Senior Correspondent, Santiago, Chile
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May 11, 2015

Chile’s finance minister out in sweeping Cabinet reshuffle

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Economist Rodrigo Valdes was named as Chile’s finance minister on Monday by President Michelle Bachelet, in a sweeping cabinet reshuffle in which four of her closest ministers were sacked or shifted into other roles.

Although some changes were expected a year into Bachelet’s second term, it is the first time since Chile returned to democracy in 1990 that the finance minister has been dismissed mid-term.

May 7, 2015

Chile ministers await fate; few seen safe in mass cabinet shuffle

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Chile’s cabinet ministers were waiting to hear their fate on Thursday, with few seen certain to keep their jobs, after President Michelle Bachelet made a shock announcement on Wednesday night that she had asked them all to resign.

The center-left president has been stung as her popularity has dropped to record lows just as she is trying to push through ambitious reforms. The fall was sparked by financial scandals that have taken in politicians in both the opposition and government, as well as her own family.

Apr 28, 2015

Medical marijuana farm blooms in conservative Chile

SANTIAGO, April 28 (Reuters) – Latin America’s first medical
marijuana farm has taken root in a dusty yard at a secret
location in Chile’s capital, with the blessing of a prominent
right-wing official and high hopes the idea could sprout
elsewhere in the socially conservative nation.

A debut crop of around 100 kilos (221 lbs) of prime cannabis
bud – with a value of $2 million on the street – was harvested
this month from the farm in La Florida, a middle-class Santiago
neighborhood, and sent to a laboratory for processing.

Apr 23, 2015

Flights canceled as ash cloud pours out from Chile volcano

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – An ash cloud from volcano Calbuco in southern Chile that erupted unexpectedly on Wednesday was blowing into Chile and Argentina on Thursday, forcing the cancellation of flights from nearby towns in both countries.

The volcano, which last had a major eruption in 1961, has belched a spectacular plume of ash and smoke around 15 kilometers into the sky near Puerto Varas, some 1,000 kilometers (625 miles) south of Santiago.

Apr 22, 2015

Power slips from Pinochet cronies as Chile’s lithium giant reboots board

SANTIAGO, April 22 (Reuters) – The future of Chile’s SQM,
the world’s biggest producer of key battery ingredient lithium,
hangs in the balance this week as the chairman faces demands to
resign and a new board is elected.

SQM , also an important supplier of
iodine and other chemicals, was privatized in the 1980s under
then-dictator Augusto Pinochet. His son-in-law at the time,
Julio Ponce, bought up stakes that made him a billionaire and
chairman of the firm.

Apr 8, 2015

Chile President Bachelet shrugs off polls, says reforms to continue

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Chilean President Michelle Bachelet said her ambitious reform drive would not be derailed by a recent run of natural and political storms that have dragged her popularity to an all-time low, promising to continue with “key” educational changes.

The center-left leader, who ran the top copper exporter between 2006 and 2010 and then began a second term in March 2014, has seen her approval ratings sink to their lowest ever levels in recent weeks.

Apr 1, 2015

Chile’s Bachelet approval sinks amid political and natural storms

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Chilean President Michelle Bachelet’s approval ratings have plunged to their lowest level ever, a poll showed on Wednesday, after a month of natural disasters and political corruption scandals that have diverted attention from her reform drive.

The number of respondents who approved of Bachelet’s performance fell to 31 percent in March, down 8 percentage points from February’s survey, according to the GfK Adimark poll. It was the worst result of both her current administration, which began a year ago, and her 2006-10 term in office.

Mar 27, 2015

Chile desert rains sign of climate change: chief weather scientist

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – The heavy rainfall that battered Chile’s usually arid north this week happened because of climate change, a senior meteorologist said, as the region gradually returns to normal after rivers broke banks and villages were cut off.

“For Chile, this particular system can only be possible in an environment of a changed climate,” Deputy Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization Jeremiah Lengoasa told Reuters on a visit to Santiago on Friday.

Mar 26, 2015

Heavy rains in northern Chile leave two dead, 20 missing

SANTIAGO, March 26 (Reuters) – The heaviest rains to hit
Chile’s northern desert regions in 20 year have left at least
two people dead and 24 missing as the torrential downpours
caused mudslides and rivers to breach their banks, leaving
thousands of residents stranded.

The government’s ONEMI emergency office reported early
Thursday that nearly 61,000 people were without power and almost
50,000 lacked drinking water in the usually arid regions of
Coquimbo, Atacama and Antofagasta.

Mar 25, 2015

Heavy rains in northern Chile leave thousands cut off

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Heavy rains in Chile’s northern desert regions have caused mudslides and rivers to breach their banks, leaving residents stranded and forcing top copper miner Codelco to suspend mining operations.

The government’s ONEMI emergency office reported that nearly 40,000 people were without power and almost 50,000 lacked drinking water in the northern Coquimbo and Atacama regions. The Antofagasta region was also affected.

    • About Rosalba

      "I am senior correspondent for Reuters in Chile, based in Santiago and reporting on everything Chilean, from macroeconomics and markets to weather and wine. Formerly I covered UK company news from London for Reuters and Thomson Financial, and have also contributed to a number of travel guides."
      Joined Reuters:
      2008
      Languages:
      English, Spanish
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