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05_Flatbed_1 - APRIL“Mexico is protesting what it says is a whopper of an insult.

An advertisement for Burger King‘s Texican Whopper burger that has run in Europe shows a small wrestler dressed in a cape resembling a Mexican flag. The wrestler teams up with a lanky American cowboy almost twice his height to illustrate the cross-border blend of flavors.

“‘The taste of Texas with a little spicy Mexican,’ a narrator’s voice says.

“The taller cowboy boosts the wrestler up to reach high shelves and helps clean tall windows, while the Mexican helps the cowboy open a jar.

“Mexico’s ambassador to Spain said Monday he has written a letter to Burger King’s offices in that nation objecting to the ad and asking that it be removed. Jorge Zermeno told Radio Formula that the ads ‘improperly use the stereotyped image of a Mexican.'” (more @ NY Daily News)

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“He is the 82-year old giant of Latin American literature who pioneered the school of magical realism and inspired a generation of novelists. But Gabriel García Márquez has barely written a word since his last novel, Memoirs of My Melancholy Whores, came out to distinctly mixed reviews five years ago.

“Now fans of the Colombian author are facing the prospect that, after a career spanning half a century, Garcia Marquez has finally laid down his pen for good.

“His agent, Carmen Balcells, told the Chilean newspaper La Tercera: ‘I don’t think that García Márquez will write anything else.'” (more @ Guardian UK)

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Indonesia Miss Universe“A ‘relaxing, calm, beautiful place’ may not be everyone’s description of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where the United States holds about 240 prisoners in a detention center that has drawn condemnation from around the world.

“But this was the opinion of reigning Miss Universe Dayana Mendoza of Venezuela, who visited the U.S. naval facility in eastern Cuba this month . . .

“‘It was a loooot of fun!,’ Mendoza wrote . . . she said they also visited a bar on the base and the ‘unbelievable’ beach there.” (more @ Reuters)

UpdateMiss Universe’s Blog Post on Guantánamo Vanishes

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cuba_postcard“Roughly a year after Fidel Castro stepped aside and handed much of the responsibility for leading Cuba to his brother Raúl, there is new momentum in Washington for eliminating the ban on most U.S. travel to the island nation and for reexamining the severe limitations on U.S.-Cuban economic exchanges.

“At a Capitol Hill news conference scheduled for tomorrow, a wide array of senators and interest groups — including Senate Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Byron L. Dorgan (N.D.); Banking Committee Chairman  Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.); Richard G. Lugar (Ind.), the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; and Human Rights Watch — will rally around a potentially historic bill to lift the travel ban.” (more @ Washington Post)

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bolanosmall“Two new novels by the Chilean author Roberto Bolaño have reportedly been found in Spain among papers he left behind after his death. The previously unseen manuscripts were entitled Diorama and The Troubles of the Real Police Officer, reported La Vanguardia.

“The newspaper said the documents also included what is believed to be a sixth section of Bolaño’s epic five-part novel 2666. . . .

“It follows the discovery of another novel, entitled The Third Reich, which was shown to publishers at the Frankfurt book fair in October. . . .

“The writer, who spent the last part of his life in the Costa Brava region of Spain, died at the age of 50 in 2003.

“Uncompromising in his style and critical of authors who sold out to the market, he did not publish a novel until he was 43. He supported himself by, among other things, working as a security guard at a campsite and selling cheap jewellery to tourists visiting the Costa Brava. . . .

“Bolaño published his first novel in 1993 and posthumously grew in popularity after 2666 was translated into English and was one of the New York Times‘s top 10 books of 2008. His novel The Savage Detectives appeared on the same list the previous year.” (more @ The Guardian)

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UpdateChilean Bolano Posthumously Wins Book Critics Circle Award

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texasborderbadge“In a controversial program aimed at enhancing border security, Texas sheriffs have erected a series of surveillance cameras along the Rio Grande and connected them to the Internet.

“Thousands of people are now virtual Border Patrol agents — and they’re on the lookout for drug smugglers and illegal immigrants.

“Robert Fahrenkamp, a truck driver in South Texas, is one of them.

“After a long haul behind the wheel of a Peterbilt tractor-trailer, he comes home, sets his 6-foot-6-inch, 250-pound frame in front of his computer, pops a Red Bull, turns on some Black Sabbath or Steppenwolf, logs in to www.blueservo.net — and starts protecting his country.

“‘This gives me a little edge feeling,’ Fahrenkamp says, ‘like I’m doing something for law enforcement as well as for our own country.'” (more @ NPR)

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cuba-books“Cubans’ passion for literature will again characterize the upcoming 18th International Book Fair Cuba 2009, set for Feb 12 through the 22 here in Havana and then, from Feb 23 through March 8 in other Cuban cities.”

(via Cuba News Headlines)

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