Fortuño Wins Approval To Amend Head Start Bill… Rosselló Replaced… Senate Confirms ASUME, DACO Chiefs… Rum Diary Stars Depp… World’s Longest Stogie… Top Honors… Latin American Graphics… Faith-Based Office Created… FIU Nets Galindo… Software Piracy Tops 40%… New RR Jobs 1 Yr Off… Arroyo Provides Spark… Bloomberg’s Ads en Español

Luis Fortuño Wins Approval To Amend Head Start Bill

May 19, 2005
Copyright © 2005 EFE. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (EFE) — Resident Commissioner Luis Fortuño on Thursday announced that he has successfully managed to include several amendments to the Head Start bill that would reform that federal program.

Fortuño said the amendments received the unanimous vote of the House Committee on Education & the Workforce.

The Resident Commissioner also said he played a leading role in the bill negotiations, and was able to reconcile differences between Democrats and Republicans.

The amendments to the bill were co-authored by Reps. Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX) and Raul Grijalva (D-AZ).

The bill is intended to make the program more competitive in the area of early education for children.

Fortuño was able to include a language that would emphasize the development of English language skills.

The bill also aims to provide parents with program information and documents, not only in English, but also in their language of choice.

New Committee Chairman Replaces Pedro Rossello

May 19, 2005
Copyright © 2005 EFE. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (EFE) — House Health Committee Chairman Gabriel Rodriguez Aguilo replaced New Progressive Party (NPP) Sen. Pedro Rossello as chairman of the Joint Committee to Implement the Right to Health Thursday.

The former chairman, however, will remain a member of the committee.

"The work that has been done during the past two months will stay the same. We will continue to work so that every Puerto Rican will have access to health services," Rodriguez Aguilo said.

The committee’s goal is to implement a new healthcare model for Puerto Rico.

Rosello decided to resign his post to show solidarity to the NPP senators who were removed from the committees they used to chair after supporting Rossello’s aspiration to take over from Kenneth McClintock as Senate president.

The senators who were removed from their chairmanships are Lornna Soto, Carlos Pagan, and Margarita Nolasco.

Senate Confirms ASUME Administrator

May 19, 2005
Copyright © 2005 EFE. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (EFE) — The Senate has confirmed Alfonso Ramos Torres as head of the Child Support Administration (ASUME by its Spanish acronym).

Ramos Torres received 17 votes and one abstention from Popular Democratic Party (PDP) Sen. Juan Eugenio Hernandez Mayoral.

On another note, Senate President Kenneth McClintock said that approximately 18 of the 32 government officials who have been appointed to the governor’s cabinet are yet to be confirmed by the Legislature.

McClintock said the Senate is still evaluating the nomination of designated Secretary of Education Gloria Baquero.

Also pending is the confirmation of designated Secretary of Justice Roberto Sanchez Ramos.

Senate Confirms Garcia Padilla As DACO Chief

May 19, 2005
Copyright © 2005 EFE. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (EFE) — The Puerto Rico Senate on Thursday confirmed Alejandro Garcia Padilla as the new secretary of the Department of Consumer Affairs (DACO by its Spanish acronym).

Garcia Padilla received the votes of 17 senators and two abstentions from New Progressive Party (NPP) Sen. Luis Daniel Muñiz and Puerto Rican Independence Party Sen. Maria de Lourdes Santiago. NPP Sen. Pedro Rossello voted against him.

The evaluation report that the Senate Committee of Consumer Affairs & Government Reports had issued on Garcia Padilla revealed no legal impediment for his confirmation.

The document also mentioned that Garcia Padilla received good reviews from all the speakers at the confirmation hearing.

Depp To Reprise Role As Hunter S Thompson

May 19, 2005
Copyright © 2005 World Entertainment News Network. All rights reserved.

May 19, 2005 (WENN via COMTEX) -- Johnny Depp is set to reprise his acclaimed role as journalist Hunter S Thompson in the sequel to his 1998 hit Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas.

The follow-up, called THE RUM DIARY, is based on Thompson's very first novel, which journals his career and personal escapades in 1950s Puerto Rico.

Depp is also acting as executive producer for the film.

Thompson shot himself to death at his secure compound in Woody Creek, Colorado, on 20 February (05). (RGS/DV/GES)

Guinness Book Of World Records Says Dominican Cigar-Maker In Puerto Rico Rolls Longest Stogie


May 19, 2005
Copyright © 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - A Dominican cigar-maker in Puerto Rico received a big birthday surprise from the Guinness Book of World Records -- confirmation that he rolled the world's longest stogie, breaking a Cuban man's record.

Patricio Pena rolled the cigar -- measuring 62 feet, five inches (19.03 meters) -- at a vegetable market in Puerto Rico's capital in January and it has been hanging there in a plastic case ever since with a sign declaring it the world's biggest. The sign doesn't lie, now that London-based Guinness sent him confirmation.

He received the notification Wednesday, his 44th birthday. "I'm so happy, you can't imagine," Pena said in an interview Thursday. "It was my birthday gift."

Guinness spokeswoman Kate White confirmed Pena's feat in an e-mail Thursday.

Pena, originally from Tamboril, Dominican Republic in the north-central region of Santiago, has lived in Puerto Rico for the past three decades. He first started rolling cigars at age 7, and has continued the practice in Puerto Rico. Pena rolls regular-sized cigars at a table outside Plaza del Mercado vegetable market in the Santurce district of San Juan, the capital of the U.S. Caribbean territory.

Pena displaced Cuba -- the king of cigar-making -- as the home of the world's largest cigar. The previous Guinness record-holder was Jose Castelar Cairo of Havana who made a 45-foot-long (13.5-meter-long) cigar in August 2003.

Dozens of curious onlookers including legendary Cuban percussionist Carlos "Patato" Valdes watched the final stage of Pena's project on Jan. 8. Pena had nine assistants turn the cigar as he wrapped it with leaves for about an hour and a half. He had rolled the cigar a few days earlier and set it out to dry before wrapping it.

It took 20 pounds (9 kilograms) of tobacco from Puerto Rico and Pennsylvania and 100 leaves to roll the cigar, Pena said. The materials cost about US$2,000 but sponsors paid for the event.

Pena now looks forward to rolling the world's thickest cigar in January on the one-year anniversary. He said it will have a diameter of more than a foot (0.3 meters) and it will be more than six feet (1.8 meters) long.

But for now, he's relishing his most recent accomplishment. Pena, who doesn't smoke, said he may have to adopt the habit at least once.

"I just might have to smoke one of my cigars to celebrate," Pena said.

Top Honors

May 18, 2005
Copyright © 2005 Courier-Post. All rights reserved.

CAMDEN -- The Creative Arts High School Concert Choir won top honors at a competition in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Sixteen members of the choir won a Gold Medal, the top award, as well as the Best Spirit Award after competing with 10 other U.S. and Puerto Rican teams earlier this month.

During a four-day trip, the choir worked with Puerto Rican choral instructors, practiced their Spanish-language skills and competed with other groups on one of the island's oldest stages.

The group sang songs in English, Spanish, Italian and Swahili.

-- Courier-Post staff

Latin American Graphics

May, 2005
Copyright © 2005 THE REPUBLICAN. All rights reserved.

[An} exciting exhibition at Smith College Museum of Art belie[s] any notion that printworks must be small in scale and their processes inscrutable.

"Latin American Graphics" knock[s] your socks off.

The works are large-scale, bold in color and dynamic form, encompassing a range of styles from realism to abstraction that is surrealist or formal. They demonstrate diverse print techniques as well as the expressive possibilities of printmaking.

The Latin-American graphics show, organized by the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, Calif., arrived at Smith College Museum of Art at the end of a nationwide tour. Representing work by 39 artists from 15 countries, it helps celebrate the reinstallation of the monumental Rufino Tamayo mural, "Nature and the Artist," in the atrium of the Brown Contemporary Fine Arts Center, which houses the museum.

Its 44 printworks offer a survey of the progression of modern and graphic art from Latin-American countries. However, few of us can appreciate that esoteric evolution.

Instead, we respond to the creative energy of this work, the way it almost leaps off the wall. Even the quiet, subtle pieces project that vigor. Look for the evocative and beautifully composed "Campesinos" by Francisco Zuniga. Notice an intense photo-etching aquatint, "The Door" by Argentine conceptual artist Liliana Porter, or the more conventional woodcut by Antonio Martorell from Puerto Rico; you'll realize the force that simmers within.

Thematic undercurrents, possessed of their own vitality, find particular expression in this work. Many artists reveal a dedication to traditional art forms, or to depiction of indigenous peoples. And much of the art springs from myth, fantasy, personal expression and social commitment.

Estuardo Maldonado, from Ecuador, fused formal abstraction with pre-Columbian motifs. Argentine designer Delia Cugat illustrated the fractured fabric of contemporary society. Guatemalan printmaker Rodolfo Abularach focused on a magical image of a human eye. Mauricio Lasansky in "Espana" simultaneously explored the descriptive, emotive potential of printmaking and the visual power of myth.

Governor Creates Faith-Based Community Office

May 18, 2005
Copyright © 2005 EFE. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (EFE) — Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila signed an executive order Wednesday to create the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.

The idea is to promote service programs for the homeless, the mentally ill as well as for drug addicts and abuse victims, among others.

Acevedo Vila signed the executive order during a breakfast with religious leaders, cabinet members, mayors, and representatives of the judicial and legislative branches.

The governor said he based the order on a similar action by U.S. President George W. Bush in 2001.

The office will be assigned to the Municipal Affairs Commissioner’s Office.

FIU Nets Galindo


May 18, 2005
Copyright © 2005 MIAMI HERALD. All rights reserved.

Former Kansas swingman Alex Galindo will be reunited with Florida International coach Sergio Rouco after the 6-7 freshman transferred to become a Golden Panther.

Rouco helped Galindo come to the United States from Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, to attend high school at St. Benedict's High in Jersey City, N.J.

Galindo chose FIU instead of Pitt, Rutgers and Miami -- schools he considered as a high school senior.

As a reserve for the Jayhawks, Galindo averaged 4.3 points in 23 games last season.

Galindo must sit out next season in accordance with NCAA transfer rules.

Software Piracy Rate Climbs To More Than 40% In 2004

May 18, 2005
Copyright © 2005 EFE. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (EFE) — Members of the Puerto Rico Alliance of Software Companies on Wednesday denounced that, during 2004, up to 46% of the software installed in local personal computers had been pirated.

The organization also revealed that losses to piracy increased from $11 million in 2003 to $15 million in 2004.

The Alliance made the statements after revealing the findings of an independent study that was conducted by IDC company, which is a subsidiary of International Data Group.

The parent company specializes in technology field investigations.

Alliance Manager Michael Yong Montejo said approximately one of every two software copies that is used in Puerto Rico is illegal.

No Job Creation At Roosevelt Roads In 12 Months

May 18, 2005
Copyright © 2005 EFE. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (EFE) — Economic Development & Commerce Secretary Jorge Silva Puras on Tuesday said the former Roosevelt Roads naval base in Ceiba would not create jobs for a year.

Silva Puras said this would be the case despite a redevelopment plan that is expected to generate 30,000 direct jobs and more than 50,000 indirect jobs in the several stages of construction within the next 30 years.

Work in several projects at the base won’t start until next year. However, the agency chief was unable to say how many jobs would be created then.

Silva Puras issued the statements during a legislative hearing in which he also said the plan would cost approximately $6.7 billion.

Arroyo Provides Surprising Spark

May 18, 2005
Copyright © 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) - The Detroit Pistons know they can count on Antonio McDyess off the bench. Suddenly, they've found someone else.

After playing well in a Game 4 victory, reserve guard Carlos Arroyo sparked the Pistons in Tuesday night's 86-67 Game 5 rout.

"His impact on the game was tremendous," Detroit coach Larry Brown said. "What he has done in the last two games might not show up on the stat sheet, but he got us running and he got us easy shots. That let us rest people."

Arroyo only scored two points Tuesday, but he had six assists in a playoff-high 18 minutes.

"I know I'm not going to be out there much, so when I'm out there, I just try to do my best and hopefully I'll get back in," he said. "I'm just trying to help my team win."

Pacers coach Rick Carlisle has been impressed with Arroyo since seeing him finish with 24 points and seven assists to lead Puerto Rico to an upset of Brown's United States team in the Athens Olympics.

"He makes plays and he has a really good feel for the game," Carlisle said. "He's playing really well, and he's making a contribution."

Bloomberg Unleashes Ad Campaign en Español

Spanish political ads kick off Bloomberg TV campaign

May 17, 2005
Copyright © 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

NEW YORK (AP) - Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg is targeting Latino voters with the first television advertisements of his re-election campaign, which feature him speaking entirely in Spanish.

The ads unveiled Tuesday begin a bilingual blitz expected to continue for several days, highlighting themes like the city's reviving economy, safe streets and better schools. Ads in English are scheduled for later this week.

The two Spanish spots, 30 and 60 seconds long, show uplifting city scenes like children on playgrounds and construction workers mixed with urban images of skyscrapers and police officers with handcuffs. Bloomberg, who has a Spanish tutor, trades lines with the female voiceover.

Bloomberg campaign manager Kevin Sheekey said this is the first citywide campaign to begin its television ads in a language other than English.

"Others may write off the Latino vote or take it for granted, but Mike Bloomberg is putting the people and the resources in place to be able to ask all New Yorkers for their votes," Sheekey said.

A recent Quinnipiac University poll showed just 30 percent of Hispanic voters approved of the job Bloomberg is doing, while 54 percent of white voters approved.

Bloomberg's Democratic opponents were quick to slam him for pouring his money into a costly TV campaign -- reportedly close to $1 million -- so early in the race. Campaign finance data released last week showed Bloomberg already has spent nearly $10 million, putting him on track to exceed the $74 million he spent to get elected in 2001.

The ads will air on Spanish-language cable stations -- targeting a voting bloc considered a strong base for Democratic front-runner Fernando Ferrer, who is of Puerto Rican ancestry.

Ferrer said in a statement Tuesday that "bad policies are bad policies in any language, and Mike Bloomberg's policies are indefensible no matter how many millions of dollars he spends."

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