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Salsa music legend Jose "Cheo" Feliciano, 78, dies in car crash

SAN JUAN (Reuters) - Puerto Rican salsa music singer Jose Luis "Cheo" Feliciano was killed in a car crash in Puerto Rico early Thursday morning, according to local media reports. He was 78. He died shortly after 4 a.m. when his Jaguar hit an electricity pole in San Juan, according to Puerto Rican newspaper El Nuevo Dia.

U.S. authorizes $17 mn to organizations helping homeless in Puerto Rico

San Juan, Apr 8 (EFE).- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has allocated $17 million to organizations that provide shelter to homeless people in Puerto Rico, the island's non-voting representative in Congress said here Tuesday. Pedro Pierluisi said that thanks to HUD's Continuum Care program these non-profits, just like government agencies on the municipal and state levels, will be able to quickly relocate individuals and families who have become homeless. "These funds have as their aim putting an end to the lack of housing" in Puerto Rico, he said.

Puerto Rico film festival promotes cultural exchange

San Juan, Apr 4 (EFE).- The 5th Made in Europe Film Festival brings to Puerto Rico the best of the seventh art from the Old World in a project designed for cultural exchange. The event is organized by the Puerto Rican branch of Alliance Française, whose director, Anne Chays, told Efe that the festival seeks enrichment from both sides of the Atlantic by showing European films in the Caribbean and promoting works created on the island in Europe. "We're promoting cultural diversity," she said.

Gun-trafficking ring busted in Puerto Rico

San Juan, Apr 2 (EFE).- Seven members of a gun-trafficking band in greater San Juan were arrested Wednesday in an operation undertaken by officers with Puerto Rico's NIE investigative agency. NIE director Brenda Leon Suarez said in a communique that officers successfully carried out an operation to bust the criminal group that had operated in the municipalities of San Juan, Levittown and Bayamon. "NIE agents arrested six men and one woman linked to the illegal transfer of weapons in different parts of the metropolitan area," she said.

Close to 150 acres devastated by fire in Puerto Rico

San Juan, Mar 28 (EFE).- Close to 150 acres (60 hectares) of woodland were devastated before dawn in Puerto Rico by a fire in Adjuntas Forest in the central part of the island. The chief of the Puerto Rican Fire Department, Angel Crespo, said the blaze damaged some 40 percent of the forest and that National Guard helicopters were used to put out the flames. Though the cause of the fire has not been confirmed, Crespo said that "in all probability" it was deliberately set.

Puerto Rico loses 3 percent of its population

San Juan, Mar 27 (EFE).- Puerto Rico lost 3 percent of its population - 110,700 people - between April 2010 and July 2013, Census Bureau figures released Thursday show. The U.S. commonwealth's population stands at just over 3.61 million. San Juan, the island's capital and most populous city, lost 20,000 resident over the period, a decline of 5.2 percent to 374,600. Bayamon, Puerto Rico's second city, saw its population fall by 9,158 people, or 4.4 percent, to 199,000 residents. The No. 3 urban area, Carolina, lost 7,165 inhabitants.

Puerto Rico loses 3 percent of its population

San Juan, Mar 27 (EFE).- Puerto Rico lost 3 percent of its population - 110,700 people - between April 2010 and July 2013, Census Bureau figures released Thursday show. The U.S. commonwealth's population stands at just over 3.61 million. San Juan, the island's capital and most populous city, lost 20,000 resident over the period, a decline of 5.2 percent to 374,600. Bayamon, Puerto Rico's second city, saw its population fall by 9,158 people, or 4.4 percent, to 199,000 residents. The No. 3 urban area, Carolina, lost 7,165 inhabitants.

Puerto Rico announces plans for $350 million housing, commercial development near capital

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Puerto Rico's governor says private investors will help build a $350 million housing and commercial complex near the capital of San Juan. Alejandro Garcia Padilla said Wednesday that more than 180 homes will be built in the north municipality of Guaynabo along with a 350-hotel room and a convention centre, among other things. He says the project will take up to 10 years to complete and will create more than 5,800 jobs. The announcement comes as Garcia seeks to boost the island's economy as the U.S. territory enters its eighth year in recession.

Puerto Rican bill seeks to check growth of "big box" stores

San Juan, Mar 14 (EFE).- Puerto Rican lawmakers are studying a bill aimed at curbing the expansion of "big box" retail chains, whose growth has triggered the closure of hundreds of small businesses in recent years. The speaker of the House of Representatives of Puerto Rico, Jaime Perello, says the proposed Small and Medium Enterprise Support Law would require that a study be conducted to estimate the business impact of the opening of any new retail outlet covering a surface area greater than 80,000 sq. feet (7,400 sq. meters).

Virgin Galactic denies plans for spaceport in Puerto Rico

San Juan, Mar 11 (EFE).- Virgin Galactic says it has made no investment in a former U.S. Navy base in eastern Puerto Rico, denying a press account that it was planning to build a spaceport on the island. "FYI: There is no truth to reports about us buying land or renting hangars in Puerto Rico (though we're sure it's lovely there)," Virgin Galactic said on its official Twitter account. Caribbean Business reported last week that the owner of Virgin Galactic, British billionaire Richard Branson, had acquired 11 hangars at the Roosevelt Roads Naval Station in Ceiba, Puerto Rico.
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