Mexican singer Julieta Venegas and pop-rock group Mana each have three nods for the international section of Spanish radio group Union Radio's Premios 40 Principales. Winners in the 19 categories are voted by the public in Spain and eight Latin American countries where Union Radio is active.

The gala ceremony will be held on Dec. 12 at Madrid's Palacio de Deportes, and money raised will be distributed by non-government organization (NGO) Ayuda en Accion (Aid In Action) to 109 isolated peasant communities in Ecuador. At last year's gala, the same NGO used €58,000 ($79,667) raised through gala entry tickets and SMS messages used in the voting process to build schools and houses in a region of Peru devastated by a mid-2007 earthquake.

Two new categories have been added this year, for best artist in Panama and Ecuador. The other six countries that also participated directly in last year's Premios 40 Principales are Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica and Guatemala.

Union Radio music director Luis Merino says local radio formats of Los 40 Principales are now "absolute leaders" in Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, Chile and Argentina.

Each of the 19 categories has five candidates, selected by a committee formed by professionals from Union Radio and its parent holding company Grupo Prisa, UR's Spanish radio division Cadena SER, and SER's Top 40 network Los 40 Principales. Their selection is based on three criteria - rotation figures from Oct. 1, 2007 to Sep. 30, 2008, on Los 40, sales figures in each country, and market surveys carried out by Union Radio in every territory, says Los 40 director Jaume Baro.

Winners are voted by the public through the Los 40 website (www.premiosprincipales.com) or by SMS. Fans can vote for their favorite artists until Nov. 28.

Several artists have two nominations each in the international categories, which are best artist and song in both international Spanish language and international non-Spanish language. They are Alicia Keys, Amy Winehouse, Duffy, Belinda, Coldplay, Juanes, Madonna and Ricky Martin.

Pop group Amaral and pop-rock group El Canto del Loco each have five nods in the seven national categories, followed by two each for Beatriz Luengo, Estopa, La Oreja de Van Gogh, Miguel Bose, Nena Daconte, and Rosario.

The nominations were presented by Miguel Bose at a central Madrid event attended by several Spanish artists and Prisa executives, UR music director Luis Merino, SER music director Jorge Flo, and Los 40's Baro.

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