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reuters:

Chile’s new president promises 50 reforms in 100 days:
Michelle Bachelet won Chile’s presidential elections with about 62 percent of voter support on Sunday, the highest share for any presidential candidate since the country returned to democratic elections in 1989.
Tax reform, which includes raising corporate taxes to 25 percent from 20 percent, is likely to be the first goal for Bachelet. Education and health reforms are next. Good-quality schooling is generally only available to those who can afford to pay for it; massive student protests hurt the popularity of outgoing conservative President Sebastian Pinera. If Bachelet waters down her promises or if she faces challenges in Congress, she could face more protests herself. 
As well as an ambitious social spending program, Bachelet pledged to reduce the deficit from 1 percent of gross domestic product to zero by 2018.
Read: Chile’s Bachelet promises reforms after landslide election win

Photo: REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

reuters:

Chile’s new president promises 50 reforms in 100 days:

Michelle Bachelet won Chile’s presidential elections with about 62 percent of voter support on Sunday, the highest share for any presidential candidate since the country returned to democratic elections in 1989.

Tax reform, which includes raising corporate taxes to 25 percent from 20 percent, is likely to be the first goal for Bachelet. Education and health reforms are next. Good-quality schooling is generally only available to those who can afford to pay for it; massive student protests hurt the popularity of outgoing conservative President Sebastian Pinera. If Bachelet waters down her promises or if she faces challenges in Congress, she could face more protests herself.

As well as an ambitious social spending program, Bachelet pledged to reduce the deficit from 1 percent of gross domestic product to zero by 2018.

Read: Chile’s Bachelet promises reforms after landslide election win

Photo: REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

Filed under chile americas presidential elections

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The latest in a series of student demonstrations in Santiago over education reforms erupts into violence, with protesters setting three buses on fire and clashing with police. Police used teargas and water cannons in an attempt to disperse the rioters. Tuition fees in Chile are among the world’s highest.

(Source: Guardian)

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Controversial dam project in Chiles’ Patagonia region on hold
SANTIAGO, Chile — Plans to build a $3.2-billion complex of dams that would have flooded thousands of acres in the bio-diverse Patagonia region in southern Chile have been put on indefinite hold in the face of ongoing protests against the project.
The five dams of the so-called HidroAysen project would increase Chile’s electricity capacity by 15% upon  completion in 2020. But it also would have flooded 12,500 acres of pristine territory that is increasingly popular as an eco-tourism destination.
Project partner Colbun, a utility company, announced Thursday that it was suspending work on an environmental impact study that is a prerequisite to starting the project, saying the government lacked a clear energy policy. The power utility that is majority partner, Enel-Endesa, also made it known that it wants to call a board of directors meeting to reconsider the project, roughly 1,000 miles south of the capital, Santiago.
The five dams would add 2,750 megawatts of power to the national power grid. 
Protests have been frequent in the year since the dam was given preliminary approval. Thousands of marchers poured into the streets of Santiago in April to protest a Supreme Court decision greenlighting the project.
Critics claimed that the rationale for the project was mainly to provide cheap energy to mining companies, not to consumers. Greenpeace and the Natural Resources Defense Council, which has called the plan a “political and financial folly,” were among the groups opposed to the project.
Also opposing it is the Roman Catholic bishop of the Aysen region, Luis Infanti de la Mora, who in a pastoral letter last year said it would provide little local benefit.
But President Sebastian Pinera remains solidly behind the project, making the case that dams are necessary to reduce Chile’s  96% dependence on imported oil. But his backing of HidroAysen has been a factor in his plummeting support in polls.
The government responded Friday by rejecting the notion of a suspension and insisting that it has a “clear energy policy.” Opposition group Aysen Future Foundation said in a statement that the suspension highlights the fact that the project is questionable and that support for it has diminished.
Pictured: Chilean President Sebastian Pinera  Credit:  Luis Manuel de la Maza / Chilean  Presidential Press Office 

Controversial dam project in Chiles’ Patagonia region on hold

SANTIAGO, Chile — Plans to build a $3.2-billion complex of dams that would have flooded thousands of acres in the bio-diverse Patagonia region in southern Chile have been put on indefinite hold in the face of ongoing protests against the project.

The five dams of the so-called HidroAysen project would increase Chile’s electricity capacity by 15% upon  completion in 2020. But it also would have flooded 12,500 acres of pristine territory that is increasingly popular as an eco-tourism destination.

Project partner Colbun, a utility company, announced Thursday that it was suspending work on an environmental impact study that is a prerequisite to starting the project, saying the government lacked a clear energy policy. The power utility that is majority partner, Enel-Endesa, also made it known that it wants to call a board of directors meeting to reconsider the project, roughly 1,000 miles south of the capital, Santiago.

The five dams would add 2,750 megawatts of power to the national power grid. 

Protests have been frequent in the year since the dam was given preliminary approval. Thousands of marchers poured into the streets of Santiago in April to protest a Supreme Court decision greenlighting the project.

Critics claimed that the rationale for the project was mainly to provide cheap energy to mining companies, not to consumers. Greenpeace and the Natural Resources Defense Council, which has called the plan a “political and financial folly,” were among the groups opposed to the project.

Also opposing it is the Roman Catholic bishop of the Aysen region, Luis Infanti de la Mora, who in a pastoral letter last year said it would provide little local benefit.

But President Sebastian Pinera remains solidly behind the project, making the case that dams are necessary to reduce Chile’s  96% dependence on imported oil. But his backing of HidroAysen has been a factor in his plummeting support in polls.

The government responded Friday by rejecting the notion of a suspension and insisting that it has a “clear energy policy.” Opposition group Aysen Future Foundation said in a statement that the suspension highlights the fact that the project is questionable and that support for it has diminished.

Pictured: Chilean President Sebastian Pinera  Credit:  Luis Manuel de la Maza / Chilean  Presidential Press Office 

Filed under chile americas patagonia dam Energy sources

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Thousands of Chile students in fresh reform protests

Tens of thousands of students have taken part in protests in Chile in support of education reform.

Organisers said at least 50,000 marched in the capital Santiago on Wednesday, with police saying 25,000 attended.

Chilean students have held a series of mass protests recent months, demanding free public education for all.

Student leaders have said plans expected from conservative President Sebastian Pinera to direct extra money to education are not sufficient.

The protest in Santiago passed off largely peacefully, but some students did clash with police later in the day after a police booth was set on fire.

Smaller protests were also held in other cities, including Valparaiso and Concepcion.

"We will carry on making history… We students will not give up the fight to make education a public right," student leader Gabriel Boric told Spain’s Efe news agency.

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Chile students clash with police as protests resume
Police in Chile have used tear gas and water cannon to break up a protest by thousands of students in Santiago.
It was the first big demonstration this year by Chile’s student movement, which held months of mass protests in 2011.
They are demanding free, high-quality public education for all, as well as the reinstatement of students excluded from school for protesting.
Meanwhile, the government is invoking a security law to tackle separate protests in the southern Aysen region.
The student demonstration began as a peaceful march in the centre of the capital.
Clashes broke out as hundreds of protesters tried to break through police lines outside the Education Ministry.
Masked youths set up burning barricades and threw stones and petrol bombs at riot police.
At least 50 people were arrested, the authorities said.
Pictured: The student protest movement shows no sign of fading

Chile students clash with police as protests resume

Police in Chile have used tear gas and water cannon to break up a protest by thousands of students in Santiago.

It was the first big demonstration this year by Chile’s student movement, which held months of mass protests in 2011.

They are demanding free, high-quality public education for all, as well as the reinstatement of students excluded from school for protesting.

Meanwhile, the government is invoking a security law to tackle separate protests in the southern Aysen region.

The student demonstration began as a peaceful march in the centre of the capital.

Clashes broke out as hundreds of protesters tried to break through police lines outside the Education Ministry.

Masked youths set up burning barricades and threw stones and petrol bombs at riot police.

At least 50 people were arrested, the authorities said.

Pictured: The student protest movement shows no sign of fading

Filed under chile americas protests education

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Over 10,000 Chilean activists marked International Women’s Day with a march on downtown Santiago highlighting social equality for women in the South American country.

Participants flocked from a number of feminist, social, and union groups as they demonstrated together calling on more women to take political action and occupy positions of power in Chilean politics.

The protesters began to clash with police when they tried to move barriers set up around the presidential Moneda palace.

Authorities fired tear gas and used water cannons against the crowds

Filed under chile americas protests

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Following protests in the Aysén region of Chile last week, thousands of protesters in Santiago have clashed with police. Supporters took to the streets to march in solidarity with the people of the remote Patagonian area after failed attempts to negotiate improved health care, education and cheaper fuel and food with the government where the cost of living is higher due to the remoteness of the area.

(Source: Guardian)

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guardian:

Chilean protester Camila Vallejo: ‘You need collective organisation and action’

Vice-president of the University of Chile Student Federation, 23-year-old Camila Vallejo has led a campaign for better access to education that began in April 2011. The student movement in Chile opposes neoliberalism and shook the country’s elitist democracy. She was voted person of the year in a poll of guardian.co.uk readers

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