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SaturdayMay 18, 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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YPF Partners With Chevron Over Vaca Muerta Development Terms in Argentina

Argentine state-controlled energy company YPF has signed an agreement with Chevron Corp. outlining the commercial terms and conditions for developing the Vaca Muerta shale oil and gas field in the country’s southwest.

The accord signed Friday in Buenos Aires with the San Ramon, California-based supermajor “is a step prior” to a final agreement, which is expected to be inked in July, YPF said in a statement.

Under the initiative, first announced last December, Chevron is to invest up to $1.5 billion in a pilot program aimed at developing shale deposits in the Loma La Lata Norte and Loma Campana blocks of Vaca Muerta, located in the southwestern province of Neuquen.

The pilot project will involve the drilling of more than 100 wells over the next 12 months, YPF said.

YPF announced the discovery of non-conventional oil and natural gas reserves in Vaca Muerta in 2011 after successful results in the exploration phase.

Development of that region, which has already begun on a small scale, is seen as a solution to Argentina’s current energy deficit.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico to Create Special Unit to Investigate the Missing

Mexico to Create Special Unit to Investigate the Missing

Photo: Government Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio and Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam

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Mexico’s Government Secretariat and federal Attorney General’s Office will soon create a joint unit to investigate and solve the cases of thousands of missing persons.

Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam made the announcement in statements to reporters after meeting with mothers of the disappeared who had been staging a hunger strike outside the headquarters of the AG’s office in Mexico City.

The Mexican government recently said it had a database with the names of roughly 26,000 people who “have not been located” for various reasons, a list that is being thoroughly reviewed to determine the causes of the disappearances.

The cases include victims of organized crime, authorities say, but also people believed to have left home in a bid to emigrate illegally to the United States.

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

Some of the victims were buried in mass graves or dissolved with corrosive chemicals.

In addition to the new joint investigative unit, which will ensure families of the missing “do not have to bounce around from one entity to another,” authorities will guarantee that the investigators working on these cases remain at their posts until they are completed.

Murillo also termed “truly impressive” the investigations conducted by relatives of the missing, saying they were “much more thorough” than the official probes.

“We’re going to work together so this information isn’t lost, so investigations aren’t halted,” the attorney general said alongside Government Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio.

In the same press conference, Margarita Lopez, a representative of the mothers of the disappeared, said her group accepted authorities’ commitment to ensure “clearer coordination” of investigations with the aim of resolving these cases.

She also said the group of mothers who had been on hunger strike since May 9 decided to lift their protest now that authorities have pledged to work to solve the cases of their missing relatives.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico, Brazil Looking to Boost Trade Relations Without Free-trade Pacts

Mexico, Brazil Looking to Boost Trade Relations Without Free-trade Pacts

Photo: Mexico and Brazil

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Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Jose Antonio Meade visited his Brazilian counterpart, Antonio Patriota, with whom he agreed to promote a series of business meetings to boost bilateral trade.

Meade told a press conference that, on the topic of trade, “right now that is Mexico’s goal,” but that at present there is no intention to negotiate free-trade agreements with Brazil.

“There’s a mutual interest in strengthening trade relations” and “we believe it can be achieved with business meetings by sectors,” the Mexican foreign relations secretary said.

Patriota said that those meetings could initially bring together businessmen in the energy and cosmetics sectors, both having been identified as having a strong business potential.

At the same time, Meade and Patriota said they have agreed to “facilitate” meetings between representatives of Mexican state oil monopoly Pemex and Brazilian state-controlled Petrobras, just as Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto had requested in his interest to know more about the experiences of the Brazilian company.

Both foreign ministers hailed the elimination of visas for Mexican and Brazilian citizens for visits to each other’s countries for a maximum of 180 days, in effect since Thursday, and agreed that it will stimulate mutual tourism and will become another business opportunity.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Defected Cuban Ballerinas to Perform in Miami For First Time

Defected Cuban Ballerinas to Perform in Miami For First Time

Photo: Defected ballerinas (Cafe Fuerte Web)

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The seven members of the National Ballet of Cuba who defected in March while on tour in Mexico will perform for the first time in the United States at a May 25 show in Miami.

Ania Ruiz Diaz, Victor Santana, Randy Crespo, Arianni Martin, Edward Morgado, Josue Justice and Analay Saiz will take part in The Best of the Classical Repertoire gala at The Fillmore Miami Beach at Jackie Gleason Theater, the Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami announced Friday.

Since its founding in 2005, the Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami has provided support and an artistic space for Cuban dancers who have sought asylum in the United States, Pedro Pablo Peña, the company’s founder and artistic director, said in a statement.

Peña added that he was pleased to present these “talented dancers” to the public, who will surely appreciate their “artistic and technical excellence.”

After defecting during a National Ballet of Cuba performance in Chetumal, Mexico, the seven dancers made their way to the United States and requested asylum in that country.

The Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami said the group of Cuban dancers was the largest to seek asylum at the same time since 1966.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Brazil Clones 1st Animal in the World from Adipose Cell

Brazil Clones 1st Animal in the World from Adipose Cell

Photo: Brazil Clones 1st Animal in the World from Adipose Cell

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A tame, healthy calf that grazes on a farm in Brazil is unique in the world for having been the first to survive cloning from a cell of adipose tissue.

A calf of a zebu breed named Brasilia de Cerrado was born on April 23 at the experimental ranch of the Brazilian Agricultural and Livestock Research Company, or Embrapa, in Planaltina near Brasilia.

In the country that has the largest cattle-breeding industry in the world, Brasilia de Cerrados has the particularity of being the first fruit of a project to clone cattle from fatty adipose cells of another animal.

“We know of another bovine produced from induced stem cells of adipose tissue - but not directly from adipose cells - that was born alive but died immediately,” Carlos Frederico Martins, research scientist and project director for Embrapa, told Efe.

According to Martins, in the case of the Brazilian calf, “this is the first healthy animal cloned directly from cells of adipose tissue” that is known to the world’s scientific journals.

The calf weighed 35 kilos (78 pounds) at birth, was in perfect health and nursed without difficulty from the surrogate mother cow.

The animal was produced with the technique of cloning by nuclear transfer, which consists of introducing genetic material of an adipose cell into an immature ovum of the same species from which the genetic material was taken.

The immature ovum is activated so it begins to multiply and become an embryo that is then implanted in the uterus of a cow which will serve as its surrogate mother.

Clonings typically use embryonic stem cells or induced stem cells of epidermal tissue, so that the use of adipose cells opens great possibilities, according to Embrapa.

Brasilia de Cerrados is the fruit of cutting-edge technology at Embrapa, a state company setting a world standard in tropical agricultural and livestock research, which has helped Brazil become one of the largest food producers in the world.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Nestle Invests $130 Million in Factory Expansion in Mexico

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto inaugurated a 1.6-billion-peso ($130-million) expansion of a Nestle instant coffee factory in the central city of Toluca.

The project has boosted the plant’s productive capacity by 30 percent, making it the world’s biggest facility of its kind, Nestle Mexico CEO Marcelo Melchior said during Friday’s ceremony.

The factory, which covers a 14-hectare (34-acre) area, will supply the Mexican, U.S., Central American, Caribbean, Middle Eastern and Japanese markets, the Swiss food giant said in a statement.

As part of the remodeling, a biomass boiler was installed to process spent coffee grounds from the production process for use as fuel, thereby covering 60 percent of the plant’s electricity needs.

The new system will enable a 37,000-ton reduction in CO2 emissions, equivalent to taking more than 11,800 cars off the roads for a year, the company said.

Peña Nieto not only hailed the investment outlay but also the multinational’s increased productivity, noting that by “boosting its workforce by just 10 percent,” it will expand its production capacity by 30 percent thanks to the use of new techniques.

The reason why Mexico “can’t grow more” is that its productivity has fallen over the past 30 to 40 years, according to the president, who stressed the need for structural changes to bolster the domestic market and reduce dependence on global economic conditions.

Mexico is one of the world’s leading coffee-producing countries and the largest producer of organic coffee, according to figures from the sector, which is facing a crisis stemming from the spread of a fungus from Central America.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Puerto Rican Authorities Rescue Baby Manatee

Puerto Rican Authorities Rescue Baby Manatee

Photo: Manatee pup (AMPA)

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Rangers from Puerto Rico’s Department of Natural and Environmental Resources rescued a newborn manatee they found stranded on a beach in the La Boquilla district of Mayaguez municipality on the Caribbean island’s west coast.

The Manatee Conservation Center on the Bayamon campus of the InterAmerican University said in a communique that the manatee pup found on Wednesday was seriously dehydrated.

The pup, which at the time it was found was estimated to have a life expectancy of no more than a day, was taken to the Manatee Conservation Center directed by Dr. Antonio Mignucci.

The manatee, 1.2 meters (3 feet 11 inches ) long and weighing 40 kilograms (88 pounds), will undergo a long process of rehabilitation and rearing lasting approximately two years.

“This is one of the biggest Puerto Rican manatee pups we have seen for its age. Its visible umbilical cord and the folds of skin on its tail at the time it was found tells us that it was only born the day before, or possibly just hours before,” Mignucci said.

Manatees are a species endemic to Puerto Rico and the Caribbean in danger of extinction due to their being hunted and, in recent years, to being hit by motorboats and from the loss of coastal habitat.

The Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service carry out programs of restoring species in collaboration with organizations like Puerto Rico’s Mayaguez Zoo and the Manatee Conservation Center.

Read more by HS News Staff →

INFOGRAPHIC: Deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest

INFOGRAPHIC: Deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest

Photo: Premium Brazilian Decking

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The Amazon Rainforest is a unique and lush eco system. It largely consists of over a billion acres of land encompassing areas in Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia and the Eastern Andean region of Ecuador and Peru.

The Amazon Rainforest birds account for about one-third of the entire world’s bird species, and more than half of the world’s ten million species of plants, animals and insects live in this plush forest.

The Amazon also plays a huge part in medicine, with over a quarter of the medicine we use today having their origins from the rainforest.

Premium Brazilian Decking has created this infographic, covering the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest.


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Bill Gates Takes Back World’s Richest Person, Slim is Number 2

Bill Gates Takes Back World’s Richest Person, Slim is Number 2

Photo: Bill Gates and Carlos Slim

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Bill Gates has regained the title of the world’s richest person, a position he lost in 2007 to Mexico’s Carlos Slim due to fluctuations in the Microsoft mogul’s stock market investments, according to Bloomberg’s daily index.

Gates’s fortune is now estimated at $72.7 billion, having risen 16 percent over the past year thanks to a resurgence of financial markets in recent months.

Meanwhile Slim is left with “only” $72.1 billion, the result of a drop in share price of his company America Movil, the biggest mobile-phone outfit in the Americas, after Mexico passed a bill of telecommunications reform making the market more competitive.

In third place is U.S. investor Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway with a fortune estimated at $59.7 billion, up 24.6 percent over a year ago thanks to well performing investments.

Next on the list is Spain’s Amancio Ortega, founder of the Inditex textile group, who saw a 2.6 percent drop in his personal fortune over the year to $56 billion.

Close behind comes Ingvar Kamprad of Sweden, founder of Ikea, whose holdings climbed 29.5 percent in value to $55.5 billion.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Pemex Discovers Deep-Water Find in Gulf of Mexico

Mexican state-owned oil monopoly Petroleos Mexicanos said it detected the presence of oil at a deep-water field in the Gulf of Mexico.

“There are clear signs of the presence of hydrocarbons in Maximino, but final tests are still needed to fully confirm it,” Pemex announced on Twitter.

It said exploration work was continuing at the field, which is located on Mexico’s side of the Perdido basin in a zone very near U.S. territorial waters.

Pemex has previously found crude at other deep-water fields in the Perdido area.

The Mexican company added that it hopes “to have definitive results shortly on the presence of crude oil in Maximino,” which “is being drilled by the West Pegasus hi-tech rig at a water depth of 2,950 meters (9,670 feet).”

Pemex is currently the world’s fourth-largest oil producer and the taxes it pays account for roughly 40 percent of Mexico’s national budget.

The company produces 2.5 million barrels of crude per day, half of which is exported and the rest processed by the national system of refineries and petrochemical plants.

Mexico is searching for new resources at a time when oil production has fallen from its peak of 3.4 million barrels a day in 2004.

Though production has recently stabilized and the country achieved a reserve-replacement ratio of 100 percent last year, Mexico’s output has suffered from the natural decline of the once-super giant Cantarell offshore field and a lack of sufficient investment.

In addition to exploring deep-water areas in the Gulf of Mexico, Pemex also is looking to boost energy production by assessing its non-conventional reserves.

Read more by HS News Staff →

America Ferrera Earns International Relations Degree, 10 Years After Entering College

America Ferrera Earns International Relations Degree, 10 Years After Entering College

Photo: America Ferrera (WhoSay)

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Actress America Ferrera graduates Friday from the University of Southern California, 10 years after beginning her International Relations course.

“Graduation day! Congratulations to everyone in the Class of 2013!” she said Friday on Twitter.

Ferrera tweeted the joy of her achievement this week: “At last it’s happening! It’s taken me 10 years, but I feel great.”

Born in Los Angeles of Honduran parents, Ferrera went to USC on a presidential scholarship with a double major in Theater and International Relations.

Nonetheless, the actress had to suspend her studies temporarily to concentrate on her career, thanks to her success in the leading role of the “Ugly Betty” television series.

For her characterization of Betty Suarez, Ferrera, now 29, won a Golden Globe, an Emmy and a Screen Actors Guild Award.

At USC, Ferrera also met her future husband, the actor, director and scriptwriter Ryan Piers Williams, when he picked her to star in the short subject “Muertas” (Deaths) about the many women who have been murdered in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

Ferrera is currently working on the movie “X/Y,” written and directed by her husband.

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Jenni Rivera’s Final Concert to Air on Mun2

Jenni Rivera’s Final Concert to Air on Mun2

Photo: Jenni Rivera

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The May 19 episode of the Mun2 series “I Love Jenni” will air the concert Jenni Rivera gave before getting on the plane that crashed hours later, taking the lives of the artist and another six people.

The California-born singer’s show in Monterrey, Mexico, included songs she dedicated to her fans and to her daughter Chiquis.

Besides the concert footage, the episode will air backstage shots of the singer and businesswoman celebrating the show’s success with her crew.

At the same time, the episode includes pictures of how the family took the news of the deadly plane crash in northern Mexico.

The singer had filmed five of the scheduled 17 episodes for the third season of the “I Love Jenni” series, which debuted in March 2011 and in which the artist shared with fans details of her family life and artistic career.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Arizona Immigrants Not Giving Up After Court Setback on Licenses

Arizona Immigrants Not Giving Up After Court Setback on Licenses

Photo: Driver's license

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Young undocumented immigrants in Arizona said Friday that they will fight on in the courts despite a federal judge throwing out their plea to be given the immediate possibility of obtaining driver’s licenses.

“We lost a battle, but not the war,” Dulce Matuz, president of the Arizona Dream Act Coalition, told Efe on Friday.

U.S. District Judge David Campbell denied Thursday the plea of a coalition of undocumented youths for a preliminary injunction against Gov. Jan Brewer’s executive order barring the issuance of driver’s licenses to immigrants accepted into the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

The plaintiffs could not prove their point that Brewer’s order violates the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause, Campbell said.

Deferred Action is a program established by the administration of President Barack Obama which provides a work permit and a two-year reprieve from deportation for undocumented migrants 30 and under who can show they came to this country before the age of 16.

The federal initiative provides some relief to people who would benefit from the DREAM Act, which has been stalled for years in Congress.

“This case will continue to be fought. Many people have the impression that it’s already lost, but all the judge said was that he wasn’t gong to block Brewer’s decision immediately. The legal case continues,” Matuz said Friday.

“In his decision, the judge also said the state could not explain in a rational way the reasons why Arizona Dreamers are refused driver’s licenses,” the activist, who was one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in 2012, said.

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Mexico’s Popocatepetl Volcano Spews Ash, Gas

Mexico’s Popocatepetl Volcano Spews Ash, Gas

Photo: Popocatepetl volcano

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Columns of gas and ash 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) high were detected after two strong explosions from the Popocatepetl volcano, Mexico’s Cenapred disaster-management agency said Friday.

The first blast came at 10:14 p.m. Thursday, followed by another a little more than two hours later.

The explosions deposited glowing fragments up to 1.5 kilometers from the crater as well as columns of ash and gas that were carried northeastward by the prevailing winds, Cenapred said.

Popocatepetl, which rises 5,452 meters (17,875 feet) above sea level, is located about 64 kilometers (40 miles) from Mexico City.

Mexican authorities have prepared contingency plans to evacuate communities near the volcano and they placed around 700 military personnel on alert to aid in that effort should it become necessary.

The closest municipalities to Popocatepetl are around 12 kilometers (7.2 miles) away.

Popocatepetl, Mexico’s second-highest peak, is one of 14 active volcanoes in the Aztec nation.

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Alan Gross Settles Suit Against Employers in Cuba

Alan Gross Settles Suit Against Employers in Cuba

Photo: Alan Gross

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Alan Gross, the U.S. contractor serving a 15-sentence in Cuba for subversion, has settled a lawsuit against the firm that hired him for a project on the Communist-ruled island, his lawyers said Friday.

The terms of the settlement, filed Thursday with the U.S. District Court in Washington, are confidential and subject to a non-disclosure agreement, a spokeswoman for the Scott Gilbert law firm said.

Alan Gross, 64, and wife Judith sued Development Alternatives Inc and the U.S. Agency for International Development for failing to inform him in advance about the risks of the Cuba mission and for refusing to pull him out after he expressed concerns.

USAID contracted Maryland-based DAI for a project to expand Internet access and the flow of information in Cuba.

DAI hired Gross to travel to the island, where he was detained in December 2009 with satellite communications equipment he was planning to distribute among Cuba’s Jewish community

Havana said Gross was illegally aiding dissidents and inciting subversion. Last August, Cuba’s highest court upheld the 15-year jail sentence imposed on the American five months earlier.

The Gross family’s suit against USAID remains open.

The U.S. government and Gross’s family insist the contractor did nothing wrong and demand his immediate, unconditional release.

Cuba has suggested it would release Gross in exchange for the return of four Cuban intelligence agents convicted in the United States of espionage.

Read more by HS News Staff →

SaturdayMay 18, 2013