Tsunami Alert Issued after Huge Quake in Central Chile

The Chilean Navy’s SHOA oceanographic service issued the tsunami alert for the country’s central and southern coast after a magnitude-7.2 earthquake hit the coastline.

SANTIAGO – Chilean authorities on Wednesday issued a tsunami alert along some 4,000 kilometers (2,400 miles) of the country’s coastline after reporting a magnitude-7.2 earthquake, while the U.S. Geological Survey said the quake measured 8.3 on the Richter scale.

  • Published in World

Chile Sets Course for Cuba with Delegation Led by Foreign Minister

Chile will set course this week for Cuba with a high-level delegation led by Foreign Minister, Heraldo Munoz, with the aim of strengthening bilateral ties. According to official sources, Muñoz, who was one of the first foreign ministers to applaud the reopening of embassies in Cuba and the United States recently, expressed the Chilean interest to also sound out new business opportunities.

Questioned by Prensa Latina about the possible impact of this event in the ties between Cuba and Chile, the diplomat said then that while nothing changes dramatically, it will help strengthening bilateral relations.

"Our country has always had normal and increasing ties in all areas, but undoubtedly obstacles that will give greater fluidity to trade and investments disappear now," he said.

In this regard, the foreign minister will remain on the Caribbean island from September 2 to 5 accompanied by Andres Rebolledo, director general of International Economic Relations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Direcon).

About 35 companies and trade organizations will be also part of the delegation that on the side of businessmen is led by Hermann von Mühlenbrock, president of the Society for Industrial Development (Sofofa).

The Chilean diplomacy head told Prensa Latina few weeks ago that before Havana and Washington announced in December the resumption of diplomatic ties, his country had already got closer to Cuba.

Chile sent to Cuba a large delegation boosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for further agreements in November 2014, Muñoz noted.

  • Published in Cuba

Chile to Vote to Modify Draconian Abortion Laws

As the law stands, mothers are unable to terminate pregnancies, even if their lives are in danger, and face a five-year prison sentence.

The congress of Chile, one of only six countries in the world where abortion is entirely prohibited, will vote Tuesday to legalize terminations in certain extreme circumstances.

As the law stands, mothers are unable to terminate pregnancies, even if their lives are in danger, and face a five-year prison sentence.  

The parliament will debate to permit abortion when the pregnancy resulted from a rape, when the life of the mother is at risk, and when the fetus has serious defects.

An estimated 120,000 women have illegal abortions in Chile each year, facing punishment and medical complications in underground clinics.

“There are 17 rapes a day in Chile, and in many cases it is by family members,” said Maria Ines Salamanca, Program Director of the United Nations Women office in Chile. “Many of these victims are underage … This is a debate that Chile needs to have.”

President Michelle Bachelet has advocated reproductive rights and abortion reform since her election to her second term in 2013.

However, her attempt to modify the outright ban on abortion is being undermined as the most conservative factions of the governmental coalition threaten not to support the text.

Leaders of the Christian Democrat party, the coalition's senior partner, told the press agency that fewer than a third of its 21 lawmakers in the House of Representative fully support the reform of the abortion ban. Bachelet's socialist lawmakers would therefore be short of the votes required to pass the reform.

Another destabilizing factor for Bachelet’s administration has been the Communist Party, who have threatened to leave the government coalition if planned reforms are continually “destroyed.”

The bill has also faced fierce opposition from the Catholic church, who have launched an anti-abortion media campaign, including a full-page advertisement in rightwing newspaper El Mercurio.

“It will be our obligation as pastors to warn our faithful…. (of) the moral prohibition to vote in favor of a candidate who has supported the abortion project,” the message read.

Claudia Pascual, Chile’s minister of women’s affairs, hit back at the interference of the religious leaders, accusing them of “impeding the ability to have a space to debate.”

  • Published in World

Chile secured the first major trophy in their history

Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez slotted in the winning spot-kick after Argentina's Gonzalo Higuain fired over and Ever Banega was denied by Claudio Bravo.

Higuain had earlier missed from close range after 90 minutes of few chances.

Sanchez came closest in extra time for Chile, who scored all four of their penalties in the shootout.

Where Chile held their nerve, Argentina wilted in the shootout at the end of a performance that fell well short of the heights they reached in their 6-1 semi-final win over Paraguay.

Le Albiceleste are without a major trophy in the last 22 years since winning the 1993 Copa America in Ecuador.

BBC World Service's Richard Padula in Santiago

"It was a game in which the destroyers kicked, grappled and smothered the playmakers. Messi wasn't given a yard of space as Chile stifled Argentina's attack. In that regard Jorge Sampaoli's game-plan worked perfectly. Apparently he'd studied hours of tapes of Barcelona in action to discover the key to stopping Messi.

"But throughout the tournament the Chileans have shown a strong will-to-win, which at times could even be described as dirty. Jara's finger the perfect case in point. They out-fought Uruguay and stamped out Argentina's goal menace."

Chile make history

Chile's victory brought an end to almost a century of competing in the Copa America without claiming a title.

They were one of four teams who played in the very first tournament in 1916 in Argentina but the best they had done until this year was runner-up, which they have achieved on four occasions (1955, 1956, 1979 and 1987).

Chile end a century of hurt

Chile won their first Copa America after 173 games played in this competition, dating back to the first tournament in 1916.

The Estadio Nacional Julio Martinez Pradanos was a cauldron of noise on Saturday, full of flag-waving red-clad home supporters, some of whom had reportedly paid up to $25,000 for tickets.

They were not treated to a dazzling attacking display from their side but rather one of drive, discipline and, ultimately, composure, epitomised by the industrious and energetic Sanchez and Charles Aranguiz.

How the shoot-out unfolded

Both sides scored their opening penalty, with Matias Fernandez emphatically finding the top corner for Chile before Lionel Messi sent his kick low into the bottom corner.

Alexis Sanchez scored the winning penalty in Santiago

However, after Arturo Vidal had powerfully dispatched Chile's second, Higuain blazed his effort way over the bar.

Charles Aranguiz made it 3-1 to the hosts and it remained that way as Ever Banega's tame effort was palmed away by the diving Claudio Bravo.

Sanchez showed supreme composure to chip his effort down the middle and in to win the game and the competition for his side.

Missing Messi

Following Argentina's World Cup final defeat to Germany last summer, four-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi once again missed out on his first major international medal.

He put in a supreme showing in the Copa America semi-final demolition of Paraguay, playing a part in all six of his nation's goals, but on Saturday he was largely on the periphery throughout, with his most significant contribution being a trademark run towards the Chile box to set up a wasted chance for Higuain in the final minute.

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi failed to make an impact on the final

The 28-year-old is not entirely to blame for his failure in Santiago. His team-mates did little to create the space the forward needs to be effective, not did they find him with the regularity he is used to when playing for his club.

Credit must also go to Chile, who were quick to close him down whenever he did receive the ball in a threatening position.

More horror for Higuain

Napoli forward Higuain was criticised for missing a superb chance in the World Cup final defeat to Germany in Brazil last summer and he was once again in the spotlight for the wrong reasons on Saturday.

Gonzalo Higuain misses a chance

Gonzalo Higuain missed Argentina's best chance in the 90th minute

He was guilty of spurning an opportunity to win the game for his side in the last minute of normal time when he failed to turn in Ezequiel Lavezzi's low cross at the back post.

And his penalty miss - Argentina's first in the shoot-out - was that of a player whose confidence and composure has deserted him. It handed Chile an advantage they would not relinquish.

'We left our life on the field'

Chile midfielder Arturo Vidal: "This is a dream come true, this team deserves something like this.

"We left our life on the field. Chilean people needed this joy and we managed to give it to them.

"We'll fight a lot in the next World Cup. This generation of players deserved this."

  • Published in Sports

Cuban Medical Brigade Departs for Chile

Cuban Public Health Minister Roberto Morales, member of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party, gave on Thursday in this capital a Cuban flag to the medical brigade that left for Chile to mitigate the effects of the disaster caused by heavy rain.

  • Published in Cuba
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