News & Current Affairs

September 27, 2008

Republican quits in Hispanic row

Republican quits in Hispanic row

Mr de Baca said he was referring to the older generation of Hispanics

A Republican official in the US has resigned over comments he made to the BBC that “Hispanics consider themselves above blacks”.

Fernando de Baca, the chairman of the Republican Party in Bernalillo County, New Mexico, also said Hispanics “won’t vote for a black president”.

Mr de Baca spoke last week but resisted calls from his own party to resign, saying he was quoted out of context.

He said he decided to step down because of the “media circus” that developed.

Mr de Baca had been approached by the BBC’s Jon Kelly for comments on the presidential election campaign at the New Mexico State Fair in Albuquerque, part of Bernalillo County.

He was explaining why he thought John McCain would do well in the state, which has large population of Hispanics.

“The truth is that Hispanics came here as conquerors. African-Americans came here as slaves.”

He said the Latino emphasis on hard work and family values and the Catholic Church’s opposition to abortion made the community naturally conservative.

The remarks appeared on the BBC News website on its Talking America blog.

After calls grew for his resignation, he said the comments were taken out of context and that he was referring to views held by the older generation of Hispanics.

“Snippets were used to try and embarrass me,” Mr de Baca, 70, told the Associated Press (AP) news agency.

He said a “media circus” had developed that was obscuring the election issues.

“It’s time to step aside and let the candidates and the political races that are so important to this country and democracy be placed in focus,” he told AP.

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September 8, 2008

Spears dominates MTV awards show

Spears dominates MTV awards show

Britney Spears

Spears had been nominated 16 times before but had never won

Singer Britney Spears has swept the board at the MTV Video Music Awards show in Los Angeles, collecting three prizes for her track Piece of Me.

The 26-year-old, whose performance at last year’s ceremony was widely panned, thanked “God first and foremost for just blessing me like this”.

The other winners at the show in Hollywood included the Pussycat Dolls, Linkin Park, Lil Wayne and Chris Brown.

And there were performances from Kanye West, Rihanna and Christina Aguilera.

West left the ceremony – hosted by British comic Russell Brand – empty-handed.

He fell out with MTV after last year’s show when he failed to win any prizes and had vowed never to perform at the awards again.

MTV MUSIC VIDEO AWARDS
Pussycat Dolls
Best video: Britney Spears, Piece of Me
Best pop video: Britney Spears, Piece of Me
Best female video: Britney Spears, Piece of Me
Best male video: Chris Brown, With You
Best rock video: Linkin Park, Shadow of the Day
Best hip-hop video: Lil Wayne, Lollipop
Best dancing: Pussycat Dolls (pictured), When I Grow Up
Best new artist: Tokio Hotel

And in 2006 he publicly complained about not winning best video at the MTV Europe awards.

Spears has suffered a year of health problems and legal difficulties which saw her lose custody of her children, while her father James has taken legal control of her affairs.

Her video for Piece of Me won the main prize – video of the year.

It beat Chris Brown’s Forever, Burnin’ Up by the Jonas Brothers, When I Grow Up by the Pussycat Dolls and the Ting Tings’ Shut Up and Let Me Go to the coveted prize.

The same promo also earned Spears the awards for best video by a female artist and top pop video.

She had been nominated for MTV video awards 16 times before but had never won.

“Wow, thank you, I’m in shock right now,” she said as she collected her third and final trophy.

“I was not expecting this. This is such an honor to have this award right now. I want to thank my fans. This is dedicated to you.”

Presidential race

Brand said the night marked the “launch of a very new Britney Spears era”.

“Consider this the resurrection of Britney Spears,” he said. “If there was a female Christ, it’s Britney.”

During his innuendo-laden opening monologue, Brand discussed the upcoming US presidential election, publicly backing presidential hopeful Barack Obama.

“Some people, I think they’re called racists, say America is not ready for a black president,” he said.

“But I know America to be a forward-thinking country because otherwise why would you have let that retarded cowboy fella be president for eight years.

“We were very impressed. We thought it was nice of you to let him have a go, because, in England, he wouldn’t be trusted with a pair of scissors.”

Last year’s big winners were Justin Timberlake with four awards, including top male artist, and R&B star Rihanna, who won video of the year for Umbrella.

The 2008 ceremony is being broadcast by MTV in the UK on Monday at 2100 BST.

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