs and might have to take proactive steps to maintain their right to vote; many more who are not yet registered, such as youth who will turn 18 before 2014 or 2016, are likely in the same situation.

“In addition to the disproportionate negative impact strict voter ID laws like H.B. 589 have on underrepresented voters, such requirements are expensive to implement. In Virginia, for example, where a new photo ID mandate was recently enacted, it is estimated that issuing free state IDs to registered voters alone comes with a price tag of $1.36 million.  Georgia, with a population size comparable to North Carolina’s, has spent $1.7 million on its voter ID requirement.  The resources needed to implement a voter ID law are so great that any programming from which those funds might be drawn would suffer notably.

“The NALEO Educational Fund urges you to oppose H.B. 589 in recognition of the negative impact it would have on voter participation and state finances.  The equal right of every citizen to vote is fundamental to our national identity.  Now more than ever, as our nation struggles to adapt to challenging economic and social landscapes, we need broad civic engagement, not laws that make it harder to vote.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Guaranteeing Access to Health Care to Immigrant Women: A Necessary and Wise Investment

Guaranteeing Access to Health Care to Immigrant Women: A Necessary and Wise Investment

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In the current public debate regarding comprehensive immigration reform, the focus on immigrant access to health benefits has been almost exclusively limited to cost (which is undeniably an important aspect) and has rarely addressed the social gains that result from investing in a healthy population. For the most part, the health of immigrant women has been left out of the discussion, which is, in many aspects, problematic.

It would be foolish and against America’s best interests to prevent immigrants from paying a fair share of their health care coverage.

As reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 54.6 percent of foreign born women were labor force participants in 2010.  In addition, immigrant women who perform their work in the domestic sphere help sustain the current workforce, raise the future workforce, care for the elderly and sick, and play a critical role in household well-being. Women’s contributions to the economy are, therefore, not only immediate, but will be felt in the future.

According to the World Health Organization, women’s health is an urgent priority demanding greater attention. From a societal perspective, there are strong indicators that investing in women’s health (and, especially, in maternal-newborn health) not only constitutes a value in itself, but also may result in economic growth. This applies not only to women in general but to immigrant women in particular.

In spite of overwhelming evidence pointing to the societal benefits of investing in women’s health, some immigrant women are among the most marginalized groups and those that are most excluded from the health system. A recent study conducted by a bi-national research team at the National Population Council of Mexico (CONAPO) and the University of California provides telling insights about the health outcomes of Mexican immigrant women. According to the study, there are currently 5.4 million Mexican women in the United States, comprising the largest immigrant group in the country. Because the vast majority work in the informal sector, their access to employer-based health insurance is severely restricted. In fact, “Mexican women have the lowest levels of health insurance coverage of all ethnic groups in the United States”.  They are also less likely to benefit from public programs for low-income families.

Ironically, in spite of their socioeconomic status, low levels of health insurance coverage, and limited use of health services, Mexican women are overall in a better state of health than might be expected. This phenomenon, often referred to as the immigrant paradox, specifically refers to the low prevalence of certain chronic diseases among Mexican women, including cardiovascular diseases, cancer, or hypertension, which is due in part to the younger average age of the group. Generally good maternal health outcomes among Mexican women also reinforce the paradox. However, as every other human being, they are not immune to the risks of getting sick or suffering from other health conditions.

While the specifics of a reform package that will eventually legalize undocumented immigrants are still being decided, some oppose giving the newly legalized population access to affordable health coverage—in particular, through the Affordable Care Act. However, considering the societal goals of disease prevention and the health of the population at large, barring legalized immigrants from access to affordable insurance through health exchanges (which the beneficiaries themselves would purchase), does not seem to be a wise move. Even from a financial point of view, as the report points out, bringing a large pool of generally young healthy people into coverage would be indeed beneficial. It would therefore be foolish and against America’s best interests to prevent immigrants from paying a fair share of their health care coverage.

Read more at Immigration Impact →

No Love for Eva Longoria’s ‘Ready for Love’ on NBC

No Love for Eva Longoria’s ‘Ready for Love’ on NBC

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There was no love for Eva Longoria’s lastest TV project ‘Ready for Love’ which premiered on NBC last night.  The show garnered a meager 3.7 million in audience; in spite of having the popular ‘The Voice’ as the lead-in show.

The TV matching making show features Ben Patton, a financier from Dallas, Texas; Tim Lopez, a musician from Santa Barbara, California and Ernesto Arguello, a philanthropist from Miami, Florida all vying for the chance to find true love.

Longoria, 38, is the executive producer of ‘Ready for Love’ which was promoted as a TV show with a new twist on the genre of TV dating shows.  Longoria claimed in prior interviews that she “handpicked these three myself. They’re some of my best friends now, and I would absolutely introduce them to my sister or my friends.”

Regardless of Longoria’s buzz for the show, ‘Ready for Love’ was not ready to get anyone’s love and an audience loser. ABC’s Modern Family and American Idol (Fox) won the audience ratings, with Amor Bravio (UNI) coming in the top 10 last night.

‘Ready for Love’ was also ripped by critics as was Dr. Phil and his ‘mentoring’ segment in the show.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Drug-related Violence Leads to 19 Deaths in Mexico

Drug-related Violence Leads to 19 Deaths in Mexico

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At least 19 people died in drug-related violence in the western Mexican state of Michoacan and the southern state of Guerrero, officials and community leaders said.

Eight lemon pickers were killed and several others wounded in an attack Wednesday in Apatzingan, a city in Michoacan, by gunmen suspected of being on the payroll of the Los Caballeros Templarios drug gang, community leaders said.

The Caballeros Templarios gang was founded in March 2011 by former members of the La Familia Michoacana cartel and deals in both synthetic drugs and natural drugs.

The cartel has been fighting rival gangs for control of turf and smuggling routes in Guerrero and Michoacan states, both of which are on the Pacific.

Michoacan’s forests and mountains are used by drug traffickers to grow marijuana and produce synthetic drugs.

Federal Police officers were attacked in the same area by gunmen and killed one of the suspected criminals in a shootout, officials said.

An officer was wounded in the incident, which may be related to the attack on the lemon pickers, a police spokesman said.

Five suspected gunmen were killed in a shootout with the Federal Police in Charapando, another community in the Tierra Caliente region.

Officials in Morelia, the capital of Michoacan, had to evacuate a high school after threats were made against an adjacent Federal Police station.

The bodies of four people, meanwhile, were found in Chilpancingo, the capital of Guerrero state, state judicial officials told Efe.

The war on drugs launched by former President Felipe Calderon, who was in office from 2006 to 2012, left about 70,000 people dead, or an average of 32 per day, in Mexico, officials say.

Calderon, of the conservative National Action Party, or PAN, deployed thousands of soldiers and Federal Police officers across the country to fight drug cartels.

President Enrique Peña Nieto, of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, has continued the strategy implemented by Calderon of taking on the cartels, but he has also called for bolstering intelligence capabilities and attacking criminal organizations’ entire structures, not just kingpins.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Woman Dies from Lethal Butt Injections in Costa Rica

Woman Dies from Lethal Butt Injections in Costa Rica

Photo: Butt Deformation Case - Costa Rica

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Costa Rican authorities are reporting the death of a 33-year-old woman from illegal buttocks injections.  The unidentified victim received butt shots as a cosmetic procedure that became infected. 

This case comes on the heals of a Santa Ana, Costa Rican woman claiming her butt was deformed by industrial silicone injects administered at an unlicensed clinic. 

Latina woman are often the victims of unlicensed, unscrupulous ‘cosmetic’ clinics here and throughout Latin America claiming to have the answer to a small or sagging posterior.  The cruelest of these medical frauds use silicone easily found at your local hardware store.  In the worse medical cases dubbed ‘silicone embolism syndrome’ the silicone will travel to the patient’s lungs and get stuck in airways.

These illicit procedures are on the rise, thanks to a slow economy and patients that can’t afford to be seen by licensed plastic surgeons.

Last year Whalesca Castilla was jailed for importing liquid silicone from the Dominican Republic and administering injections to women for butt enhancements. While Mexican singer Alejandra Guzman has struggled with the negative effects of a 2009 butt enhancement procedure. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Colombian Arrested at Mexico Airport, Cocaine Found in Luggage

Colombian Arrested at Mexico Airport, Cocaine Found in Luggage

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A Colombian man who was trying to smuggle 4.5 kilos of cocaine was arrested on drug charges at the Mexico City International Airport, the Federal Police said.

Wilson Javier Moreno Sanchez “appeared extremely nervous when he made contact with authorities,” the Federal Police said.

Moreno Sanchez was detained in the baggage area, where passengers arriving on a flight from Bogota were being inspected.

The 40-year-old man was carrying seven packages of cocaine in his luggage.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Cholera Alert for Dominican Republic Continues

Cholera Alert for Dominican Republic Continues

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U.S. travelers to Dominican Republic be warned, there is an outbreak of cholera, the bacterial disease that can cause diarrhea and dehydration, that continues.

The cholera outbreak started in November, 2010 and remains unabated.  As of February, 2013 there are 708 new cases and 10 cholera suspected deaths reported.  Since the beginning of the outbreak nearly 8,000 suspected cases have been reported to the Dominican Ministry of Health.

The risk of cholera for travelers to the Dominican Republic is likely very low if precautions are taken.  American tourists are urged to travel with an antibiotic prescription, water purification tablets and oral rehydration salts.  Tourists are also urged to drink bottled water and/or purified water.

The Dominican Republic shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, where a cholera epidemic that began nearly three years ago has claimed over 7,500 lives.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Tests Confirm Messi’s Injury Has Not Worsened

Tests Confirm Messi’s Injury Has Not Worsened

Photo: Lionel Messi (Miguel Ruiz/FCB)

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The tests performed on FC Barcelona striker Lionel Messi on Thursday morning confirmed that the player has not suffered “any worsening or change” and his recovery is continuing.

Messi started Wednesday night’s match against Paris Saint-Germain on the bench and played in the second half of the Champions League game, entering in the 61st minute.

The Argentine super-striker sustained a pulled right hamstring in last week’s first leg match against PSG.

With two away goals in the bank after the earlier 2-2 clash in Paris, Barça needed only to keep PSG off the scoreboard Wednesday night to be sure of advancing to the semifinals for the sixth consecutive time.

Barça began well but managed to generate only three chances in the entire first half as the visitors poured on the pressure.

Barça was relieved to reach the intermission with the score still knotted at zero, though the relief wouldn’t last very long, as PSG took a 1-0 lead just five minutes into the second half on a goal by Javier Pastore.

Messi then cast a sidelong glance at coach Tito Vilanova, looking for a signal that he should get ready to take the field, and the more than 96,000 people packed into Camp Nou went crazy as the Argentine started warming up on the sideline.

Even at less than 100 percent, the world’s best soccer player was still capable of galvanizing his teammates.

A ball from Messi meant for David Villa ended up on the foot of Pedro, whose volley rocketed past PSG goalkeeper Sirigu to make it 1-1 for the match and 3-3 on aggregate, allowing Barça to claim the semifinal berth thanks to the two goals in Paris.

The medical tests confirmed “that the injury has not worsened,” allowing “the player to continue with his established recovery plan and his response will determine his availability for upcoming matches,” FC Barcelona said in a statement Thursday.

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NBC/WSJ POLL:  64% of Americans Support Some Kind of Path to Citizenship

NBC/WSJ POLL:  64% of Americans Support Some Kind of Path to Citizenship

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A poll released today by NBC/Wall Street Journal shows the growing acceptance to grant a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented in the country.

The poll has 64 percent of Americans supporting some sort of path to citizenship.  When the poll numbers are broken down further,  it shows that 82 percent of Latinos polled support citizenship while only 47 percent of Republicans support it.

In actuality the poll shows that a majority of Republicans (51%) oppose a path to citizenship for the undocumented but some come around if there are fines, back tax payments and criminal background checks required. 

Individuals in support of a path to citizenship are in agreement with granting citizenship even though most do not believe the U.S.-Mexico border is either “totally” or “mostly” secure. 

The bipartisan group of U.S. Senators known as the ‘Gang of Eight’ is expected to introduce a comprehensive immigration reform bill today.  While individuals polled support a five-year wait for citizenship, it is expected that the bill introduced will ask for double that time before citizenship is granted.

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For the First Time, Pope Francis Speaks to Audience in Spanish

For the First Time, Pope Francis Speaks to Audience in Spanish

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Vatican City, Apr 10 (EFE).- For the first time during one of his Wednesday public audiences, Pope Francis spoke in Spanish, the language he used along with Italian to greet the roughly 40,000 people from all over the world who came to St. Peter’s Square for the traditional weekly meeting with the faithful.

Since his election to the papacy on March 13, Argentina’s Jorge Mario Bergoglio has only spoken in public in Italian, with the exception of the day on which he greeted reporters from all over the world who were covering the conclave, when he uttered a single phrase in Spanish.

At his two previous public audiences, Francis used only Italian, even when he greeted the faithful from Spain and Latin America, something the disappointed many of those present, who wanted to hear the first Latin American pontiff speak in Spanish.

On Wednesday, the pope used Italian to greet the faithful who spoke Portuguese, French, English, German, Polish, Arabic and Italian, but when he greeted the Latin Americans, he did so in Spanish, which brought applause from them.

Among those present at the Wednesday audience were members of Argentina’s San Lorenzo soccer club, the pope’s favorite team.

When he directed his remarks to them and said “greetings to the San Lorenzo de Almagro Athletic Club group from Buenos Aires” he added, smiling broadly, “That is very important.”

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Tens of Thousands Demand Immigration Reform in Washington

Tens of Thousands Demand Immigration Reform in Washington

Photo: Immigration reform protest (Campus Progress)

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Tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered before the Capitol here on Wednesday under a hot sun to demand comprehensive immigration reform that opens a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States.

Shouting “Llego la hora” (the time has come), immigrants from all over the United States, but mostly Latin Americans, demonstrated before the Capitol on a day organizers called “historic” in the fight for immigrants’ rights in this country.

“Our families can’t suffer any longer,” “No more deportations” and “I want to see my family: How much longer do I have to wait?” read some of the signs and banners carried by the protesters, who chanted in unison the slogan “Si se puede” (literally, “Yes, it can be done”).

Some people at the protest carried a statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mexico’s patron saint.

“This demonstration is just one of the events that the immigrant community will hold in the coming weeks to demonstrate our power and to pressure Congress in favor of this reform,” Salvadoran Rev. Vidal Rivas told Efe.

“We haven’t come here to beg. We’re demanding respect for the immigrants who contribute to this country and so that the suffering the deportations cause may stop,” he added.

The demonstration in the nation’s capital was staged along with protests in some 18 other states and was participated in by civil rights organizations, unions, Democratic members of Congress and artists such as Puerto Rico’s Olga Tañon and bachata singer “Andy Andy.”

Illinois Democratic lawmaker Luis Gutierrez exhorted the crowd and emphasized the electoral weight Hispanics had had last November, ballot box clout that contributed to President Barack Obama’s reelection.

“That vote ... was made with much hope and confidence” that Obama would fulfill his 2008 campaign promise to enact immigration reform, Gutierrez said.

Democratic Congressman from Texas Joaquin Castro said that he and his colleagues would not permit the reform to be blocked by its detractors and “everyone will have the opportunity to review it and modify it. There will be a vote and I think we’ll achieve it.”

All the speakers repeated the message that immigrants are not a public burden but rather they pay taxes and contribute to U.S. economic growth.

In remarks to reporters, New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez, one of the first to speak to the crowd, said that the so-called “Group of 8” in the Senate, who behind the scenes are preparing an immigration reform plan, are intending to formally present their work next Monday or Tuesday.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled the first hearing on immigration reform for April 17, although several Republican leaders, including Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, are demanding an unhurried and deliberate process of hearings.

When asked about that subject by Efe, Menendez said that Sessions “will have to accept” the hearing schedule put in place by the chairman of that committee, Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy.

The Senate’s potential immigration reform package includes, among other elements, legalization and potential citizenship for undocumented immigrants who fulfill a series of strict requirements, strengthening border security and sanctions for companies that knowingly hire undocumented workers. The House will also prepare its own version.

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Eva Longoria’s Devious Maids Gets a July Release Date on Lifetime Channel

Eva Longoria’s Devious Maids Gets a July Release Date on Lifetime Channel

Photo: Devious Maids Premiering June, Lifetime

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Desperate Housewives” creator Marc Cherry’s new hour-long soap opera about Latina maids – who would think that could be interesting – has a June 23, 2013 release date. 

The show will air on the Lifetime cable channel and reunites Cherry and former Housewife Eva Longoria.  Longoria is executive producing the 13 episodes Lifetime has ordered.

Devious Maids,” is loosely based on Mexican novela “Ellas son la Alegria del Hogar”.  Cherry cast some of Hollywood’s leading Latinas to play the leads including Judy Reyes (Scrubs), Roselyn Sanchez (Without a Trace) and Ana Ortiz (Ugly Betty). 

Daytime soap opera super star Susan Lucci has also been cast to play one of the maid’s employers Genevieve Delacourt.

The Mexican version has four maids, Silvia, Maribel, Adela, Guillermina and Carmela, working in a quiet Beverly Hills residential condominium where nothing ever happens until the residents became divided over a decision to build a swimming pool despite there being a severe water shortage in the area.

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Border Protection Officers Thwart Infant Smuggling Attempt in Texas

Border Protection Officers Thwart Infant Smuggling Attempt in Texas

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Officers with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Office of Field Operations at the Hidalgo International Bridge arrested a woman from Mission, Texas allegedly attempting to smuggle an infant into the United States this weekend.

The failed smuggling incident occurred on Saturday evening, April 6, 2013 when CBP-OFO officers encountered a maroon 1997 Ford Expedition driven by a 19-year-old female United States citizen from Mission along with an 11-month-old male infant. The adult female presented a State of Texas identification card and a U.S. birth certificate for herself and the infant, who she claimed was her son. The travelers were referred to secondary for further inspection and document review and after further examination it was determined that the infant was not related to the adult female but was in fact a citizen and national of Mexico without valid documents to enter or reside legally in the United States.

CBP-OFO arrested the adult female and she was incarcerated pending appearance before a U.S. Federal Magistrate on criminal charges for alleged violation of U.S. immigration law. The infant was released to the biological mother who arrived at the international bridge. CBP-OFO seized the vehicle utilized in the failed smuggling attempt.

“This is another failed child smuggling attempt that our officers have foiled due to outstanding attention to detail,” said Efrain Solis Jr., Port Director, Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas.“The ability to analyze the situation at hand and the excellent persistence to uncover inconsistencies has enabled our officers to detect this alleged smuggling violation.”

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Naya Rivera New Love is Rapper ‘Big Sean’

Naya Rivera New Love is Rapper ‘Big Sean’

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Puerto Rican beauty and Glee star Naya Rivera has officially stepped out with her new love, rapper ‘Big Sean’.

After weeks of rumor mill gossip the couple stepped out officially for the premiere of ‘42’.  The 26-year-old actress was spotted at a Vegas blow out for the rappers 25th-birthday last month.

Rivera is part of Glee’s original cast; she is currently filming the last episode of the season.  Her legions of lesbian fans will be disappointed with the public announcement.  She has a loyal gay fan base with her Santana Lopez character that has enjoyed some same-sex romps with Brittany Pierce and Quinn Fabray.

Big Sean whose real name is Sean Michael Anderson is part of Kanye West’s GOOD Music label.  He launched his first mixtape ‘Finally Famous’ in 2007 followed by a debut studio album in 2011.

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Spotify Eyes Latin America for Expansion, Service to Launch in Mexico Soon

Spotify Eyes Latin America for Expansion, Service to Launch in Mexico Soon

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Sweden’s Spotify, a music streaming service that gives users access to millions of songs, is looking at expanding across the Americas, the company’s managing director in Spain, Javier Gayoso, said.

Spotify already operates in the United States and will soon launch in Mexico, the executive said.

Gayoso, who participated in a conference on digital marketing and e-commerce in the southern Spanish city of Seville, told Efe that the company’s goal was to “grow, grow and grow.”

Spotify has more than 24 million users in about 20 countries, with pay service operating in six countries.

The company’s goal is to expand its operations around the world, “covering the map in green,” Spotify’s official color, the executive said.

Spotify expects to be operating in Mexico before the summer and the company is hiring personnel for the launch, with nearly the entire staff already on the payroll, Gayuso said.

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Colombia Restores Land Seized by Militia to Peasants

Colombia Restores Land Seized by Militia to Peasants

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President Juan Manuel Santos traveled to the northern province of Cordoba on Wednesday to preside over the restoration of lands stolen from 60 peasant families by the founders of Colombia’s murderous AUC militia movement.

“Where the murders reigned, the peasants return,” Santos said to an enthusiasic ovation.

“You who have suffered from violence like nobody else understand the significance of seizing these lands from the Castaño clan,” the president told a crowd of some 400 people in a rural area near Monteria.

Besides the return of 272 hectares (671 acres) of land, each of the 60 families will receive 45 million pesos (nearly $25,000) to help them rebuild.

Brothers Carlos, Fidel and Vicente Castaño, who dominated the AUC, began buying land throughout Cordoba in 1990, ostensibly to carry out an agrarian reform.

They then donated 120 parcels on the Santa Paula estate to peasant families.

After handing over the titles, however, the Castaños demanded that the peasants hand over part of their profits and sought to dictate how the farmers used the land.

Eventually, the brothers forced the families off the land, paying only token compensation.

“I feel very content, very happy,” Manuel, one of the beneficiaries of the restoration, told Efe.

But some of his neighbors said they were afraid to return to Santa Paula, given Tuesday’s murder in Cordoba of land restitution activist Ever Antonio Cordero.

The AUC killed more than 250,000 people over a little more than two decades, according to one of the thousands of U.S. State Department cables disseminated by WikiLeaks.

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Catholic Majority Uruguay Approves Same-Sex Marriage

Catholic Majority Uruguay Approves Same-Sex Marriage

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The Latin American country of Uruguay has approved same sex marriage, becoming the second country in the region to do so.

On Wednesday the predominantly Catholic country approved the measure in Congress after the bill passed the Senate by a wide margin.  Left-leaning President Jose Mujica has indicated he will sign the bill making it into law.  The bill was introduced back on December 12, 2012.

Uruguay, which is 54 percent Catholic, becomes the second South American country after Argentina to allow same-sex marriages.  It is also the 12th country in the world passing some type of gay marriage legislation.  Mexico City and certain parts of Brazil have also approved gay marriages.

Civil union lays known as ‘Ley de Unión Concubinaria’ have been legal in the country since 2008. 

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CBP Seizes $120,000 Worth of Meth in California

CBP Seizes $120,000 Worth of Meth in California

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Calexico downtown port of entry arrested a U.S. citizen after discovering $120,000 worth of methamphetamine hidden in his vehicle.

The incident occurred on Sunday, April 7, at midday when a canine team was screening vehicles and the dog alerted to a blue Toyota sedan as the driver waited for inspection. The driver was escorted for further inspection.

Officers discovered five packages of methamphetamine inside the vehicle’s battery. The drugs weighed eight pounds.

The vehicle and narcotics were seized. The 24-year-old male driver from El Centro, California, was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Inspections.

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ThursdayApril 11, 2013