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SundayJune 16, 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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Southern Mexico Rocked by 5.8 Earthquake

Southern Mexico Rocked by 5.8 Earthquake

Photo: Earthquake in Mexico

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A magnitude-5.8 earthquake rocked southern Mexico early Sunday, but no injuries or serious damage have been reported, the National Seismology Service said.

The temblor’s epicenter was located 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) southeast of Huitzuco, a city in the southern state of Guerrero.

The earthquake occurred around 12:19 a.m., with the magnitude initially revised upward to 5.9 and 6.0 but later set at 5.8, the service said.

No damage was reported immediately after the earthquake and no damage reports were received in the 30 minutes following the temblor, Government Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio Chong said in a Twitter posting.

A few power surges and outages were reported in Mexico City, the capital’s mayor, Miguel Angel Mancera, said.

People in some Mexico City districts, however, went into the streets in a panic when the ground began to move.

Mexico, one of the countries with the highest levels of seismic activity in the world, sits on the North American tectonic plate and is surrounded by three other plates in the Pacific: the Rivera microplate, at the mouth of the Gulf of California; the Pacific plate; and the Cocos plate.

The Cocos tectonic plate stretches from Colima state south and has the potential to cause the most damage since it affects Mexico City, which has a population of 20 million and was constructed over what was once Lake Texcoco.

The magnitude-8.1 earthquake that hit Mexico City on Sept. 19, 1985, was the most destructive to ever hit Mexico, killing some 10,000 people, injuring more than 40,000 others and leaving 80,000 people homeless.

The most recent powerful quake to hit Mexico was a magnitude-7.6 temblor that rocked Colima on Jan. 21, 2003.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Kidnapped Spaniards Planning Marriage Following Release in Colombia

Kidnapped Spaniards Planning Marriage Following Release in Colombia

Photo: Angel Sanchez Fernandez and Maria Concepcion Marlaska Sedano

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The two Spanish citizens who spent 29 days in captivity in Colombia said Sunday they were doing “very well” and had decided to get married.

“I really want to see my co-workers and, especially, my family, to be able to do what (I did before) and try to get over this (traumatic experience) little by little,” Maria Concepcion Marlaska Sedano said in a press conference in Bogota.

Marlaska and Angel Sanchez Fernandez, who were abducted on May 17 in the northern Colombian province of La Guajira, were rescued early Saturday by a National Police anti-kidnapping unit.

“We parked to go for a swim (at a place called) Ojo de Agua, when a young guy appeared, dark skinned and wearing a cap, and told us, ‘Hey, can you take us to town?” Sanchez said.

The man “got really close to the car and immediately took out a gun, a revolver, and pointed it at me,” Sanchez said.

Marlaska and Sanchez were released on Saturday from the Colombian National Police Central Hospital and taken to the Spanish Embassy in Bogota.

The couple is scheduled to fly back to Spain on Sunday afternoon.

The rescue operation was carried out by Gaula, the National Police’s anti-kidnapping squad, with Spanish officials involved in the preparations.

The 49-year-old Sanchez and the 43-year-old Marlaska are both from the northern Spanish city of Aviles.

The rescue occurred in a rural area outside the city of Maicao, near the border with Venezuela, and some of the kidnappers - apparently common criminals - were arrested, officials said.

Sanchez and Marlaska were abducted in La Guajira while traveling by car to the ecotourism destination of Cabo de la Vela, in Colombia’s far north.

The couple’s “dream was to travel to Colombia,” a “fabulous” country, but they had “the misfortune, the bad luck,” to be kidnapped by a group of armed men outside Cabo de la Vela, Sanchez said.

The kidnapping saga took another twist Sunday, adding to the happy ending when Sanchez asked Marlaska to marry him at the end of their press conference at the Spanish ambassador’s residence.

“I am going to do something that I thought I would never do, especially under these circumstances, which is to ask you to marry me. I hope you don’t say no,” Sanchez told a surprised Marlaska, who joked that “this seems like a contest.”

“Do you want to be my wife? Do you want to marry me?” Sanchez asked.

“Yes,” Marlaska replied.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Treasury Sanctions Mexican Traffickers Tied to Camarena Murder

Treasury Sanctions Mexican Traffickers Tied to Camarena Murder

Photo: U.S. Department of the Treasury

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The DEA today announced that the U.S. Department of the Treasury designated 18 individuals and 15 entities linked to Rafael Caro Quintero, a Mexican drug trafficker. 

Rafael Caro Quintero is a significant Mexican narcotics trafficker who began his criminal career in the late 1970s when he and others, including Juan Jose Esparragoza Moreno (a.k.a. “El Azul”), formed the Guadalajara drug cartel and amassed an illicit fortune. 

Caro Quintero was the mastermind behind the kidnapping and murder of Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent (SA) Enrique Camarena in 1985.  Following his capture in the same year, Caro Quintero was convicted in Mexico for his involvement in SA Camarena’s murder and drug trafficking and is currently serving a 40 year prison sentence there.

Caro Quintero is also wanted in the Central District of California on criminal charges related to the kidnapping and murder of SA Camarena as well as drug trafficking. 

Caro Quintero continues his alliance with Esparragoza Moreno’s organization and its key players, such as the previously-designated individual Juvencio Ignacio Gonzalez Parada.  The President identified Caro Quintero and Esparragoza Moreno as significant foreign narcotics traffickers pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act) in 2000 and 2003, respectively.

The action would not have been possible without the support of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican Marine Archaeologists Identify Sunken Ships

Mexican Marine Archaeologists Identify Sunken Ships

Photo: HMS Forth wreck (INAH)

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Marine archaeologists have been working for years to identify and tell the stories of ships that sank in Mexican waters.

“When you go in the water, you know that what you are seeing, if it was a maritime accident, many lives were lost,” marine archaeologist Helena Barba Meinecke told Efe.

Barba is in charge of the marine archaeology unit of the National Anthropology and History Institute, or INAH, in the Yucatan Peninsula, overseeing research and conservation of maritime heritage sites.

The marine archaeologist has worked in the region for nearly 10 years, helping find 338 wrecks from the 16th to the 21st centuries, of which 60 have been fully identified.

“We can put a name on them and a surname,” Barba said.

The most recent wreck located was that of the 19th-century British ship HMS Forth, which sank off the Yucatan Peninsula’s Alacranes reef 164 years ago.

“This is archival work, detective work, because the archaeological part is as important as the historical part in connecting all the items found with the documents,” Barba said.

The Alacranes reef was long a danger to navigation, causing many shipwrecks since the 16th century due to its sharp coral, sandbars and islets that suddently form in the sea.

Marine archaeologists identify wrecks, conduct dives and catalog the artifacts, often leaving items in place until they can be brought to the surface and preserved.

“When we go to a sunken ship, what we work most to preserve is the artillery, the cannons. Also, metallic items related to navigation, such as anchors, or related to the structure of the ship,” Barba said.

Mexican marine archaeologists mostly focus on the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, but some projects have been carried out off the Baja California Peninsula and in the lakes around the Nevado de Toluca volcano.

INAH officials have developed plans to create a marine archaeology museum to display items recovered from wrecks, Barba said.

Wrecks can be visited by the public, but divers must obtain a permit from the INAH, be accompanied by a specialist and cover the costs of the expedition, Barba said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Brazil Defeats Japan 3-0 at Confederations Cup

A spectacular goal by Neymar started Brazil on the road to an easy 3-0 victory over a hapless Japan squad, which was never in the running against the host team in the opening game of the Confederations Cup tourney.

Neymar, lashing a shot into the net early in the first half; Paulinho, with a quick finish at the beginning of the second; and Jo, with a counterattack in injury time, won the game for Brazil, which played better than in recent friendly matches but without totally overpowering its rival.

Japan’s performance lived up to its rating as the weakest team in Group A and never had Brazil in any real trouble.

Neymar took a scant three minutes to put Brazil on the scoreboard after taking an assist from Fred outside the penalty area and instantly slamming the ball through the Japanese squad for a score.

The goal by the newly signed Barcelona striker started the game off right for the host team, which from then on owned the ball, though without ever completely overpowering Japan and even getting bogged down at midfield itself sometimes.

Hulk, Paulinho and Luiz Gustavo were largely responsible for holding in check a Japan team that appeared far too inexperienced.

With almost the same script as in the first half but with different actors, Brazil scored a second goal two minutes after the referee’s whistle kicked off the second half.

The Corinthians’ midfielder took a long cross from winger Daniel Alves, turned and booted in the score.

With a 2-0 lead Brazil could coast a little, but then Neymar took a hit in the back and had to be substituted by Lucas Moura, a player that fans had been calling for.

A swift counterattack led by Oscar allowed Jo to notch Brazil’s third goal of the game, rounding out the scoring of the one-sided match in injury time.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Confederations Cup Protests Leave 27 Injured in Brazil

Confederations Cup Protests Leave 27 Injured in Brazil

Photo: Protests in Brazil

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At least 27 people were injured and another eight were arrested during protests Saturday in Brasilia at the inauguration of soccer’s Confederations Cup, police sources said.

Taking part in the demonstration, called by social movements criticizing what they considered the disproportionate outlay of taxpayers’ money to organize the FIFA tourney, were some 1,200 protesters who at first expressed their disapproval peacefully.

Despite extreme security measures, the demonstrators managed to reach the gates of Brasilia’s National Stadium, scene of the inaugural match between Brazil and Japan, with its strong police cordon and at a time when fans were pouring in to see the game.

Just as the colorful opening ceremony in the stadium began, the protest went from pacific to violent for reasons not very clear but marked by a powerful police charge against the demonstrators.

The cops used tear-gas bombs and were backed by mounted police who rode their horses against the demonstrators, as could be seen on television.

Brasilia’s Public Safety Secretariat said that eight people were arrested and that the clashes left 23 protesters and four police injured, though none seriously.

The protest came after a similar one staged Friday by about 500 people who blocked traffic in front of the Brasilia stadium and set fire to some 200 tires.

The protest against the soccer tourney joins demonstrations in other cities around the country against a recent hike in public transport fares, all of which created an unexpected atmosphere of tension leading up to the soccer spectacular.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Whole Foods Revises Employee Rules Following Spanish Incident

Whole Foods Revises Employee Rules Following Spanish Incident

Photo: Whole Foods

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The U.S. supermarket chain Whole Foods said it has revised its guidelines for employees on the use of languages other than English following the “unfortunate incident” involving the suspension of two Spanish-speaking workers.

The new rules ask employees who can speak English to “please speak with them in English, unless requested otherwise by the customer.”

They also ask that when speaking with customers or fellow team members, to “please make sure you are sensitive to others who may want to join your conversation or ask you a question. If needed, switch to a common language to be inclusive and respectful.”

The company, based in Austin, Texas, was the center of a bitter controversy a month after two employees in Albuquerque, New Mexico, said they were suspended for writing a letter complaining that they had been told not to speak Spanish to each other.

The supermarket’s employee manual told employees to speak English with customers and with other employees during working hours, unless the customers spoke to them in another language.

Walter Robb, co-CEO of Whole Foods, said Saturday that this was all the result of an “unfortunate incident,” and apologized “that a section of our handbook regarding team member interactions in the workplace was not clearly written, and for any misunderstandings or offense it has created. Its intention was to foster inclusion, not exclusion.”

Robb said the suspension of the employees was not due to the fact that they were speaking Spanish, but for their bad behavior.

The chief executive expressed confidence that with the modifications to the guidelines, workers will be able to share the riches of their cultures in the language they prefer, while at the same time making sure to be “courteous, respectful and inclusive among our customer and team member base.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

U.S., Peru Agree to Promote Growth of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises

The week, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson and Foreign Minister Eda Rivas signed the U.S.-Peru Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Promoting Growth of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

This MOU reaffirms the commitment to inclusive economic growth that the United States and Peru, along with the rest of the region, made at the Sixth Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia.

It recognizes the critical role of MSMEs in job creation and as drivers of economic prosperity, as well as the need to promote and support equal access to economic opportunities for women and minority entrepreneurs.

Under this MOU, the United States and Peru will strengthen their partnership and collaboration on activities to promote the growth of MSMEs through support of the Small Business Network of the Americas (SBNA), the Women’s Entrepreneurship in the Americas (WEAmericas) initiative, and other relevant efforts.

SBNA helps small businesses and entrepreneurs in the region better compete in the global marketplace by linking together more than 2,000 small business development centers and the two million clients they serve.

WEAmericas leverages public-private partnerships to address barriers women entrepreneurs face in starting and growing SMEs.

Read more by HS News Staff →

INFOGRAPHIC: Latin America and the Estimated Population Growth

INFOGRAPHIC: Latin America and the Estimated Population Growth

Photo: Hispanically Speaking News

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According to a recent UN report, the world’s population will hit 7.2 billion next month and 10.9 billion by 2100.  Interestingly, the populations of less developed countries are expected to double by 2050. 

We have looked at the current population as well as estimated population of Latin America in 2022.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico’s El Pinacate Reserve In Running for UNESCO World Heritage Site

Mexico’s El Pinacate Reserve In Running for UNESCO World Heritage Site

Photo: El Pinacate

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The Mexican government has obtained the inclusion of El Pinacate Biosphere Reserve and Great Desert of Altar on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Environment and Natural Resources Secretariat said.

“The process has taken more than eight years. In the year 2004 the Mexican government began taking the necessary steps to get El Pinacate Biosphere Reserve and Great Desert of Altar included on the list of tentative sites,” the department said in a statement.

This protected natural area in the northwestern state of Sonora “provides habitat for more than 1,000 species of flora and fauna, so it is considered the desert with the greatest biodiversity in the world,” the secretariat said.

The area has 40 species of mammals, 200 of birds, 40 of reptiles, a number of amphibians and two native species of freshwater fish, “as well as fragile ecosystems typical of desert areas, with vegetation on drifting and stabilized sand dunes that sustains a vast amount of wildlife.”

According to protectors of the environment, some endemic species in the area are in danger of extinction, such as the Sonora antelope, desert bighorn sheep, Gila monster and desert tortoise.

The secretariat said that with its inclusion on the tentative list, the reserve could be declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, as early as this year.

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee will meet June 16-27 in Cambodia to study the nominations and determine which will be definitively included on the list of World Heritage Sites, it said.

Mexico already has four Natural World Heritage Sites: the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve (1987), the Whale Sanctuary of El Vizcaino (1993), Islands and Protected Areas of the Gulf of California (2005), and the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve (2008).

Read more by HS News Staff →

Authorities Detain 24 Undocumented Indian Migrants in Mexico

Mexican authorities detained 24 migrants from India who had arrived in the country illegally and were riding in a haulage truck in the southeastern state of Chiapas, the National Migration Institute, or INM, said.

The truck was detected as part of a joint operation with Chiapas’ Public Safety Secretariat and Attorney General’s Office, the INM said in a bulletin Friday, adding that the two-dozen adult men found crammed inside the vehicle said they were from the South Asian nation.

“In the action, a suspected people trafficker tried to flee and, after a brief pursuit, was captured by immigration agents and state police,” the INM said.

The institute added that the detainee identified himself as Anuar Ivar Fonseca Martinez, a 25-year-old from Comitan, a city in Chiapas.

The foreigners were given medical treatment and placed in INM detention facilities pending “determination of their immigration status,” while the suspect was turned over to the Chiapas AG’s office’s special unit for crimes against migrants in Tuxtla Gutierrez, the state capital.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spanish Tourists Held in Captivity Arrive in Bogota

Spanish Tourists Held in Captivity Arrive in Bogota

Photo: Angel Sanchez Fernandez and Maria Concepcion Marlaska Sedano

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Spanish tourists Angel Sanchez Fernandez and Maria Concepcion Marlaska Sedano, who were freed by police in northern Colombia after being held captive for a month, arrived by plane in Bogota Saturday and were immediately taken to a hospital for medical tests.

Sanchez Fernandez, 49, and Marlaska Sedano, 43, who appeared to be in good health, waved to reporters from a distance after stepping off a Colombian National Police plane that flew them from the Caribbean city of Santa Marta to that institution’s anti-narcotics base in the capital city.

The two Spanish tourists did not make any statement to reporters upon their arrival in Bogota.

Col. Elber Velasco Garavito - National Police commander in the northern province of La Guajira, where the two Spaniards were kidnapped on May 17 - told Efe Sanchez Fernandez had been shackled in chains throughout most of his time in captivity, while Marlaska Sedano was only held in that manner at the beginning of their ordeal.

He said the kidnappers managed to escape but that authorities had identified nearly 10 people involved in the crime and hoped to arrest them shortly.

Spain’s National Police, meanwhile, said Saturday on Twitter that two businessmen, a Spaniard and a Syrian, who were tasked with arranging the collection of a ransom for the tourists’ release, had been arrested in Madrid.

A team of doctors met the two Spaniards at the foot of the plane’s stairs in Bogota and the two then boarded separate ambulances, one of which was carrying Spain’s ambassador to Colombia, Nicolas Martin Cinto.

Sanchez Fernandez was wearing shorts and a camouflage T-shirt, while Marlaska Sedana had on a red dress worn by members of the Wayuu Indian tribe, who live in the Guajira peninsula region.

The two also wore bulletproof jackets provided to them by Gaula, the National Police anti-kidnapping unit that rescued them in the wee hours of Saturday in a rural area outside the city of Maicao, near the border with Venezuela.

The Spaniards apparently were kidnapped by common criminals while riding by car to the eco-tourism destination of Cabo de la Vela in Colombia’s far north.

Read more by HS News Staff →

5 Men Killed in Mexico, Police Suspect Organized Crime

Five people were fatally shot in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, the regional Attorney General’s Office said Friday.

The killings took place Thursday night on Highway 90 in the municipality of San Pedro Totolapan.

Police found around 70 shell casings from AK-47 and AR-15 assault rifles at the murder scene, the AG’s office said in a statement.

Those weapons are favored by drug cartels and other organized crime outfits.

Assailants in an SUV and a compact car pulled up next to the victims’ vehicle and opened fire, killing five males ranging in age from 19 to 65.

Four were declared dead at the scene, while the fifth died on the way to a clinic in Tlacolula de Matamoros.

Authorities have some idea of who was behind the multiple-murder, but are withholding details of the investigation to avoid alerting the suspects, the Oaxaca AG’s office said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Police Rescue 2 Kidnapped Spaniards in Colombia

Police Rescue 2 Kidnapped Spaniards in Colombia

Photo: Kidnapped tourists

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Spanish tourists Maria Concepcion Marlaska Sedano and Angel Sanchez Fernandez, abducted on May 17 in the northern Colombian province of La Guajira, were rescued in the wee hours of Saturday by a National Police anti-kidnapping unit, authorities told Efe.

“The rescue occurred around 12:30 a.m. and at this time we’re on the way to the city of Santa Marta with them,” Col. Elber Velasco Garavito, National Police commander in La Guajira, told Efe by telephone.

The rescue operation was carried out by Gaula, the National Police’s anti-kidnapping squad, with Spanish officials involved in the preparations.

“Two Spanish National Police officers were with us the whole time, very much involved in coordinating everything with Spain,” the colonel added.

Sanchez Fernandez, 49, and Marlaska Sedano, 43, both from the northwestern Spanish city of Aviles, are both in good health, “just a bit dehydrated and very tired,” Velasco said.

“They are very happy. They can’t believe they were rescued,” the colonel said, adding that they would be transferred by plane from Santa Marta to Bogota.

The rescue occurred in a rural area outside the city of Maicao, near the border with Venezuela, and some of the kidnappers - apparently ordinary criminals - were arrested, the colonel said, without indicating how many captors were involved.

He said the raid was carried out very quickly and no gunshots were fired.

Colombian officials were to provide further details of the operation in Bogota later Saturday, while Spain’s National Police force said on Twitter that it arrested two suspects who were allegedly going to arrange collection of a ransom for the Spaniards’ release.

Sanchez Fernandez and Marlaska Sedano were abducted by unknown assailants in La Guajira while traveling by car to the eco-tourism destination of Cabo de la Vela, in Colombia’s far north.

They were rescued in the same area.

On Thursday, some 500 inhabitants of Riohacha, La Guajira’s capital, held a demonstration in the city’s downtown to demand the Spaniards’ release.

Read more by HS News Staff →



SundayJune 16, 2013