Friday, September 9, 2011

Daily Headlines: September 9, 2011

* Mexico: Local energy officials claimed that power has been resorted to almost all of the 1.1 million customers whose electricity was temporarily cut off in a blackout that also affected the southwestern U.S.

* U.S.: A report presented yesterday found that basic legal rights might've been broken in the deportations of tens of thousands of Latino illegal immigrants.

* Brazil: A judge upheld the thirty-year prison sentence against a rancher convicted of the 2005 murder of nun and environmental activist Dorothy Stang.

* Latin America: U.S. President Barack Obama called on Congress to “clear the way” for free trade pacts with Colombia and Panama.

Image – Reuters via CBC News (“A couple walk their dogs past a malfunctioning traffic intersection in Cardiff, Calif., following a sweeping power outage that knocked out power in parts of the U.S. southwest and Mexico.”)

Online Sources- Huffington Post, Fox News Latino, CNN, Colombia Reports

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Daily Headlines: September 8, 2011

* U.S.: According to a new government report released “immigration offenses" have helped push Latinos to make up the new ethnic majority in federal prisons.

* South America: Thousands of demonstrators calling for education reform marched in several Colombian cities yesterday while organizers of education protests in Chile suspended their actions this week as a sign of respect for the victims of last week’s plane crash.

* Cuba: Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson will travel to Cuba in order to seek the release of imprisoned U.S. contractor Alan Gross.

* Latin America: Could Brazil’s reviving of a “long-running anti-dumping feud” with China hurt economic ties between that Asian nation and the Mercosur bloc?

Image – The Guardian

Online Sources- Fox News Latino, AFP, Bloomberg, UPI, CNN

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Today’s Video: Will the "Messi effect" work?

In 1977 a team with soccer legend Pele play a friendly match in Kolkata, India against local side Mohun Bagan. Thirty-four years later the Argentine and Venezuelan national teams played in an exhibition match in that city with the former beating the latter by a score of 1-0.

Star player Lionel Messi made his debut as captain of los albicelestes in that game that was played last week. But could his celebrity status help spur the development of soccer in India? Or will it require grassroots efforts like those in Venezuela, where soccer has grown despite the sport's secondary status compared to baseball? It remains to be seen if the "Messi effect" has any substantial impact for a country whose lone qualification to the World Cup finals came over sixty years ago.

Video Source - Al Jazeera English via YouTube

Online Sources - New American Media, India Today, AFP

Daily Headlines: September 7, 2011

* Haiti: Uruguayan President Jose Mujica apologized to his Haitian counterpart over the suspected rape of a Haitian man by Uruguayan U.N. troops while Brazil plans to remove some of its troops from the Caribbean country.

* Peru: President Ollanta Humala approved a law that would allow indigenous groups to be consulted before any rural land development projects.

* Mexico: Police arrested a U.S. man suspected of smuggling grenade parts across the border to the Sinaloa drug gang.

* Argentina: A judge opened an inquiry into allegations of rape and sexual abuse committed at a “notorious torture center” during the Dirty War period.

Image – AP via (“In this picture taken Sept. 3, 2011, people walk in front of a UN base where Uruguayan peacekeepers allegedly sexually abused an 18-year-old man in Port Salut, Haiti.”)

Online Sources- Reuters, MSNBC, BBC News, Voice of America, Times of India

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Today’s Video: Playing Freddie's game

Yesterday would've been the 65th birthday of Freddie Mercury, the former frontman for the rock band Queen. Numerous tributes have been held in his honor this week including an animated video on Google's home page and a limited edition sports car.

In 1997 several Latin American rock musicians interpreted Queen songs to Spanish as part of a tribute album. Soda Stereo, Molotov and Fito Paez where among those who participated in the unique project. Colombia's Aterciopelados contributed "Juegale, Apuestale", their version of "Play the Game", which you can appreciate below during the group's MTV Unplugged performance in 1997:

Online Sources -, Auto Guide, The Atlantic

Video Source - YouTube

Latin American press face “tragic” times

Robert Rivard, the head of a commission of the Inter American Press Association (IAPA), proclaimed that 2011 is the “most tragic year in the last two decades” for Latin American journalists. Since Rivard made those remarks in late July a series of incidents seem to have validated his claim.
  • The bodies of a pair of Mexican journalists, the founder of an investigative magazine and a freelancer, were found near Mexico City last week. Authorities said that the corpses of Ana Maria Marcela Yarce Viveros and Rocio Gonzalez were naked with their limbs bound and strangulation marks around their necks. Mexico City’s Attorney General mentioned the possibility that both women may’ve been targeted as part of a “gender crime” but did not discard their professions as a possible motive for their murders.
  • A suspected Dominican drug trafficker is believed to be behind the murder of local journalist Jose Agustin Silvestre. Silvestre, who was reportedly preparing a “bombshell” corruption story in the next edition of his magazine, was kidnapped and slain just over a month ago. The alleged mastermind behind the murder, Matias Avelino Castro, remains at large though police have detained his daughter.
  • Peruvian journalist Kitty Vela asserted that she has been the target of numerous threats possibly related to her investigative work. She further claimed that an hit man confessed to being paid $1800 in exchange for killing her.
  • IAPA president Gonzalo Marroquín recently called on Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa to “cease his harassment against the press.” Carlos Lauria, the senior program coordinator for the Americas at the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, appeared to echo these concerns in a report published last week. “Over the course of Correa’s tenure, the administration has created an elaborate legal framework to restrict news media,” mentioned the report that also accused Correa of using the state media as his “political megaphone.”
  • The above examples have thus far detailed instances of external dangers to the press but there are occasions when a few bad apples spoil the barrel. Such was the case of Ernesto Yamhure, columnist for Colombian daily El Espectador, who resigned last Wednesday over alleged ties to the late paramilitary chief Carlos Castaño. Yamhure and Castaño would provide pointers to one another such as the time the former advised the latter “over a communiqué that the paramilitaries were going to present to (then-president) Alvaro Uribe” concerning the demobilization process.
Image- AFP via The Guardian (“The Mexican journalists Marcela Yarce (left) and Rocio González, who were found dead in Mexico City.”)

Online Sources- Too many to list!

Daily Headlines: September 6, 2011 (Updated)

* Haiti: President Michel Martelly lashed out against an alleged sexual assault of a Haitian teen by U.N. troops from Uruguay and deemed it “an act that revolts the national conscience.” (Update: According to one Uruguayan legislator there are "two more videos and photographs" depicting abuse by U.N. peacekeepers in Haiti).

* Guatemala: The race for the presidency hasn’t show signs of slowing down ahead of Sunday's first round of elections.

* Brazil: Is the Brazilian economy about to go on the decline?

* U.S.: According to a government report released last week the Latino unemployment rate is 11.6%, a figure that nearly doubles “when the underemployed and discouraged workers are included.”

Image Source – AP via The Guardian (Haitian President Michel Martelly urged a full investigation into the supposed sexual assault of a teen by Uruguayan U.N. peacekeepers).

Online Sources- The Independent,, Bloomberg, Fox News Latino

Monday, September 5, 2011

World Watch: Presidential problems

* World: Clashes broke out at the trial against former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak while ex-president Jacques Chirac of France faces a maximum ten-year prison sentence if convicted of corruption.

* Africa: The U.N. warned that as many as 750,000 people could die in the upcoming months due to a famine that originated in Somalia.

* Libya: Authorities in China denied a report by Canada's The Globe and Mail newspaper alleging that Chinese firms were planning to sell $200 million in weapons to deposed Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

* Japan: At least 34 people died as a result of one of the worst typhoons to hit Japan in recent years.

Image – Reuters via The Guardian (“Riot police clash with anti-Mubarak protestors on the first day of the former Egyptian president's return to trial.”)

Online Sources- Voice of America, euronews, MSNBC, CNN, BBC News

Today’s Video: Walk this way

Several Latin American cities, such as the Colombian capital of Bogota last February, have held car-free days designed to raise environmental awareness. Bolivia upped the ante on Sunday with the "Day of the Pedestrian", which restricted individual auto users public transit buses nationwide during ten hours. "The city is not only for vehicles but also for the people," declared La Paz mayor Luis Revilla as street performers and marathon runners took to the auto-free streets yesterday.

Sunday's activities came amid protests against the construction of a major highway through the Amazon rainforest.

Video Source - ntn24 via YouTube

Online Sources - Global Voices Online, Milenio, BBC News

Daily Headlines: September 5, 2011

* Chile: Two days of national mourning were declared in honor of twenty-one people that are beloved to have died after an air force plane crashed off near the remote Juan Fernandez islands.

* Haiti: Five Uruguayan U.N. peacekeepers were recalled from Haiti over allegations that troops sexually assaulted an eighteen-year-old man.

* Cuba: President Raul Castro is among the thousands of Cubans paying tribute to Defense Minister Julio Casas who died on Saturday at the age of 75.

* Latin America: A “sharp decline” in Peruvian silver mining this year has allowed Mexico to overtake the Andean country to become the world’s top silver producer.

Image – Reuters via BBC News (The Chilean navy search for bodies and aircraft wreckage near the Juan Fernandez Islands. Among those still missing from Saturday's accident is popular television host Felipe Camiroaga.)

Online Sources- Xinhua, The Guardian, MarketWatch, UPI