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Country profile for Chile

Provided Courtesy of Security Exchange 24

Risk Rating

Unselected
Red (High Risk) InTouch advice:

Most parts of the country are dangerous.

Do not travel unless absolutely necessary.

Amber (Moderate Risk)
Amber (Moderate Risk) InTouch advice:

Some parts of the country are dangerous.

Travel with caution.

Unselected
Green (Low Risk) InTouch advice:

Most parts of the country are safe.

Travel freely.

General Information

  • Capital: Santiago
  • Major Languages: Spanish
  • Currency: Peso
  • Timezone: GMT -4:00

Country Map

Map of Chile

President Sebastian Pinera has taken office in March 2018. He replaced the socialist government of Michelle Bachelet, who was serving her second term in office – Bachelet previously held office in 2006. Bachelet has faced a series of challenges during her second presidency, including a major corruption scandal which significantly hit her approval ratings. She also faced a wave of anti-government protests, including mass student-led demonstrations to push for education reforms. Just before leaving office, Bachelet sent a bill to Congress to replace Chile's Pinochet-era constitution. President Pinera was elected to serve a second term in office – similar to Bachelet, he has also previously served as Chile’s president. In the early months of his government, he faced a number of protests against the country’s controversial pension system. Demonstrations came as part of the ‘No+AFP’ movement that has led protests in Chile for several years. Mass protests are common in the country and mostly occur in the capital, Santiago. In October 2019, violent protests broke out in Santiago after President Pinera announced an increase in metro fares. A state of emergency was declared in several major cities across Chile, while the military also enforced night curfews across the Santiago metropolitan region.

Petty crime is a moderate concern throughout Chile, although the country is regarded as being safer than many other Latin American countries. Tourists are often targeted by bag snatchers and pickpockets, especially in large urban areas, such as Santiago and Valparaiso. In June 2019, a Canadian national was stabbed to death during a presumed robbery attempt in Valparaiso. An increase in crime has recently been reported in northern Chile, around San Pedro in the Atacama desert and through the Lake District. Serious crime is less common in Chile; however, muggings have taken place in scenic areas such as Cerro San Cristobal, Cerro Santa Lucia and Cerro Manquehue. There has been a reported increase in carjackings recently, with luxury vehicles often targeted. Kidnappings for ransom, a serious concern across much of Latin America, are very rarely reported in Chile.

There is a low threat from terrorism in Chile. Small anarchic groups operate within the country and have carried out a number of small-scale attacks against government and foreign targets. In January 2017, the eco-terrorist group, Individualists Tending towards the Wild (ITS-Chile), claimed responsibility for a bomb attack in Santiago. They targeted the residence of the chairman of the mining giant Codelco in the city's La Reina neighbourhood. In January 2019, the group claimed responsibility for a bomb attack at a bus stop in Santiago. Three months later, an explosive device was intercepted at the residence of the president of Metro de Chile. There have been several reports of arson attacks targeting employees, vehicles and facilities of extraction companies based in La Araucania region in southern Chile. The attacks are allegedly connected to territorial claims of the Mapuche indigenous tribe, who also demands the release of political prisoners held by the Chilean government. In March 2017, the Mapuche-sympathizers armed wing - known as the Coordinadora Arauco-Malleco (CAM) - issued a statement claiming responsibility for an attack that destroyed 19 lorries from a logistics company near Temuco. Besides privately-owned companies, police stations and government buildings are often targeted.

During Pope Francis’s visit to Chile in January 2018, a number of arson attacks were reported across the country, especially in Santiago and in the southern town of Temuco. Most arson attacks occur in the regions of La Araucania and Biobio. In an attempt to ease tensions between the government and Mapuche communities in southern Chile, President Pinera announced plans to launch an eight-billion-dollar aid package to indigenous Mapuche regions in southern Chile. He has also called for constitutional reforms to formally recognise such communities and promote their representation within government bodies. Despite government promises, some communities are sceptical.

Chile is located in an area of seismic activity and earthquakes are common. In February 2010, an 8.8-magnitude earthquake occurred in central Chile. The quake, the sixth most powerful ever recorded, caused widespread damage and killed almost 500 people. Since then there have been a series of less powerful earthquakes in the country - including a 7.6-magnitude quake that triggered a tsunami alert in the southern Chiloe archipelago. The country also houses a number of highly active volcanoes. In recent months, emergency services have recorded an increase in the activity of several volcanoes in southern Chile. They include the Planchon-Peteroa, Osorno and the Nevados de Chillan.

Wildfires can pose a serious threat, especially in the central regions. In early November 2016, a massive fire broke out in the region of Valparaiso. The blazes burnt for several months, and at some points uncontrollably, leading to a state of emergency and even forcing the government to declare the area a 'Catastrophe Zone'. Chile's rainy season is varied. In the northern desert regions, rainfall is relatively rare, but it tends to occur on a yearly basis as part of the so-called Antiplano Winter, which usually runs between December and March. In Santiago, rainfall is more frequent between May and August.

Chile is among a number of countries which has been badly affected by the global coronavirus pandemic. Alongside Brazil, Chile has one of the highest numbers of cases and deaths in Latin America. The latest case figures can be viewed here.

News articles

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Alerts for Chile

Second case of monkeypox reported in Araucanía

The Chilean Ministry of Health reported the second individual infected with monkeypox yesterday. The incumbent had reportedly travelled to Europe and came back to Aracaunía where the disease was registered. This marks the second case in the country this week. 

CODELCO union members begin nationwide strike

CODELCO union members began a national strike over the weekend. The union had warned the firm's administration that they would strike if they failed to contain sulfur-dioxide leaks in the 'Las Ventanas' plant which was making people ill. The administration announced they would close the smelter to which the union responded by beginning the nationwide strike, and said they would not stop until "the decision is reversed and the plant receives significant upgrades". 

CODELCO workers to stage national strike if sulfur-dioxide leaks are not contained

Workers of the state-owned CODELCO, the world's largest copper producer, said they would begin a national strike today if the company's board did not invest the $53m needed to retain leaking sulfur dioxide. The company has not responded to the workers' demands nor to the threat of a work stoppage. CODELCO workers said they had stopped operations at the smelter while maintenance is carried out, following a recent incident in the heavily industrial area that left dozens ill with signs of sulfur dioxide poisoning.

Dozens intoxicated by sulfur dioxide leak in Valparaíso

More than 100 people have been reportedly affected by toxic gas contamination in Quintero and Puchuncaví, Valparaíso from 6-10 June. According to reports, both communities experienced a leak of sulfur dioxide that contaminated the region beginning on 6 June at around 02:00 local time. The incident remains under investigation. 

Earthquake strikes Antofagasta at 5.6 magnitude

The European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (ESMC) reported a 5.6 magnitude earthquake in the Antofagasta region of Chile earlier this morning. According to the ESMC, the quake was at a depth of 100 km. 

One killed, two injured, four minors arrested after shooting in Santiago

One person was killed and two others were injured following a shooting in Santiago yesterday evening. The incident took place in El Bosque at around 21:00 local time during an attempted car robbery. Police arrested four minors shortly after. 

Two dead, 50 injured after fire breaks out in Santiago

Two people died and 50 others were injured during a fire in Santiago yesterday morning. The fire broke out at a commercial premise between Santa Rosa Street and 10 de Julio Street, at around 05:45 local time. The incident remains under investigation. 

One killed, three injured after shooting in Antofogasta

One person was killed and three others were injured following a shooting in Antofagasta on Friday afternoon. The incident took place around the 'La Chimba' landfill at around 16:30 local time. No arrests have been reported. 

One killed, four injured after armed attack in Lumaco

One person was killed and four others were injured following an armed attack in Lumaco, La Araucanía yesterday. The incident took place in Río Relún during the early morning hours when a group of workers on a bus got attacked by unidentified armed suspects. The attack occurred in the midst of a declared state of emergency in Bío Bío and Araucanía on 17 May. No arrests have been reported. 

Two buses burned, two arrested during student protests in Santiago

Protesters in Santiago reportedly burned down two public transport buses yesterday. The incident occurred after the protesters intercepted the bus routes and forced passengers down along Alameda Street and Cumming Street. According to reports, the protesters were mostly Liceo de Aplicacion students, two of whom were arrested. 

Two people shot and killed in Santiago

Two people were shot and killed in Santiago earlier this morning. The incident took place at the intersection between Mapocho Street and General Velásquez Street, in Quinta Normal, at around 04:00 local time. No arrests have been made so far. 

Indigenous community protest against state of emergency in Temuco

A protest was staged by indigenous people in Temuco, Araucanía yesterday. The demonstrators, some 150 people, gathered in front of the Temuco prison where several Mapuche indigenous community members are being held.

Nine security guards injured after metro station violence in Santiago

Nine security guards were injured following an attack in Santiago yesterday evening. The incident occurred at the Ñuñoa metro station at around 20:00 local time when evicted street vendors attacked the security guards. Two of the injured security guards were hospitalised with serious injuries. 

Hundreds protest the killing of a journalist in Santiago

Authorities in Chile reported that hundreds of people staged a protest in Santiago over the weekend. More than 200 people reportedly gathered in order to protest the murder of a journalist who was killed last week. During the protests, police set up barricades and used water cannons against the protesters. 

One killed, one injured after shooting in Salamanca

One person was killed and another was injured following a police-involved shooting in Salamanca, Coquimbo yesterday morning. The incident took place in the Chillepín sector of the D-835 Highway, during the early morning hours. The victim was a suspect who reportedly took a police officer's weapon and began shooting, injuring a police officer. 

One killed, two injured, two arrested after shooting in Iquique

One person was killed and two others were injured following a shooting in Iquique, Tarapacá yesterday morning. The incident took place on Sotomayor Street and Obispo Labbé Street, at around 06:00 local time. Police arrested two suspects in relation to the shooting. 

One killed, one injured after shooting in Puente Alto

One person was killed and another was injured following a shooting in Puente Alto, Cordillera yesterday evening. The incident took place at a clandestine club just off Eyzaguirre Avenue, in Casas Viejas, at around 22:15 local time. No arrests have been reported. 

Civilian shot and killed in Santiago

One person was shot and killed in Santiago yesterday afternoon. The incident took place on Placer Street, in the Franklin neighbourhood, at around 14:15 local time. No arrests have been reported. 

Mass looting in Talagante supermarket leads to 40 arrests

Police officers in Talagante arrested 40 people, including several minors, after a mass looting incident yesterday evening. The incident took place at the 'Tottus' supermarket on Caletera Street, at around 21:00 local time. During the incident, 13 employees were evacuated, and no injuries were reported. 

Buin-Paine Highway blocked by truckers protest in Santiago

Authorities in Santiago reported that truckers were blocking the Buin-Paine Highway earlier today. The demonstration was reported on Route 5 South at KM 41 and extending for seven kilometres. Traffic has been disrupted, though not fully halted. 

Two dead after mine collapse in Caldera

At least two people died after a mine collapsed in Caldera, Atacama yesterday. The incident occurred at the Bellavista mine due to landslides caused by heavy rains. A rescue operation remains underway. 

Government announces water rationing plan due to drought in Santiago

The government of Chile announced an unprecedented water-rationing plan due to a record-breaking 13-year drought yesterday. The rationing plan applies only to the capital, Santiago, where 6m people will be subject to a four-tier water restriction plan. The government estimates that the country's water availability has dropped 10% to 37% over the last 30 years and could drop another 50% in northern and central Chile by 2060.

Several homes set on fire by criminals in Cañete

Armed assailants reportedly set fire to 11 houses in Cañete, Arauco yesterday evening. Roadblocks, power outages, and gunshots were reported at around 20:15 local time at KM 43 of the P-60 Route, where the houses were set ablaze. No casualties have been reported. 

Civilian shot and killed in Santiago

One person was shot and killed in Santiago earlier today. The incident took place at the intersection of Balmaceda and Padre Hurtado, in San Bernardo, at around 00:30 local time. According to reports, the incident is linked to the violent commemoration of the Young Combatatan's Day on 29 March. 

Police and protesters clash in Santiago

Authorities in Chile reported clashes between protesters and police in Santiago on 28-29 March. According to police, protesters lit up barricades, threw projectiles, and fired water jets at them on the corner of Colón Sur Avenue and Chacao. Police deployed more than 3,000 officers in order to contain the violence as they showed unrest on Day of the Young Combatant. 

Individuals steal 56 military-grade weapons from IDIC in Santiago

Authorities in Chile reported that a group of individuals stole at least 56 military-grade weapons from the Army Research and Control Insititute (IDIC) yesterday. The IDIC, located in Pedro Montt, Santiago, was ransacked at around 00:00 - 01:00 local time. The incident remains under investigation. 

Gabriel Goric sworn in as president

Gabriel Goric was sworn in as Chile's president earlier today. Goric represents a sharp shift in the country's politics since returning to democracy. Boric was handed the presidential sash from outgoing Sebastian Piñera in Valparaíso, making him the youngest person to be elected in Chile. 

Protest reported outside Russian Embassy in Santiago

Authorities in Chile reported a protest outside the Russian Embassy in Vitacura on Saturday morning. The protest was staged against the Russian invasion of Ukraine. No injuries were reported. 

Four stabbed, two arrested after brawl in Santiago

Four people were stabbed and two others were arrested following an armed attack in Macul, Santiago on Saturday evening. The incident took place on Los Satélites Street at around 23:00 local time. Police said they arrested two people involved who were armed with knives. All victims were hospitalised, with two of them in critical condition. 

Large fire at gas factory reported in Santiago

A large fire was reported at a gas factory in La Cisterna, Santiago yesterday morning. The incident was reported at the intersection of Ciencias Street and Carvajal Street at around 01:00 local time. The fire was reportedly caused by a clandestine gas distributor. Around 1,500 people were evacuated before any injuries were reported. 

Flights at Diego Aracena Airport (IQQ) suspended due to protests and blockade

Authorities in Tarapacá reported that flights at Diego Aracena Airport (IQQ) were suspended due to a protest and blockade in Iquique earlier today. According to reports, the demonstrators are protesting against the murder of a truck driver in Antofagasta. No injuries have been reported. 

Anti-immigrant protesters destroy migrant camps in Tarapacá

Authorities in Tarapacá reported that anti-immigrant protesters destroyed migrant camps in Iquique yesterday. Around 4000 people reportedly participated in the demonstrations demanding the expulsion of illegal immigrants from Iquique, whilst blaming them for the rising crime rates. At least one immigrant was beaten up and injured. Similar incidents were reported in September 2021 and are expected to continue. 

Protesters block access to Diego Aracena International Airport (IQQ)

Authorities in Tarapacá reported that protesters were blocking access to the Diego Aracena International Airport (IQQ) in Iquique earlier today. The demonstrations have been taking place since 30 January and protest against increased migration and insecurity in the city. Travellers are advised to check their flight status. 

One killed, one injured after shooting at Central Station in Santiago

One person was killed and another was injured following a shooting in Santiago yesterday afternoon. The incident took place at Central Station, located on Valle Ruíz Tagle and Obispo Javier Vásquez, at around 12:30 local time. No arrests have been reported. 

Police open fire on protesters in Santiago

Authorities in Santiago reported that police opened fire with pellet guns on protesters outside the president elect's office in Providencia yesterday. The protesters reportedly gathers at Plaza Baquedano and marched towards the offices on Condell Avenue at around 13:00 local time. The protest was organised to demand the approval of the clemency law for the people who were imprisoned during the revolution. No arrests or serious injuries were reported.

Tsunami threat alert issued on Chilean coast

Authorities in Chile announced that a tsunami threat alert was issued after the eruption of submarine volcano Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai. The alert was declared on Easter Island, Juan Fernández, and San Félix as well as the Prat (Iquique Cove) and O'Higgins bases in Antarctica. Heavy waves and unusually high tides were expected to hit the country's pacific coast. 

One killed, one arrested after shooting attack in Villarica

One person was killed and another was arrested following a shooting in Cautín, Araucanía yesterday afternoon. The incident took place on Pablo de Rocas Street, in Villarica, at around 17:30 local time. According to reports, several gunmen approached the victim outside his home and shot him before fleeing. Police say at least two other suspects remain loose. 


Two killed, one injured in Santiago shooting

Two people were killed and another was injured in El Bosque, Santiago yesterday morning. The incident took place in Paula Jaraquemada at around 04:00 local time. According to police, the gunmen fired around 125 shots at the victims in a crime-related incident. No arrests have been reported. 

Chile to provide a fourth Covid-19 vaccine dose for its citizens

The government of Chile announced it will provide a fourth Covid-19 vaccine to its citizens beginning next week. Chile would be the first country in Latin America, and one of the first in the world, to offer the extra dose. "Starting next Monday, January 10, we are going to start a new mass vaccination process with a fourth dose or a second booster dose," said President Pinera. Chile has one of the world's highest vaccination rates and has been hailed as a model for its response to the pandemic, having administered two doses to over 85% of the population. About 57% have received a third booster shot, according to Our World in Data.

Police stung during beekeepers protest, Santiago

Seven police officers were stung during a protest by beekeepers in the capital, Santiago. Four people were arrested at the rally outside the presidential palace, which was organised to call for more government support for the industry. The protesters set up around 60 hives and the officers were stung while they tried to remove them.

Around 30 properties burned down after arson attack amid Mapuche conflict in Bío-Bío

Around 30 properties were burned in an arson attack in Bío-Bío and La Araucania yesterday. The incident occurred amid a conflict between the government and members of the Mapuche ethnic group and affected several homes and 18 tourist shelters. "The seriousness of these attacks warrants going ahead with the state of emergency," said Interior Minister Rodrigo Delgado. Local media on Wednesday published a statement from the "Mapuche Lavkenche Resistance" group in which it claimed responsibility for the arson.

Government to reopen three land border crossings

The government of Chile announced it will reopen three of its land border crossings in Futaleufu, Paso Huemeles, and Paso Integración Austral effective tomorrow. According to the statement, five other land border crossings will be reopened on 4 January, namely Paso Agua Negra, Paso Internacional Los Libertadores, Paso Pino Hachado, Cardenal Samore, and Dorotea. All crossings had been closed since March 2020. 

Boric elected as Chile’s youngest president

Chile’s presidential election concluded on Monday 20 December with leftist activist Gabriel Boric winning by an unexpectedly large margin. Boric gained nearly 56 percent of the vote over his opposition, far-right, candidate Jose Antonio Kast who conceded the election before the final result had been announced. Tens of thousands of Chileans took to the streets in approval of Boric’s victory which will see improved equality for LGBTQ Chileans.

Chileans vote in presidential elections amid fears of large protests

Chile’s presidential elections will take place on Sunday 19 December between far-right and leftist candidates. The neck-and-neck race is renewing fears of mass protest following the result. Chile has voted centrist since the democratic removal of Pinochet 31 years ago, therefore the choice between two polarising figures has potential to spark large scale protest.

Presidential candidates evenly split polling preference ahead of Sunday elections

Chile's ultra-right presidential candidate José Antonio Kast and leftist Gabriel Boric are reportedly tied amongst voter's polls ahead of the country's runoff election scheduled for Sunday. A little over 15m Chileans can vote in Sunday's election. In the first round, Kast, a conservative lawmaker, won 27.9% of the votes and Boric 25.8%.


One soldier killed after altercation in Arica

A soldier was killed during an altercation between fellow soldiers in Arica, Arica y Parinacota yesterday morning. The incident took place at the Cocaceros Regiment military base at around 05:30 local time. The suspect was arrested at the scene. 

One killed, one injured after police operation in Puente Alto

One person was killed and another was injured following a police operation in Puente Alto, Región Metropolitana earlier today. The incident took place at a gas station on Eyzaguirre and El Rodeo, off the Acceso Sur Highway, at around 08:30 local time. According to reports, the suspects were assaulting two women when police intervened. One of the suspects managed to flee. 

Civilian shot and killed in Valparaíso

One person was shot and killed in Olmué, Valparaíso yesterday evening. The incident took place outside the victim's home, in the Las Lilas sector, at around 22:00 local time. According to reports, the victim was attacked by five gunmen who fled shortly after. No arrests have been reported. 

Government extends state of emergency amid Mapuche conflict

The Chilean government announced the extension of its state of emergency earlier today. The extension pertains to a decree towards the Mapuche conflict and applies to the Biobío and La Araucania regions. As per the extension, the state of emergency will last at least 15 more days. 

Four people injured after police-involved shootout in Santiago

Four people were injured during a shootout with police in Santiago earlier today. The incident took place at the intersection of Huérfanos St and García Reyes St at around 00:30 local time. According to police, all injured victims were involved in the shootout with police, and one managed to escape. 

Seven people killed after fire breaks out in Cerro Navia

Seven people were killed during a fire in Cerro Navia, Santiago yesterday morning. The fire reportedly broke out at around 04:00 local time and burned down four houses on Rolando Petersen St. The fire was contained at around 07:00 local time. 

President Piñera survives impeachment vote in the Senate

An impeachment attempt against President Sebastián Piñera came to a close yesterday after opposition Senators failed to garner enough votes for a trial to go forward. Preisdent Piñera had been impeached last week by the lower house following allegations produced by the Pandora Papers, linking the president to shady property deals. 

Four killed, ten injured after fire breaks out in Talca

Four people were killed and six others were injured after a fire broke out in Talca, Maule yesterday evening. The incident took place at a property housing  Venezuelan immigrants at the corner of Uno Oriente and Seis Sur. The cause of the fire remains under investigation. 

One killed, one injured in Valparaíso shooting

One person was killed and another was injured during a shooting in Valparaíso yesterday afternoon. The incident took place in El Folklore del Cerro Rodelillo at around 12:00 local time. No arrests have been reported. 

Chile to reopen three border crossing points with Peru, Bolivia and Argentina

Earlier today, the Chilean government announced that it will reopen three of its land border crossings that had been previously closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Undersecretary of Public Health, Paula Daza said the opening pertains to the border crossings in Cacalluta (Arica y Parinacota), the Colchane, and the Pino Hachado; which border Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina respectively. 

Blockades and protests reported in Temuco

Authorities in La Araucania reported road blockades and protests in Temuco earlier today. Traffic has been disrupted throughout the city and clashes are expected by security officials. According to reports, the city's student unions set up burning blockades near the Universidad de la Frontera in order to protest the area's militarization after the death of a Mapuche activist during protests on 5 November. 

One killed, one injured in Talca shooting incident

One person was killed and another was injured following a shooting incident in Talca, Maule yesterday evening. The incident took place on 23rd Street North and 3rd East St, in the Barrio Norte neighborhood at around 22:00 local time. According to reports, the incident was an armed altercation between both individuals. 

Lower House of Congress approves impeachment trial against President Piñera

Earlier today, the lower house of Congress announced the approval of the impeachment trial against President Sebastián Piñera. The bid was launched by the opposition over irregularities in President Piñera's sale of a mining company revealed in the Pandora Papers earlier this year. 

Demonstrators reportedly blocking Ruta 68 in Valparaíso

Authorities in Valparaíso reported that around 1,200 demonstrators blocked Ruta 68 earlier today. The group is reportedly marching towards Congress and began their march on 7 November from Peñalolén in order to demand housing solutions from the government. The same group had reportedly cut off traffic in Santiago on 27 October. 

Congressman attacked at campaign event in Valparaíso

RN congressman, Andrés Longton, was reportedly attacked by protesters during a campaign event in Villa Alemana, Valparaíso yesterday afternoon. The protesters attacked the congressman with sticks and iron bars, to which he sustained injuries. The congressman was hospitalized and no arrests were reported. 

Two killed, three injured in clashes between police and Mapuche community in Cañete

Two people were killed and three others were injured during clashes with police in Cañete, Bio Bio yesterday afternoon. The clash occurred between the indigenous Mapuche community and police and is believed to be related to the ongoing Mapuche conflict. All victims were members of the indigenous community. 

Cargo train derailed and set on fire by attackers in Malleco

Authorities in Chile reported that a cargo train was derailed and set ablaze by unidentified attackers in Malleco, La Araucanía earlier today. The attackers reportedly modified the Victoria-Temuco rail route, at the junction with Queipul. The train derailed before the attackers proceeded to set it on fire, burning four wagons and two engines. No arrests have been reported. 

Two people shot and killed in Santiago

Two people were killed and another was injured following a shooting in Santiago yesterday morning. The incident took place at the intersection of Santa Filomena and Ernesto Pinto Lagarrigue, in Recoleta, at around 04:00 local time. No arrests have been reported. 

President Piñera extends state of emergency due to escalations in Mapuche conflict

Chilean President Sebastián Piñera announced the extension of the state of emergency in four provinces yesterday. The extension pertains to provinces in Bío Bío, Arauco, Cautín, and Malleco after tensions and violence escalated in the midst of the Mapuche conflict. The state of emergency is scheduled to remain in place until 11 November. 

Government reverts Región Metropolitana back to phase three of Covid-19 contingency plan

The government of Chile announced that Región Metropolitana will be downgraded to phase three of the national government's contingency plan amid a recent surge in Covid-19 cases. Región Metropolitana includes, Taltal, Chañaral, Illapel, El Tabo, Santo Domingo, Rengo, Pichilemu, Hualañé, Quiñeco, Hualqui, Melipeuco, Máfil, La Unión, Puerto Octa, and Santiago. As per the phase three measures, gatherings will be limited to 10 people (25 if all are vaccinated), and public venues will be able to operate at only 33 percent capacity.  

Protesters and police clash during protests in the Port of Valparaíso

Authorities in Valparaíso reported clashes between fishermen and police during protests in the Port of Valparaíso yesterday morning. The demonstrators are reportedly demanding the return of activities in the port, where around 200 fishermen gathered in protest. According to reports, the fishermen lit a set of tyres on fire along the walls of the pier. Police used tear gas and rubber bullets as they dispersed the crowd during the clashes. 

Police arrested 48 suspects for looting commercial properties during protests

Police arrested 48 suspects with regard to the looting of two commercial properties in San Bernardo, Santiago yesterday. The looting occurred the day after the two-year anniversary protests took place, where two police officers were attacked. As per the injured policemen's report, police were able to identify the suspects and make the arrests. 

Two people shot and killed in Santiago

Two people were killed in a shooting in Santiago yesterday morning. The incident took place at the intersection between Sargento Aldea St and Chiloé St in the centre of Santiago. According to police, the victims were sitting inside their vehicle when they got approached by unidentified gunmen and shot. No arrests have been reported. 

Two killed, 56 injured, 450 arrested following protest clashes in Santiago, Valparaíso and La Serena

Two people were killed, 56 people were injured, and around 450 people were arrested following clashes between protesters and security forces in Santiago, where around 10,000 protesters gathered, Valparaíso, and La Serena yesterday. The protests emerged on the two-year anniversary of nationwide protests in Chile. The government deployed around 5,000 troops to control the crowds but were met with vandalism and violence. 

Protests and barricades reported in Santiago amidst two-year anniversary of student protests

Several demonstrations and barricades were reported in the capital city of Santiago earlier today. The protests come in the midst of the two-year anniversary of the student protests in Chile. During the protests, traffic has been disrupted in Manuel Antonio Matta Ave, and Eduardo Frei Montalva St. Barricades were reportedly set up in Central Station and General Velásquez. Protests were also reported in La Victoria, Pedro Aguirre Cerda, the Ramona Parra St police station, and the Costanera Center Mall in Providencia. Further protests and barricades are expected throughout the day, with some violence expected. 

Mass protests expected over the weekend in Santiago

Authorities reported they anticipated mass demonstrations in Antofagasta and Santiago during the weekend. The US Embassy in Chile also issued a warning against potentially violent protests, which would probably disrupt traffic and turn violent. The protests come as the two-year anniversary of nationwide mass protests in Chile approaches. Citizens were warned against visiting La Bonilla, Plaza 21 de Mayo, and other national landmarks during the weekend. 


President Piñera announces new task force targeting gangs and drug trafficking

President Sebastián Piñera announced a new plan targeting gangs and drug trafficking organizations to begin on 19 October. According to the statement, the operation will focus on 15 municipalities in the capital city of Santiago, namely Maipú, Rocelota, Pudahuel, quilicura, Renca, Independencia, Puente Alto, San Bernardo, La Florida, Peñalolén, La Pintana, San Miguel, El Bosque, Cerro Navia, and Huechuraba. The operation will deploy 400 police officers, 20 radio patrols, a helicopter and a drone for patrolling the target areas. 

President Piñera declares state of emergency in Biobío and Arauco amid civil unrest

Chilean President Sebastian Piñera declared a state of emergency in Biobío and Araucania following recent clashes between security forces and members of the Mapuche indigenous community. The state of emergency is scheduled to remain in place for at least two weeks and will be inforces in Biobío, Arauco, Malleco, and Cautín. The clashes came after the Mapuche community have been demanding the return of their ancestral lands and self-determination in recent weeks. 

Truck driver strike blocks roads in Lota and Coronel

An ongoing truck driver strike resumed yesterday, blocking roads in Lota and Coronel, Biobio. The protesters reportedly set up blockades on Route 5 South and Route 160 in Lota and Escuadrón in Coronel. The demonstrators are reportedly protesting against the lack of security for drivers working the southern routes and demand better safety measures. 

Four injured, one arrested following 'Pandora Papers' protests in Las Condes

Four people were injured and another was arrested following a violent protest in Las Condes, Santiago yesterday afternoon. The incident took place in front of President Sebastian Pinera's home, in the San Damián neighbourhood at around 12:00 local time. According to reports, protesters were calling for President Pinera's resignation following accusations stemming from the 'Pandora Papers'. 

Shanxi floods displace millions

Floods in Shanxi have displaced some two million people. The floods have been caused by recent downpours and torrential rain. The heavy rain has also triggered house collapses and landslides in 70 districts and cities. Prolonged rainfall and stormy weather are reported to be further hampering rescue efforts. So far, more than 17,000 homes have collapsed, while four police officers died in a landslide. Further details about casualties have yet to be released.

Prosecutor's Office opens probe into President Piñera following 'Pandora Papers' information

The Chilean Prosecutor's Office announced that it has opened an investigation against President Sebastián Piñera. The investigation comes as the 'Pandora Papers' disclosed irregularities in the sale of shares of Minera Dominga, a mining megaproject involving the Piñera family, which took place in the British Virgin Islands in 2010. Spokespeople from the Prosecutor's Office said the information disclosed in the 'Pandora Papers' pointed at bribery and tax-related crimes perpetrated by Mr Piñera and his family. 

Truck driver protests blocking Route 160 continue in Bibio

Truck drivers reportedly continue to protest near Coronel and San Pedro de la Paz, Biobío. The demonstrators are reportedly blocking Route 160, one of the busiest roads in Greater Concepción, in order to protest high insecurity in Macrozona Sur. The protests have been ongoing since 3 October as drivers say they are constant targets of arson attacks in La Araucania and Biobío. 

Truck driver protest blocks Ruta 5 in Collipulli

Authorities in La Araucanía reported that truck drivers were protesting and blocking Ruta 5 near Collipulli earlier today. The demonstrators gathered at KM 572 causing high traffic congestion near the Malleco Bridge at around 07:00 local time. According to reports, the demonstrators are protesting the arson attacks and insecurity in South Macrozone. Logging transporters had already staged similar demonstrations on 3 October at KM 518 and 520. 

Six police officers injured during farm evictions in Máfil

Authorities reported that six police officers were injured during a farm eviction in Máfil, Valdivia yesterday. The incident occurred as two farms which have been occupied by 50 members of Lof Huamal Curin, a resistance group based in the area, received security forces executing eviction orders and engaged in clashes. The occupied farms reportedly belong to the Pellines and Laureles farms organization. 

Three people injured in armed attack in Carahue

Three people were injured in an armed attack in Carahue, La Araucania yesterday afternoon. The incident took place at the Los Laureles and Alto Yupehue intersection connecting Tirúa and Biobío. According to reports, a group of armed suspects attacked three logging workers as they drove merchandise from the site. They then proceeded to set five trucks on fire. No arrests have been made. 

DPR issues red alert due to forest fires in Los Vilos

The Regional Presidential Delegation (DPR) in Coquimbo declared a red alert due to forest fires in Los Vilos earlier today. According to the National Emergency Office (ONEMI), the fire is an imminent threat to people, their homes, and infrastructure in the area, having already consumed more than 900 hectares of land. The DPR ordered evacuations in specifically disclosed high-risk areas, also including Minera los Pelambres. 

Fire breaks out in Teno factory, several evacuated

A fire reportedly broke out at a food processing factory in Teno, Curico yesterday afternoon. The fire is currently located at KM 175 of Route 5, on the border between the towns of Romeral and Teno. Around 10 families have been evacuated over concerns about the toxins being released by the fires along with its environmental consequences. According to reports, the presence of plastic containers has worsened the size and impact of the fire. 

Government to end state of emergency and curfews on 1 October

The government of Chile announced that its national curfew restrictions, as well as its state of emergency, are on pace to end on 1 October. The state of emergency and curfews had been in place since March 2020 in order to curb the spread of Covid-19. The government spokespeople said a new plan will be released as health standards are adjusted and restrictions are relaxed. 

More than 100 Venezuelan migrants expelled from makeshift camps in Iquique

Around 100 Venezuelan migrants were forcibly removed by Chilean police from their makeshift camp in Plaza Brasil, Iquique over the weekend. The migrants had reportedly camped there as they waited to get funds to travel to the capital and other cities. There are currently around 3,000 Venezuelan migrants in the city, authorities said they expect that number to increase considerably as the weather gets warmer. 

Police officer stabbed outside Quilicura Police Station

A police officer was reportedly stabbed outside the police station in Quilicura, Región Metropolitana yesterday evening. According to the policeman, an unidentified assailant approached him as he left the workplace at around 22:00 local time and stabbed him without citing any particular reason. No arrests have been reported. 

Government updates Covid-19 travel restrictions

The government of Chile updated its travel restrictions yesterday. As per the new measures, Chileans and residents who have their 'Mobility Pass' (proof of full vaccination) may now leave and enter the country as they wish. Residents and citizens without their pass remain subject to the previous regulations, only being able to come and go for humanitarian reasons, essential activities, and/or one-way trips with no plans to return. 

Passenger bus set ablaze after trying to pass through blockade in Maipú

A group of individuals reportedly set fire to a Metbus after forcing the driver to get off in Maipú, Región Metropolitana yesterday morning. The incident took place at the intersection of Portales Ave and El Conquistador St at around 00:30 local time. According to reports, the bus tried to pass through a blockade that had been set up by protesters. Firemen extinguished the flames and narrowly prevented them from spreading to nearby homes. 

CH-115 International Route closed due to ice patches

The CH-115 International Route to Pehuenche Pass was reportedly closed due to dangeours ice patches that formed during low temperatures over the weekend. The closure begins at KM 100 in Retén La Mina, Talca, meaning only travellers crossing through the pass to reach El Médano will be allowed through. The closed section of the road is a popular tourist spot providing access to the national park. 

Ten people arrested after protests turned into riots in Santiago

Ten people were arrested during a demonstration in Santiago on Saturday. According to authorities, riots broke out during the demonstrations commemorating the Pinochet coup, in which they used water cannons and tear gas to disperse the crowds. The rioters reportedly threw Molotov cocktails at police and burned a bus station. Reports say protests have been held weekly in Santiago, leading to dozens of arrests and frequent closures of metro service lines. 

Three Bolivian soldiers arrested for theft in Colchane

Three Bolivian soldiers were arrested following a robbery in Colchane, Tarpaca yesterday. The incident took place in the Psiga Choque sector of Colchane, near the Bolivian border. According to reports, three civilians approached a patrol in order to report the theft of their car and having been intimidated by military personnel. The Carabineros then went after the suspects, three members of the La Paz Anti-Smuggling Battalion, who tried to evade them by shooting at them before they were arrested. 

Anti-drug trafficking operation arrests seven, seizes tonnes of illegal products and weapons

A dozen criminals were arrested for drug trafficking in Quilicura, Santiago yesterday evening. The incident took place in the Valle de la Luna neighbourhood as part of a police operation against drug-trafficking gangs in the area. The Police Department Investigation and the North Central Prosecutor's Office ran a joint operation that raided seven houses and seized tonnes of marijuana, cocaine and weapons and cash valued at $45m USD. 

Robbery at Bellavista del Merval metro station leaves two people injured in Valparaiso

Two people were injured in a shooting in Valparaíso yesterday afternoon. The incident took place at the Bellavista del Merval metro station at around 12:00 local time. According to witnesses, an armed robbery was taking place at the station when one person was hit by a bullet and another was beaten up by the attackers. Both victims were hospitalised shortly after. No arrests have been reported. 

ONEMI issues preventive weather alert in Santiago

Yesterday, the National Emergency Office (ONEMI) in Chile issued a preventive weather alert as it expects heavy rainfall in Santiago. According to ONEMI's statement, the heavy rainfall is accompanied by storms which left around 43,000 people without electricity on 18 August in Los Lagos and Valparaíso. 

Two killed inside burning cabin in Tirúa

Two people were found dead inside a burnt cabin in Tirúa, Arauco earlier today. The incident took place in the Manchque sector, on route P-72S at around 06:00 local time. According to reports, an underage girl died in the fire, while a young adult male had been shot. Police believe the crime was drug-related, as witnesses claim the cabin was set ablaze following several gunshots. No suspects have been identified. 

Eleven people arrested during protests in Santiago

Eleven people were arrested during protests in Plaza Baquedano, Santiago on Saturday evening. The protests began at around 18:00 local time and forced the closure of the Baquedano metro station. The closing of the station reportedly disrupted service on lines one and five through the evening. According to reports, the protesters, who were showing support to those still detained in the nationwide protests earlier in the year, were dispersed at around 20:00 local time by police using water hoses and tear gas. 

One killed, two injured after stabbing incident at San Bernadino metro station

One person was killed and two others were injured during a stabbing incident in Santiago yesterday afternoon. The incident took place inside the San Bernadino metro station at around 13:00 local time. The San Bernadino metro station suspended services whilst police investigated the area, until around 18:00 local time. No arrests have been reported. 

One person killed by hitmen in Villarrica

One person was killed in a shooting in Villarrica, Araucanía yesterday morning. The incident took place on Cumeco St at around 11:00 local time. A video recording shows two cars stopping roadside before two people came out of each vehicle, and proceeded to attack the victim. The victim was shot dead before the assailants fled the scene. No arrests have been reported. 

Eleven civilians arrested amid clashes between protesters and police in Santiago

Eleven civilians were arrested during clashes between protesters and the security forces in Santiago yesterday afternoon. The clashes took place at around 13:30 local time, outside the Santiago Cathedral. The demonstrators protested for the release of political prisoners who had been detained over a social uprising back in 2019. According to police, two of the detainees are members of the Constitutional Convention and were released a few hours later. 

Government extends closure of air and land borders

Undersecretary of Public Health, Paul Daza, announced the extension of the closure of air and land borders until at least 25 July, earlier today. Under the measures, Chilean nationals and residents will only be permitted to travel for "extraordinary or essential" purposes and after applying for a special permit. Foreigners and non-residents are still prohibited from coming into the country, with the exception of those from countries "without community transmission". 

Government eases Covid-19 restrictions, creates Border Control task force

The government of Chile has announced that it would ease the Covid-19 restrictions on 15 July. Under the new policy, businesses, restaurants, entertainment venues, and gyms may operate exclusively with people carrying their vaccination pass. Regions that have fully vaccinated 80 percent of the population or more will undergo a curfew from 00:00 - 05:00 local time, other regions will begin at 22:00. Any public event of 10 or more people will need to check for vaccination passes. Additionally, all schools will open with voluntary attendance. The statement also announced the creation of a Border Control and Inspection Unit aiming at protecting the borders for incoming Covid-19 variants. Foreigners are still prohibited from coming into the country. 

Assembly to re-write constitution will begin session on 4 July

On Sunday, President Sebastian Pinera announced that the assembly to draft a new constitution will begin sessions on 4 July. The re-writing of the constitution comes as the result of a broad political consensus reached after the violent protests that broke out at the end of 2019. "This convention undoubtedly represents a great opportunity to achieve a new constitution that will be recognized and respected by all Chileans under a framework of unity and stability toward the future for our democracy," Pinera said. The assembly consists of 155 delegates who were elected in May and will have up to one year to submit a draft to be put to a popular vote via referendum. 

Man shot dead in Recoleta

A man has been shot dead in the Recoleta area of Santiago. The victim, who was shot twice in the legs, was found by local police. He was transported to the San Jose Hospital for treatment but medical staff were unable to save him. An investigation is underway and no arrests have been made so far.

Government to reimpose total lockdown on 12 June

The government of Chile has announced that it would reimpose total lockdown restrictions in the Metropolitan area, including Santiago, amid a recent surge in Covid-19 cases. The lockdown is scheduled to come into force at 05:00 on 12 June. The decision comes after Covid-19 cases rose by 25 percent over the past two weeks and ICU occupancy rates reached 98 percent. Chile now tallies 1.46m cases and 30,480 deaths due to the coronavirus. 


Government moves nine communes into 'phase two' of reopening scheme

The government of Chile announced it would move nine of its communes to 'phase two' of its reopening scheme earlier today. The moving communes are Hijuelas, Valparaíso; Constitución and Teno in Maule; San Carlos, Ñuble; Laja, Biobío; Curarrehue and Prquenco in La Araucanía; Máfil, Los Ríos, and Punta Arenas, Magallanes. 

Several communes to go back into quarantine amid Covid-19 spike

Despite having rolled out one of the best vaccination programmes in the world, local government authorities in Chile announced they will return to quarantine as of 29 May at 05:00 local time. The communes of Diego de Almagro, San Antonio, Olmué, Colina, Melipilla, Cañete, Puyehue, and Quemichi will return to lockdowns and 17 other communes will modify their Covid-19 restrictions amid a recent increase in infections around the country. Chile currently tallies 1.35m cases and 28,810 deaths due to the coronavirus. 

Independents win majority in constitutional assembly

With over 90 percent of the votes counted, Chile elected a 155-person body to rewrite the country's constitution over the weekend, handing the ruling centre-right coalition a surprise loss. Independents, with 45 seats, will now hold the most influence in the constitutional assembly, where proposals pass by a two-thirds majority. The ruling party, the Chile Vamos coalition, won 39 seats, whilst the centre-left won 25 and the far-left 28 seats. 

Transport workers block highway in protest

Chilean truck drivers blocked the international highway in San Gregorio, Magallanes and Antártica Chilena yesterday. The blockade impeded transit between the Argentinian provinces of Santa Cruz and Tierra del Fuego. The demonstrators demanded that the government allow for land transport in the Neuquén province, which is currently blocked by protests staged by Argentinian health workers. 

Port workers' union begins nationwide strike

The Chilean Port Workers Union began a nationwide strike yesterday. The strike currently affects 25 locations, including important ports such as Puerto Montt, Tocopilla, Caldera, Iquique, Chañaral, Antofagasta, Valparaíso and San Antonio. The strike is being held over a veto by President Pinera against the third pension withdrawal which had been approved by congress. 

Border closure extended through May

The Chilean government has announced that it would extend its border closures throughout May, with the aim of preventing the spread of Covid-19 variants. Undersecretary of Health, Paula Daza, made the announcement amid a surge in cases featuring the Brazilian variant of Covid-19. Daza also clarified that only essential travel is allowed and cities in quarantine will now go through phase 2 of its 'paso a paso' reopening policy. Chile now tallies 1.2m cases and 26,000 deaths due to the coronavirus. 

Protests erupt in Santiago as President Piñera vetoes pension withdrawals

Protests erupted yesterday in Santiago, resulting in the torching of two buses and attacks on two police stations; six people were arrested. The protest was organised over a pension withdrawal veto by the government. The lower chamber approved the proposal which allowed people to withdraw $1,400-$6,100 from their pensions, although President Piñera vetoed it due to concerns that it would affect future pension funds. 

Workers strike held at several Chilean ports

Chilean port workers held a strike at multiple ports, suspending their operations yesterday. The strike aims to condemn the government's request not to approve a third withdrawal of pension funds to the Constitutional Court. The strike, organized by the Chilean Port Union and the Chilean Confederation of Port Workers, was held at port terminals in Valparaíso, San Antonio, Coquimbo, Ventanas, Arica and Mejillones. 

Governor candidate arrested for breaching quarantine in Las Cabras

Former congressman and current governor candidate Ricardo Rincón was arrested on Saturday in Las Cabras, O'Higgins for breaching quarantine rules. Rincón presented a permit that previously allowed him to move freely during quarantine, but police said the permit was no longer valid and all permits were suspended until 29 April. He was charged with violating Article 318 of the Penal Code and released on bail.

Chile delays voting on constitution ammendments

The Chilean Senate has agreed to delay an election on appointing a commission to rewrite the country's constitution as an increase in Covid-19 cases threatens its health system. If the decision is approved, the vote will be delayed by five weeks and take place on 15 or 16 May. Chile's ICUs are running at 95 percent capacity as daily cases peak in recent days. President Sebastián Piñera's approval ratings dropped from 58 in February to 38 percent, based on his handling of the pandemic.

Chile closes all borders

The government of Chile announced the closure of all borders yesterday. Outward travel for nationals and foreign residents is prohibited, except for those with permits and entry is completely prohibited for non-residents. "We urgently need to make an additional effort, because we are in a very critical moment of the pandemic," government spokesman Jaime Bellolio said.

Chile to shut down borders amid Covid-19 spike

The Chilean government has announced that it will shut down its borders through the month of April as Covid-19 cases soar. Despite the country having one of the best vaccination roll-outs in the world having inoculated more than 35 percent of its population, there has been a spike in cases. Chile reported 7,830 cases of the virus yesterday, its highest single-day tally since the pandemic began. The lockdown is set to come into effect on 5 April to both Chileans and foreigners, with exceptions only for emergencies. The government also imposed circulation limits on essential workers. Chile currently tallies 996,000 cases and 23,135 deaths due to the coronavirus. 

Chile agrees deal for 1.8m doses of CanSino vaccines

President Sebastián Pinera announced a new deal with CanSino Biologics for 1.8m doses of its one-dose Covid-19 vaccine, to be received by June. According to official Chilean tabulations, 13m doses have been already administered in the country. Chile is far outpacing its Latin American counterparts in vaccinations and is one of the global leaders in vaccinations per capita. 

Dozen arrested after commemorative day incidents in Santiago

Multiple incidents in Santiago led to at least a dozen people being arrested following clashes between police and protesters yesterday. Day of the Young Combatant, a commemorative day in Chile, saw incidents in Villa Franca, Nunoa, La Pintana, Puente Alto and Cerrillos, including arson and vandalism. 

Six arrested after second attack on police station in Santiago

Six people were arrested after an attack on a police station in San Bernardo, Santiago during the weekend. This marks the second attack on the police station in a week, after ongoing protests against the latest lockdown restrictions. 

Two officers injured, four arrested in Cuesta El Pampino

An attack on police officers left two of them injured yesterday in Cuesta El Pampino, Tarapaca. The clash between police and civilians was sparked over the the alleged failure of people to comply with Covid-19 social distancing norms. Four civilians were arrested after the incident. 

The majority of municipalities in Chile set for full quarantine

Lockdown restrictions will be re-imposed in 42 municipalities across Chile amid a spike in Covid-19 cases. Starting at 05:00 local time on 25 March, the municipalities inside Santiago, Maule, Valparaíso, O'Higgins, Nuble, Biobo, Los Lagos and Coquimbo will see their weekend and holiday travel permits suspended and the areas will be placed under full quarantine until at least the upcoming Easter Holiday. 

President Pinera announces 50 percent increase to stimulus package

President Sebastian Pinera has announced a 50 percent increase to the 12bn package passed on June 2020 when Chile suffered its first wave of Covid-19. The announcement means Emergency Family Income payouts will now be extended from March through June; the amounts vary from 25,000 CLP - 100,000 CLP depending on how long the household has been in lockdown. Pinera also said soft loans will be available for middle-income households along with improved unemployment benefits and grants to small businesses in order to preserve jobs and restart the economy.

Chilean vaccine roll-out reaches Antarctica

Chile's aggressive vaccination programme has reportedly reached Antarctica, bringing relief to one of the most isolated places on Earth. Coronavirus reached Antarctica in December 2020 and forced Chilean health officials to clear out and isolate all staff inhabiting the remote region immediately, due to a lack of resources and complicated logistics. Marcela Andrade of the Chilean Antarctic Institute (INACH) said her staff was inoculated on Sunday. Chile has conducted what has been described as the most successful vaccine roll-out campaign in Latin America. 

Government to impose new restrictions due to Covid spike

The Chilean government will reportedly impose restrictions in 28 different towns amid an increase in Covid-19 cases over the past two weeks. According to the ministry's report, 4,591 new Covid-19 cases were diagnosed in one day along with 17 deaths. The largest spike has been in the Metropolitan region, including Santiago, where 44 percent of all cases have been recorded. The rise in infections comes despite an aggressive vaccination campaign that aims to inoculate around five million Chileans by the end of March.

New restrictions imposed in Santiago

New restrictions for the Santiago Metropolitan Region have been announced in an effort to curb the surge in Covid-19 infections. The measures include an extension of the night-time curfew, stores having to close earlier and new rules for gyms and casinos all starting on 13 March. Chile reported 5,556 new virus cases on Thursday, bringing the total to 874,000 along with 21,362 deaths.

Metro services to be disrupted by strike in Santiago

Disruption on the Metro system in Santiago is expected today after the Metro workers' union called for a strike. The strike intends to protest management's lack of response to the union's previous demands over their working conditions. The protest is set to take place outside the Metro de Santiago corporate building at around 10:00 local time. 

Anti-government protest called in Santiago

A protest has been organised for today in Santiago. Motivated by a rejection of the exception state made by President Pinera, various social organizations have also denounced security force violence. Demonstrations in Chile tend to see clashes between civilians and police; the last time civilians called for the resignation of a president, 500 people died in the ensuing clashes.

Student protests disrupt public transport

A couple of coordinated protests took place yesterday in Santiago. Secondary school students protested in La Alameda and Plaza Italia while police dispersed them with water cannons; the Metro shut down lines one and five in Baquedano as well as several bus lines due to the protest. 

Student protest met with tear gas in Santiago

Student protesters were met with tear gas and water cannons fired by police, and several were arrested yesterday in Santiago. The protest, organized by the Coordinating Assembly of Secondary Students (ACES), aimed at getting in-person classes back for students. 

Police prepared for nationwide protests

Police have reported their preparedness for scheduled, upcoming protests nationwide starting on 1 March. Police say the protests will probably block roads and disrupt traffic on an already busy day on 'Super Lunes' (Super Monday) which marks the end of summer vacations in Chile. The protests will reportedly continue on 8 March for International Women's Day and 29 March for Day of the Young Combatant - all of which usually see large gatherings and are heavily policed.

Relaxation of nationwide curfew effective today

Health authorities announced the easing of the imposed nationwide curfew in Chile today. The curfew is now set to run from 23:00 to 5:00. Sub-secretary of Crime Prevention, Katherine Martorell, indicated that the adjustment would start on 25 February. In Chile, a total of 3,123,895 people have been vaccinated against Covid-19 so far.


Clashes between protesters and police in Santiago

Several protests have been reported in the centre of Santiago, resulting in the closure of several metro lines. The protesters reportedly demanded an investigation into the death of a young boy who was being held by police, along with voicing their anger at the shooting of a street artist and demanding the resignation of President Pinera. Protesters threw objects at police, who responded with tear gas and water cannons. 

Police shooting sparks riots in Panguipulli

Rioting erupted in the southern town of Panguipulli on Friday night after police shot dead a street juggler. Several government buildings were torched, including the office of the town's mayor, after news of the shooting circulated in the town. The juggler was fatally shot after officers tried to check his identity documents. The incident also sparked anti-police protests in the capital, Santiago. The officer involved in the shooting has been detained, according to police officials.

One dead in Quilicura shooting

A shooting left one person dead and another injured in the middle of a busy intersection in Parinacota, Quilicura. A 52 year-old and an 18 year-old were shot at by people in a moving vehicle; the former was pronounced dead at the hospital. No arrests have been made. 



One shot and killed in Renca

An attempted robbery in Renca, Santiago resulted in the death of a suspect. The incident involved a 19-year-old who was trying to steal a police vehicle at around 22:00 on Tuesday. An officer opened fire at the alleged thief, who died at the scene.

Army sets up new border control checkpoints

The chilean army set up four new border control check points in the zones of Colchane, Antofagasta and Tarapacá in order to better mitigate trafficking and irregular movement. The effort was run in coalition with the Bolivian government to protect their respective borders. 

Ministry of Health confirms 85 more Covid-19 deaths

The Ministry of Health reported 3,779 Covid-19 cases and 85 deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the total caseload to 730,888 confirmed cases and 18,537 deaths. In its daily report released on Monday, the ministry reported 25,589 active cases and 686,374 patients who have recovered. The Chilean government has decreed quarantines in various locations in northern and southern Chile. 

Police officer sentenced for death of Mapuche indigenous man

A police officer has been sentenced for the killing of a Mapuche indigenous man in La Araucania, southern Chile. A court has sentenced Carlos Alarcon to 11 years in prison for killing Carlos Catrillanca back in 2018. Reports show that Catrillanca was gunned down during a police chase in the town of Temucuicui. Alarcon was also charged to another five years for the attempted killing of a teenager that was with Catrillanca at the time. The Mapuche indigenous community is often engaged in clashes with the police and the government due to territorial disputes. The police have been frequently accused of violating indigenous rights during the crackdown against protesters.

Chile grants emergency approval for China's Sinovac vaccine

Chile has granted emergency approval for the use of the Chinese-developed Sinovac coronavirus vaccine. The Public Health Institute (ISP) has confirmed the approval on Wednesday. Chile has already purchased some 10m doses of the vaccine. Despite the decision of the ISP board not being unanimous, the ISP chief said that tests concluded that it prevents hospitalisation. Chile approves the vaccine after Brazilian regulators raised concerns over the vaccine's efficacy.

Fast-spreading wildfire spreads in Valparaiso

A fast-spreading wildfire has consumed more than 4,200 hectares of land in Valparaiso, central Chile. According to the National Emergencies Office (Onemi), the fire has affected a large area around the Lago Penuelas National Reserve. EFE reported that more than 25,000 people were evacuated from areas surrounding the town of Quilpue. Authorities believe that the fire was intentional. Wildfires are common in Valparaiso and other regions in Chile during the summer.

Chile reports record increase in coronavirus cases

Chile has reported a significant increase in coronavirus cases in recent weeks as the country faces a second wave of infections. On Friday, Chile reported 4,000 new coronavirus cases, the highest number since June. Santiago is the epicentre of the coronavirus in Chile, reporting a large share of cases in the last few weeks. Chile has so far reported 630,000 coronavirus cases and 17,000 deaths since the pandemic hit the country last year. Similar to other Latin American countries, health authorities are concerned over large gatherings and travel during the summer holidays.

Former police officers charged for killing Mapuche youth in 2018

Seven former police officers have been charged for the murder of Camilo Catrillanca, an indigenous Mapuche youth killed in 2018. One of the officers was charged for firing the weapon that killed Catrillanca, who was driving a tractor at the time. All others were charged with obstruction of justice and other crimes. Catrillanca's death triggered violent protests in Chile and in the southern region of La Araucania. For decades, law enforcement agencies and the Chilean government have been engaged in land disputes with the Mapuche indigenous people in southern Chile. Protests are common and demonstrators often target companies based in the region.

Chilean workers test positive for coronavirus at Antarctica base

Dozens of Chilean workers have tested positive for coronavirus at a Chilean research station in Antarctica. These are the first cases to be reported on the continent. Chilean media reported that the outbreak was confirmed at the General Bernardo O'Higgins Riquelme base. Among those infected are members of the military and maintenance workers. In a statement, the military said that the outbreak is controlled. Reports indicate that all those infected were evacuated to Punta Arenas.

Navy launches operation to monitor Chinese fishing vessels

The Navy said that it is monitoring the movements of a large fleet of Chinese vessels that entered the Chilean Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Countries in Latin America are concerned over the presence of a massive 400-ship fleet claimed to be engaged in predatory fishing off Ecuador, Chile, Peru and Colombia. In addition to violating sovereign waters, governments also raised concerns over mass fishing in conservation areas, such as the Galapagos Islands - the fleet was previously mainly concentrated around Ecuador's Galapagos Islands but parts of it have moved further south to Chile. Last month, countries in Latin America joined forces to counter the invasion.

Health authorities approve use of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine

Chile's Public Health Institute (ISP) has approved the use of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine. Chile becomes the latest country in Latin America to approve the vaccine after Mexico, Costa Rica and Panama. Other Latin American countries are expected to approve it by the end of the year. Chile has reported one of the highest numbers of coronavirus cases in the region. The country has so far reported 575,000 cases and nearly 16,000 deaths. President Sebastian Pinera confirmed that Chile has agreed on to purchase up to 10m doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

President Pinera rejects bill to pardon protesters linked to 2019 civil unrest

President Sebastian Pinera has rejected a bill aimed at pardoning those arrested during violent protests in 2019. He said that he would veto a bill that would pardon hundreds of people arrested after civil unrest erupted nationwide. The bill was backed by the opposition. He claimed that the bill is against public safety, democracy and the rule of law. Official data shows that more than 28,000 people were detained between October and December last year, and around 1,300 of them were sent to prison.

Powerful 6.0-magnitude quake strikes northern Chile

A powerful 6.0-magnitude earthquake has struck northern Chile. Data from the US Geological Survey (USGS) shows that the quake was recorded on Monday afternoon several kilometres north of Calama. It had a depth of more than 100km and has not caused major damage. Northern Chile is prone to earthquakes due to the country's location on the Pacific Ring of Fire. Several weaker earthquakes were reported hours before in the same region and in northern Argentina.

Senate approves bill to allow second withdrawal from pension fund

Senate has approved a bill that allows Chileans to withdraw a second instalment from their private pension fund. Senators backed a proposal from President Sebastian Pinera and rejected a bill from the opposition - although both bills were similar. Despite initial resistance from lawmakers, senators overwhelmingly voted in favour to allow the withdrawal of another 10 percent of the Pensions Funds Administrators (AFP). However, at this time, the proposal put forward by President Pinera dictates that people should pay taxes on their withdraws and access to funds will be conditional. President Pinera previously raised concerns on long-term implications to the pension funds.

Chile reopens borders for international travellers

President Sebastian Pinera has announced the reopening of the Chilean borders for international travellers. After around eight months of restrictions, the government has decided to gradually reopen the country. He said: "After five months of the average health situation in our country continuously improving (...), we want to announce the first stage of the process of our borders reopening for non-resident foreigners to our country." People arriving in Chile will be required to present a negative PCR test taken before departure. However, until early-December, visitors arriving from countries with community transmission will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. A full list of countries is provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Visitors will also be required to install an app and fill in a form at least 48 hours before arriving in Chile. Flights will initially only operate to Santiago's Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport (SCL).

Protests break out in support of second pension fund withdrawal

Protests broke out in Chile after the government refused to back a proposal that would allow a second withdrawal from the public pension fund. A nationwide protest took place on Monday evening against President Sebastian Pinera's plan to declare the move unconstitutional. The decision is now set to be analysed by the country's Constitutional Court (TC). Earlier this year, in order to curb the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the government has allowed a partial withdrawal of up to ten percent from the Pensions Funds Administrators (AFP).

Police director steps down after incident in Biobio

Police Director Mario Rozas has announced his resignation after an incident involving two minors at a shelter in Biobio, southern Chile. The incident happened during a police operation near the shelter in Talcahuano. Rozas is a highly controversial figure in the Chilean Carabineros. President Sebastian Pinera has been facing increasing pressure to dismiss him due to the police handling of violent protests in 2019. President Pinera said that General Ricardo Yanez will replace Rozas.

Lundin Mining makes new proposal to end Candelaria strike

The Canadian-based Lundin Mining has made a proposal to end ongoing strikes at the Candelaria copper mine in northern Chile. Lundin Mining handed over a new proposal to the Mina syndicate in attempts to ease tensions on new contracts and other requirements. Another syndicate also launched a strike last month. Candelaria miners have blocked access to the mine since talks collapsed back in October. Chile is the world's top copper producer.

Millions cast their ballots to support constitutional changes in Chile

Millions of people have headed to the polls over the weekend in a historical referendum on constitutional reforms in Chile. Voters cast their ballots on whether or not to change the country's constitution, which dates back to the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. Final results show that 78 percent of the voters supported the reforms. Voters answered two questions: one on whether or not to change the constitution, and another on which body should draft the new Magna Carta. In the second question, voters chose a constituent system, which will see 155 citizens elected next April. After being elected, the constituent body will begin drafting the new constitution in May. The entire process is expected to last until the end of 2022. The vote was held despite violent protests in Santiago and stringent coronavirus measures.

Voters to cast their ballots on constitutional referendum

Voters will head to the polls to cast their ballots on whether or not to replace the country's constitution. For the last few days, protests have been reported across Chile to celebrate last year's demonstrations. Protests reignited despite coronavirus restrictions being enforced in some areas of Santiago. Among the main constitutional changes include reforms to the pension system and the education and health sectors. The vote is being held on Sunday, nearly six months after it was initially scheduled. Chile's constitution dates back to 1980 when Augusto Pinochet ruled the country.

Hundreds of protesters gather outside Congress in Valparaiso

Hundreds of protesters have gathered outside the National Congress in Valparaiso as part of anti-government protests. Demonstrators took to the streets to celebrate the first anniversary of protests that brought Chile to a standstill before coronavirus restrictions were imposed. Civil unrest was also reported in Santiago, Concepcion and San Antonio. Chile is holding a referendum next week on proposals to reform the country's constitution, which dates back to the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship.

Mass protests turn violent across Chile

Violent protests were reported across Chile as demonstrators celebrated the first anniversary of a mass demonstration that started last year. Reports show that more than 25,000 people marched in Santiago, where tensions escalated when looting and arson attacks were reported. At least two churches were set on fire and several local businesses raided. Chile was facing a violent wave of protests before coronavirus restrictions were imposed earlier this year. President Sebastian Pinera has been pressured to introduce reforms on the country's pension, health and education systems.

Rural worker shot dead in Collipuli, La Araucania

An agricultural worker has been killed over the weekend in the southern town of Collipuli, La Araucania. Rural workers associations have condemned the killing of Pedro Cabrera, who was shot in the head. He is the fourth worker to be assassinated in the region since January. Incidents against rural workers and employees of mining companies have led to protests in La Araucania. Protests have demanded more security for the government of President Sebastian Pinera.

Police officer accused of throwing protester off a bridge in Santiago

Investigations have been launched after a police officer was accused of throwing a teenager from a bridge in Santiago. AP reported that the teenager was taking part in a demonstration in the capital. The incident led to protests outside the clinic where he is being treated. Reports show that he was in stable condition after being rescued from the Mapocho river in the western part of Santiago. Prosecutors said that the officer will face attempted murder charges, while the police dismissed the allegations and said that the teenager fell after losing his balance. Such incidents often fuel violence in Chile, where the police are often accused of being highly repressive during protests.

Government launches massive multi-billion-dollar aid package

President Sebastian Pinera has announced a massive two-billion-dollar package aimed to assist those affected by the coronavirus crisis in Chile. In a bid to create new jobs and assist businesses, the government will aid private companies by paying salaries for new employees. Chile's unemployment rate has increased to its highest levels in decades, surpassing 13 percent. Meanwhile, the Chilean economy is expected to contract in up to 5.5 percent by the end of the year. Coronavirus cases in Chile are nearing 400,000, with some 12,000 deaths already reported.

Man shot dead by gang members in Concepcion

A 68-year-old man has been shot dead by suspected criminals in Concepcion. According to reports, Miguel Mora Cabezas was targeted by a gang who were looking for his grandson in Villa San Francisco. Police are investigating the attack.

Scores arrested as protesters mark coup anniversary

More than 100 people were arrested by police during protests to mark the 47th anniversary of the coup that overthrew the regime of Salvador Allende. Sixteen police officers and two civilians were wounded during the unrest, while a police barracks came under attack in Santiago. Interior Minister Victor Perez told a press conference that "it is clear that there are violent groups whose only capacity is to destroy." Allende took his own life when troops led by General Augusto Pinochet stormed the presidential palace.

Powerful 6.5-magnitude earthquake hits northern Chile

A strong 6.5-magnitude earthquake has hit northern Chile. Data from the German Research Center for Geosciences (GFZ) shows that the quake struck on Friday morning and had its epicentre near the city of Calama, Atacama. Local authorities are monitoring the situation but there are no reports of immediate damage nor casualties. Chile is highly vulnerable to earthquakes due to its location near the Pacific Ring of Fire. 

BancoEstado de Chile targeted in cyberattack

BancoEstado de Chile has been the target of a cyberattack. General Director Juan Cooper said that the virus is already under control and that all computers and systems are now being cleaned. Sources told La Tercera that the bank was the target of a ransomware attack and that all of its branches were forced to remain shut on Monday. BancoEstado's President Sebastian Sichel claimed that no ransom demands were made. Deputy Interior Secretary Juan Galli added that investigations have been launched alongside the special cybercrime unit of the police force. BancoEstado de Chile is a state-owned bank headquartered in Santiago.

Powerful 6.8-magnitude earthquake hits northern Chile

A powerful 6.8-magnitude earthquake has struck northern Chile. According to reports, the quake struck in the early hours of Tuesday morning off the coast of Atacama. Data from the US Geological Survey (USGS) shows that a number of aftershocks were also reported in the same area. No major damage was reported but a number of small-scale landslides affected some roads in the region. Chile is a nation prone to earthquakes due to its location in the Pacific Ring of Fire.

Hundreds of lorry drivers take part in roadblocks across Chile

Hundreds of lorry drivers have taken part in roadblocks across Chile to demand safety guarantees. A lorry drivers' union had already announced plans to hold a nationwide strike after the shooting a nine-year-old girl. The incident happened earlier this month in the region of La Araucania. Attacks targeting lorry drivers are recurrent in some parts of Chile - especially in southern Chile - as part of protests led by indigenous sympathisers. It is estimated that 85 incidents were reported so far this year. The strike comes to pressure the government of President Sebastian Pinera to pass a package of legislation that is dedicated to guaranteeing the safety of lorry drivers.

Influential lorry drivers' union threatens nationwide strike

An influential lorry drivers' union has threatened to launch a nationwide strike on Thursday after a nine-year-old girl was shot during an armed attack on a lorry in La Araucania, southern Chile. The National Confederation of Cargo Transport (CNTC) has accused lawmakers of failing to address legislation that deals with this kind of situation. It asked Congress to pass more than a dozen bills dedicated to incidents against transporters. Lorry drivers in the construction and forestry industries are often targeted by people claiming to be linked to the Mapuche indigenous cause.

Nine-year-old injured in highway shooting in La Araucania

A nine-year-old girl has been injured after a shooting on a highway in the southern region of La Araucania. Police said that the incident happened when a group of gunmen targeted a cement lorry which was being driven by the girl's father. Investigations are still underway. President Sebastian Pinera has called for a crackdown to avoid civil unrest in the region. Industrial machinery and companies engaged in the construction and forestry industries are often targeted by gunmen in La Araucania. Usually, those behind the attack claim to support the Mapuche indigenous cause.

Quarantine measures to be lifted in central Santiago

Quarantine measures in central Santiago are expected to be lifted on Monday as the government lays out plans to reopen the country's economy. Health Minister Enrique Paris confirmed the decision on a press conference in Santiago. Chile's capital has been under one of the longest and most stringent quarantines in the world. Santiago Mayor Felipe Alessandri said that the reopening of the central districts of the capital should be undertaken with extreme caution. Some areas in Santiago were already reopened in mid-July but lockdown measures remained in place in high-risk areas.

Three Mapuche arrested during police eviction in Tirua, Biobio

Three indigenous Mapuche men have been arrested after tensions escalated during a building eviction in the southern town of Tirua. EFE  reported that the police operation was launched to end the illegal occupation of a local building. Hundreds of people have taken over control of the building to protest against violence and to support dozens of Mapuche people engaged in a hunger strike. Tensions involving the government and the Mapuche people have been ongoing for years. On Thursday, 10 lorries were set on fire in Padre Las Casas, Araucania region. Companies engaged in the forestry and mining industry are often targeted amid territorial disputes with indigenous groups.

President Pinera orders cabinet reshuffle

President Sebastian Pinera has announced a cabinet reshuffle as a sign of political reconciliation within his ruling coalition. Political grievances in Chile emerged after members of the ruling Chile Vamos sided with the opposition in a vote to allow people to withdraw 10 percent of their pension funds. Among the changes include Interior Minister Gonzalo Blumel, who is being replaced by Senator Victor Perez of the far-right Independent Democratic Union (UDI). Other ministries to face changes are defence, communications, foreign affairs, social affairs and presidency. UDI is a key member of the Chile Vamos coalition, which is also comprised of the National Renovation (RN).

Coronavirus lockdown lifted in some areas of Santiago

Chile's strict coronavirus lockdown has been lifted in some areas as the government of President Sebastian Pinera attempts to restart economic activities. Protests erupted when the government imposed stringent lockdown measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Initially, seven neighbourhoods in Santiago will reopen. They include Colina, La Reina, Las Condes, Lo Barnachea, Nunoa, Til-Til and Vitacura. Santiago is the epicentre of the coronavirus in Chile. Other clusters of the disease have also been identified in Valparaiso and some areas in the south. While the lockdown is lifted in Santiago, four other areas in northern Chile have been placed on lockdown.

Miners killed after explosion in Punitaqui, Coquimbo

Two miners have died following an explosion at a mine in Coquimbo, central Chile. Local authorities confirmed that the blast occurred at La Poderosa mine, which is located in the town of Punitaqui. Reports indicate that a massive blast led the mine to partially collapse. Chile is one of the world's largest exporters of minerals, especially copper. Accidents in mines occur sporadically. Mining Minister Baldo Prokurika lamented the incident, which is being probed by a special commission.

Dozens detained as protests in Santiago continue

Dozens of people have been detained as protests continue to be reported across Santiago. Demonstrations started earlier this week ahead of a vote in Congress towards pension fund reforms. The vote passed in the lower house of Congress but still has to be approved in the Senate. Several areas were blocked and barricades set on fire when police officers clashed with protesters. Protests in Chile had significantly reduced due to stringent coronavirus restrictions being imposed during several states of emergency. President Sebastian Pinera has been facing increasing pressure to address unemployment, poverty and social inequality in Chile.

Lawmakers approve bill that allows partial withdrawal of pension fund

Lawmakers have approved a controversial project which will allow people to withdraw parts of their pension fund. Members of the Chamber of Deputies have approved the bill, which was proposed by the opposition. It allows people to withdraw ten percent from the savings of the Pensions Funds Administrators (AFP). The bill will now head to the Senate for another vote. President Sebastian Pinera was against the project and instead proposed a new agenda to curb the economic impact caused by the coronavirus. Despite having most seats in the lower house, some members of his party sided with the opposition. A number of protests to support the reforms took place in Santiago.

Civil unrest breaks out ahead of pension fund vote in Congress

Civil unrest has been reported across Santiago ahead of a controversial vote on the country's pension funds. The opposition has proposed legislation that would allow people to withdraw around 10 percent of their pension funds. Some of President Sebastian Pinera's allies in Congress have broken party lines to support the reforms. The plan generated tensions in Chile, leading to violent riots on Tuesday evening. Several police stations were targeted, while looting and violence were reported in some areas of Santiago and other cities.

Intense rainfall triggers flooding and landslides in central Chile

Intense rainfall has triggered widespread flooding and landslides across central Chile. Weather alerts were issued on Monday to most areas between the regions of Valparaiso and Biobio, where thunderstorms are forecast. Inclement weather may also bring hazardous driving conditions, while some secondary roads may be shut. For updates, people in the area are recommended to follow the National Emergency Office (Onemi) and Chile's Met Service (MeteoChile) on social media.

Mine worker for state-owned Codelco dies of coronavirus

A third worker at the state-owned mining giant Codelco has died after testing positive for coronavirus. Reuters reported that the worker's death was confirmed in a statement released to the Copper Workers Federation. According to the release, the worker was based in Chuqicamata. Copper production in Chile has continued despite coronavirus fears. Staff numbers have been significantly reduced while unions demanded the implementation of better safety conditions.

Coronavirus cases in Chile hit 250,000

Coronavirus cases in Chile have hit 250,000 after nearly 4,000 new cases were confirmed in the last 24 hours. According to the health ministry, Chile has also reported 4,500 deaths since the pandemic hit the country in early-March. Chile has reported a steady increase in coronavirus cases and is one of the epicentres of the virus in South America.

Accounting error leads to omission of 31,000 coronavirus cases

Health officials have confirmed that due to an accounting error more than 31,000 coronavirus cases were not recorded. Authorities said that the cases were discovered after a review to coronavirus data. Rafael Araos, a member of a government committee, said: “We have detected that there is a significant number of people who have not been notified or whose status has not been processed and continues to be ‘pending". Chile has one of the highest rates of coronavirus rates and deaths in South America. It has so far reported some 184,000 cases, including more than 3,000 deaths. Amid the coronavirus crisis, Health Minister Jaime Manalich resigned last week.

Health Minister Jaime Manalich resigns

Health Minister Jaime Manalich has announced his resignation as coronavirus cases in Chile continue to increase. Manalich has been one of the main supporters of coronavirus quarantine measures and is a long-standing ally of President Sebastian Pinera, also serving as health minister during Pinera's first administration. At the presidential palace, Manalich said that he is resigning as the health ministry needs new leadership to address the coronavirus threat. La Tercera reported that Manalich had already offered to resign on at least three occasions. Manalich's replacement is Enrique Paris, the former head of the Chilean Medical College. Chile has so far reported some 167,000 coronavirus cases, including more than 3,000 deaths.

President Pinera announces 90-day extension of state of emergency

President Sebastian Pinera has announced a 90-day extension to the state of emergency in Chile. Since mid-March Chile has used the 'estado de excepcion' to curb the spread of the coronavirus. As the country nears 180,000 coronavirus cases, some restrictions will still be enforced. Santiago and its metropolitan areas have reported a significant increase in the number of coronavirus cases. Under the state of emergency, protests are banned, curfews are enforced and limitations on movement are imposed. Critics have accused the government of using excessive measures.

Women's minister resigns a month after nomination

Women's Minister Maracarena Sentelices has announced her resignation just a month after taking office. Sentelices stepped down amid grievances between the ministry and women's rights groups. Among them included the removal of a domestic violence campaign and the controversial nomination of the new head of the ministry's research unit. Sentelices is a member of the right-wing Independent Democratic Union (UDI). She is a relative of late dictator Augusto Pinochet.

Government revises coronavirus death toll in Chile

Chile's government has revised the country's coronavirus death toll to include fatalities from other databases. Health Minister Jaime Manalich has said that an additional 653 coronavirus deaths have been confirmed in Chile, bringing the total number of fatalities to 2,290. Government data on coronavirus deaths have been previously criticised for excluding some data sets. Chile has one of the highest overall numbers of coronavirus deaths and cases in South America alongside Peru and Brazil. So far, the country has confirmed more than 130,000 cases, most of them in Santiago.

Powerful 6.8-magnitude quake hits Antofagasta

A powerful 6.8-magnitude earthquake hit Antofagasta, northern Chile. Reuters reported that the quake had its epicentre near the city of San Pedro de Atacama, close to a number of lithium and copper mines. Reports from the National Seismic Centre (CSN) show that the quake struck on Wednesday morning and was followed by several low-scale tremors. No casualties nor major damage were initially reported, while companies operating in the region said that they were not affected. Chile is an earthquake-prone nation due to its location on the Pacific Ring of Fire.

Coronavirus cases in Chile near 100,000

Coronavirus deaths in Chile have neared 5,000 after more than 1,000 deaths were confirmed in less than 24 hours. According to the health ministry, Chile has confirmed a record daily increase in coronavirus deaths with 1,054 new fatalities. In total, coronavirus cases in Chile have neared 100,000. Health facilities in Chile are under extreme pressure and at risk of collapsing. Santiago and its metropolitan area are considered the epicentre of the outbreak in Chile, with nearly 80 percent of all cases confirmed in the region. Stringent measures are being imposed in Santiago and other high-risk areas. In relative terms, Chile has one of the highest rates of coronavirus cases in the Americas.

Chile confirms 5,000 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours

Chile has recorded nearly 5,000 new coronavirus cases in less than 24 hours. According to the government, among the latest cases include two government ministers. Reports suggest that Public Works Minister Alfredo Moreno and Energy Minister Juan Carlos Jobet both tested positive. Chile has been reporting sporadic spikes of cases and deaths, forcing the government to implement stringent measures to curb the spread of the virus. So far, around 78,000 cases were confirmed in Chile, including more than 800 deaths. Nearly 90 percent of all cases in Chile are in Santiago.

LATAM files for bankruptcy protection in the US

LATAM Airlines Group has filed for bankruptcy protection in the US as the company faces significant losses amid the coronavirus pandemic. The airline, once the largest in South America, has already announced mass layoffs after it was forced to cut significant parts of its operations. Reuters reported that the company's subsidiaries in Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay will not be affected. LATAM becomes the latest company to file for bankruptcy protection after the Colombian-based Avianca. The airline said on Tuesday that it has amounted a massive debt of $7.6bn.

Violent clashes break out during protest in Santiago

Violent clashes have been reported in Santiago after the government announced a total quarantine in the capital and its metropolitan area. President Sebastian Pinera ordered a lockdown last week to be introduced in Santiago after a massive increase in coronavirus cases in the city. Major opposition comes from low-income families from neighbourhoods where the informal economy is predominant. Monday's protest happened in the southern El Bosque neighbourhood. Protests in Santiago have initially broken out in October, but they became significantly less frequent due to the coronavirus outbreak. Sporadic demonstrations are still reported in the capital and some other major cities. Chile has so far confirmed 40,000 coronavirus cases, including nearly 500 deaths.

Government imposes total mandatory quarantine in Santiago

A total mandatory quarantine has been imposed in Santiago and the Region Metropolitana (RM) after a significant increase in the number of coronavirus cases was identified in recent days. Health Minister Jaime Manalich said that the measures will start to be implemented from Friday at 22:00 local time. Santiago has reported 2,660 new cases in less than 24 hours, a massive daily increase of around 60 percent. Nearly half of the Chilean population live in the areas affected by the new measures. In addition, people older than 75 years of age are asked to stay indoors. Quarantine measures were also implemented in some communes in the RM. Local media has reported that after the announcement, people have rushed to supermarkets and petrol stations.

President Pinera says that Chile is approaching its coronavirus peak

President Sebastian Pinera has said that Chile could face its hardest phase of the coronavirus pandemic in the next few weeks. Official data shows that more than 31,000 coronavirus cases were confirmed in Chile, including 335 deaths. In May, cases more than doubled when compared with the previous months combined. Although some restrictions have been lifted, 30 towns across the country are currently under a total quarantine. One of the main issues in Chile is the demand for patients requiring critical care.

Coronavirus cases hit 30,000

Coronavirus cases in Chile have reached 30,000 after more than 1,200 new cases were confirmed in the last 24 hours. Deputy Health Secretary Paula Daza has said that the number of deaths in the country has already hit 300. After Brazil and Peru, Chile is one of the worst affected countries in South America. A large majority of cases in Chile are confirmed in the Region Metropolitana, while high number have also been reported in the southern region of Araucania. Last week, Health Minister Jaime Manalich announced that quarantine measures would be introduced in some towns and that health cordons would be implemented in the cities of Valparaiso and Vina del Mar.

Coronavirus cases in Chile reach 20,000

Coronavirus cases in Chile have topped 20,000 as nearly 1,000 new cases were confirmed on Monday. According to the latest reports from the health ministry, Chile has confirmed 20,643 coronavirus cases, including 270 deaths. The government is currently working on easing some restrictions in Santiago and other areas to reopen the country's economy. Among the possibilities is the issuance of a so-called 'immunity passport' for those that have already contracted the disease. Chile recorded a massive surge of 45 per cent in the number of cases over the weekend.

Government to impose sanitary cordon to curb coronavirus spread

Chilean health authorities have announced that a sanitary cordon will be imposed in Santiago and Concepcion. The government has said that between Friday evening and Sunday afternoon, a sanitary cordon will be in place in the cities' metropolitan areas. With the measures, people will be barred from entering and leaving those cities. The government also intends to discourage people from heading to secondary residences elsewhere in Chile. According to the health ministry, more than 14,000 coronavirus cases were confirmed in the country, including more than 200 deaths. Most cases and deaths have been confirmed in Metropolitana, where Santiago is located.

Dozens detained during protest in Santiago

Dozens of people have been detained and several others injured after violent protests broke out in Santiago. Despite the current coronavirus quarantine, demonstrators gathered at the city's Plaza Italia on Monday to protest against inequality. Several protests have been called in Santiago against some social policies of President Sebastian Pinera. Before the coronavirus pandemic hit Chile, political turmoil had engulfed the country, bringing Santiago and other cities to a standstill.

Chile considering 'coronavirus certificates' for recovered patients

Chile is considering whether to grant so-called 'coronavirus certificates' for those that have already recovered from the disease. Due to government claims that people that have already contracted the virus are less likely to contract it again, special cards will be issued to allow people to return to work. The World Health Organization (WHO) has already raised concerns of the so-called 'immunity passports' as they may lead to some misconceptions and could not be fully accurate. More than 13,000 coronavirus cases were confirmed in Chile, including nearly 200 deaths.

Several detained as anti-government protests reignite in Santiago

At least a dozen people have been detained as anti-government protests reignited in Santiago despite stringent coronavirus restrictions. Protesters took to the streets around Plaza de Italia on Monday, where the police was deployed to disperse the crowds. Protests in Chile kicked off in October, bringing the country to a standstill after the increase to fare prices. Large gatherings have been banned in Chile as part of coronavirus measures. President Sebastian Pinera has already announced a major economic package to support businesses and low-income families in distress.

Coronavirus cases surpass 10,000

Coronavirus cases in Chile have surpassed 10,000 as the country plans to ease some restrictions imposed as part of a state of emergency. According to the latest report from the health ministry, more than 10,500 cases were also confirmed in the country, including 139 deaths. According to official data, more than 4,600 people have already recovered. Several areas across Santiago are still under strict lockdown measures. Chile has the third-largest number of cases in Latin America.

Peruvian military accused of firing shots at Chilean police

Diplomatic tensions between Chile and Peru have emerged after a suspected incident reported in the northern areas of Pampa. According to Chile's Carabineros, soldiers of the Peruvian military opened fire at police officers over the weekend. Peru's Foreign Minister Gustavo Meza Cuadra has ordered the opening of an investigation, while the circumstances behind the incident are still unclear. Hundreds of migrants, most of them Bolivians, are currently stranded in the northern border of Chile, which remains shut due to the coronavirus outbreak. Clashes have been reported in the area after hundreds of people attempted to forcefully cross the border over the weekend.

Dictatorship-era protest leads to clashes in Santiago

Protests have broken out across Santiago ahead of the anniversary of the death of two brothers killed during the Pinochet dictatorship. Despite a nationwide curfew being enforced due to the coronavirus, dozens of people took to the streets of some neighbourhoods of the capital. Incidents happened on the Villa Francia, La Pincoya and Lo Hermida neighbourhoods. According to the police, dozens of people were arrested and seven police officers injured. In 1985, two brothers were killed by Pinochet agents in Villa Francia. This yearly celebration is part of the so-called 'Dia del Joven Combatiente', where clashes between the police and protesters are common.

Health authorities confirm significant hike in coronavirus cases

Chile's health authorities have confirmed a significant increase in the number of coronavirus cases. According to reports, 220 new coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the past 24 hours. This has been the largest increase reported in Chile since the coronavirus outbreak started in the country. In total, over 1,100 cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Chile, including three deaths. A nationwide curfew remains in place across the country between 22:00 to 05:00 local time. Enhanced measures are already been enforced in some towns in the far southern regions.

Sky Airline to suspend domestic flights until 30 April

Sky Airline has announced that all domestic flights in Chile will be suspended until 30 April. After the introduction of a state of emergency due to the coronavirus outbreak, domestic and international flights in Chile are very limited. Several other airlines, including JetSmart and LATAM have also announced a drastic reduction to their domestic schedule in the country. Due to a nationwide curfew already imposed daily between 22:00 and 05:00 local time, access to some airports may be restricted. Santiago's Nuevo Pudahuel Airport (SCL) has said that official ground transportation operators will still be allowed to offer travel to and from SCL during curfew hours.

Health minister imposes night-time curfew

Health Minister Jaime Manalich has announced the introduction of a night-time curfew in Chile. As new measures to address the spread of the coronavirus in the country are enforced, the new curfew comes just days after President Sebastian Pinera ordered a state of emergency. The curfew will be enforced daily between 22:00 and 05:00 local time. In addition, enhanced measures were also introduced on a local level on the island of Chiloe, while a quarantine has been announced in the town of Puerto Williams. So far, Chile has confirmed more than 600 cases of the coronavirus.

Some flights between Chile and Europe still operational

Some flights between Chile and Europe are still operational despite the introduction of a state of emergency. The UK Embassy in Santiago has announced that British Airways flights connecting in Madrid, Spain, are still operational as of Friday, 20 March. However, authorities may discontinue the flights without notice. Passengers have been advised to directly contact their respective airlines for further flights status updates. Chile has already banned all international commercial flights from landing in the country. According to the ministry of health, 434 coronavirus cases were confirmed nationwide.

President Pinera imposes state of emergency over coronavirus

President Sebastian Pinera has declared a state of emergency as Chile faces a surge in the number of coronavirus cases. The measure will be implemented for 90 days and will allow additional funds to be made available for health facilities in Chile and allows the military to patrol some critical venues. Chile has so far reported more than 230 cases of coronavirus. Chile is also expected to suspend a constitutional referendum scheduled to be held in late-April, although the move is still uncertain.

Student-led protest turns violent in Santiago

A student-led demonstration has turned violent as thousands took to the streets in a fresh anti-government protest in Santiago. Protesters took to the streets as the administration of President Sebastian Pinera completes two years. The protests on Wednesday also coincided with the anniversary of the 30 years since the end of the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. Sporadic demonstrations are taking place across Chile as the opposition demands the resignation of President Pinera. Protests reached their peak last October when the government introduced a hike on fare prices. Further protests are set to take place in major cities throughout the entire month.

Gunmen steal massive cash shipment from Santiago Airport

A large cash shipment has been stolen from the cargo terminal of Santiago's Arturo Merino International Airport (SCL). Local media reported that more than $12m in cash - both in euros and US dollars - were stolen just after being delivered at SCL. Reports indicate that a vehicle of the cash-in-transit company Brinks was targeted by seven armed men. No casualties were reported. Authorities believe that the incident could be related to an inside job. The shipment had just arrived from abroad to be distributed to Chilean banks. The robbery comes five years after the equivalent of $10m in cash was also stolen at SCL.

First coronavirus case confirmed in Chile

Chile confirmed its first case of coronavirus (Covid-19) on Wednesday. Health authorities said a 33-year-old man had tested positive for the disease in the central Maule region. He had travelled extensively throughout Asia before returning to the country via Europe. "He returned Feb 25 and on March 1 began to have respiratory symptoms," said Alfredo Donoso, head of the Talca Hospital.

Several vehicles set on fire amid protests in Vina del Mar

Several vehicles have been set on fire as part of violent demonstrations in the central coastal city of Vina del Mar. Protests broke out as thousands headed to the city to attend the 2020 Vina del Mar Festival. Dozens of police officers were injured when demonstrators clashed near the Hotel O'Higgins and the Quinta Vergara venue. Protesters fired objects and Molotov cocktails at the police. Civil unrest became frequent in Chile back in October when the government decided to increase public transportation fares. Vina del Mar is located near Valparaiso, both very popular destinations during the summer.

Alerts issued due to extreme risk of wildfires in La Araucania

Chile's National Emergency Office (Onemi) has issued red alerts due to wildfires in several areas across the southern region of La Araucania. Alerts were issued on Thursday and Friday to the towns of Los Sauces, Temuco and Lautaro. Lower alerts also remain in place in some towns in Arica and Parinacota, Tarapaca, Antofagasta, Los Rios, Maule and Biobio. Wildfires are common in Chile during the summer months. Earlier this week, parts of the Radal Siete Tazas National Park in Maule was preventively shut after wildfires consumed more than 5,600 hectares of land near the town of Molina.

Major fire breaks out near national park in Molina, Maule

A major fire has broken out near the Radal Siete Tazas National Park in Maule, southern Chile. According to the National Forest Corporation (Conaf), the fire has already consumed 5,600 hectares of land in the town of Molina. Agriculture Minister Antonio Walker claimed that the fire does not pose a risk to the Radal Siete Tazas despite the park being preventively shut on Monday. Firefighting efforts are being compromised due to thick smoke in the area. CONAF director Jose Rebolledo said that the decision comes due to the increasing number of visitors during the holiday season. Evacuation orders have already been issued to the local villages of El Toro and Radal. Wildfires are extremely common during the summer months in Chile. Recent reports from the National Emergency Office (Onemi) show that four fires are currently active nationwide, including one at the Parque Metropolitano in San Cristobal.

Freight train set on fire during suspected robbery in Antofagasta

A freight train has been set on fire during a suspected robbery attempt in the northern province of Antofagasta. La Tercera reported that a train operated by the transport company FCAB was attacked on Monday evening. According to reports, criminals robbed parts of a copper cargo before setting the locomotive on fire. The train continued to travel uncontrollably until it was stopped moments later. Authorities are still investigating the incident.

Buses set ablaze amid civil unrest in Santiago

At least three buses have been set on fire as a wave of civil unrest continues to be reported in Santiago. La Nacion reported that the vehicles, which are part of the RED network, were targeted in Recoleta in the early hours of Thursday morning. According to reports, hooded individuals approached the vehicles and ordered passengers to alight before setting the buses on fire. Recoleta Mayor Daniel Jadue condemned the incident. For several days, Santiago has been facing violent demonstrations. Tensions recently escalated after a football fan was killed after being run over by a police vehicle in the capital.

Football fans set stadium seats ablaze amid protests in Santiago

Several seats at a stadium were set ablaze after football fans clashed with police officers during an international match in Santiago. As part of a qualifying round of the Copa Libertadores - roughly the equivalent of the Champions League in Europe - at the Nacional Stadium, football fans fired objects at the police. The demonstration came as a wave of civil unrest continues to affect Chile. Frequent protests are still reported in Santiago and other major cities to pressure the administration of President Sebastian Pinera. Last week, protests intensified after a football fan was killed by a police vehicle in the capital.

Four killed in road accident in Calama, Antofagasta

Four people have been killed in a road accident in Calama, Antofagasta. La Tercera reported that the accident happened late on Sunday evening on the Ruta CH23, the main road between Calama and San Pedro de Atacama. Authorities confirmed that five other people were injured in the collision. Deadly road accidents in Chile are relatively rare and less frequent when compared with neighbouring countries. However, some accidents do occur due to reckless driving and adverse weather conditions.

One killed in violent wave of civil unrest in Santiago

At least one person has been killed and dozens detained in violent civil unrest thatt in Santiago. The victim died after protesters set a local supermarket in San Ramon on fire. Demonstrators took to the streets to protest against the death of a football supporter who was reportedly run over by a police vehicle. The incident happened earlier this week near the iconic Monumental Stadium in the capital. During Friday's demonstration, at least 45 police officers were injured when tensions escalated nationwide. Since October, multiple social groups have launched frequent demonstrations in Chile.

Weather alerts issued due to risks of thunderstorms in Cordillera

Weather alerts have been issued to the Cordillera province as thunderstorms are forecast to hit central Chile. According to the General Director for Civil Aviation (DGAC), adverse weather could hit the region on Thursday. Special attention should be paid on hiking trails and mountain excursions in the outskirts of Santiago.

Italian tourist detained for vandalism at Torres del Paine National Park

An Italian tourist has been detained for damaging a stone wall at the Torres del Paine National Park in southern Chile. EFE reported that the police detained the woman after she apologised on social media. Although no permanent damage was identified, the National Forest Corporation (CONAF) said that protected areas in Chile should be preserved and respected. Torres del Paine is one of the most important national parks in the country. Acts of vandalism against national heritage in Latin America are often heavily punished. Incidents could lead to deportation, steep fines or arrest depending on the country.

Strong earthquake hits northern Chile

A strong 5.0-magnitude earthquake has been recorded in northern Chile. According to the National Seismic Centre, the quake was felt in the northern regions of Antofagasta, Coquimbo and Atacama. No casualties nor damage were preliminarily reported. According to officials, the quake had its epicentre near the town of Chanaral at a depth of more than 56km. Chile is prone to seismic activity due to its located in the Pacific Ring of Fire.

Military base targeted amid wave of nationwide protests

A military base located in the central region of O'Higgins has been targeted as part of nationwide protests. Demonstrators have taken to the streets of major cities across Chile to demonstrate against the national exams of access to higher education. In an official statement, the Chilean Army claimed that a military base located in the town of San Fernando was attacked with stones and other objects, damaging parts of the building. Incidents were also reported in the town of Pudahuel in the Metropolitan region. Protests have taken place around schools and colleges across Chile to block the national exams from taking place. Incidents have been reported in Santiago, Valparaiso, Calama, Nunoa, Puente Alto and several other locations.

Protests reported in schools ahead of national higher education exams

Incidents have been reported at several schools and colleges across Chile ahead of the national exams to access higher education. As part of the yearly process to enrol in universities, most exams were suspended after demonstrators raided several education facilities across Chile. Incidents were reported in Santiago, Valparaiso, Calama, Nunoa, Puente Alto and several other locations. Reports indicate that this is the last year in which the current exam format will be taken. The current examination period was expected to be held back in October, but it was suspended due to nationwide protests.

State of emergency declared due to major wildfire in Valparaiso

A state of emergency has been declared after a major wildfire broke out in Valparaiso, a popular tourist destination located west of Santiago. More than 150 houses have been destroyed after a fast-moving blaze ravaged two low income neighbourhoods in the city. An investigation has been launched over the suspicion that the fire was deliberately set. No casualties have been so far reported. Wildfires in Valparaiso are common during the summer months.

Alerts issued due to extreme risk of wildfires across Chile

Chile's National Emergency Office (Onemi) has issued multiple alerts across the country due to risks associated with wildfires. Alerts were issued to several locations across O'Higgins, Valparaiso and Maule. In the Metropolitana region, dozens of people were evacuated from El Canelo Alto after a major wildfire broke out in San Jose de Maipo. Among areas on alert are the towns of Valparaiso, Vina del Mar, San Jose de Maipo, Paredones and Peralillo. Wildfires are extremely common ahead of the summer months in Chile. Some popular tourist areas, such as Valparaiso, are particularly vulnerable to them.

Lawmakers to discuss impeachment proceedings against President Pinera

Lawmakers in the Chilean lower-house of Congress are set to debate impeachment proceedings against President Sebastian Pinera. Members of the opposition accuse the president of failing to address the wave of civil unrest that led to the death of more than 20 people back in November. He is accused of mishandling allegations of human rights violations from the security forces to curb demonstrations. President Pinera is likely to remain in office as his ruling coalition currently controls the Senate. Although an initial vote in the Chamber of Deputies could pass, senators would likely block the subsequent vote. President Pinera has been under extreme pressure since protests broke out in Chile due to a hike on metro fares. Although he has already vowed to scrap the measures and to introduce reforms to the country's Pinochet-era constitution, some unions and associations are still sceptical over his intentions. 

Aircraft debris found in search for crashed plane en route to Antarctica

The governor of the southern province of Magallanes has confirmed that aircraft debris of the military plane that crashed earlier this week has been found. Jose Fernandez has said that rescue teams have also recovered human remains. Air Force Commander Eduardo Mosqueira said that investigations are still ongoing. Preliminary reports show that the wreckage was found nearly 30km away from the location where the place was last seen. The C-130 aircraft was transporting 38 people from the city of Punta Arenas to a military base in Antarctica. Most of those on board were military personnel and crew members.

Air Force confirms that missing aircraft crashed on its way to Antarctica

Chile's Air Force has officially confirmed that the C-130 Hercules aircraft that had gone missing earlier on Tuesday has crashed. According to the military, the aircraft took off from the southern city of Punta Arenas towards a military Chilean base in Antarctica with 38 people on board. President Sebastian Pinera has said that search efforts have been launched to locate the aircraft but acknowledged that the "conditions are extremely difficult". Most onboard the aircraft were members of the Air Force. The military also confirmed that other passengers included workers from a private company and a researcher.

Military aircraft heading to Antarctica goes missing hours after taking off

A Chilean Air Force aircraft has gone missing, hours after taking off from Punta Arenas, located in the deep southern region of Patagonia. Chile's military has launched a search and rescue mission after the C-130 Hercules aircraft heading to a Chilean military base in Antarctica lost communication. According to reports, 38 people were on board, including three civilians. President Sebastian Pinera has said that he is joining Interior Minister Gonzalo Blumel to monitor the situation. In a statement, authorities have confirmed that the plane took off at 16:55 local time and lost contact nearly two hours later.

Roadblocks reported due to nationwide strike in Chile

Roadblocks are currently being reported across Chile as protests persist across the country. Reports have indicated that several roads have been blocked on Thursday as part of the second day of a 48-hour strike. Demonstrations are mainly being reported in Santiago, where tensions have escalated after clashes between protesters and police officers. Amid the ongoing wave of civil unrest in the country, the new strike has been called to reject the controversial Administration of Pension Funds (AFP). Dozens of people have already been killed since a wave of violent civil unrest started last month.

Chief of police suspends use of rubber bullets to curb protests

Chile's chief of police has ordered the suspension of the use of rubber bullets after hundreds of protesters suffered severe eye trauma. Police Director-General Mario Rozas has said that the police is currently commissioning an independent study to assess which material rubber bullets are made of. The move came after the publishing of a study from the University of Santiago that concluded that rubber bullets are mostly made of silica, barium, sulphate and lead. It added that they are only 20 percent rubber. At least 23 people have been killed and over 2,000 protesters injured since civil unrest started last month.

Hundreds evacuated due to fast-moving wildfires in Valparaiso

At least eight homes have been destroyed as fast-spreading wildfires spread across Valparaiso, central Mexico. According to the National Emergency Office (Onemi) the largest wildfire named 'Cuesta Llampaiquillo' already consumed more than 2,000 hectares of land. Reports show that in total, wildfires in Valparaiso have already spread through 3,500 hectares. Authorities believe that the wildfires are intentional. Hundreds of people in the region have already been evacuated. The region of Valparaiso and central Chile are extremely prone to wildfires due to intense drought during the summer months.

Lawmakers agree to hold constitutional referendum in April 2020

Lawmakers have agreed to set a date for a referendum on future constitutional reforms proposed by President Sebastian Pinera. As Chile continues to face a wave of civil unrest, President Pinera has been forced to push for the re-writing of the country's Pinochet-era magna carta. Both the government and the opposition have agreed to hold a referendum in April 2020, while all articles in the new constitution will require the approval of at least two-thirds of votes in the parliament. The deal has been named as the "Agreement for Social Peace and the New Constitution". Before the referendum takes place, lawmakers are expected to pass another constitutional amendment to allow it to be legal. At least 20 people have been killed and hundreds injured since protests started last month in Chile. Despite some significant changes to the government and pledges of social change, President Pinera has failed to curb unrest.

Protests persist amid government plans to re-write constitution

Protests continue to be reported in Santiago and other major cities across Chile to demand the resignation of President Sebastian Pinera. Although the government has already announced a number of measures to curb civil unrest in the country, demonstrations are still ongoing. One of the latest measures to be launched is plans to establish a constituent congress to re-write the Chilean constitution, which dates back to the ruling of late-dictator Augusto Pinochet. Public transport in Chile is still being affected, while roadblocks are also causing disruption in some central neighbourhoods. Reuters reported that access to Santiago's Comodoro Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport (SCL) remains unaffected. However, caution is highly advised when approaching large gatherings and roadblocks. Train services between the coastal cities of Valparaiso and Vina del Mar are currently suspended.

Government announces plans to re-write Chile's constitution

Interior Minister Gonzalo Blumel has announced that the government is planning to re-write the Chilean constitution. After meeting with President Sebastian Pinera, Blumel has said that the government will call on a Constituent Congress in order to reform the current Chilean constitution, which dates back to the government of late-dictator Augusto Pinochet. President Pinera is set to push for congressional reforms to allow the Constituent Congress to be formed. President Pinera has already reshuffled his cabinet and promoted social and economic reforms, but those measures were not enough to halt protests. Since late-October, at least 20 people have been killed after widespread demonstrations engulfed Chile following changes to metro fares in Santiago.

President Pinera accused of crimes against humanity

A judge in Santiago has accepted a legal complaint against President Sebastian Pinera over alleged crimes against humanity. Several lawyers have filed the case accusing the security services of committing such crimes during the state of emergency declared in Chile in late-October. Judge Patricio Alvarez accepted the complaints and requested the public ministry to investigate them. Since protests started nearly three weeks ago, at least 18 people have been killed and hundreds injured across Chile. A mission of the UN Rights commission has been sent to the country to investigate any rights violations.

Molotov cocktails leave two officers severely injured in Santiago

Two police officers have been severely injured after protesters threw Molotov cocktails at them. Police officers were deployed to Santiago's Baquedano area to clear out a demonstration from a nearby square. Two female officers in their twenties were taken to the hospital in serious condition. More than 800 police officers have been injured since protests started nearly two weeks ago. Although protests have significantly reduced, they are still being reported in Santiago and other major cities across Chile. Protests could intensify as President Sebastian Pinera refuses to step down from office.

President Pinera says that he will not resign despite mass protests

President Sebastian Pinera has said that he will not resign and that he is willing to consider launching constitutional reforms. In an interview to the BBC, Presiden Pinera has said that he intends to stay in office until the end of his mandate. He added that he is willing to hold negotiations to introduce constitutional reforms, which are one of the main demands of protesters that have taken to the streets for nearly three weeks. After relative calm, protesters resumed on Monday. His statement came after he failed to contain the protests by reshuffling his cabinet and announcing a new economic package.

Protests turn violent as thousands march across Santiago

Protests have turned violent after thousands took to the streets of Santiago as anti-government protests across Chile persist. Demonstrators clashed with the police in the capital and several other cities as protesters demand the immediate resignation of President Sebastian Pinera. Police officers fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters after tensions escalated. Looting and several episodes of violence were reported in Vina del Mar, Concepcion and Valparaiso. The marches were endorsed by dozens of social and workers' associations in the so-called 'Superlunes' or Super Monday'. Although President Pinera reshuffled his cabinet and announced revamped fiscal measures, protests are expected to continue.

Strong earthquake hits central Coquimbo

A powerful 6.0-magnitude earthquake has struck in the central Coquimbo region. The US Geological Survey said the quake struck 28km south-west of Illapel at 21:53 local time on Monday. Tremors were felt in the capital, Santiago, although no damage has been reported and there are no tsunami warnings in place.

President Pinera cancels APEC and UN climate summit due to civil unrest

President Sebastian Pinera has cancelled the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum and the UN Climate Change Conference (COP25) amid the current wave of civil unrest in Chile. The COP25 was scheduled to take place in Santiago in early-December, while the APEC was set to take place in mid-November. President Pinera said in a televised speech that "this has been a very difficult decision, a decision that causes us a lot of pain". Chile is still facing violent protests caused after the government announced metro fare hikes. At least 18 people have been killed since protests broke out two weeks ago.

Several killed in fire at retirement home in Rancagua, O'Higgins

At least five people have been killed when a fire broke out at a retirement home in Rancagua, O'Higgins. La Tercera reported that the incident happened in the early hours of Monday morning in the Santa Cecilia shelter. Authorities are still investigating the incident and the identity of the victims. Police have confirmed that the incident is not believed to be intentional and not linked to a wave of civil unrest that is currently taking place across Chile.

President Pinera prepares cabinet reshuffled amid nationwide protests

President Sebastian Pinera is currently preparing a cabinet reshuffle as nationwide protests persist. Demonstrations are still being reported in Santiago and other major cities after the government announced an increase to metro fares. At least 18 people have been killed and thousands detained as protests enter their third consecutive week. Despite President Pinera announcing the launching of a new welfare package, demonstrators demand his immediate resignation. A number of demonstrations have already been called throughout the week. Reuters reported that among the ministerial changes may include Interior Minister Andres Chadwick and the Finance Minister Felipe Larrain. Public transport continues to face disruption, while access to Santiago's Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport (SCL) could be conditioned. Night curfews could also be implemented in some areas across Santiago and other cities.

Protests possible over the weekend due to nationwide strikes

Large-scale protests are expected to continue across Santiago after a number of workers' unions calling for nationwide strikes. Major roads could be blocked across the country after the Confederation of National Truck Owners (CNDC) called for a strike. Operations at Santiago Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport (SCL) are running normally, but passengers should still check flight schedules before heading to the airport. Public services in Santiago could also be affected as some protests are expected across the capital over the weekend. Night curfews may still be imposed in Santiago, Valparaiso and other cities. Extreme caution has been advised when approaching large gatherings as most protests have turned violent.

UN rights chief sends verification mission to Chile

UN Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet - President Sebastian Pinera's predecessor - has ordered the deployment of a UN verification mission to investigate allegations of rights violations. Reports indicate that at least 18 people have been killed in Chile since protests started last week. Hundreds of people have also been arrested. Bachelet said on social media that: "Having monitored the crisis in Chile since it began, I have decided to send a verification mission to examine the allegations of human rights violations. Parliamentarians and the Government have both expressed a desire for a UN Human Rights mission". In response to the protests, President Pinera has imposed night curfews and introduced a 15-day state of emergency. 

Several border crossings closed overnight as protests continue

Several border crossings across Chile have been closed overnight as nationwide protests continue to affect the region. According to reports, the border crossings include those heading to Argentina, Bolivia and Peru. The measure comes amid a state of emergency declared in several cities across Chile. Violent protests are still being reported in Santiago, while night curfews could still be imposed in some areas. Roadblocks are also affecting some national roads. Despite President Sebastian Pinera announcing a welfare package to ease demonstrations, influential social and workers' unions are calling for nationwide strikes to pressure the government. Updates on the status of border crossings in Chile are provided on the government's official website.

Social and workers' associations launch 48-hour general strike

Thousands are expected to take to the streets after a 48-hour general strike kicked off on Wednesday. Influential workers' associations have called for nationwide strikes on Wednesday and Thursday amid a current wave of civil unrest. Protesters will gather on Wednesday afternoon at Santiago's Plaza Italia and march towards the Plaza Los Heroes. Protesters are marching to demand the immediate withdrawal of the military from the streets and the end of the state of emergency. Flight delays, cancellations and rescheduling are also being reported at Santiago's Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport (SCL). In order to lower tensions, President Sebastian Pinero has publicly apologised to the Chilean people and announced a series of economic reforms.

Chile's risk rating temporarily increased due to wave of civil unrest

Due to a current wave of civil unrest in Chile, Security Exchange has decided to temporarily increase Chile's risk rating from Green (Low Risk) to Amber (Moderate Risk). Chile is currently facing violent protests, which forced the government to declare a state of emergency. The military is currently imposing night curfews across Santiago, Valparaiso, Concepcion and several other areas around the Metropolitana region. Access to Santiago's airport has been extremely conditioned, especially in the hours when the curfew is being enforced. It is estimated that more than a dozen people have already been killed nationwide. Public transports and road travel have also been affected, with numerous roadblocks erected on major roads. Travellers in Chile are advised extreme caution and to avoid large gatherings. Protests have turned violent on multiple occasions, forcing the police to fire tear gas and rubber bullets.

Access to Santiago's airport restricted during night curfews

Access restriction to Santiago's Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport (SCL) have been imposed amid a current state of emergency. As protests continue in the capital, the military is still imposing night curfews in some areas. Passengers with flights scheduled for times during the curfew is in place should take the necessary precautions to be granted access to SCL. According to the UK FCO, passengers should show the police their boarding pass or proof of travel to be allowed to proceed with their journey. For passengers arriving at SCL, airport officials are expected to provide a 'salvoconducto' document to allow them to leave the airport. Some airlines have changed their schedule, while cancellations and delays may still affect several flights throughout the week. Passengers have been advised to directly contact their respective airlines for further flight status updates.

Major border crossing to Argentina closed due to state of emergency

Argentinian authorities have temporarily closed the Los Libertadores International Border after a state of emergency was declared in Chile. The border crossing, also referred to as Cristo Redentor, mainly connects the Chilean town of Los Andes to Argentina's Villa Las Cuevas. The route is the main road crossing used by those heading from the Chilean capital, Santiago, to the Argentinian western province of Mendoza. The border closure was announced on Monday and will remain in place until further notice. Updates on the status of border crossings in Chile are provided on the government's official website.

Nationwide protests could impact flight to and from Santiago

Several airlines have announced that some flights may be subject to changes due to the ongoing protests across Santiago. In a statement, Airport operator Nuevo Pudahuel has confirmed that several flights to and from Santiago's Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport (SCL) could be modified, cancelled for face significant delays. Passengers have been advised to contact their respective airlines for further flight status updates. LATAM has said that flights could be affected until at least Tuesday. Most flights affected are flights to neighbouring countries and domestic flights within Chile. SkyAirline flights are also being severely affected. The company has said on Monday that several domestic and regional flights are facing delays of up to two hours.

Death toll increases amid violent protests across Chile

The death toll from the recent wave of civil unrest in Chile has reached 11. Further protests are still being reported across the capital and other major cities. A state of emergency remains in place, while the military could implement a night curfew at short notice. Local media are reporting that large crowds have rushed to supermarkets to resupply their shelves over fears of further unrest. Walmart has said that dozens of their stores have been closed after more than 100 shops were looted over the weekend. Arson attacks have been reported in the capital, while severe disruption to public transports is expected to continue until the end of the week.

Mining giant BHP signs renewable energy deals to back copper mining in Chile

Mining-giant BHP has signed several renewable energy contracts to support the company's copper mining operations in Chile. In a bid to lower running costs, BHP has vowed to turn towards a greener approach in response to a drop in the price of wind and solar power. Among the mines to be supported is the Escondida - which is the world's largest copper mine - and the Spence The deals will come into effect from 2021. Reuters reported that no details over the deals were made public but it confirmed that a 780-million-dollar cancellation fee on existing coal contracts will be applied. Reports indicate that the company aims at cutting energy costs up to 20 percent. BHP's deals come after its competitor Anglo American signed similar agreements earlier this year. 

Metro services severely disrupted amid violent protests in Santiago

Metro de Santiago services are still severely limited as most metro stations across the capital remain shut. The company has said that with the exception of the route between Pajaritos and Los Dominicos on the L1, the remaining lines on its network are suspended until further notice. Metro de Santiago has said that some stations and other lines will be reopened gradually. Public transport in the capital was halted after violent protests broke out in Santiago. A state of emergency remains in place across the Metropolitana region, while the military may still enforce night curfews in some areas. Protests escalated over the weekend after President Sebastian Pinera announced an increase to metro fares. The measure has been since suspended but a state of emergency is expected to remain in place until the end of the month. Extreme caution is advised when approaching large crowds as protests may quickly escalate.

State of emergency declared amid wave of civil unrest in Santiago

A 15-day state of emergency has been declared in Santiago amid a wave of civil unrest. For several days, demonstrations have been reported across the capital after the government announced metro fare hikes in Santiago. As protests escalated on Saturday, the military issued a night curfew to most areas across the Metropolitan Region. At least three people have been killed when a fire broke out at a supermarket in Santiago, while looting and arson-related incidents have also been reported in some central areas. According to reports, more than 300 people were detained and dozens injured since the protests escalated on Friday. Besides Santiago, protests have also broken out in Valparaiso, Iquique, Concepcion and Antofagasta. Although President Sebastian Pinera has suspended his metro fare hikes plans, protests may still continue across the country.

Sporadic protests being reported across metro stations in Santiago

Student-led protests are being reported at metro stations across Santiago after the announcement of fare price increases. Secondary school students and commuters are taking part in sporadic protests in the capital, leading to some stations to be temporarily closed. Police reinforcements have been deployed to some stations to curb the demonstrations. Although most protests have been peaceful, some of them have led to clashes with the police.

Several attacks reported against the police in Ercilla, La Araucania

At least four attacks have been reported against a police station and patrolling vehicles in Ercilla, La Araucania. Local media reported that the attacks happened in a period of just over a week. Authorities are currently investigating the involvement of radical factions of the Mapuche indigenous people. No victims were reported on any of the incidents. Arson attacks in La Araucania are relatively common amid a long-standing land dispute between the government and the Mapuche community. Besides law enforcement, companies engaged in mining and forestry activities are often targeted.

Powerful 6.1-magnitude earthquake recorded in Los Lagos

A powerful 6.1-magnitude earthquake has been recorded in the southern region of Los Lagos. According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the quake's epicentre was near the Argentinian border. Preliminary readings show that it struck on Thursday at 16:36 local time at a depth of more than 128km. Chile's National Emergency Office (Onemi) has confirmed that this medium-intensity tremor near Entre Lagos was also felt in Biobio, La Araucania and Los Rios. Onemi has said that there are no initial reports of casualties nor damage. Chile is vulnerable to earthquakes due to the country's location in the Pacific Ring of Fire.

Former President Bachelet rejects links to Brazilian-based OAS

Former President Michelle Bachelet has rejected links to the Brazilian-based company OAS, which claimed to have donated funds to her electoral campaign in 2013. In an interview, Bachelet told 24 Horas that she had never had links to OAS or any other company. The allegations emerged after a plea bargain of OAS's former CEO Leo Pinheiro, who claimed that former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva requested a contribution to Bachelet's presidential campaign. He said that more than 100m pesos (nearly $143k) were deposited in the accounts of a political operator linked to her. Bachelet is the current UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. OAS has been previously investigated in Chile for chartering a plane for another candidate in 2013.

Major highways to experience intense traffic ahead of independence celebrations

Major highways across Chile may experience intense traffic due to the independence celebrations (Fiestas Patrias) between Wednesday and Saturday. During those days, traffic restriction may be imposed in some areas, especially in Santiago, ahead of preparations of military parades and other events. Public transportation services will be reinforced as thousands are expected to head from and to Santiago to celebrate the event. Caution is advised when walking in crowded areas due to the presence of petty criminals. Travellers should also anticipate some disruption in major airports and bus stations. 

Large gatherings expected ahead of 1973 coup celebration

Large gatherings are expected in Santiago ahead of the commemoration of the 1973 coup. A number of demonstrations are scheduled to take place on Wednesday afternoon across several neighbourhoods of the capital. Events have been scheduled for the areas of Villa Francia, El Salto and El Castillo. Although in previous years the event has been peaceful, violence may break out without warning. Caution is advised when heading to downtown Santiago.

Orange alert issued due to potential activity on Villarrica Volcano, La Araucania

Chile's National Geology and Mining Service (Sernageomin) has issued an orange alert due to potential activity on the Villarrica Volcano in La Araucania, southern Chile. According to the latest reports, the alert was issued due to the risk of small-scale explosions that may affect areas near the crater. The situation has been mainly triggered by an increase in seismic activity. A two-kilometre exclusion zone has been established around the Villarrica's crater as the volcano may expel debris. Meanwhile, Argentinian authorities have issued no alerts over the Villarrica's activity. The Villarrica is one of the most actives volcanoes in South America. It last erupted in 2015. The volcano is located several kilometres from Temuco and sits south of the tourist town of Pucon.

President Pinera launches working group to tackle intense drought

President Sebastian Pinera has announced the creation of a working group to address the intense drought in Chile. Academics, government agencies and business people are expected to take part in the group as Chile faces one of its worse droughts in decades. Dozens of towns across three regions in Chile have reported water shortages. Government agencies are already attempting to address the issue in the worst-hit areas. President Pinera said that water supply is guaranteed for the summer and spring months, but serious actions would be needed to support it during the winter. Drought in Chile has intensified as the country has experienced low levels of precipitation - such is widely blamed on climate change. An agricultural state of emergency has already been declared in O'Higgins, Valparaiso and Coquimbo. Authorities are monitoring the situation in the Region Metropolitana, which includes Santiago.

Buses set ablaze after Mapuche vigil in Santiago

At least a dozen people have been arrested after three buses were set on fire in Santiago. Dozens of people were gathered outside the Museo de la Memoria on Yungay neighbourhood to attend a vigil for the three-year anniversary of the death of a Mapuche indigenous person. Tensions escalated when masked people unleashed panic across the neighbourhood, forcing the deployment of a special anti-riot police detachment. Similar incidents have been previously reported in Santiago after police operations in southern Chile led to the death of members of the Mapuche indigenous community.

Deadly building collapse reported in Valparaiso

At least four people have been killed after a house collapsed in the coastal city of Valparaiso. Local media reported that emergency services rushed to the scene on Tuesday evening after a three-story building collapsed in the famous Bellavista neighbourhood. It is believed that most victims were related. Family members told Chilean media that structural damage has been previously identified on the residence. Dozens of firefighters and paramedics rushed to the scene to rescue two minors that were trapped under the rubble. Local authorities are currently investigating the accident.

Five shot dead as gunman target local shop in Puente Alto, Santiago

Five people have been gunned down after a shooter opened fire on a shop in Puente Alto, near Santiago. Local media reported that an unnamed suspected entered a local business on Thursday evening and indiscriminately opened fire. Police are investigating the motives behind the incident and potential links to retaliation or armed robbery. Puente Alto is located in the metropolitan area of Santiago. The area has been previously known for disputes between rival groups. According to official data, the commune reports one of the highest levels of crimes involving firearms in the Metropolitana region.

Customs workers to launch strike action

Customs workers are set to launch a strike over recent government legislation aimed at hiring additional officers. Members of Chile's National Customs Workers Association (Anfach) said that a 24-hour strike will be launched on Wednesday as plans for fresh negotiations will be discussed. Anfach claims that workers were not warned over the new law. Travellers should expect lengthier delays at border crossings, airports and ports across Chile.

Several killed as double-decker bus overturns near Santiago

At least six people have been killed and 45 others have been injured after a bus overturned just after leaving Santiago. Reports revealed that the double-decker crashed in the early hours of Monday morning along the Ruta 5 Sur near the town of San Francisco de Mostazal. The bus was operating a service between Santiago, Temuco and Los Angeles. Deadly road accidents in Chile are relatively rare and less frequent compared with neighbouring countries. However, some accidents do occur due to reckless driving. Accidents are common during the peak winter season, when adverse weather may affect southern roads.

Major operation launched over massive oil spill in Magallanes

A major cleaning operation has been launched after a massive oil spill occurred in Magallanes, southern Chile. Chile's Navy and the environment ministry are currently working alongside mining giant CAP SA to mitigate damage to the local fauna and flora across Isla Guarello. It is estimated that more than 40,000 litres of diesel oil could spread across the Chilean sector of Patagonia. CAP SA said in a statement that the spillage is already contained.

Police officers injured as package bomb goes off in northern Santiago

At least eight police officers have been injured when a package bomb went off at a police station in northern Santiago. Local media reported that a package was delivered on Thursday through the post to a police station in Huechuraba. Most injuries are non-life-threatening. A second identical package was later recovered at the headquarters of Chile's Quinenco SA in Los Condes. The package was addressed to former interior minister Rodrigo Hinzpeter, who currently works as an executive at the multi-billion-dollar investment conglomerate. President Sebastian Pinera condemned the attack and labelled it as a terrorist act. No claims of responsibility have been issued. Similar incidents have been previously reported in Chile. In January 2017, the eco-terrorist group Individualists Tending towards the Wild (ITS-Chile) claimed responsibility for targeting the Santiago residence of the chairman of the mining giant Codelco.

Death of Mapuche man triggers protests in Santiago

Protesters clashed with the police in Santiago after an indigenous man was killed in southern Chile. Protesters demanded investigations on the death of Lemuel Fernandez, who was shot dead during a presumed arson attempt in Tirua, Biobio region. Fernandez was reportedly part of a group that attempted to set a private residence ablaze. He was shot dead when the house owner opened fire. Arson attacks frequently occur in some areas in southern Chile where indigenous Mapuche sympathisers are trying to pressurise the government into vacating indigenous lands. Most incidents affect large landowners and companies linked to the forest and mineral exploration industries. The deaths of Mapuche members often lead to protests and retaliatory attacks.

Health alert issued over RSV outbreak in Region Metropolitana

Chile's health ministry has issued an alert over a surge in cases of a respiratory condition known as the Human Orthopenumovirus, also known as Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), which mostly affect young children. Health Minister Jaime Monalich has said that additional measures have been introduced to address a significant increase in RSV cases in the Region Metropolitana, which includes Santiago. Monalich said that this is potentially one of the worst RSV outbreaks to be reported in recent years. Health officials advised parents of young children - especially those younger than two - to remain vigilant of respiratory complications and their symptoms. Scientific research indicates that RSV may lead to acute bronchitis and can be deadly if not treated.

Brief alert issued over hike in sulfur dioxide levels in Quintero, Valparaiso

A brief two-hour environmental alert was issued in Valparaiso after monitoring stations identified a hike in sulfur dioxide (SO2) levels in the town of Quintero. According to Valparaiso authorities, a monitoring station reported that between 07:00 and 08:00 local time on Sunday a hike in sulphur dioxide reached hazardous levels. Authorities advised the vulnerable population, including the elderly, pregnant woman and children, to avoid outdoor activities. In the previous two months, SO2 levels reached peak levels at least 14 times. Accumulation of SO2 is mostly attributed to industrial pollution and poor ventilation.

Several killed in bus crash near Santiago

At least four people have been killed and 18 others injured after a bus overturned near Santiago. Local media reported that the bus was transporting workers to the Los Bronces mine near Colonia, central Chile. Several passengers were taken to the hospital in critical conditions. The accident came weeks after another bus transporting mining workers crashed in the northern region of Tarapaca. Deadly road accidents in Chile are relatively rare and less frequent compared with neighbouring countries. However, some accidents do occur due to reckless driving and adverse weather conditions.

Labour unions reach agreement to end Chiquicamata mine strike

Major labour unions and the state-owned mining giant Codelco have reached an agreement to end a two-week-long strike action in northern Chile. The decision came after a new vote on Codelco proposals was approved. For weeks, operations at the Chuquicamata mine significantly affected operations in one of the world's largest copper mines. Unions claimed that reforms to prepare for a multi-billion dollar deal have threatened jobs and working conditions.

Weather alerts issued as weather system approaches southern Chile

Weather alerts have been issued to several regions as a weather system approaches southern Chile. Heavy rainfall may cause flooding across several communities in Biobio, Nuble, La Araucania, Los Rios, Los Lagos and Aysen. Risks are increased in areas near rivers and close to mountains, where melting snow may cause flash floods. Some roads may also be blocked due to the overflowing of local rivers and lakes. For further updates, travellers are advised to follow alerts from the National Emergency Office (Onemi).

Canadian national stabbed to death during robbery in Valparaiso

A Canadian national has been stabbed to death during a robbery in Valparaiso, central Chile. Peter Winterburn was walking alongside his wife and daughter when two assailants targeted him in the Cerro Alegre area. CNN Chile reported that Winterburn was in the country since February with a temporary work visa. He was part of an organising committee of a scientific congress scheduled for 2020. Several days after the incident, police announced that two suspects were detained. Valparaiso is a popular tourist destination in Chile. Petty crime, especially bag-snatching, may occur across tourist sites in major cities. Criminals have been previously known for working in groups and using distraction techniques to target their victims.

Several workers killed in bus crash near Iquique, Tarapaca

At least five people have been killed and more than 40 injured when a bus overturned in Tarapaca, northern Chile. Local media reported that the accident happened overnight on Monday along the Ruta A-65, which links the coastal town of Iquique to the Collahuasi copper mine. Police said that the death toll may increase as more than a dozen passengers are in critical conditions. Iquique is one of the most important mining centres in Chile.

Workers at Chuquicamata mine continue strike action

Negotiations involving major workers' unions and the state-owned mining company Codelco have collapsed amid ongoing strike action. Since last week, workers of the Chuquicamata mine in Antofagasta have launched strike action over the attribution of bonuses to workers and demands over health and pensions. Syndicate leaders told Reuters that after a vote held on Saturday, unions decided to continue to strike after no agreement was reached. Since mid-June, thousands of staff stopped working, leading to a significant downfall in production, which may impact copper's international prices.

Large influx of vehicles to head to Elqui Valley to watch solar eclipse

A large influx of vehicles is expected to take the Ruta 41 towards Elqui Valley, where thousands are expected to watch the solar eclipse. Local authorities have advised travellers to avoid the road on the 02 July, while major stretches between La Serena and Vicuna are expected to be closed during the morning. In the event of visiting the Elqui Valley and Coquimbo region to watch the eclipse, Chile's health ministry has issued a number of safety recommendations, including wearing a pair of ISO certified glasses. According to the government, 350,000 people are expected to head to the region.

Protests escalate as striking workers block access to copper mine in Antofagasta

A protest led by workers' union at the Chuquicamata mine in Antofagasta, northern Chile, has escalated after protesters blocked the mine's access. Major workers' unions called for strike action after talks with the state-owned copper miner Codelco collapsed. Reuters reported that police officers clashed with demonstrations that attempted to block access to the mine. Earlier this week, protests spread to the towns of Calama, Antofagasta and Mejillones.

Mining workers call strike at Chuquicamata mine in Antofagasta

Strike action has been called in the notorious Chuquicamata mine in the northern region of Antofagasta. Major workers' unions supported the move on Friday as talks with the state-owned Codelco have collapsed. Protests took place in the town of Calama, where security measures were reinforced. Demonstrations also happened in the industrial area of the port towns of Mejillones and Antofagasta. Major concerns include the attribution of bonuses to workers and demands on health and pensions. The strike comes just weeks before Codelco is launching a massive multi-billion-dollar project in the Chuquicamata.

President Pinera reshuffles cabinet amid economic slowdown

President Sebastian Pinera has shuffled his cabinet amid an economic slowdown and low approval rates. Six ministries faced leadership changes, including the ministries of foreign affairs, public works and economy. President Pinera acknowledged that Chile currently faces increasing economic challenges due to a deficient commercial balance, as exports are overshadowed by more expensive imports. President Pinera is currently pushing for a number of reforms to the country's pensions system, education and the public and private health sectors. This is his second cabinet reshuffle. Since replacing Michelle Bachelet in 2018, he has faced several street protests against his reforms.

Workers trapped in mine collapse in Tocopilla, Antofagasta

Three workers have been trapped in a mine collapse in the northern region of Antofagasta. Chile's National Geology and Mining Service (Sernageomin) confirmed that the incident happened on the Tocopilla mine, located along the Ruta B-24 between Calama and San Jose de Tocopilla. A rescue operation has been launched to rescue the workers who are believed to be trapped at a depth of up to 70 meters. Reports suggest that they were maintenance workers who were fixing the mine's air duct.

Three killed in bus crash near San Clemente, Maule

Three people have been killed after a bus overturned in Maule, southern Chile. Local media reported that dozens of passengers were also injured in the crash, which occurred along the CH-115 road near San Clemente. Chile's National Emergency Office (Onemi) confirmed that the bus was transporting workers of a construction company. Investigations have been launched to access the causes of the accident. Deadly road accidents in Chile are relatively rare and less frequent compared with neighbouring countries.

Thousands protest education policies in Santiago

Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Santiago to protest education policies in Chile. Secondary school and university students joined forces with teachers and education professionals to protest against the administration of President Sebastian Pinera. Protesters marched from the Plaza Italia towards the presidential palace, La Moneda. Teachers demand better working conditions after recently calling for indefinite strike action earlier this week. Since taking office, President Pinera has been pressured to introduce education reforms. Just before leaving office, his predecessor, Michelle Bachelet, signed a bill to push for free and more accessible public education.

Strong earthquake recorded in central Chile

A 4.8-magnitude earthquake was recorded on Tuesday morning in central Chile. According to Chile's National Emergency Office (Onemi), the quake happened at a depth of 30km and had its epicentre nearly 90km southwest of Illapel. No casualties or major damages have been reported thus far. The tremor was felt in the regions of Coquimbo, Valparaiso and Metropolitana. Chile is a nation prone to earthquakes due to its location in the Pacific Ring of Fire.

Rockfall kills two children near San Jose de Maipo, Cordilleras

Two young children have been killed after a rockfall hit a group of tourists in a mountainous area in central Chile. Both victims were Brazilian nationals, who were part of a tourist group heading to the El Yeso dam, a popular destination for hikers in the Cordillera province. According to the government, the accident happened in the La Cortina sector, near the town of San Jose de Maipo. Cordillera Governor Mireya Chocair told AFP that a boulder detached from a mountain and hit both girls. Authorities are still investigating if the area where they were in is of restricted access, while a probe was launched on the tour company and its guides. The El Yeso track - route G-455, also known as the Camino al Embalse El Yeso - has been closed while investigations are ongoing. Rock falls in the area are relatively common and some high-risk areas reportedly fail to provide signage. Travellers should be vigilant when hiking near unstable slopes and along unmarked tracks.

Four injured as powerful tornado rips through Los Angeles, Biobio

A powerful tornado has ripped through the southern Chilean town of Los Angeles, Biobio region, injuring at least four people and causing widespread damage. Police reports said that the tornado caused power outages on Thursdays evening and destroyed some houses and vehicles. Meteorological authorities are still investigating the phenomenon, which is relatively rare in Chile. MeteoChile confirmed that it was a tornado; however, the category and other details are still unknown.

Nationwide pension protests planned for 30 May

Labour unions and civil society organisations are calling for nationwide protests on 30 May against proposed pension reforms. Tens of thousands of citizens already took part in demonstrations, calling on Michelle Bachelet to scrap the current system which is managed by private funds and was introduced in 1981 by General Augusto Pinochet. Heightened security measures and transport disruptions are likely.

Six Brazilian tourists die of carbon monoxide poisoning in Santiago

Six Brazilian tourists died on Wednesday, apparently from carbon monoxide poisoning while staying at an old apartment in Santiago. The police were alerted by the Brazilian Embassy who had received a call from one of the victims when she became ill. When they entered the property they found four adults and two children dead. A high concentration of carbon monoxide was measured in the property, which was completely closed up, presumably due to the cold weather. Carbon monoxide is a colourless and odourless gas which can be produced by gas ovens and heating systems, with a heavy accumulation causing death.

Magnitude 5.5 earthquake hits Coquimbo Region

A powerful 5.5 magnitude earthquake hit around 54 km northeast of Mina Los Pelambres in the Coquimbo Region, northern Chile. The quake was recorded at 07:18 local time and had a depth of 133.7 km. No damage or injuries were reported. Chile is located in the Pacific Ring of Fire, a region prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity.

Arson attacks hit forest company in La Araucania

Pieces of equipment of a forestal company based in La Araucania has been targeted in arson attacks in Cautin. La Tercera reported that unknown assailants raided a terrain belonging to the company in Lautaro. At least two shipping containers were burned alongside a digger. Authorities believe that the attack is linked to an ongoing dispute involving Mapuche sympathisers in southern Chile. Several arson attacks have previously affected forest and mining companies in La Araucania and Biobio. In most incidents, people believed to be linked to the Mapuche indigenous cause claim responsibility for arson attacks.

Police defuse bomb sent to residence of Metro de Chile's president

An explosive device has been sent to the residence of Metro de Chile President Louis de Grange. Chilean police have intercepted and disarmed the explosive device after it was delivered at De Grange's house in Las Condes neighbourhood in Santiago. Interior Minister Andres Chadwick condemned the attack and labelled it a terrorist act. The eco-terrorist group Individualists Tending towards the Wild (ITS-Chile) has claimed responsibility for the incident. It said that De Grange was targeted for links to 'companies that destroy the environment'. The group has been behind a number of bomb attacks in Chile, especially targeting high-level executives of mining companies. Nearly two years ago, the head of the state-owned Codelco was injured after another explosive device was sent to his home. The group has also been accused of being behind another bomb attack this year that injured five people at a bus stop in Santiago.

Dozens detained in student-led protest in central Santiago

Dozens of demonstrators have been detained after a student-led protest turned violent in Santiago. Thousands marched along the Bernardo O'Higgins Avenue in central Santiago to protest recent bills to reforms education policies in Chile. Among them, the government plans to give tougher punishment to the so-called 'student-led violence', which include the occupation of public buildings during protests. Last September, several police officers were injured when masked protesters stormed a college in Santiago. President Sebastian Pinera aims to continue education reforms started during the previous administration of Michelle Bachelet.

Criminals target forestry machinery in fresh arson attack in La Araucania

At least four pieces of forestry machinery have been set ablaze in a fresh arson attack in La Araucania, southern Chile. Local media reported that the incident happened on Wednesday evening in the town of Collipulli. Unknown assailants targeted vehicles belonging to a local contractor based in the Bajo Malleco area. It is still unclear what the circumstances behind the attack are. Previously people linked to the indigenous Mapuche cause have launched arson attacks against equipment and vehicles of forestry and mining companies based in La Araucania. A long-standing conflict remains active in southern Chile as indigenous communities demand the restitution of sacred Mapuche lands.

President Pinera launches bill to reform public and private health sectors in Chile

President Sebastian Pinera has announced a massive overhaul to the country's public and private health services. In a bill submitted to Congress on Monday, his administration seeks to introduce deep reforms to both private and public health sectors to further integrate them. It also aims to provide ease of access to patients suffering from serious conditions. Currently, more than 13 million people in Chile are registered in the National Health Fund (FUNASA), while the remaining three million are with the private-run Isapres. The bill still has to be discussed in Congress, where the current administration does not hold a majority. Since being elected, President Pinera has vowed to launch a number of reforms to institutions created during the dictatorship period. Among the most controversial subjects are reforms to the current pension system.

Several killed in plane crash in Puerto Montt, Los Lagos

Six people have been killed after a light aircraft crashed into a house in Los Lagos, southern Chile. Authorities said on Tuesday that the aircraft crashed during the morning near the Marcel Marchant aerodrome in Puerto Montt. Local media reported that all victims were passengers and crew. Reports suggest that the aircraft was owned by the air company Archipelagos and transported workers from a local fishery company.

Police investigate suspicious device in Santiago

An intersection in central Santiago is currently cordoned off as the police investigate a suspicious device. Reports revealed that parts of the Curico and Lira streets were blocked on the early hours of Wednesday morning. No further information was released. People have been advised to avoid the area. Both streets are located near the Bellas Artes, San Isidro and Barrio Italia neighbourhoods.

Several killed in helicopter crash in Colliguay, Quilpue

Six people have been killed after a chartered helicopter crashed in Quilpue, central Chile. Chile's Carabineros revealed that the accident happened on Monday morning in the area around El Molino, located near the town of Colliguay. Reports suggest that the Eurocopter AS350B3 was transporting security guards linked to a major infrastructure project in central Chile. The aircraft was operated by the company Ecocopter SA, which had its operations suspended - the company is often chartered to transport workers of the mining, telecom and power industry. Chile's aviation authority, DGAC, said that investigations are ongoing.

Three military personnel killed in Iquique shooting

On 16 March, three military personnel died from gunshot wounds in Iquique, Tarapaca.  According to preliminary reports, the incident happened inside the armoured cavalry school regiment of the Chilean Army, when the 18-year-old perpetrator shot two of his superiors and then turned the weapon on himself.  

Israeli tourists killed in boat accident in Magallanes, southern Chile

Two Israeli tourists have died and several others were injured when a tourist boat capsized in Magallanes, southern Chile. According to the police, the accident happened on Saturday afternoon during an excursion across the Torres del Paine National Park in the Patagonia region. Reports suggest that the boat hit a rock near the Serrano Glacier. Authorities are still investigating what the circumstances behind the accident are. The Torres del Paine National Park is located in Chile's far-south, just cross-border to Argentina's Perito Moreno Glacier. Weather alerts were issued last week after severe flooding affected the region.

Zoo evacuated after wildfire broke out in central Santiago

A zoo has been evacuated after a wildfire broke out in central Santiago. Authorities from the Parque Metropolitano in Recoleta ordered the evacuation of small animals after the fire erupted on the Cerro San Cristobal. Santiago's fire brigade has said that there was no threat to residential areas. Chile's National Forest Corporation (CONAF) has informed on Monday morning that the fire was already brought under control. Thousands of hectares of land were already consumed as wildfires continue to affect central and southern Chile. Most incidents have been reported in the southern regions of La Araucania and Biobio.

Massive wildfire continues active in Cochrane, Aysen

A massive wildfire continues to be active in the southern region of Aysen. Nearly two weeks ago, a wildfire broke out in the town of Cochrane. It is estimated that more than 15,000 hectares of land have already been destroyed. Despite the Chilean central government sending reinforcements, Cochrane Mayor Patricio Ulloa said that the blaze around the Colonia Sur sector remains uncontrolled, threatening to expand towards the Laguna San Rafael National Park. Although some rain hit the region in recent days, strong winds and rough terrain are compromising firefighting efforts. Dozens of wildfires continue active across Chile, especially in the southern regions of La Araucania, BioBio and Nuble. Travellers are recommended to follow daily updates provided by CONAF and Onemi. Cochrane is located near the Patagonia National Park.

Weather alert issued to the Torres del Paine National Park, Magallanes

Weather alerts have been issued to the Torres del Paine National Park in Magallanes, southern Chile. Chile's National Emergency Office (Onemi) has issued a red alert after widespread flooding affected parts of the park and the nearby town of Torres del Paine. Despite the alert, Onemi has confirmed that the park remains open, but some trekking routes are facing limited access and some areas are currently closed. Emol reported that the most affected areas are in the Laguna Amarga, Base Torres and Pueblito Serrano, while some areas located along the Serrano, Grey and Paine rivers are also on alert. Visitors have been advised to exercise caution and to follow recommendations from local authorities. The Torres del Paine National Park is located in Chile's far-south, just cross-border to Argentina's Perito Moreno Glacier. Travellers are advised to follow updates from Onemi.

Tourist attractions in San Pedro de Atacama reopen after severe weather in Antofagasta

Chile's National Tourism Service (Sernatur) has announced that most tourist attractions in San Pedro de Atacama have reopened. Northern Chile has been experiencing severe weather since earlier this month, forcing President Sebastian Pinera to declare a state of emergency in the northern regions of  Arica and Parinacota and Antofagasta. Emol reported that the attractions of El Valle de la Luna, Valle de Marte, Aldea de Tulor, Pozo 3, Petroglifos y Hierbas Buenas, Geiser del Tatio, Machuca and Cerro Toco were already reopened. However, some of them are still operating with some restrictions. Sernatur's Director Andrea Wolleter said that access to those areas will only be authorised to registered tour operators. Despite weather conditions have improved, some sporadic rainfall may still affect the region until March.

Dozens of wildfires continue active across central and southern Chile

Dozens of wildfires remain active across central and southern Chile. The National Emergency Office (Onemi) has issued several alerts to several rural communities across Aysen, La Araucania, Los Rios and Biobio, where some residential areas are being threatened. So far, at least three people have been killed and several others were injured. According to the National Forest Corporation (CONAF), wildfires already consumed more than 40,000 hectares of land in 2019, a significant increased compared with last year's wildfire season. Authorities said that most of the fires are caused due to reckless behaviour or criminal intent. Travellers are recommended to follow daily updates provide by CONAF and Onemi.

President Pinera declares state of emergency due to heavy rainfall in northern Chile

President Sebastian Pinera has declared a state of emergency in the northern province of El Loa after intense rainfall hit the region. Since early-February, adverse weather has been affecting most areas across Arica and Parinacota and Antofagasta regions. Communities located along the El Loa River have faced widespread flooding, where hundreds of homes were damaged alongside several roads and infrastructures, including the collapse of a major bridge between Calama and Chiquicamata. At least six people have been killed since adverse weather hit the region. According to the National Emergency Office (Onemi), a weather alert remains in place in El Loa and Antofagasta until at least Wednesday. Rainfall in these desert regions are relatively rare, but it tends to occur on a yearly basis as part of the so-called Antiplano Winter, which usually runs between December and March.

Lorry set ablaze in arson attack near Puren, La Araucania

A lorry has been targeted in an arson attack in La Araucania, southern Chile. Local media reported that the vehicle was targeted on Thursday evening on the road between Puren and Los Sauces. The lorry's driver told authorities that at least four masked individuals took part in the ambush. No group claimed responsibility for the attack, while investigations are ongoing. Arson attacks targeting lorries and agricultural equipment often occur in the region. The incident came as La Araucania is currently under a state of emergency after thousands of hectares of land were already consumed by wildfires.

State of emergency declared over wildfires in southern Chile

A state of emergency has been declared after hundreds of wildfires hit southern Chile. Deputy Interior Minister Rodrigo Ubilla has confirmed that more than 630 wildfires have already been reported in the region, burning nearly 10,000 hectares of land. The state of emergency includes the regions of La Araucania and Bibio, while major urban areas of Concepcion, Temuco and Talcahuano are not included in the decree. In Los Rios, the state of emergency includes the towns of Mariquina and Panguipulli. The rule will allow the armed forces to coordinate evacuation and firefighting efforts. At least two people have already been reported dead and dozens of others have been affected. Wildfires are common in Chile, especially during the summer months. For daily updates, visitors should monitor information provided by the National Emergency Office (Onemi).

Deadly wildfires continue active in central and southern Chile

At least two people have been killed as dozens of wildfires continue to be active in central and southern Chile. Local media reported that both victims were elderly residents in the town of Cholchol, Araucania. According to the National Emergency Office (Onemi), the most affected areas are in the rural areas of Cholchol, Corahue and Galvarino, where nearly 4,000 hectares of land have already been consumed. Wildfires are common in central and southern Chile, especially during the summer months. For daily updates, visitors should monitor information provided by Onemi or the National Forest Corporation (CONAF).

One killed after severe weather hits Arica and Parinacota

Chile's National Emergency Office (Onemi) has issued a red alert to the northern region of Arica and Parinacota after intense rainfall triggered widespread flooding. At least one person was killed and another was reported missing after the River Loa burst its banks. More than 1,200 people were forced to evacuate, while the towns of Calama and San Pedro de Atacama were also affected. Although weather conditions improved, travellers have been advised to stay away from local rivers. Emergency services continue in the area as some communities are still isolated. For further updates, visitors are recommended to follow Onemi alerts.

Several sentenced for poisoning former president during Pinochet dictatorship

Six people have been sentenced to serve up to 10 years in prison for the killing of former President Eduardo Frei Montalva. A court in Santiago has ruled that Montalva was poisoned to death in 1982 while undertaking treatment at a private clinic. He was the predecessor of President Salvador Allende, who was removed from office in the 1973 coup. Montalva posed as one of the main opposition to the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. Among those sentenced are several doctors and two agents of Pinochet's secret police, the National Intelligence Directorate (CNI). Montalva died at the Santa Maria Clinic, which is under investigation for a series of incidents. The Clinica Santa Maria is the same health facility where poet and politician Pablo Neruda died in 1973 - Neruda's death is still under investigation.

Powerful 6.7-magnitude earthquake hits Coquimbo

A powerful 6.7-magnitude earthquake was recorded in the northern province of Coquimbo. According to the National Emergency Office (Onemi), the quake struck on Saturday evening near the coastal town of Puerto Aldea at a depth of 92km. Thousands of people were forced to evacuate due to a potential tsunami warning, which was later discontinued. Power outages affected more than 200,000 people. Landslides were also reported across the region. CNN Chile reported that two people died after suffering a cardiac arrest. Chile is located in the Pacific Ring of Fire, a region prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity.

Woman dies after contracting hantavirus in Palena, Los Lagos

A Chilean woman has died after she contracted hantavirus in the southern province of Los Lagos. Local media reported that the patient was a nurse at a hospital in Palena. The town is located near the border with Argentina, where nine people were already confirmed dead after a hantavirus outbreak in the province of Chubut. Reports suggest that the Chilean victim contracted the disease after having contact with an Argentinian woman in Chile. She died days after being hospitalised in Santiago. Hantavirus is mainly contracted through contact with rodents or their faeces. Symptoms may include high fever, muscle aches and headache.

Nine killed in multi-vehicle crash near Mafil, Los Rios

At least nine people have been killed and nearly a dozen others injured in a multi-vehicle crash in Los Rios, southern Chile. Police confirmed that the accident happened on Wednesday afternoon near the town of Mafil. Among the vehicles involved was a bus that was transporting patients back from a medical centre. Deadly road accidents in Chile are relatively rare and less frequent compared with neighbouring countries. 

Members of eco-terrorist group threaten further attacks in Santiago

Members of the self-proclaimed eco-terrorist group Individualists Tending towards the Wild (ITS-Chile) have threatened to launch renewed attacks. The group has claimed responsibility for last week's bomb attack at a bus stop in Santiago, in which five people were injured. Authorities are still investigating the authenticity of the threats. In 2017, the group claimed responsibility for another bomb attack against the house of the chairman of the mining giant Codelco.

Police investigate suspicious explosion at bus stop in Santiago

At least four people have been injured after a blast hit a bus stop in Santiago. Local media reported that the explosion occurred on Friday morning in the Vicuna Mackenna Avenue. Police are investigating a suspected device that exploded just after being moved. Traffic around Francisco Bilbao Avenue was closed, while some Transantiago and Metro services were suspended. It is still unclear what the circumstances behind the blast are.

Dozens of houses evacuated due to wildfire in Valparaiso

Dozens of houses have been preventatively evacuated after a wildfire threatened a residential area in Santo Domingo, Valparaiso. Chile's National Emergency Office (Onemi) revealed that the fire burned through more than 1,000 hectares of land in the area, forcing the closure of the G80-I road between Santo Domingo and San Pedro. At least 35 houses in the Rinconada San Enrique area were threatened, but none of them were hit. A red alert is currently in place in Santo Domingo. Onemi previously stated that dozens of wildfires are currently active in central and southern Chile. Travellers are advised to follow recommendations from the Onemi or the National Forest Corporation (CONAF).

Dozens of wildfires currently active across central and southern Chile

Chile's National Forest Corporation (CONAF) has announced that more than 70 wildfires are currently active across central and southern Chile. Areas of most concern are the coastal areas of Valparaiso, some areas around the Metropolitan area of Santiago, and in the southern provinces of Maule, Biobio and La Araucania. In Valparaiso, wildfires are particularly active in the towns of Villa Alemana and Placilla. The fires are burning on varying levels and some of them forced authorities to issue red alerts. Wildfires in Chile are common during the summer months. Most of them have been caused by reckless behaviour or criminal intent. Travellers are advised to follow advice from the CONAF and the National Emergency Office (Onemi).

Weather alert issued due to heat wave in central Chile

Chile's National Emergency Office (Onemi) has issued an alert as a heat wave is forecast to hit three regions in central Chile. Extreme weather is set to hit the regions of Coquimbo, Valparaiso and Metropolitana from Wednesday until at least Friday. People have been advised to take the necessary precautions to avoid heat stroke and other complications. During the summer months, the risk of wildfires in Chile tends to be significantly higher.

Severe delays reported on major routes to Santiago

Severe delays are currently being reported on major routes towards Santiago as thousands of vehicles return to the capital after the Christmas holidays. According to the authorities, delays are expected to affect the Ruta 68 from Valparaiso, while the Ruta 5 and Ruta 78 are also significantly busy. They are the main routes from San Fernando, San Antonio and La Calera. Intense traffic towards the capital is set to last throughout the week.

Christmas festivities in Valparaiso may be affected amid port workers' protests

Traditional Christmas and New Year festivities in the coastal city of Valparaiso may be affected due to a current wave of strike action led by port workers. In recent days, tensions between the police and protesters escalated when negotiations with workers' unions failed. Port workers have called for a number of demonstrations during the holiday period. Visitors are advised to remain vigilant as some protests may escalate.

President Pinera calls for resignation of national police chief

President Sebastian Pinera has called on the chief of the national police, Hermes Soto, to step down alongside 10 others police officers. Chile's national police are currently facing increasing pressure after the death of a Mapuche indigenous man, Camillo Catrillanca. Catrillanca was killed during a police operation in southern Chile in mid-November, reigniting tensions between the community and the government. President Pinera said in a press conference that: "I've reached the conclusion that Chile's police needs new leadership to face, with more will, effectiveness and speed, all of today's problems and the big challenges of the future. A small group of police have betrayed their oath, dishonoured their institution and caused grave harm to society". Earlier this month, another senior police official was also requested to resign.

Several port workers arrested as protest turn violent in Valparaiso

At least a dozen people were arrested when a protest turned violent in the coastal city of Valparaiso. For more than a month, port workers are engaged in strike action to demand better working conditions. The protests come despite a previous agreement being reached between the port administrators and temporary workers. Local media reported that riot police officers were deployed after protesters set barricades on fire and took over a syndicate building. Protests mainly occurred around the Plaza Sotomayor. Local authorities raised concerns that the ongoing strike action may negatively hit the city's economy, especially in the trade and tourism sectors. Negotiations are set to take place in the following days, while the strike action is planned to continue throughout the Christmas holidays.

Court to handover verdict on alleged Mapuche arson attack in southern Chile

A court in southern Chile is set to handover the verdict on the arson case linked to Facundo Jones Huala, the leader of the Ancestral Mapuche Resistance (RAM). Huala was detained in Argentina back in July 2017. He is accused of orchestrating an arson attack in 2013 and of owning an illegal gun manufacturing plant. He is also accused of launching several arson attacks in Chile and Argentina. Huala denied any wrongdoing. Radical members of Mapuche groups are often engaged in arson attacks against government buildings and companies based in southern Chile. If convicted, Huala may face up to 15 years in prison.

Senior national police chief resigns amid Carabineros leadership crisis

A senior police official has stepped down amid a wave of resignations within Chile's national police, the Carabineros. General Christian Franzani, the national head of the Order and Security Unit resigned over a request from Interior Minister Andres Chadwick. Franzani is accused of colluding with other police officers regarding conflicting testimonies on the death of Camilo Catrillanca, a Mapuche man mistakenly killed during a police operation in mid-November. Meanwhile, Jose Rivera, who is in charge of the police in Santiago also announced his resignation. Several Carabineros were already implicated in Catrillanca's death.

LATAM Airlines workers launch strike action at Santiago Airport

LATAM workers launched strike action on Friday at Santiago's Comodoro Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport (SCL). The company has said that no flights would be cancelled or rescheduled but advised people to arrive at the airport earlier than usual due to potential delays to bag handling and check-in operations. Reuters reported that only one out of LATAM's 16 syndicates has engaged in the walk-off.

Caution advised over potential fish tapeworm outbreak in Puerto Octay

People travelling to Puerto Octay, Los Lagos region, have been advised caution when consuming raw fish due to a suspected diphyllobothriasis outbreak. Health authorities told local media that at least six cases have been confirmed, while more than a dozen others are being investigated. Scarlett Molt, the head of the health department in Los Lagos, has urged people to remain vigilant over the consumption of raw fish from freshwater and only consume products from certified restaurants and venues. Diphyllobothriasis is a parasite infection - the largest human tapeworm - mainly caused by the injection of contaminated raw fish. Symptoms may include diarrhoea, vomiting and sudden weight loss.

Scores convicted for killings during Pinochet dictatorship

More than 50 former secret police officers that served during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet have been convicted for killing several people linked to the Communist Party of Chile. Sentences may reach up to 20 years for the death of seven communist leaders and the former head of the Communist Party, Victor Diaz. Most of the former agents convicted were members of the infamous National Intelligence Directorate. Thousands of people died during the dark years of dictatorship between 1973 and 1990. A number of former officials linked to the dictatorship have been recently convicted.

Buses set on fire during presumed protests in Santiago

Two buses have been set on fire as part of presumed protests in Santiago. Local media reported that the vehicles were set ablaze in the Pedro Aguirre Cerda neighbourhood on Thursday evening. Preliminary reports suggest that the assailants were taking part in protests against the death of a Mapuche indigenous man, who was killed earlier this month. No injuries were reported as passengers and drivers were forced to leave their vehicles. Several communities in southern Chile and Santiago called for a wave of protests to demand justice for the death of Camilo Catrillanca, who was mistakenly killed during a police operation in La Araucania.

Mapuche communities call for wave of nationwide protests

Mapuche communities have announced plans to launch a month-long demonstration across southern Chile and Santiago to demand justice for the death of a Mapuche man. A municipal security vehicle was set on fire on Monday during a demonstration in Santiago. Camilo Catrillanca was mistakenly killed last month after a police operation. Mapuche leaders called the government to withdraw the so-called Comando Jungla - a special police unit - from La Araucania region. Mapuche communities and the government are engaged in long-standing territorial disputes in southern Chile. Radical militants linked to the Mapuche cause often launch arson attacks against security forces, forestry and agricultural companies.

Thousands march in Santiago to protest gender-based violence

More than 15,000 people took part in a women-led demonstration in Santiago. Demonstrators marched from the capital's Plaza Italia towards the Plaza Los Heroes to protest against gender-based violence in Chile. EFE reported that 47 women and girls were killed so far in 2018 across Chile, while a significant number of domestic violence incidents were reported throughout the year. The march came ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against women, which is celebrated on 25 November.

Several regions on alert due to high risks of wildfires

Chile's National Forestry Corporation (CONAF) has stated that several regions in northern and central Chile are at high risk of wildfires. In the latest weekly reported issued on Tuesday, CONAF has stated that the regions of Atacama, Coquimbo, Valparaiso, Metropolitana and O'Higgins are the most vulnerable due to high temperatures. Wildfires in Chile are most common during the summer months - from December to March.

Police officers resign over death of Mapuche indigenous man

Interior Minister Andres Chadwick has said that two senior police officers have resigned over the destruction of a camera memory card portraying the death of an indigenous Mapuche man in southern Chile. Both officers were removed alongside four members of a police special unit. Camilo Catrillanca's death triggered mass protests in southern Chile and Santiago. According to the police, Catrillanca was collaterally killed during a police pursuit. Protesters accuse the government of launching violent operations in the region through the deployment of the special police unit Comando Jungla.

Death of indigenous Mapuche man triggers protests in Santiago

Protests broke out across Santiago and the southern Araucania region after a Mapuche indigenous man was killed by the police. Camilo Catrillanca was shot in the head during a police operation near Ercilla. According to police reports, Catrillanca was collaterally shot when police officers were chasing several suspected criminals. President Sebastian Pinera has said that investigations will be carried out. Rights and political groups called for mass protests in the capital, where clashes between demonstrators and the police broke out around Plaza Italia. Several buses and barricades were set ablaze. Rights groups claim Catrillanca's death was caused by the deployment of the special anti-crime unit named Comando Jungla.

Six killed as house fire breaks out in Quirihue, Nuble

Six members of the same family have died after a fire destroyed a house in Nuble, southern Chile. EFE reported that the fire broke out overnight on Monday in the town of Quirihue. Nuble Governor Martin Arrau confirmed that among the victims are four minors. Preliminary investigations suggest that the fire started in the kitchen, which was undertaking construction works.

Three assailants killed during car-jacking attempt in Santiago

Three assailants have been killed during a presumed car-jacking attempt in Santiago. Local media reported that an off-duty police officer was targeted alongside his wife in the northern Recoleta neighbourhood. Reports suggest that the assailants were minors and were shot dead after the officer reacted to the attack. Interior Minister Andres Chadwick confirmed the incident. He further highlighted the importance of a government-sponsored bill - part of a public security initiative launched last week - to push for gun control in Chile.

Authorities record activity increase at Planchon-Peteroa volcano

Chile's National Geology Service (Sernageomin) has recorded an activity increase at the Planchon-Peteroa volcanic complex in Maule, south-eastern Chile. Several explosions were recently recorded at the volcanic complex which is currently under a yellow alert. The Planchon-Peteroa is located near the villages of Los Quenes and Paso Vergara. According to Sernageomin, the volcano is highly active and most risks associated with lahar - or mudslides - due to a large amount of snow accumulated over its summit. Areas of most risk are those located along the Claro and Teno Rivers in Chile and the Grande and Valenzuela Rivers in neighbouring Argentina.

Powerful 6.2-magnitude earthquake hits northern Chile

A powerful 6.2-magnitude earthquake has been recorded in northern Chile. According to the National Emergency Office (CNE), the quake struck on Thursday evening near the coastal town of Iquique. No major damages were preliminary reported, but AP revealed that health services in some rural areas were affected. Earthquakes in Chile are common due to the country's location in the Pacific Ring of Fire, a region prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity.

Court approves LATAM Airlines plan to coordinate operations with partner carriers

Chile's antitrust court has reportedly approved a bid of LATAM Airlines to coordinate its operations with other international carriers already part of the OneWorld Alliance. LATAM announced plans to strengthen its relationship with American Airlines and IAG in Chile, through regulating schedules and prices. Such was caught in a dispute back in 2016, in which the Chilean competition regulator raised concerns over the negative impact on customers. LATAM is the world's second-largest airline. It was created in 2012 after a merge between the Chilean-based LAN and the Brazilian TAM.

Thousands protest against pension reforms in Santiago

Thousands of protesters marched across Santiago to protest against reforms to the country's pension system. Demonstrators took to the streets of the capital on Monday just after President Sebastian Pinera sent to Congress a bill to proceed with changes to the Pension Funds Administrator (AFP). The march was called led by the movement 'No+AFP', which since 2016 has called for mass protests against pension reforms announced during the administration of Michelle Bachelet. The government claims that the current pension system in Chile is outdated and changes are necessary to boost employment.

Tax officers to launch nationwide protest against layoffs

Chile's National Tax Officers Association (ANEF) have called for protests on Tuesday to reject mass layoffs of tax auditors. ANEF claim that more than 2,500 employees have been arbitrarily sacked since President Sebastian Pinera took office in March. Protesters are set to gather outside the finance ministry in Santiago - at the intersection between Moneda and Teatinos - at 10:30 local time. Marches are also expected in major cities nationwide.

Thousands evacuated due to bomb scare in Santiago

More than 6,000 people have been evacuated after a bomb scare at a university in Santiago. EFE reported the incident on Friday morning at the Universidad del Desarrollo in Los Condes. Local media also reported that two other education facilities - Universidad de Los Andes and the Universidad Catolica de Chile's Duoc - were also evacuated. The circumstances behind the incident are unclear.

Massive oil spill reported in Primavera, Tierra del Fuego

A massive oil spill has been reported in the far-south province of Tierra del Fuego. Chile's National Emergency Office (Onemi) in Magallanes has confirmed that the spillage happened in an industrial sector of Cullen in the Primavera community. Onemi also declared a state of environmental emergency in the area. La Nacion reported that more than 720,000 litres of oil affected an area of up to 6,000 square metres along a local river. The spill reportedly orginated from a plant of the Argentinian state-owned YPF. Chile's politics were recently shaken after a number of protests broke out due to an environmental row involving a number of oil and energy companies based along the coast of Valparaiso.

Oil workers take over refineries amid environmental row

ENAP workers have occupied two strategic refineries in central Chile amid an ongoing row involving the state-owned company and the Chilean environment ministry. ENAP workers revealed that oil pumping to the capital, Santiago, was temporarily suspended on Tuesday in response to a number of police raids to ENAP offices. ENAP has been accused of multiple occasions of dangerous incidents, such as oil spills and the release of hazardous substances into the environment. Among the main accusations are the company's operations in the central port area of Quintero.

Three divers found dead at estuary in Biobio

Three divers have been found dead after they were reported missing in a river estuary in Biobio, southern Chile. AP reported that two American divers and their Chilean guide were reported missing on Saturday when they went to explore the Malalcura estuary. Authorities believe that the divers died from drowning after being caught by a strong current. The Malalcura estuary lies between the town of Antuco and the Laguna del Laja National Park, east of Concepcion.

Environmental activist found dead in Valparaiso

An environmental activist has been found dead in the central coastal city of Valparaiso. Alejandro Castro was a fisherman who led a number of protests against mining and oil industries based in the neighbouring town of Quintero. Reports suggest that Castro was found dead near a railway in Valparaiso a day after a protest. CNN Chile reported that authorities confirmed that his death was caused by drowning. Police reports considered his death as a suicide, but his mother and local officials demanded a special investigation. In September, Environment Minister Carolina Schmidt declared a state of emergency along the coast of Quintero and Punchuncavi - a key industrial hub - due to high levels of contamination.

Shooting breaks out after arson attack in La Araucania

Several vehicles have been set on fire in a renewed arson attack in La Araucania, southern Chile. Local media reported that unknown assailants raided a terrain in the town of Lautaro and targeted at least four lorries and a van. At least one man has been injured when police officers clashed with the suspects. It is still unclear who is behind the attack, but such incidents are often linked to sympathisers of Mapuche indigenous cause.

President Pinera announces package to aid Mapuche communities

President Sebastian Pinera has announced plans to launch an eight-billion-dollar aid package to indigenous Mapuche regions in southern Chile. In an attempt to ease long-standing tensions between the government and Mapuche communities in La Araucania and Biobio region, President Pinera also called for constitutional reforms to formally recognise such communities and promote their representation within government bodies. Despite government promises, some communities are sceptical. For decades, the Mapuche indigenous people have been engaged in land disputes with the government. Radical Mapuche sympathisers often launch arson attacks against government buildings and private companies in La Araucania.

Mapuche sympathizers launch arson attack in Los Alamos, Biobio

At least five pieces of machinery have been set on fire in a fresh arson attack in Biobio, southern Chile. Emol reported that the incident happened in the early hours of Thursday morning in the Lower Trongol area in Los Alamos. According to Radio Cooperativa, the Mapuche-sympathizers armed wing, known as the Coordinadora Arauco-Malleco (CAM), claimed the attack. The incident is reportedly linked to CAM's resistance against the Plan Araucania, which was launched earlier this year by President Sebastian Pinera to boost economic development across indigenous-predominant regions. Arson attacks are common in southern Chile and are often directed at forestry and mining companies based in La Araucania region.

Adverse weather shuts down border crossing in Los Andes

Chilean authorities have stated on Tuesday morning that the border crossing of Complejo Los Libertadores is closed due to adverse weather conditions. The border crossing is located on Highway 60, east of Los Andes in Valparaiso. It is one of the main hubs of access from Santiago to Mendoza, Argentina. Further updates can be found on social media platforms from the provincial government of Los Andes.

Several injured during protest at a college in Santiago

At least five police officers have been injured after a student-led protest escalated at a college in Santiago. Masked protesters gathered at the Liceo de Aplicacion in central Santiago, where riot police were deployed after tensions escalated. Reports revealed that besides several objects being thrown at law enforcement officers, a molotov cocktail was also fired. Liceo de Aplication's board condemned the violence and called for investigations. Several protests were previously reported at the same institution due to grievances linked to poor college facilities.

Congress approve gender identity law

Congress members have passed a long-debated gender identity law that will allow transgender individuals older than 14 years of age to change their name and gender on official records. Lawmakers overwhelmingly approved the bill, which had been debated for nearly five years. Opposition to the law, which still has to be signed by President Sebastian Pinera, said that they will appeal the decision within the Constitutional Court. Chile is a highly conservative country. Earlier this year, former President Michelle Bachelet signed a controversial law to decriminalise abortion.

Jailed Mapuche leader extradited from Argentina

A jailed Mapuche indigenous leader has been extradited from Argentina to face charges linked to arson. Francisco Facundo is the leader of the Ancestral Mapuche Resistance (RAM), which is reportedly responsible for launching a number of attacks in both countries. He has also been accused of owning an illegal gun manufacturing plant. Chilean media reported that he is being transferred to Santiago after an Argentinian Supreme Court rule in late-August.

Hundreds left homeless after fire breaks out at slum in Calama, Antofagasta

More than 400 people have been left homeless after a massive fire broke out in a slum in Antofagasta, northern Chile. Local media reported on Monday that dozens of makeshift houses were completely destroyed at the Frei Bonn shantytown in Calama. At least six people were injured, while it remains unclear what caused the fire. According to the National Emergency Office (Onemi), around 65 percent of the settlement was destroyed. Frei Bonn is a street in north-western Calama which was occupied back in 2013. It houses more than 500 low-income families.

Argentinian court orders extradition of Mapuche leader to Chile

Argentina's Supreme Court has ordered the extradition of a Mapuche indigenous leader to Chile. Francisco Facundo Jones Huala is being accused of terrorism for links to an arson attack in southern Chile. He is also accused of owning an illegal gun manufacturing plant. Huala was detained last year in Patagonia, southern Argentina. Mapuche indigenous are engaged in a historical land dispute with both Chilean and Argentinian government. Huala is believed to be a member of the Mapuche Ancestral Resistance (RAM), which is accused of launching a number of attacks in both countries.

Several vehicles set on fire in La Araucania

At least five vehicles have been set on fire in a fresh arson attack in La Araucania, southern Chile. Local media reported on Friday that masked individuals targeted lorries and heavy machinery at a site in Pitrufquen. It is still unclear who is behind the attack. Arson attacks in La Araucania are common. They are mainly associated with an ongoing land dispute linked to the Mapuche indigenous people. Most targets are mining and agricultural companies based in the province.

Five planes grounded due to bomb threats in Santiago

Chile's Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC) has confirmed that five planes have been grounded after a series of bomb threats were received on Thursday. Four of the flights were either from or to Santiago's Arturo Merino Benitez Airport. They were all operated by LATAM Airlines and Sky. It is unclear who is behind the threats and its circumstances. Similar incidents were also reported in Peru and Argentina. In total, nine planes have been grounded across South American airspace.

Several killed in retirement home fire in Biobio

At least 10 people have been killed when a fire broke out at a retirement home in Biobio, central Chile. According to La Tercera, all of the victims are female seniors, who were in the same room when the fire ignited. The incident happened in the early hours of Tuesday in the town of Chiguayante, south of Concepcion. Authorities are still investigating the causes behind the fire.

President Pinera orders cabinet reshuffle

President Sebastian Pinera has ordered a cabinet reshuffle nearly five months after taking office. Among the changes are the ministers of education, environment and culture. The changes come as the government stagnated its popularity rates and has been criticised for failing to comply with social programmes, including addressing structural problems in some public schools.

Volcanic explosion reported at the Nevados de Chillan, Biobio

A powerful volcanic explosion was reported on Wednesday at the Nevados de Chillan in southern Chile. According to Chile's National Geology Service (Sernageomin), ash was expelled up to 1,500 metres into the atmosphere. A warning was issued to the communities of San Fabian, Coihueco and Pinto. An Orange alert remains in place since the Nevados de Chillan intensified its activity last June. Nevados de Chillan is a volcanic complex comprised of 18 volcanoes. Chile's National Emergency Office (Onemi) publish daily updates on recent activities and alerts.

Church targeted in arson attack in Cautin, La Araucania

A church has been set ablaze in a presumed targeted attack in La Araucania, southern Chile. The incident happened overnight on Friday in the town of Padre de las Casas, Cautin province. Governor Mauricio Ojeda confirmed that a leaflet allusive to the Mapuche indigenous cause was found at the scene. The Alianza Cristiana Misionera church was targeted in another arson attack last month. Arson attacks against businesses and public buildings are common in La Araucania, where the Mapuche people are engaged in a long-standing land dispute with the government.

Encondida mine workers to launch strike action after talks collapse

Workers of the Escondida copper mine in Antofagasta, northern Chile, have called for a strike action after salary negotiations with the Anglo-Australian BHP Billiton collapsed. In a statement released to Reuters, workers overwhelmingly rejected the latest offer from the company. Escondida is the largest copper mine in the world. The company said that it will request government assistance to settle the dispute. Last year, workers staged a massive strike, which led to a significant impact on global copper markets.

Thousands march in pro-abortion protest in Santiago

Thousands of people marched across Santiago in a fresh pro-abortion protest. It is estimated that more than 40,000 people marched along the Alameda Bernardo O'Higgins towards the Palacio de La Moneda on Wednesday. Reports revealed that three women and a police commander suffered stab wounds, actions which were condemned by the Minister of Women and Gender Equality, Isabel Pla. The abortion debate in Chile is highly controversial and was mainly intensified after former President Michelle Bachelet signed a bill to decriminalise the practice.

Hundreds march in Santiago to demand freedom of Mapuche leader

Hundreds of Mapuche-sympathisers marched across Santiago to demand the temporary release of a jailed indigenous leader. Demonstrators marched towards the Palacio de La Moneda on Sunday to demand the releasing of jailed Mapuche leader Celestino Cordova, who seeks to attend an ancient Mapuche ritual. For years tensions between the government and Mapuche tribes remain high. Celestino Cordova was sentenced to 18 years in prison for his involvement in murdering a couple in 2014.

High alert still active over potential Nevados de Chillan eruption

Chile's National Emergency Office (Onemi) has announced that three blasts have been reported in less than 48 hours at the Nevados de Chillan volcanic complex in southern Chile. Scientists and officials have already warned of an imminent eruption, which may occur in the next few days or weeks. Onemi confirmed that the areas of major concern are the communities of San Fabian, Coihueco and Pinto. A three-kilometre exclusion zone remains in place across areas surrounding the Nevados de Chillan.

Several vehicles set ablaze in arson attack in La Araucania

Several industrial vehicles have been set on fire in a fresh arson attack in La Araucania, southern Chile. According to the authorities, the incidents happened on Friday evening in Lumaco and Curacautin. Local media reported that a message allusive to the Mapuche indigenous cause was left at the scene, while the police said that it is still investigating any militant involvement. Forestry and industrial companies based in La Araucania are often the targets of arson attacks, which are mainly carried out by an armed wing of Mapuche sympathisers.

Former soldiers sentenced for dictatorship-era crimes

Nine former soldiers have been sentenced in connection with the death of Victor Jara during the 1973 military coup. Jara was a prominent political activist and singer who was kidnapped and killed alongside several teachers and students after the overthrown of President Salvador Allende by General Augusto Pinochet. A Chilean court also ordered the payment of the equivalent to $1,8m in compensation for the victims.

Scientists warn for potential eruption at the Nevados de Chillan, Biobio

Scientists at Chile's National Emergency Office (Onemi) have warned that the Nevados de Chillan Volcano may enter an eruptive phase in the coming days or weeks. Nevados de Chillan is a group of 18 volcanos located along the Andean Mountains in Biobio region, southern Chile. An orange alert to the area remains in place due to increased activity in previous months. Travellers are advised to monitor local media and updates issued by Onemi, which advises people travelling to the area to be familiar with designated evacuation routes in the event of an eruption.

Protesters set barricades on fire during clashes in Santiago

A protest has escalated after suspected demonstrators clashed with riot police in central Santiago. Demonstrators set barricades on fire and reportedly threw Molotov cocktails at police officers. The incidents happened on Monday morning when hooded individuals occupied a local education institution in the central area of the city.

Catholic church offices raided in sexual abuse investigations

On 13 June, police and prosecutors raided the offices of the Roman Catholic Church in various cities in an attempt to seize documents in relation to claims of abuse and a cover-up, dating back decades.  In Rancagua, south of Santiago, the bishop suspended 14 priests last month on allegations of "improper conduct", and on 10 June, the Pope accepted the resignation of 3 bishops in relation to the scandal.

Government investigates cyber attack on Banco do Chile network

The Chilean government said on Tuesday that investigations have been launched on a potential cyber attack that widely affected services of the country's second-largest bank. Reports showed that the network of the Banco do Chile was targeted last week by a virus, which is believed to be of foreign origin. Government officials said that they are still analysing the overall impact of the attack. In a statement, Banco do Chile said that the attack was intended to directly target the bank and not its customers, who were not affected as contingency measures were promptly implemented.

Students call for protests in Valparaiso against gender-based violence

Chile's Student Confederation (Confech) has called for a nationwide demonstration against gender-based violence and alleged male-dominance in education. Protesters are set to take to the streets across major Chilean cities, while the largest concentration will occur in the coastal city of Valparaiso. Confech also called other social organisation to join the march, which will occur on 01 June, on the same day President Sebastian Pinera is set to announce the country's budget.

Chilean bishops resign amid sexual abuse cover-up scandal

All of Chile's 34 bishops have handed over their resignation in light of a massive sexual abuse cover-up scandal. The decision was announced after a meeting with Pope Francis in the Vatican to discuss the alleged cover-up. Investigations were recently launched after Bishop Juan Barros allegedly covered up sexual abuse by Father Fernando Karadima. Pope Francis had publicly defended Bishop Barros earlier in the year, but he later reversed his stance.

Two lorries set ablaze in fresh arson attack in Biobio

Two lorries have been set on fire during a fresh arson attack in Biobio, southern Chile. The attack happened overnight on Wednesday when four assailants raided the vehicles parked along a highway in Los Alamos. Another arson attack also occurred in a nearby location, where industrial machinery and several containers belonging to a forestry company were set on fire. Both attacks were claimed by the Coordinadora Arauco-Malleco (CAM), an armed wing composed of sympathisers of the Mapuche indigenous cause.

Three vehicles set ablaze in Santiago

Three vehicles have been set on fire after dozens of masked individuals took to the streets of Santiago. The incident happened on Thursday evening along the Macul Avenue, near a campus of the Metropolitan University of Technology (UTEM) in Nunoa. The area has been facing a number of student-led protests, where UTEM buildings were recently occupied. It is unclear if the arson attacks are linked to the current demonstration.

Aviation authority revokes operating licence of LAW airlines

Chile's aviation authority, DGAC, has revoked the operating license of the Santiago-based airline Latin American Wings (LAW) due to security concerns. LAW was already suspended from operating back in March after a number of schedule changes failed to comply with DGAC regulations. LAW was the only airline which still operated flights from Santiago to Venezuela and Haiti.

Authorities raise warning level of Osorno volcano, Los Lagos

Chile's National Emergency Office (Onemi) has issued a yellow alert due to the increased activity of the Osorno Volcano in Los Lagos, southern Chile. Reports revealed that the decision to preventively raise the alert level from green to yellow comes due to intense and shallow earthquakes reported in the region. The Osorno is located nearly 10 km away from the town of Las Cascadas.

Workers' Day march turns violent in Santiago

Riot police clashed with demonstrators who were taking part in one of the planned marches to celebrate the International Workers' Day in Santiago. While nearly 10,000 people were marching across central Santiago, another march heading to Matucana Avenue turned violent. Police officers used water cannons and tear gas to disperse the crowd and dismantle roadblocks. According to the police, more than 40 people were detained. 

Workers' Day marches to take place in Santiago

Two marches are scheduled to take place in Santiago as part of the International Workers' Day celebration. Demonstrators endorsed by the influential Workers' United Centre of Chile (CUT) are expected to march from the Brasil Avenue to Matucana Avenue - through Yungay neighbourhood - from 10:00 local time. Another march will take place between Los Heroes and Portugal Avenue - passing through San Isidro neighbourhood. Other marches are also expected to occur nationwide.

LAN Express operations to return to normal on Thursday

LATAM Airlines has confirmed that LAN Express flights in Chile will return to normal on Thursday. Disruptions are still expected to affect domestic operations nationwide as hundreds of workers return to work after a two-week strike was called off. Delays and cancellations are still expected to occur.

Health alert issued over dengue fever cases in Easter Island

Chile's health ministry has issued an alert to the Easter Island (Rapa Nui) after four confirmed cases of Dengue fever were reported. All cases were locally-transmitted as the patients had no history of travelling abroad. The new measure will allow health officials to intensify the battle against the disease and its transmitter, the aedes aegyptis mosquito. Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne disease common in Latin America and most Pacific islands. Symptoms may include headache, nausea, vomiting and muscle and joint pain.

Convention centre set ablaze in La Araucania

A convention centre has been targeted in a fresh arson attack in La Araucania, southern Chile. Local media reported that the building located near Quepe belongs to the Compania General de Electricidad (CGE), the country's biggest energy company. Preliminary reports suggest that the attack was carried out by sympathisers of the Mapuche indigenous cause. Major companies based in La Araucania have been recently targeted in a wave of arson attacks linked to long-standing territorial disputes between the government and the Mapuche people.

Thousands protest against controversial pension system

Thousands of people took to the streets across the country on Sunday to protest against the country's current pension system. The protest was called as President Sebastian Pinera announced plans to increase workers' contributions to the fund. Demonstrators marched across Santiago and major Chilean cities as part of the so-called 'No+AFP' movement. Chileans have been protesting for months over the alleged inefficiency of the Pension Funds Administrators (AFP), which was created in 1981 during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.

Further cancellations affect LAN Express flights amid strike action

LATAM Airlines has announced that flight cancellations from its Chilean-based subsidiary LAN Express will be extended until 28 April due to an ongoing strike action. Most domestic flights will be affected alongside some towards other Latin American destinations. So far, more than 1,600 flights have been cancelled as syndicates continue to negotiate a lengthy salary dispute with the company.

Gas leak blast kills three at health facility in Concepcion

At least three people have been killed and more than 50 others were injured in an explosion in Concepcion, central Chile. Local media reported that the blast occurred on Saturday afternoon. Preliminary reports suggest that the explosion happened due to a gas leak. 

Thousands of students to march nationwide

Thousands of students and education professionals nationwide are set to launch a march on Thursday to protest against education conditions in Chile. This is the first major march to occur under the government of President Sebastian Pinera, who submitted a bill to Congress to promote free higher education in the country just a few days ago. Traffic restrictions and disruption to the public transportation across central Santiago and major cities are likely to occur throughout the day.

Restrictions to be applied on travels to the Easter Island

Chile's Interior Ministry has issued a new piece of legislation which will restrict travels to the remote Easter Island (Rapa Nui). Due to environmental and conservation concerns, from August 2018 travellers will be restricted to stays on the island of up to 30 consecutive days. Furthermore, documents such as return tickets, pre-booked hotel reservations, or invitations from local residents will also be requested.

Thousands detained in massive police operation

Nearly 5,000 people were arrested over the weekend in a massive nationwide police operation. According to Chile's Crime Prevention Unit, most detentions happened in the Metropolitan Region of Santiago, Valparaiso and Biobio. The raids happened just weeks after more than 2,500 people were detained in another nationwide operation. Most cases regarded outstanding arrest warrants and other gun-related crimes.

Security guard killed during bus robbery in Santiago

A 19-year-old security guard has been killed when three assailants raided a bus in Santiago. The incident happened overnight on Sunday nearby the Santa Ana station in the central area of the capital. La Nacion reported that the victim was targeted when he reacted to a robbery attempt to a Transantiago bus.

Militants set several lorries on fire in La Araucania

A dozen lorries and four diggers have been set ablaze in a fresh arson attack in La Araucania, southern Chile. The incident happened in the early hours of Monday on a highway near Temuco. La Nacion reported that the subversive Coordinadora Arauco-Malleco (CAM) left pamphlets at the scene calling for the release of a convicted indigenous Mapuche leader. Mapuche tribes in southern Chile are engaged in long-standing land disputes with the government. CAM has been responsible for a number of arson attacks targeted at forestry and mineral exploration companies.

Hospital in Santiago evacuated after suspected cyanide poysoning

Patients from a hospital in Santiago have been evacuated after the suspected poisoning of a 34-year-old man. Local authorities confirmed that the whole A&E ward of the Barros Luco hospital was evacuated on Friday morning. Chilean media reported that the victim has ingested cyanide at his home.

Navy issues nationwide warning over tidal waves

Chile's Navy has issued a warning over risks associated with tidal waves. The warning includes the whole Chilean territory, from the northern coast of Arica to the southern Penas Gulf. It is expected that rough sea conditions will last from Tuesday until Saturday. Travellers have been urged to follow authorities' recommendations and avoid undertaking nautical activities or getting into the sea during this period.

Strong 6.2-magnitude earthquake recorded in Valparaiso

A strong 6.2-magnitude earthquake was recorded on Tuesday morning in Valparaiso, central Chile. Preliminary reports suggest that the quake's epicentre was near the town of Maitencillo at a depth of 76km. No damage or casualties were immediately reported. Chile is an earthquake-prone nation due to its location along the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, a region known for the high levels of volcanic and seismic activity.

LAN Express to launch strike action

LAN Express workers in Chile are set to launch strike action from Tuesday as labour contract negotiations remain ongoing. A workers' union said on Saturday that domestic flights and LATAM international connections will be affected - flights scheduled to Easter Island will remain fully operational. LATAM proactively cancelled and made changes to more than 1,500 flights between 10 and 25 April to avoid further disruption. Travellers have been advised to check flight status information and directly contact the airline before heading to the airport.

Heavy rainfall batters Punta Arenas, Magallanes

Heavy rainfall and thunderstorms have been reported in the southern town of Punta Arenas, Magallanes region. Unusual levels of rain battered the area last Wednesday triggering widespread flooding and damage to several houses and a recently inaugurated bridge. Such severe weather conditions are rare in Punta Arenas, which is located in the deep Chilean south.

Warning level raised to Nevados de Chillan volcano

Chile's National Service of Geology and Minery (Sernageomin) has raised the warning level of the Nevados de Chillan volcano. A yellow alert has been in place since late-2015, but it was recently raised to orange after monitoring systems identified a potential activity increasing. The Nevados de Chillan is located in the southern region of Biobio. A four-kilometre exclusion zone is also in place throughout areas surrounding the volcano.

Protesters erect roadblocks near Santiago

Riot police officers were deployed to the Metropolitan region of Santiago after masked demonstrators set a roadblock on fire. Protesters blocked the Macul Avenue just outside a university campus in Macul area, while other roadblocks were also identified in other areas of the capital. The protest comes a day after 20 students were detained in a student-led protest in central Santiago.

Strong 5.6-magnitude earthquake strikes Iquique, Tarapaca

A strong 5.6-magnitude earthquake has been recorded in the northern province of Iquique. According to the US Geological Survey, the quake struck on Wednesday morning at a depth of nearly 35 kilometres. No casualties have been reported; however, several landslides were triggered in the towns of Bajo Molle and Iquique. The Ruta A1, between Iquique and the town's Diego Aracena International Airport (IQQ), was also affected.

Jailed Mapuche leader's life at risk amid hunger strike

A jailed indigenous Mapuche leader's life is reportedly at risk amid a lengthy hunger strike. AP reported that a Chilean doctor identified potential health risks to the inmate as his hunger strike enters its twelfth week. Celestino Cordova was sentenced to 18 years in prison for his involvement in murdering a couple in 2014. The Mapuche indigenous people have been engaged in a long-standing battle with the government over historical territorial disputes in southern Chile.

LAN Express considering strike action over labour dispute

A workers' union of LAN Express cabin crew are considering launching strike action from Tuesday after the company failed to reach an agreement regarding their labour contract. According to the union, more than 1,000 workers are expected to join the industrial action. In the event of a strike, domestic flights are expected to be worst affected. LAN Express is a subsidiary of airline giant LATAM.

Yellow alert issued over Copahue Volcano activity

The National Emergency Office (Onemi) has issued a yellow alert over the recent activity of the Copahue Volcano in Bio-Bio, south-eastern Chile. Reports revealed that ash was expelled up to 1,000 metres into the atmosphere after a low-level eruption on Saturday evening. No evacuation orders were issued but authorities advised people in the area to remain vigilant and to respect the pre-established 1.5-kilometre exclusion zone. 

Police arrest five for Maipu robberies

In the early hours of Wednesday, police in Maipu chased a stolen vehicle which crashed, resulting in the detention of five suspects, two of them minors.  The truck, which had previously been stolen from the same area, impacted with another vehicle and rolled over, but its' occupants were not seriously injured.  As well as the theft of the vehicle, the five are suspected of robbery and assault. 

Dozens of wildfires reported around Valparaiso

More than 45 low-scale wildfires were reported over the weekend around Valparaiso, central Chile. Authorities revealed that most cases took place in the area of Limache. Overall, Chile's National Forestry Corporation (CONAF) confirmed that more than 100 hectares of land were consumed. Fewer wildfires have been reported in recent months than the previous season, where dozens of massive wildfires consumed large areas around Valparaiso for nearly three months.

Police chief resigns from scandal-riddled Carabineros

The head of Chile's military police has handed in his resignation just hours after President Sebastian Pinera assumed office. General Director Bruno Villalobos stepped down as the head of the scandal-riddled Carabineros. Most recently, the institution came under scrutiny due to the controversial 'Operacion Huracan', which led to the detention of eight Mapuche indigenous men allegedly linked to radical organisations. Chile's Public Ministry later opened an investigation into claims that the police manipulated evidence against the suspects. Villalobos also headed the Carabineros when the Pacogate scandal broke out, when more than 120 officers were detained for embezzling millions of dollars.

Mapuche women swear in congressional office

Two indigenous women have been sworn into office as the first Mapuche female lawmakers in the Chilean lower house of Congress. Emilia Nuyado is a member of the Socialist Party. while Aracely Leuquen is part of the ruling National Renovation Party. Both represent two districts in the southern region of Araucania, where the Mapuche population predominantly live. President Sebastian Pinera already announced his intention to engage in talks with the Mapuche people to settle long-standing grievances.

Aviation authority suspends LAW airlines operations in Chile

Chile's aviation authority has ordered the suspension of operations of the low-cost airline Latin American Wings (LAW). From Monday, the Civil Aeronautical General Director (DGAC) ordered all operations to be suspended over a series of operational irregularities on LAW's flight rescheduling process. LAW operates flights from Santiago to Venezuela, Haiti and Miami. In a statement, LAW said that flights will be gradually resumed from Friday.

Sebastian Pinera sworn in as Chile's president

Former President Sebastian Pinera has been sworn in to the presidential office on Sunday. The conservative politician is returning to the presidency to replace left-wing President Michelle Bachelet. He widely won the presidential run-off last December against Alejandro Guiller. Pinera seeks to push for his pro-business agenda to curb the country's economic downturn reported under the Bachelet administration - mainly due to a slump in copper prices. He is also challenged with a more inclusive agenda, which was presented under Bachelet's proposal last week through the introduction of a new constitution.

President Bachelet proposes new constitution ahead of her departure

On Monday, outgoing President Michelle Bachelet proposed the introduction of a new constitution. For a long time, Bachelet has been campaigning to rebuild the country's dictatorship-era constitution from scratch. Among other proposals are included the strengthening of social rights, the representation of indigenous people in Congress, the right to strike for workers and the abolition of a gender pay gap. The left-wing politician is set to leave office on Sunday when conservative President Sebastian Pinera is set to be sworn in.

Two injured hikers rescued at natural park in Los Andes

A rescue operation was launched on Sunday to locate two hikers who were injured during an expedition in Los Andes, central Chile. Local media reported that both victims fell into a glacier fissure at the Parque Andino Juncal, close to the Argentinian border. Chilean authorities were later contacted when one of the victims used a satellite phone. Rescue operations were hindered due to adverse weather conditions, but both hikers were rescued several hours later and rushed to a hospital.

Monitoring service warns of Nevados de Chillan volcanic activity

Chile's National Service of Geology and Minery (Sernageomin) has issued a warning over a potential increase in activity from the Nevados de Chillan Volcano in southern Chile. Despite being in a stable condition, the Nevados de Chillan may become more active and expel ash and gas. A yellow alert remains in place alongside a four-kilometre exclusion zone throughout areas surrounding the volcano. 

Dozens of lorries set ablaze in southern Chile arson attack

Dozens of lorries have been set on fire in a fresh arson attack in southern Chile. La Tercera reported that three incidents took place overnight on Thursday in Biobio and La Araucania regions. Lorries and agricultural machines belonging to private companies were completely destroyed in Los Angeles, Los Alamos and Los Sauces. A message had been left at one of the scenes attributing the attack to the armed-wing of the Mapuche indigenous community, the Coordinadora Arauco-Malleco (CAM).

Massive wave drags two women into the sea in Antofagasta

Two women have been killed when a massive wave dragged them into the rough sea in Antofagasta, northern Chile. Local authorities revealed that both victims were Peruvian nationals but their identity was initially unknown. Reports suggest that they were caught by a wave while taking pictures along the coastal area. Adverse weather often brings rough sea conditions along the whole Chilean coast.

Red alert issued due to wildfires across central Chile

The National Emergency Office (Onemi) has announced on Sunday evening that a red alert remains in place due to active wildfires in Coquimbo. More than 180 hectares of land were already consumed as the alert remains in place since mid-February. On Saturday, four wildfires were reported across Valparaiso. Alerts remain in place for the areas of Quilpue, La Ligua, Limache and Santo Domingo. 

Yellow alert still active for the Nevados de Chillan volcano

Chile's National Emergency Office (Onemi) has reported that a yellow alert remains in place at the Nevados de Chillan Volcano in southern Chile. Authorities recommend visitors avoid entering into the pre-established four-kilometre radius exclusion zone.

Lorry set on fire in fresh arson attack in southern Chile

Five unknown individuals have set a lorry on fire in a fresh arson attack in Bio-Bio, southern Chile. The incident happened on Wednesday morning when the vehicle was targeted on the road between Contulmo and Puren, near the provincial border with La Araucania. The vehicle belongs to a forestry company that operates in the region. Local media reported that leaflets referring to the Mapuche indigenous cause were left at the scene. Forestry and mining companies based in southern Chile are often targeted in arson attacks carried out by the Weichan Auka Mapu, a radical faction of the Mapuche indigenous people.

Authorities suspend transit along coastal areas due to risk of tidal waves

Chilean authorities have ordered the suspension of vehicular and pedestrian transit along coastal areas due to the increased risk of tidal waves nationwide. Coastal sectors around Vina del Mar, Valparaiso and Concon are under warning as large waves may bring hazardous conditions and potentially cause structural damage. Extra caution has been advised until the alert expires on Tuesday.

Powerful 6.3-magnitude earthquake recorded in northern Chile

A powerful 6.3-magnitude earthquake was recorded in the early hours of Sunday in northern Chile. According to the US Geological Survey, the quake was recorded near the border with Bolivia and Peru at a depth of 110km. Local media reported that landslides triggered roadblocks across the bordering region. No casualties were so far reported. The quake was felt in Bolivia and across the Peruvian departments of Arequipa, Tacna and Moquegua. Chile is an earthquake-prone nation due to its location in the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, a region known for the high incidence of volcanic and seismic activity.

Pope Francis urges end of Mapuche indigenous conflict

In a public address during his visit to Chile, Pope Francis has called for unity and urged for the end of the long-standing Mapuche conflict. Pope Francis headed to the southern city of Temuco in the southern La Araucania region during his visit to the country, scheduled to last until Thursday. Militants linked to the Mapuche indigenous cause have targeted government buildings and companies stationed in the region amid decades of land disputes. During Pope Francis' visit, protests have erupted alongside a wave of arson attacks targeting churches nationwide, while just hours before his visit, helicopters at a forestry station were set ablaze.

Wave of arson attacks reported ahead of Pope's visit in La Araucania

Suspected militants linked to the Mapuche indigenous cause have engaged in a wave of arson attacks across southern Chile. As Pope Francis is set to visit Temuco in La Araucania, militants set ablaze three churches across the region. In Collipulli, a church was targeted alongside a nearby school, while another church was also attacked in Los Rios region. In La Araucania's Pidima area, police officers were ambushed and engaged in a shootout with unknown assailants. Further reports revealed that three helicopters were set on fire when militants raided a forestal base in Curanilahue, Biobio region. In a statement on Twitter, President Sebastian Pinera has condemned the attacks. Militants linked to the Mapuche indigenous community are long engaged in land disputes with the Chilean government. They often target vehicles belonging to forestry and mineral exploration companies stationed in Los Rios and La Araucania.

Fresh arson attack hits Santiago church during Pope's visit to Chile

A fresh arson attack targeting churches has been reported in Chile as Pope Francis' arrived in the country on Monday. According to local media, at least five assailants threw petrol bombs at a church in Santiago's Puente Alto neighbourhood and reportedly burned Chilean and Vatican flags. Five other attacks targeting Catholic churches have already been reported across Santiago ahead of the Pope's visit to Chile. In most cases, leaflets and messages relating to the indigenous Mapuche cause were found at the sites. Large gatherings and potential protests are expected to occur during his visit - the cities included in the visit are Santiago, Temuco and Iquique - which is scheduled to last until Thursday.

Santiago churches targeted with explosives ahead of Pope Francis' visit

Three churches have been targeted in a wave of attacks ahead of Pope Francis' visit to Chile. Churches across the capital, Santiago, were targeted overnight on Thursday with home-made explosive devices. Incidents were reported in Estacion Central, Recoleta and Penalolen. Leaflets threatening attacks against the Pope were also reportedly recovered at all scenes. On Friday morning, a fourth incident was reported in Quinta Normal. Police officers recovered an explosive device at a building sprayed with hate messages against the Pope. Pope Francis' visit to Chile is scheduled to last from 15 to 18 January in Santiago, Iquique and Temuco. Chile is currently facing rising social tensions especially regarding its indigenous Mapuche population in the south - a subject which will be addressed by the Pope when he heads to Temuco. Similar attacks have previously been carried out by a radical armed faction of the community.

Security beefed up ahead of Pope Francis' visit to Chile

Security measures across major border-crossings in Chile are set to be reinforced as hundreds of thousands of people are expected to head to the country ahead of Pope Francis' visit. Pope Francis will visit the country between 15 and 18 January. According to his itinerary, the first mass will take place in central Santiago at the O'Higgins Park. The following days the Pope will head to the southern town of Temuco and the northern town of Iquique before leaving the country to visit Peru. Busy streets and road disruptions are widely expected prior and during the visit.

Dozens of salmonella cases reported in Lota, Bio Bio

Health authorities in Bio Bio have confirmed that 170 cases of salmonella have been recorded in the southern Chilean region. According to BioBioChile, more than 20 people were taken to hospital after suffering severe dehydration. Preliminary reports suggest that the outbreak was reported after patients consumed a home-made mayonnaise at a local restaurant called 'Dulce y Salado' in the coastal town of Lota. Investigations have been launched to assess the virus' strain. Salmonella is a bacterial infection which is contracted when consuming contaminated food. Symptoms may take up to 72 hours to develop and may include diarrhoea, stomach cramps, vomiting and fever.

Jailed Pinochet-era officer handed fresh murder sentence

Three former intelligence officers during the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet have been sentenced for the murder of a left-wing leader back in 1974. A judge ruled on Wednesday that senior officer Miguel Krassnoff - who is already serving another lengthy sentence - and two of this associates are accused of leading a secret operation that killed Miguel Enriquez, the leader of the Movement of the Revolutionary Left (MIR). Krassnoff was handed a 10-year prison sentence while the two others were sentenced to three years each. Pinochet's intelligence agency, DINA, was responsible for the crackdown of the political dissent, which also included MIR's armed resistance.

Criminals target supermarket in heist in Santiago

More than a dozen criminals took part in a heist on a supermarket in Santiago. Reports revealed that more than 140 million pesos ($250k) had been stolen when armed criminals targeted three security guards in the San Joaquin area. The store was closed during the incident that happened in the early hours of Monday. Police officers launched an investigation to assess which groups are potentially behind the raid. In April, around 100 million pesos were robbed from a BBVA branch in Santiago's Las Condes area.

Exclusion zone still in place in Villa Santa Lucia, Los Lagos

Chilean emergency services have declared that an exclusion zone remains in place as rescue efforts are still being carried out in Los Lagos's Villa Santa Lucia, southern Chile. Villa Santa Lucia was struck by a massive landslide last Saturday, where a dozen people were killed and 10 others are still missing. Rescue operations have been widely affected due to rough weather conditions while locals have been evacuated from the area as rainfall may trigger further landslides in the area.

Red alert issued due to wildfires in Malloa, O'Higgins

On Wednesday evening, the National Emergency Office (Onemi) issued a red alert due to active wildfires in O'Higgins region, central Chile. Authorities revealed that more than 200 hectares of land have already been consumed by the so-called San Luis de Pelequen fire in Malloa. Wildfires tend to become more common in Chile as the summer season approaches. Most incidents are usually reported in central Chile along eucalyptus fields and mostly dry vegetation areas.

Sebastian Pinera wins Chile's presidential run-off

Former President Sebastian Pinera has been declared the winner of Sunday's presidential run-off. According to Chile's Electoral Service (SERVEL), the centre-right candidate garnered 54,57 percent of the votes against his rival, centre-left Alejandro Guillier, who got 45,43 percent. The nearly 10-percentual-point difference comes as a surprise as the results were expected to be much closer. The outstanding results achieved in the first round by the left-wing Broad Front candidate, Beatriz Sanchez, and her neutral stance heavily influenced the results. Further, the high abstention rates - SERVEL showed that only 49 percent of the eligible voters cast their ballots - was also decisive. Despite the victory, his National Renewal Party (RN) faces a major challenge through negotiating with the radical opposition as the RN holds a majority in neither houses of Congress. 

Several killed as massive landslide hit Villa Santa Lucia, Los Lagos

At least 11 people have been killed and a dozen others were injured when a massive landslide hit southern Chile. The incident happened on Saturday morning in Chaiten's Villa Santa Lucia in Los Lagos province. According to the National Emergency Office (Onemi), more than 15 people are still missing after hundreds of houses were affected. Chile's National Geology Service (Sernageomin) revealed that the landslide was caused by the detachment of a piece from the Yelcho glacier. Emergency services remain at the scene as weather conditions are expected to deteriorate further until Friday due to a cold front that is forecast to approach the region from Tuesday.

Red Alert issued due to wildfires in Vina del Mar

Chile's National Emergency Office (Onemi) has issued a red alert due to active wildfires in Vina del Mar, central-west Chile. According to data released by the Forestal National Corporation (CONAF), the so-called 'Las Pataguas' fire is currently affecting the sectors of Canal Beagle and Villa Dulce, where dozens of houses were already preventively evacuated. Meanwhile, in Villa Alemana, two low-scale wildfires are still active. Wildfires tend to be common as Chile approaches its summer season. Last year, most incidents were reported around central Chile, especially in Valparaiso.

Chileans to head to polls ahead of presidential run-off vote

Chileans are set to cast their ballots ahead of the presidential run-off vote on Sunday. In the first round, former president Sebastian Pinera and his right-wing coalition garnered around 37 percent of the votes. He is being challenged by left-wing New Majority's Alejandro Guillier who got nearly 23 percent. Despite recent polls suggesting a narrow victory for Pinera, the outcome remains uncertain due to expected low turnout figures. Further, the surprising results achieved by Beatriz Sanchez, the leader of the new-born left-wing Broad Front, is also expected to influence the upcoming vote as well as the votes garnered by the other two trailing candidates. Although most left-wing parties pledged allegiance to Guillier, Sanchez's Broad Front announced an independent stance.

Quebrada Blanca mine workers launch strike after failed negotiations

Workers at the northern Chilean Quebrada Blanca copper mine are set to launch strike action on Wednesday morning due to failed negotiations. The leader of the worker's syndicate, Jorge Flores, confirmed that the strike was called after failed government-mediated talks with the Canadian-based Teck Resources on the renegotiation of collective contracts. 

Secret police officers sentenced for dictatorship-era crimes

Santiago's Court of Appeals has sentenced nine former members of the infamous National Intelligence Director (DINA) for the disappearance of an opposition to Augusto Pinochet in 1974. The nine convicted members of Pinochet's secret police are believed to be linked to the kidnap of a 27-year-old student member of the Left Revolutionary Movement (MIR). Hector Zuniga Tapia was reported missing amid the notorious Operation Colombo, responsible for the disappearance of 119 political prisoners.

Traffic restricted between Santiago and Valparaiso for pilgrimage

Chilean authorities informed that disruptions are likely on the road between Santiago and Valparaiso as thousands of pilgrims head to the Lo Vasquez Sanctuary on Friday's Immaculate Conception celebrations. According to reports, the Ruta 68 highway is completely blocked between Casablanca and Lo Orozco. If heading to the coast from Santiago, authorities recommend the use of Ruta 5 Norte highway and then connect in La Calera into the Ruta Internacional between Valparaiso and Vina del Mar. Restrictions are set to be in force until the end of the day.

Centre-left leader takes independent stance ahead of presidential run-off

The leader of the centre-left Broad Front, Beatriz Sanchez, announced on Thursday that the party will take an independent stance ahead of Sunday's presidential run-off. Sanchez, who garnered a staggering 20,3 percent of the votes on the first round, said that after discussing the party's endorsement with its own political base, it will request their electorate to reflect and vote freely. The move widely influences the potential outcome of the upcoming vote. In mid-November, former-president Sebastian Pinera's right-wing coalition garnered 36,6 percent of the votes, while in second place New Majority's Alejandro Guillier got 22,7 percent. Left-wing parties had previously shown intentions to support Guillier in the presidential run-off, but some political tensions within left-wing parties before the elections have made such endorsement uncertain.

Several killed as bus overturns in La Araucania

Nearly a dozen people have been killed and more than 20 others were injured when a bus overturned in La Araucania, southern Chile. Local media reported that the vehicle crashed on a sharp curve while driving along the CH-181 highway between Curacautin and Victoria. The accident happened later on Saturday afternoon. It has been revealed that most passengers were civil servants from Tirua, a local municipality in Bio-Bio.

Workers at Escondida mine launch strike action in Antofagasta

Mining workers at northern Chile's Escondida copper mine have called a 24-hour strike to protest against mass layoffs recently announced by the Australian-based BHP Billiton. Workers are being fully endorsed by a number of syndicates that labelled as illegal the dismissal of 120 employees. Previous strike actions at the Escondida turned violent after the BHP's management board failed to reach an agreement over salary cuts and contract reforms.

Red Alert issued over active wildfires near Santiago

Chile's National Forestry Corporation (CONAF) has issued a red alert to the community of Colina on the outskirts of Santiago as wildfires remain active in the region. CONAF and the National Emergency Office (Onemi) revealed on Tuesday that emergency services have been deployed to the area to tackle the blazes that have already consumed around 80 hectares of land. As warm and dry weather conditions approach, the risk of wildfires tend to be higher, especially in regions surrounding the capital.

Former-president Pinera to face Guillier in presidential run-off

Former-president Sebastian Pinera won the first round of the Chilean presidential elections held on Sunday. With a large advantage, Pinera's right-wing Chile Vamos coalition garnered more than 36,6 percent of the votes. In second place came New Majority's candidate Alejandro Guiller, who reached 22,7 percent of the votes, closely followed by the centre-left candidate Beatriz Sanchez, who garnered 20,3 percent. Pinera and Guillier are set to face each other in a run-off vote scheduled for mid-December. Meanwhile, the election turnout hit around 46 percent. Prior to the election, most centre-left coalitions vowed to endorse Guillier in the run-off vote. Guillier seeks the support of loyalists to Sanchez's Broad Front coalition along with those of the Christian Democrats and the Progressist Party. Pinera, on the other hand, aims to reach right-wing voters of Jose Antonio Kast, who garnered eight percent of the votes.

Yellow alert issued due to active wildfire in Vicuna, Coquimbo

Chile's National Emergency Office (Onemi) has issued a yellow alert due to an active wildfire in Coquimbo, central Chile. The alert was issued on Monday morning as emergency services were deployed to the area of Vicuna. The low-scale blazes have been mostly contained, but some areas of difficult access remain under alert. As the dry season in Chile approaches, the incidence of wildfires significantly increases. Last year in November, a massive wildfire broke out for several months in Valparaiso.

Chilean senator stabbed in Iquique, Tarapaca

Senator Fulvio Rossi has been injured in a knife attack in Iquique, northern Chile. Rossi sustained non-life threatening wounds after two assailants hit him in the head and stabbed him in the stomach. He was attacked on Wednesday morning moments before leaving his home and starting his electoral campaign. Rossi is running as an independent senatorial candidate to Arica, Tarapaca and Parinacota. He claims that he and his family had previously been threatened for his strong stances on illegal immigration and the deportation of foreigners engaged in criminal activity.

Chileans to cast their ballots ahead of 2017 elections

Chileans are set to cast their ballots on Sunday to replace President Michelle Bachelet ahead of the 2017 general, parliamentary and regional elections. Among the main contenders is former president Sebastian Pinera, the candidate for the centre-right Chile Vamos coalition. Meanwhile, left-wing parties are heavily fragmented, especially the ruling New Majority coalition, which reluctantly chose to endorse Alejandro Guillier. Beatriz Sanchez is the candidate of the young Broad Front coalition which had lost significant influence towards other centre-left contenders. Although left-wing parties seem to be disunited, it is predicted that they may fully endorse Guillier if he reaches the run-off vote. Recent polls suggest that Pinera holds a significant advantage against Guillier as the ruling coalition has recently recorded a sharp economic downturn. However, in Chile, abstention rates are extremely high and may dictate the direction of the run-off vote in mid-December.

Health ministry issues alert over Q Fever outbreak in southern Chile

Chile's Health Ministry has issued a sanitary alert after dozens of Q Fever cases have been reported across three regions in southern Chile. The alert was issued after 59 cases of Q Fever were reported in Los Lagos, Los Rios and La Araucania regions, especially affecting farm workers around Osorno area. Q Fever is transmitted from animals to humans through the Coxiella burnetti bacteria. Most cases affect rural workers who closely work with livestock. Authorities advised the general population not to drink unpasteurized milk. Symptoms are usually mild but may include fever, headaches and chills.

Dozens infected with Q Fever in southern Chile

Health authorities confirmed that dozens of people have contracted Q fever in southern Chile. Chile's Health Undersecretary Jaime Burrows said that 43 people from Los Rios and Los Lagos regions were taken to the hospital after contracting the disease. Barrows said that most of them were workers in the dairy industry. Q Fever is a highly infectious bacterial disease that is usually transmitted to humans through the contact with infected livestock and some mammals. Symptoms are usually mild but may include fever, headaches and chills. Such high number of cases are unprecedented in Chile, which prompted authorities to seek assistance from Australian experts to control the outbreak.

Coastal regions on alert over dangerous tidal waves

The Navy's Maritime Meteorological Centre has issued a warning to the whole Chilean coast over tidal waves forecast for the weekend. The alert includes areas from the northern Arica region to the southern Penas Gulf, where waves reaching up to three metres are expected to violently batter coastal areas from Thursday until Monday. The Navy called for extra caution when travelling along coastal and rocky roads while it also advised people to avoid entering the sea and undertaking maritime sports or activities.

Court absolves Mapuche members over deadly arson attack

A Chilean court has ruled the absolution of 11 Mapuche indigenous people for links to a 2013 arson attack in La Araucania, southern Chile. According to judges, not enough evidence was provided over their connection to the incident, where two landowners were killed. Both victims were known to be involved in an ongoing land dispute with the local Mapuche community. The ruling came a month after eight Mapuche members appeared in a court in Temuco over suspected links to dozens of arson attacks that targeted forestry and mineral exploration companies.

Home-made explosive wounds several students in Santiago college

At least 10 people have been injured when a home-made explosive device went off at a college in the outskirts of Santiago. Firefighters and police officers headed to the Colegio Antartica Chilena in Vitacura moments after the bomb went off on Tuesday afternoon. Among the casualties are seven minors, who suffered minor injuries that included eye and nasal irritation due to the device's chemical composition. It is believed that the device was manufactured by the students, while the circumstances behind the blast remain unclear.

Hundreds protest in Santiago over death of Argentinian activist

Hundreds of people have taken to the streets of Santiago to demand justice over the death of the Argentinian activist Santiago Maldonado. Dozens of social and rights organisations called for the march on Monday in the capital's Plaza Italia. Tensions escalated when protesters threw projectiles at the Argentinian Embassy and attempted to set a bus on fire. Maldonado was found dead in southern Argentinas's Chubut region nearly three months after disappearing during a land-eviction operation. He was taking part in a protest to defend lands claimed by the indigenous Mapuche community. Family members are set to meet in Uruguay with the Interamerican Commision for Human Rights (CIDH) to demand investigations over the circumstances behind Maldonado's disappearance and later death.

Earthquake in Ovalle, Coquimbo

On 19 October, the National Chilean Seismological Centre (CSN) reported an earthquake of 4.2-magnitude five kilometres south of Ovalle, Coquimbo.  The quake took place at 06:14 local time.

Five Venezuelan judges arrive in Chile as political refugees

On 19 October, five Venezuelan judges arrived in Chile as "diplomatic refugees" after already having spent two months in the Chilean Embassy in Caracas. This status ensures that they will receive financial assistance, said Chancellor Heraldo Munoz.  Elenis Rodriguez, Jose Nunez, Beatriz Ruiz and Zuleima Gonzalez were met at Santiago airport and will stay in a hotel, whilst Luis Marcano arrived in the afternoon.  Beatriz Ruiz said: "We have been obliged to abandon our beloved Venezuela, but today another nation protects us in liberty".  Thirty-three judges have been threatened with prison sentences by the supreme court in Venezuela. Roberto Enriquez, president of the Partido Social Cristiano party (COPEI) remains in the Chilean embassy in Caracas.  The asylum will last for two years, giving the judges to organize their paperwork to stay in Chile.

Presidential candidates announced for November elections

Chile's presidential campaign has started on Friday as the Chilean Electoral Service (SERVEL) revealed the full list of contenders ahead of the election scheduled to be held on 19 November. Among the main candidates are the conservative and former President Sebastian Pinera, the centre-left independent Alejandro Guillier, left-wing Broad Front's Beatriz Sanchez, Christian Democrat Carolina Goic and the right-wing independentist Jose Antonio Kast. President Michelle Bachelet is not allowed to run for office as she reached her two-term presidential limit. The latest polls suggest that Pinera's Chile Vamos coalition is comfortably leading while Guiller is in second place. However, predictions regarding the Chilean presidential elections are widely uncertain due to high abstention rates.

One dead in housefire in Macul

On 19 October, a fire took place between Rodrigo de Aray and Santa Julia Streets in Macul.  The fire apparently started in a mechanical workshop before spreading to four nearby houses.  An employee of the workshop died.

Twenty-five injured in bus crash

On 17 October, a Cruz del Sur bus lost control and overturned near the town of Chonchi in Chiloe.  Twenty-five people were injured, two of them seriously.  Eight ambulances attended the scene and took the injured to the Agust Riffart de Castro Hospital.  A possible petrol spill together with recent rain could have been the cause of the accident, but police investigations are continuing.

Neighbourhood protest over insecurity

On 17 October, a protest took place in the Beaucheff neighbourhood of Santiago.  Dozens of people gathered to protest about increased crime and insecurity in the area and the lack of support from the authorities.

Public sector workers protest for higher wages

On 17 October, public sector workers in Chile held protests in the capital city Santiago to demand that the government allocate more funds to the public spending budget, and improve wages for workers. The protests were organized by the National Association of Fiscal Employees (ANEF) and the Public Sector Union. Protesters are asking for a six percent readjustment of the public sector's budget, and expect to begin talks with the government on Friday.

Man stabbed to death in Santiago

A 26-year-old man has died after being stabbed in downtown Santiago. The incident happened at about 03:30, and according to witnesses, occurred as the victim tried to prevent the theft of his backpack on Stroll Ahumada, between Moneda and Alameda.

Protesters set barricade on fire in Vina del Mar

Riot police and special agents were deployed to Vina del Mar after a number of hooded men set a barricade ablaze on Thursday evening. Shooting broke out as the assailants launched Molatov cocktails at security forces. No injuries were reported and no arrests were made. According to preliminary reports, the protest took place to reject Chile's Columbus Day - locally known as the 'Dia de la Raza' or day of the race.

Strong 6.3-magnitude earthquake hits northern Chile

A strong 6.3-magnitude earthquake and nearly a dozen aftershocks struck northern Chile on the early hours of Tuesday. Tremors were reported in Arica, Parinacota, Tarapaca and Antofagasta. Landslides blocked parts of the Ruta 5 Norte highway, while hundreds of people were preventively evacuated from Arica due to a brief tsunami alert. According to the University of Chile's National Seismologic Centre, the quake's epicentre was near Putre at a 100km depth. No casualties or major damages were reported. Chile is located along the Pacific Ring of Fire, a region prone to earthquakes and intense volcanic activity.

Thousands march in Santiago to support indigenous rights

Thousands of protesters took to the streets of central Santiago to support the indigenous Mapuche community in Chile. More than 5,000 demonstrators marched through the capital to demand indigenous rights and the release of dozens of jailed Mapuche activists. Violence escalated when a group of protesters erected barricades and threw projectiles at the police. The Mapuche is one of the largest indigenous groups in Chile and is engaged in a long-standing land dispute with the government. Tensions tend to be higher in southern Chile, where Mapuche sympathisers sporadically launch arson attacks targeting forestry and mining companies.

Several vehicles targeted in renewed arson attack in La Araucania

Around 10 vehicles have been set on fire in a renewed arson attack targeting companies stationed in La Araucania, southern Chile. Local media reported that the attack happened in the early hours of Friday near Curacautin. Several lorries and machinery belonging to a roadworks company were completely destroyed. It remains unclear which group is behind the attack, but such incidents are often attributed to sympathizers of the indigenous Mapuche community.

Dozens detained as Mapuche protest escalates in Concepcion

More than 30 people have been detained after an unauthorised protest escalated in Concepcion, southern Chile. Demonstrators marched from the Plaza Independencia towards the city's cathedral on Monday to support four jailed Mapuche indigenous activists who are currently engaged in a 110-day hunger strike. Violence erupted when riot police fired tear gas and water cannons at the protesters' camp. Chilean police have preventively detained four Mapuche activists after their alleged involvement in an arson attack on a church in Padre de las Casas back in June last year.

Two killed and several injured as tourist bus capsizes in Atacama

Two people have been killed and at least 20 others were injured when a tourist bus capsized in the Atacama desert, northern Chile. Local media revealed that the accident happened late on Saturday evening on the Ruta 5 Norte highway near La Serena. It remains unclear what caused the crash. Reports revealed that more than 40 people were coming back from Huasco to Santiago after a visit to the famous flowering desert - a rare phenomenon which turns an area of the dry Chilean desert into a carpet of flowers.

One killed in Santiago nightclub shooting

A 22-year-old woman has been killed after a shooting broke out in a nightclub in Santiago. The incident happened in the early hours of Sunday morning at a club known as 'The Castle', which is located in the popular Quilicura neighbourhood. At least eight shots were fired before the suspect fled the scene. Local media reported that the incident happened after an altercation broke out inside the club right before closing. However, it still remains unclear what motivated the attack, while a manhunt was launched to locate the suspected shooter.

Firefigthers extinguish wildfires across Easter Island

More than 170 hectares of land have been consumed after six wildfires broke out across the Easter Island, a Chilean territory located in the Pacific. Firefighters tackled the fires which ignited earlier this week throughout several areas including the Rano Kau volcano, Pui hill, Anamarana and Vaitea. Local authorities revealed that the fires were intentionally caused and that they were already fully contained. The extent of damage caused is to be fully assessed at the island's Orongo and the Rano Kau II areas. Chile's National Forestal Brigade (CONAF) has been since assisting local authorities to restore the province's already limited emergency system.

Arsonists attack four churches in La Araucania

Four churches have been targeted in arson attacks in less than 24 hours in La Araucania, southern Chile. Three of the attacks simultaneously happened in Victoria and Ercilla, while a fourth was reported later in the same area. According to the police, propaganda material belonging to the indigenous Mapuche cause were found at all the scenes. It is believed that the attacks came in retaliation for the prison of four indigenous men who are accused of another arson attack on a church in Padre las Casas. The Mapuche indigenous community is engaged in a long-standing land dispute with the government. Sympathisers often target extraction and forestry companies in southern Chile.

Police makes massive cocaine bust near Bolivian border

A dozen suspects have been detained after more than 820 kilos of cocaine were seized near the Bolivian border in the early hours of Sunday morning. According to local media and police reports, the operation dubbed 'Imperio Fantasma' started nine months ago in Tarapaca region, northern Chile. The seizure happened around the Route 5 just moments after a lorry crossed an illegal border point near the Bolivian salt desert of Coipasa. The group was already known by the authorities, which last year had more than 440 kilos of cocaine seized. Investigators believe that the drug - believed to be worth almost $21m - was heading from Bolivia to the capital Santiago ahead of the national holidays.

President Michelle Bachelet signs abortion bill

President Michelle Bachelet has signed a bill which decriminalises abortion in Chile. The bill is Bachelet's flagship campaign and was first introduced to the Senate nearly two years ago. Abortion is a very debated subject in Chile. The bill has faced a series of setbacks mainly from the centre-right coalition Chile Vamos and it will likely receive a number of amendments from the ministry of health and face changes subject to the outcome of the presidential elections. Recently, the constitutional court narrowly passed the new legislation which will allow abortion in three circumstances: pregnancy as a result of rape, when the pregnancy poses serious health risks to the expectant mother, or if the fetus is considered anencephalic.

Tensions escalate during coup's anniversary commemorations

Tensions further escalated on Monday evening during the commemorations of the coup anniversary in Santiago. Despite earlier clashes, further violence spread across the capital throughout the night. Among the incidents are looting, shooting and road blocks. In the Huechurraba area, a Transantiago bus was set on fire when armed criminals ordered passengers and the driver to get off the vehicle. In La Pintana, three vehicles were also set ablaze, while widespread looting targeted a local media outlet in San Joaquin. Violence is common during the night of 11 September or the 'Once', when anarchists often infiltrate marches intended to remember the victims of Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship.

Violence breaks out during coup anniversary march in Santiago

Clashes erupted when more than 5,000 people took to the streets of Santiago to remember the victims of the dictatorial rule of Augusto Pinochet. Rights organisations and family members marched on Monday to mark the 44th anniversary of the coup. Tensions escalated when hooded individuals threw stones and other projectiles at the police, which responded with tear gas and water cannons. Six police officers were injured and 25 people were arrested.

Militants set forestry machines on fire in La Araucania

At least seven vehicles and forestry machines have been set on fire in a renewed arson attack in La Araucania region, southern Chile. According to the Subsecretary of Interior, the incident happened in Pumalal overnight on Monday. Two lorries were set on fire along with five machines parked in an area belonging to a forestal company near Temuco. Local media reported that the Mapuche-sympathisers armed wing Coordinadora Arauco-Malleco (CAM) claimed responsibility for the attack.

Finance and Economy ministers resign over mining project

Chile's Finance Minister Rodrigo Valdes and Economy Minister Felipe Cespedes resigned on Friday over cabinet infighting regarding the controversial mining project Dominga. Both ministers left President Michelle Bachelet's government after she publicly criticised the project over rising environmental concerns. Their resignation, which comes three months ahead of Chile's general elections, is expected to shake the presidential campaign of the centre-left candidate Alejandro Guillier, who is running for office against former conservative President Sebastian Pinera.

Bachelet introduces to Congress same-sex marriage bill

President Michelle Bachelet has sent a bill to Congress which aims to fully legalise same-sex marriage in Chile. Bachelet said that: "We do this with the certainty that it is not ethical nor fair to put artificial limits on love, nor to deny essential rights just because of the sex of those who make up a couple". Two years ago, Chile recognised civil unions between same-sex couples as a further step to achieve full marriage rights. The bill - is expected to be debated at length due to conservative politicians and the fragmented ruling Nueva Mayoria coalition - comes amid a series of liberal policies introduced by Bachelet ahead of November general elections.

Dozens of lorries set on fire in fresh arson attack in Los Rios

Around 30 logging lorries have been set on fire in a fresh arson attack targeting forestry companies in southern Chile. The attack was reported overnight on Monday when an armed group set fire to the vehicles and a warehouse in Los Rios's San Jose de la Mariquina. According to local media, the Weichan Auka Mapu group claimed responsibility for the attack. The group is believed to be linked to the Mapuche indigenous community, which wages a historical land dispute with the government.

Severe weather affects hundreds in Los Lagos

Hundreds of families have suffered water and power shortages after a weather front hit southern Chile on Wednesday. Widespread disruption has been reported in Los Lagos region, where landslides and flooding have occurred across several provinces. Some roads and bridges were either damaged or blocked when heavy rains and strong winds triggered mudslides - threatening the main Route 5 in Chiloe province. Although a yellow alert was declared, weather conditions are expected to improve in the coming days.

Constitutional Court passes abortion decriminalisation law

The Constitutional Court has passed the controversial bill aimed at decriminalising abortion in Chile. In a 6-4 vote, the bill was finally approved after a two-year-long debate. It rules that abortion will be legal in three circumstances: pregnancy as a result of rape, when the pregnancy poses serious health risks to the expectant mother, or if the fetus is considered anencephalic. The bill is a flagship campaign of President Michelle Bachelet, who aimed to take Chile out of a small list of countries which ban abortion in all circumstances.

Several lorries set ablaze in renewed Mapuche arson, Araucania

At least 18 lorries have been set ablaze in a renewed Mapuche arson attack in Araucania, southern Chile. The incident was reported in the early hours of Saturday morning at a parking spot in Temuco. Governor Nora Barrientos confirmed that investigations suggest links to Mapuche's Weichan Auka Mapu group. Arson attacks often occur in the Araucania region amid the ongoing historical lands disputes between the Mapuche indigenous community and the government. Tensions recently eased after President Michele Bachelet formally apologised and Pope Francis announced plans to visit Temuco in 2018.

Court of Appeal sentences 24 over Pinochet-era crimes

A further 24 former agents were sentenced on Tuesday for crimes committed during the dictatorial rule of Augusto Pinochet. The Court of Appeal of Santiago ruled that the convictions included their roles in Operation Colombo - an intelligence-based operation aimed at covering up crimes during the dictatorship period. The court focused on kidnap and forced disappearance cases of opposition members. In June, dozens of intelligence officers were given jail time for the killing of 16 people between 1973 and 1990.

Police officer stabbed during robbery in Santiago

Two off-duty police officers have been attacked during a robbery attempt in Santiago. The incident happened in the early hours of Wednesday morning when four assailants ambushed the victims in a central area of the capital. One of the victims was severely injured after being stabbed at least four times, while the other suffered minor injuries.

Thousands face power cuts due to severe weather in southern Chile

More than 170,000 people have suffered widespread electricity shortages after a fierce storm hit central and southern Chile. An area of high-concern is La Araucania, where 18 people were displaced after around ten houses were destroyed. Power cuts were also reported in Los Rios and Biobio, while shortages are expected to last until at least Monday evening. The National Emergency Office (Onemi) declared a yellow alert for the city of Canete and the regions of Biobio and La Araucania, which are likely to face minor landslides and other disruptions.

Congress approves bill on abortion decriminalisation

Chile's Congress approved on Wednesday the decriminalisation of abortion. The new bill rules that abortion will be legal in three occasions: pregnancy in cases of rape, when the pregnancy poses serious health risks to the expectant mother or if the fetus is considered anencephalic - when the baby is born without a part of the brain or skull. The highly debated abortion bill is a flagship campaign of President Michelle Bachelet, which is still facing resistance from the centre-right opposition Chile Vamos. The new legislation will now head to the Constitutional Court for approval.

Strong 5.6-magnitude earthquake hits central Chile

A 5.6-magnitude earthquake was recorded overnight on Tuesday in central Chile. The quake's epicentre was on the outskirts of Farellones and affected major areas between Coquimbo and Maule, including the capital Santiago, in central Chile. No casualties or major structural damages were reported. Chile is located along the Pacific Ring of Fire, a region prone to regular seismic activity.

Thousands protest after parliament rejects abortion law

Thousands of people took to the streets of major Chilean cities after the country's new abortion law narrowly failed to reach a majority in the Congress lower house. Demonstrators gathered in Santiago's Plaza Italia to march towards the Presidential palace. The bill is now set to be reviewed by a special committee before being resubmitted. The protest comes a week after the Senate passed a bill to de-penalise abortion in certain cases - Chile is one of the few countries in the world to impose a full abortion ban.

Thousands to protest nationwide against pension system

Thousands of people are expected to take to the streets for nationwide protests on Tuesday morning in a renewed act to demand pension reforms. Demonstrators part of the movement NO+AFP will march across major Chilean cities against the long-running private pension system, which critics claim engulfs Chile in deeper inequality. The march comes as the movement becomes a year old on Tuesday. The Pension Funds Administrators (AFP) was created in 1981 during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.

Heavy snowfall affects thousands in Santiago

Thousands of people have been affected by an intense snowstorm which ravaged Santiago's Metropolitan region. The National Emergency Office (Onemi) revealed that more than 260,000 people across the whole region suffered electricity cuts over the weekend, while snow blocked roads and caused traffic disruption in the capital. Local media also reported that one person was killed and two others were injured.

Taxi drivers protest against Uber in Santiago

Thousands of taxi drivers blocked the streets of central Santiago on Tuesday to protest against app-based transport services. Demonstrators demand that companies such as Uber and Cabify pay higher taxes and fees. As app-based transport services expand across major cities in Latin American, taxi drivers and their respective unions have intensified protests claiming that such companies pose unfair competition.

Main road blocked as buses are set alight in Santiago

Two Transantiago buses were robbed and set ablaze in the early hours of Monday in Santiago. Local media reported that a group of unknown individuals set both vehicles on fire and blocked the Avenida Central in Cerrillos area. A third bus was also vandalised in the incident. No further details were revealed, while it remains unclear who or which group is behind the attack.

Former President Pinera set to win Alianza bloc primaries

Former President Sebastian Pinera is set to win his right-wing Alianza bloc primary elections ahead of November's presidential elections. Pinera was the Chilean president between 2010 and 2014 during a period when the South American country recorded strong economic growth. Meanwhile, the left-wing Frente Amplio coalition elected on Sunday Beatriz Sanchez as the party's frontrunner. President Michelle Bachelet is not allowed to run due to constitutional restrictions on consecutive presidential mandates.

Two killed in O'Higgins casino shooting

Two people have been killed and four others injured at a shooting at a casino in O'Higgins, central Chile. The incident happened on Sunday afternoon at the Monticello Casino in San Francisco Mostazal, where a customer suddenly engaged in a shooting spree. Special forces were deployed to evacuate the building, which was put on lockdown until the suspect killed himself after hours of negotiations. Police believe the man opened fire at the casino's employees after he lost a large sum of money. 

President announces plans to create indigenous ministry

President Michelle Bachelet has announced plans to create a ministry for indigenous people amid rising tensions with the Mapuche indigenous community in southern Chile. In a press conference, Bachelet apologised for a number of state actions against the Mapuche and also revealed intentions to allocate more financial resources in indigenous areas. The Chilean government is accused of neglecting the community in favour of private exploration conglomerates operating on indigenous lands. Several companies have recently been targeted in arson attacks carried out by Mapuche's armed wing in La Araucania.

Authorities issue nationwide weather alert

Emergency authorities issued nationwide alerts as a powerful weather front hit Chile. A yellow alert has been issued to Copiapo and Huasco in Atacama as heavy rains and strong winds are expected to affect the region. The same alert was also issued to O'Higgins and Maule, where more than 6,000 people suffered electricity cuts. Last week, thousands were affected as a weather front system ravaged several areas in central and southern Chile.

Bolivian officials arrested in Tarapaca attend court hearing

The regional prosecutor of Tarapaca, northern Chile, has requested a three-year prison sentence for nine Bolivian nationals arrested in late-March. However, a court ruled on Wednesday their deportation from Chile within 30 days and the payment of a fine. Two Bolivian military officials and seven customs officers were arrested in the region during an alleged anti-smuggling operation along the border. They have been accused of smuggling, robbery and illegal weapons possession. The arrests deepened the diplomatic tensions between Bolivia and Chile, which are facing an ongoing land dispute on the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Four killed due to severe weather in Chile

Four people have been killed and thousands of others have been affected by severe weather in central and southern Chile. Intense rains and snowstorms on Saturday forced more than 3,000 people to flee their homes, mostly in the Biobio region. Officials revealed that more than 300,000 residents suffered energy cuts, while 5,000 others had no access to drinking water. Conditions have been normalised as the weather front system is heading to Argentina.

Criminals raid Malaysian ambassador's house in Santiago

The Malaysian Ambassador to Chile and his family have been held hostage during a robbery attempt at their house in Santiago. The diplomatic residence of Mohamad Rameez Bin Yahay in Las Condes neighbourhood was raided on Sunday evening by men armed with knives. Criminals reportedly stole more than 40m pesos ($60k) and several pieces of jewellery.

Police sergeant shot in the head after carjacking in Santiago

A police sergeant has been severely injured during a carjacking in Santiago. Armed men approached the victim and his two sons shortly after they left their home in Santo Domingo sector on Wednesday morning. A shooting broke out when the victim reacted. A police operation was launched in the area to located the assailants, who fled the scene in a stolen vehicle. In recent years, carjackings have suffered a surge in Chile, especially targeting luxury vehicles.

Emergency office issues weather warning to northern Chile

The National Emergency Office (Onemi) issued a warning for heavy rains and strong winds in northern Chile. The regions of Atacama and Antofagasta remain under a yellow alert due to severe weather on Wednesday. The warning comes weeks after an unexpected amount of rain caused widespread damage in Atacama and Coquimbo.

Yellow alert issued over Copahue Volcano activity

Emergency services declared a yellow alert over increasing activity on the Copahue Volcano in eastern Chile. The warning was followed by Argentinian authorities over the potential increase of the smoke cloud around the bordering area of Caviahue-Copahue. An area of 1,000 metres from points near the crater remain isolated as emergency services are monitoring potential increase on eruptive and seismic activities.

Judge sentences dozens over Pinochet-era crimes

Dozens of former intelligence officers have been arrested for dictatorship-era crimes. A Chilean judge ruled that 106 members of Augusto Pinochet's National Intelligence Directorate (DINA) are guilty of killing 16 people. This is the largest mass sentencing regarding crimes during the period Pinochet ruled Chile - 1973 to 1990 - where more than 3,000 people are believed to have disappeared or killed.

Students confederation calls nationwide strike

Chile's Students Confederation (CONFECH) called for nationwide protests on Thursday 01 June, to demonstrate against the government's proposed education reforms. The marches will take place in Valparaiso at Plaza Sotomayor and Parque Italia, while in Santiago demonstrators will gather in the capital's downtown during the morning. Further protests are expected during the whole month of June amid the beginning of an indefinite national strike led by teachers and students.

Man shot dead during violent gang stand off in Melipilla

A 17-year-old man has been killed during a violent shooting between rival gangs in Melipilla, Region Metropolitana. The incident happened in La Foresta community where another victim was also injured. A police operation was launched to arrest the suspects, which are believed to be part of a local drug-trafficking group.

Masked men set lorries on fire in La Araucania

Seven lorries were set ablaze on Wednesday after an ambush in La Araucania, southern Chile. In Ercilla, a Brazilian driver was injured when masked men shot and set on fire five vehicles. Moments later in Victoria, two other lorries were also burnt when approaching an improvised roadblock. The police believe that the attacks were carried out by the armed force of the Mapuche indigenous people, which often target transport vehicles from local extraction and construction companies.

Warning over heavy rains in Atacama and Coquimbo

Heavy rains and severe weather are expected to hit Atacama and Coquimbo, northern and central Chile. Emergency services warned of heavy downpours expected over the weekend, while services are likely to face disruptions. Meanwhile, the Chilean Navy warned of large waves along the whole Chilean coast until Saturday. The National Emergency Office (Onemi) also issued a warning to potential flooding along coastal roads in Valparaiso. It is advised to monitor weather forecasts and to remain vigilant when driving in risk areas.

Hundreds march against student debt in Santiago

Chile's Students Confederation (Confech) called a nationwide march on Tuesday 09 May, to demand the government scrap student debt and the end of a controversial state-backed student financial system. The march is scheduled to last for three hours - 11.30 to 14.30 local time - and to start at Parque Bustamante towards Echaurren. This is the second nationwide march called in 2017. Protests in Chile are usually peaceful; however, isolated cases of sporadic violence may occur.

Four armed men raid bank in Santiago

At least four masked criminals raided a bank in Santiago on Wednesday. The incident happened when armed men stormed a BBVA branch in Las Condes area threatening customers and pedestrians. A massive police operation was launched to locate the criminals that fled the scene with more than 100 million pesos ($150,000) in two separate vehicles.

Powerful 7.1-magnitude earthquake rocks Valparaiso

A powerful 7.1-magnitude earthquake was reported off the coast of Valparaiso on Monday. According to the US Geological Survey, the quake was recorded 22 miles off the Chilean Pacific coast at a depth of 6.2 miles, triggering a temporary tsunami alert. Despite minor landslides, no further structural damage or casualties were reported. Chile is located along the Pacific 'Ring of Fire' - a region prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity.

Red alert declared due to active wildfires in Valparaiso

The National Emergency Office (Onemi) has declared a red alert due to active wildfires in Valparaiso, central Chile. The fires are mainly affecting the areas surrounding the Lake Panuela National Reserve and the Valparaiso-Santiago highway 68 in Placilla. Valparaiso faces a significant threat posed by wildfires. In early-2017, thousands of hectares were consumed by the flames forcing thousands to evacuate the area.

Series of earthquakes recorded in Valparaiso

Over 100 earthquakes and aftershocks were reported in central Chile over the weekend. Most quakes were reported across Valparaiso and Metropolitana - where nearly a dozen earthquakes reached magnitudes of over 4.7 on the Richter scale. A statement released by the National Emergency Office (Onemi) and the National Seismology Centre revealed that such incidents are common and pose no significant risks.

Dozens isolated due to flooding in San Jose de Maipo

The National Emergency Office (Onemi) issued a yellow alert after intense rains blocked several roads in San Jose de Maipo, central Chile. Over 250 people remain isolated after the overflowing of the San Jose river triggered mudslides and flooding - blocking the G-25 road, which links Santiago's Metropolitan Area to Maipo Canyon, and the G-456 road. The Chile-Argentina border crossing in San Gabriel remains widely restricted. Rains are likely to continue across the region during the following days.

Navy warns over tidal waves to all coastal regions

The Chilean Navy meteorology office in Valparaiso issued a warning for tidal waves along the Chilean coast over the weekend. Waves reaching up to four-metres-high are expected due to strong south-western winds. The warning mostly concerns the southern and central Chilean coast, but it includes the whole Chilean coastal strip from Gulf Penas to Arica.

Yellow alert issued to Nevados de Chillan volcano, Nuble

The National Emergency Office (Onemi) has issued a yellow alert for two villages over the activity of the Nevados de Chillan volcano in southern Chile. The alert has remained active since last week in the Pinto and Coihueco communities in the Nuble province after the volcano expelled ashes and fumes up to 3,000 metres high. Since March, the Nevados de Chillan - located near the Termas de Chillan ski resort - has been reporting increasing activity.

Thousands of students to march in Santiago

Thousands of students are expected to march on the streets of Santiago in their first protest of the year. Demonstrators endorsed by Chile's Student Confederation (Confech) are scheduled to gather at Plaza Italia and march along the Bernardo O'Higgins Avenue on Tuesday. Among the demands are the increasing number of places on public higher education institutions, improvement in teaching and availability of student maintenance grants.

Party leader requests political asylum to Embassy in Venezuela

The Ministry of foreign affairs revealed that the leader of the Venezuelan Social Christian Party (COPEI), Roberto Enriquez, requested political asylum at the Chilean Embassy in Caracas. The government confirmed receiving Enriquez as a guest to the ambassador's residence and will act accordingly to its 'judicial and humanitarian principles'. The move came just days after the government announced to recall indefinitely its ambassador to Venezuela.

Ambassador to Venezuela recalled indefinitely

Chile's Minister of Foreign Affairs Heraldo Munoz revealed on Monday that the country's ambassador to Venezuela, Pedro Felipe Ramirez, was recalled indefinitely and has no established date to return to Caracas. Ramirez was called in a consultative role on Friday after the Venezuelan Supreme Court of Justice (STJ) ruled to scrap parliament powers - a decision which was retracted later.

Bolivian minister denied entry into the country

Bolivia's Minister of Defence Reymi Ferreira has been denied entry into Chilean territory amid ongoing diplomatic tensions. Ferreira was set to visit Bolivian soldiers and customs officers who have been detained since late March. Chancellor Heraldo Munoz said that Ferreira was denied entry due to his provocative role in Chile-Bolivia relations.

Violent protests expected ahead of Young Combatant's Day in Santiago

Violent incidents are expected during the Day of the Young Combatant on Wednesday 29 March. In previous years, protests across Santiago's neighbourhoods have escalated. It is advised to take extra caution in central areas, especially at night. The commemorations remember the death of two brothers killed by the Pinochet regime in 1985.

Nationwide protests over private pension system

Thousands of demonstrators launched a nationwide protest against the long-running private pension system. Most protests took place in the capital Santiago; but also in Valparaiso, Concepcion and Valdivia. Some claim that the privatisation of the Chilean pension system engulfs the country in deeper inequality. The system - known as the Pension Funds Administration (AFP) - was initially introduced in 1981 when General Augusto Pinochet ruled the country. 

High Court sentences 33 for Pinochet era crimes

A Chilean High Court sentenced 33 former intelligence officers for crimes committed during the rule of General Augusto Pinochet. The agents are suspected of the abduction of five opposition left-wing politicians in 1987. It is believed that more than 1,200 people were forcibly disappeared during Pinochet's the military dictatorship between 1973 and 1990.

Five killed as fire consumes residence in Vallenar, Atacama

Five people, including three minors, were killed when a fire broke out at a residence in the Atacama region, northern Chile. Firefighters responded to a call on Sunday evening in Vallenar, where five bodies were found after the flames were extinguished. The causes of the fire remain unknown. Emergency services were already nearby tackling a fire in the village's northern area. 

Warehouse set on fire in arson attack in La Araucania

An arson attack linked to Mapuche natives sympathisers took place in southern Chile's La Araucania region. On Sunday evening, a warehouse located along the road between Victoria and Curacautin was set ablaze after criminals stormed a terrain in San Pedro, where a banner demanding the release of Mapuche political prisoners was found. The attack came just days after nineteen lorries were set on fire by Mapuche supporters near Lautaro. 

Uber driver shot dead during robbery in Santiago

An Uber driver has been shot dead during a robbery attempt in the capital Santiago. Police reports have revealed that the crime happened in the Recoleta area, where three armed minors opened fire at the victim overnight on Sunday. It has been reported an increasing number of incidents targeting Uber vehicles and drivers across South America's major urban areas.

Diplomatic tensions after Bolivian soldiers' arrest in Tarapaca

Diplomatic tensions erupted after two Bolivian soldiers and seven customs officers were detained in Chile's Tarapaca region on Sunday. Authorities revealed that the arrests were due to their illegal entering into Chilean territory; however, Bolivian President Evo Morales claimed that they were carrying out anti-smuggling operations in Bolivian territory. Morales also announced plans to submit on Tuesday a complaint against Chile to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague.

Minister of Transport hands over resignation

President Michelle Bachelet accepted on Thursday the resignation of Andres Gomez-Lobo, the Chilean minister of transport. According to Bachelet, Gomez-Lobo resigned due to personal reasons; however, he was being heavily criticised by the opposition over his reported mismanagement of the capital's main transport company, Transantiago. The lawyer Paola Alejandra Tapia was nominated as Gomez-Lobo's replacement.

Woman killed in Maule triggers gender-based violence concerns

A 24-year-old woman has been killed by her partner in a domestic dispute in Maule, southern Chile. The incident happened in the Colina community and is the seventh case reported in Maule since the start of the year. Violence against women across Latin American countries has triggered widespread protests in major urban centres, while authorities have raised concerns over the rising numbers of women killed by their partners.

Over a dozen arrested during anti-TPP protest in Vina del Mar, Valparaiso

At least 15 people have been arrested during protests against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in Valparaiso, central Chile. Several anti-TPP groups stormed the streets of Vina del Mar to head towards the Sheraton Miramar hotel, where ministers of the Pacific Alliance trade bloc are gathered. Demonstrators claimed that the TPP will hinder several fundamental rights, such as health and environmental. 

Group claims responsibility for attack in La Araucania

The resistance group known as Coordinadora Arauco-Malleco (CAM) has claimed responsibility for Sunday's arson attack on 19 lorries near Temuco, southern Chile. The group issued a statement reiterating their commitment to retrieving indigenous Mapuche territory from the government and they have accused the government of sponsoring private corporate interests - the main targets of arson attacks are companies dedicated to mineral extraction business or linked to activities in La Araucania region.

Several lorries set on fire in renewed attack in La Araucania

Nineteen lorries have been set ablaze in a renewed attack on private companies in La Araucania, southern Chile. The incident was reported overnight on Sunday when four men stormed a logistics company building near Lautaro. Local authorities attribute the attack to the Coordinadora Arauco-Mapuche, an armed wing of the Mapuche people dedicated to retrieving indigenous lands from the government.

Yellow alert remains active in Arica-Parinacota over heavy rains

Chile's northern region of Arica-Parinacota remains under alert as widespread flooding is likely to be triggered by the overflowing of the rivers San Jose and Lluta. A yellow alert was initially issued on Wednesday 22 February by the National Emergency Office (Onemi) and remains active as heavy rain is still being reported in the region.

Health secretariat confirms new Hanta virus case in Los Lagos

The regional health secretariat in Los Lagos, southern Chile, has confirmed a new case of the Hanta virus in the region. According to the announcement, the infected person is a 19-year-old woman from Puerto Varas. The main method of contraction of the Hanta virus is through contact with infected rodents. Following the wildfire season in southern Chile, the risk is increased as the rats migrate to populated areas. It is advised to avoid contact with anywhere rodents may live and circulate.

Thousands evacuated as wildfire hits Vina del Mar, Valparaiso

Over 6,000 people have been evacuated from the coastal area of Valparaiso, central Chile, as renewed wildfires spread on Sunday. According to the National Emergency Office (Onemi) irregular residences in the peripheral areas of Vina del Mar were destroyed; however, no casualties were so far reported. Extra caution regarding wildfires has been employed by Chilean authorities in Valparaiso, following months of non-stop blazes which have consumed thousands of hectares across Chile.

ATM robbers blow up petrol station's shop in Region Metropolitana

A petrol station in Region Metropolitana has been blown up after criminals attempted to rob an ATM machine. Police reports said that on Wednesday evening, five criminals stormed the petrol station in Providencia, exploding the whole station's convenience shop with a gas canister. In June 2016 another similar incident happened in Providencia when 10 assailants exploded a pharmacy using the same method.

Clashes erupt as violence escalates in Escondida, Antofagasta

The demonstration called by mining workers in Escondida, northern Chile, turned violent as protesters clashed with the police on Wednesday. Tensions erupted forcing the police to fire tear gas to disperse the crowd and allow workers to leave and enter the facilities located in Antofagasta. One day earlier, dozens of demonstrators blocked the main highway connected to the mine amid a three-week-long strike over benefits disputes.

Earthquake shakes southern Chile's Pacific coast

A 5.6-magnitude earthquake was recorded on Tuesday afternoon in the Aysen region, southern Chile. No casualties or major damages were initially reported. The epicentre was located off Melinka's Pacific coast, where a 7.6-magnitude quake was reported in December. The main cause of seismic activity in southern Chile is the interaction between the Nazca and South-American tectonic plates.

Mine workers in Escondida block employees entrance

Dozens of mining workers blocked the access to northern Chile's La Escondida mine amid the ongoing strike action called in early-February. BHP Billiton, the company that explores the mine, told Publimetro that more than 400 employees weren't able to change their shifts due to the blockade. The indefinite industrial action comes as the company plans salary cuts and contract reforms. Furthermore, they demand a seven percent increase in their salaries and a yearly bonus.

Yellow alert issued to northern Chile over heavy rains

A yellow alert was declared to the areas of Antofagasta and Calama, northern Chile, following heavy downpour during the weekend. Over 120 people were ordered to evacuate San Pedro de Atacama over the rising levels of the San Pedro river, while in Calama, evacuation is also being held due to the potential overflowing of the Loa river. Rainfall and lightning storms are likely to continue during the week.

Three killed and several missing due to flooding in Santiago

At least three people have been killed and 19 others remain missing after heavy rains triggered landslides and flooding in the mountainous areas of the capital Santiago. According to the National Emergency Office (Onemi) hundreds remain isolated and over a million people are suffering from water shortages.

Man killed in car theft attempt in Santiago

Two men have been attacked on Wednesday evening by armed criminals during a car theft attempt in Santiago. Three armed criminals ambushed the victims - both of them were off-duty police officers - in San Joaquin area. One of the victims succumbed to his wounds after being taken to a local hospital. Despite an overall decrease car theft incidences in Chile, Santiago remains a hotspot for criminals, especially in crowded and residential areas.

Navy warns of tidal waves to the whole Pacific coast

The Chilean Navy issued a warning of waves reaching up to four metres high along the whole Pacific coast, including the remote Easter Island. Severe weather and strong winds are expected from Wednesday up until Saturday 25 February. Maritime authority recommended drivers avoid coastal roads near cliffs and beaches, while strongly urging people to refrain from nautical sports and related activities.

Red alert declared as wildfires spread across Valparaiso region

Another province of central Chile's Valparaiso region has been declared on alert due to strong wildfires affecting residential areas. On Wednesday, the National Emergency Office (Onemi) declared a red alert to Limache after more than 20 hectares of land was burnt with the increasing risk of spreading to Quillota. The warning comes after the Onemi declared a red alert to Valparaiso's Villa Alemana on Monday.

Thousands evacuated as wildfire hits Parral, Maule

A widespread wildfire has forced the evacuation of more than 3,000 people in the Maule region, central Chile. At least 40 houses in Parral were destroyed, forcing the government to declare a red Alert. More than 16 firefighters brigades also have been mobilised to extinguish the blazes in  Biobio and La Araucania.

Wildfire risks increased due to heat wave in central Chile

Emergency services have been reinforced amid a recent heat wave reported in Biobio, Metropolitana, O'Higgins and Maule. Authorities remain prompt for potential sources of wildfires across central and southern Chile. On Monday, the National Emergency Office (Onemi) declared a red alert to Valparaiso's Villa Alemana after a wildfire broke out and threatened several residential areas.

New Hanta virus case confirmed in Los Rios

Medical services reported a new Hanta virus case in Los Rios, southern Chile. The case was revealed on Saturday after a 56-year-old man from Los Lagos was admitted to the Valdivia hospital. This is the sixth confirmed case of Hanta virus since the start of 2017. Following the wildfires' season in southern Chile, the risk is increased as the rats migrate to populate areas. It is advised to avoid contact with any place where rodents may live and circulate.

Red alert declared over wildfires in Region Metropolitana

The National Emergency Office (Onemi) declared on Saturday a red alert to Region Metropolitana, in the outskirts of Santiago. The warning was issued after a wildfire broke out in Curacavi. Chile remains vigilant over potential wildfire sources after a nationwide fire affected the country for months.

Earthquakes rock Biobio region

A series of low-intensity earthquakes has been reported in southern Chile's Biobio region on Sunday morning. According to the University of Chile's National Seismic Centre, the quakes' epicentres were near the city of Lebu; while the National Emergency Office (Onemi) said that 10 localities were affected by at least five tremors reaching up to 4.7-magnitude. Chile's Pacific coast is prone to seismic activity due to its location on the 'Pacific Ring of Fire' - an area vulnerable to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

Warning issued over unusual volcanic activity in south-eastern Chile

Chile's National Geological Service has issued a warning over the potential activity of the Lanin volcano, located on the southern border with Argentina. According to the authorities, unusual tectonic and volcanic activity was reported on Wednesday afternoon as the situation is being fully investigated - the volcano has not recently erupted. The Lanin is located in Curarrehue, along the border between La Araucania region and Argentina's Nequen province.

Red alert declared at Conguillo National Park, La Araucania

The National Emergency Office (CNE) has declared a red alert in the Conguillo National Park, Chile's southern La Araucania region after a wildfire broke out on Wednesday. According to the CNE and other local agencies, the damage is currently being assessed as emergency services have been deployed to control the blaze. La Araucania remains on alert after recent wildfire have spread across the region.

Controlled wildfires remain active in central and southern Chile

The National Forest Corporation (Conaf) has announced that wildfires in some regions are still active, but largely controlled. A red alert remains in place for Valparaiso, San Pedro and Machali; while a yellow warning is still effective in O'Higgins, and in some communities in Maule and the areas of Concepcion and Nuble in Biobio. Wildfires have consumed a large area in central and southern Chile. The warning comes as President Michelle Bachelet has lifted the state of emergency in the O'Higgins and La Araucania regions.

Taxi drivers to stage nationwide strike against Uber

The leader of the National Taxi Drivers Confederation announced that a nationwide strike is scheduled to take place on 6 March. According to the communique, the areas most affected will be Valparaiso, La Serena and Biobio. The action is being taken over complaints against the lack of regulation for the app-based services offered by Uber. 

Mine workers initiate strike at La Escondida, northern Chile

Workers' of the world's biggest privately owned copper mine have initiated strike action on Thursday. Hundreds of employees of northern Chile's La Escondida mine, explored by BHP Billiton, launched an indefinite industrial action over plans of salary cuts and contract reforms. Further, they demand a seven percent increase in their salaries and a yearly bonus. The action was announced last week after both parts failed to negotiate terms.

Minister of health confirms Hanta virus cases in Biobio

Minister of Health Jaime Burrows has confirmed that two 15-year-old youngsters are both in serious condition after contracting the Hanta virus on the countryside of Biobio, southern Chile. The Hanta virus is mainly contract when a person comes into contact with faeces and urine of wild rodents. Symptoms such as fever, headaches and abdominal pain are the most common, and may take weeks before surfacing. Amid the wildfires across southern Chile, the risk is increased as the rats migrate to populate areas where 14 cases have been reported in 2017 so far. It is advised to avoid contact with any place where rodents may live and circulate.

Several fires remain active in Biobio region

The National Forest Cooperation (Conaf) announced that 18 fires remain active across Biobio region, southern Chile. According to the authorities, the fires in Florida and Chaimavida are being fiercely fought and isolated. According to the authorities, so far over 2,400 residences have been affected by the blaze. Efforts on putting off the fire across Chile have involved international cooperation and the employment of airbourne SuperTankers.

Agriculture ministry declares emergency in Atacama

The ministry of Agriculture declared on Tuesday a state of rural emergency in several communities across Atacama, northern Chile. According to local mayor Miguel Vargas, the measures will facilitate the government to address the crisis and provide the necessary support to farmers in Copiapo, Tierra Amarilla and Alto del Carmen. The National Emergency Office (Onemi) had declared last week a Red alert to the region, where more than 350 people were affected by the overflowing of the Chollay river that triggered numerous mudslides.

Mine workers in Escondida to launch strike action

Workers of the Escondida copper mine - the world's biggest - are set to start a strike over better payment and compensation. The union representing BHP Billiton's workers told Reuters on Wednesday that the company is expected to ask for government mediation on the negotiations that may delay the strike action up to one week. Hundreds of employees demand better compensation, despite BHP's claims of an already fair yearly bonus. The move comes as both parts disagreed over the company's wage offer, leading to a rise in global copper prices.

Warning issued to coastal regions as tidal waves approach

The National Emergency Office (Onemi) warned of the risk of large waves across western Chile. The tidal waves, triggered by heavy winds off the Pacific, is expected to hit areas from Chile's northern Arica to southern Los Lagos region, including the Juan Fernandez Archipelago. According to the Onemi the warning is predicted to last from Tuesday to Friday 03 February, in some cases causing damage to maritime infrastructures. It is advised to avoid coastal areas, especially cliffs, and nautical activities. Driving along the coast should be carried out with extreme caution.

Residents evacuated as wildfire spreads across Bio-Bio

Military personnel have been deployed to southern Chile's Bio-Bio region to evacuate residents of Portezuelo community over the risk of wildfires. The director of the National Emergency Office (Onemi), Ricardo Toro, told La Nacion that the area is being preventatively evacuated as the fire is spreading across the sectors of Quintento, Los Maquis and Porvenir. A 42,000 litre jet-tanker was deployed to Portezuelo to control the fire and also to assist emergency services in the neighbouring La Araucania region.

Dozens arrested over involvement in wildfires across Chile

Chile's President Michelle Bachelet announced that more than 40 people have been arrested over their presumed connection to dozens of wildfires across Chile. Despite the government acknowledging that some of the fires were caused by negligence, investigations are being carried out in order to assess if they were in fact intentionally generated. So far, 11 people have been killed and 400,000 hectares of land have been burnt - mainly central and southern regions. Thousands of national and international officers have been assisting in extinguishing one of the biggest fires in Chilean history.

Roads shut down as tidal waves hit central Chile

The maritime authority has been forced to shut down one of the main roads in Vina del Mar as large tidal waves have hit central Chile. The preventive measure was issued at the Avenida Peru due to the high waves and minor flooding which has been hitting the area since Saturday. Authorities believe that the phenomenon is set to last until Monday, 30 January across the areas of Huasco in Atacama and Concepcion, Biobio region. The tidal wave movement is generated by the strong winds coming from north-western Pacific deep waters.

Environmental company attacked by youth group in southern Chile

Suspected members of the left-wing Marxist Movimiento Juvenil Lautaro (MJL) have attacked an office of the Forestal Arauco company in San Pedro la Paz, southern Chile. According to reports, three unknown men have targeted the building with small bombs. No casualties have been reported. The MJL was disbanded in the 1990s, however splinter factions of sympathisers have recently carried out attacks targeting corporate and government buildings, or turned to criminal activities.

Hundreds of houses destroyed by wildfires in Maule

An uncontrollable fire has destroyed more than 1,000 houses in a village in Maule, central Chile. The blaze consumed a significant part of the Santa Olga village overnight in Constitucion, where hundreds of people had to be evacuated. Reports also stated that several rural localities around Maule are also being highly affected. For months, wildfires have been spreading across central Chile. The Chilean Army recently ordered the deployment of 2,600 soldiers to assist the most affected areas of Atacama, Valparaiso, O'Higgins, Maule, Biobio and Metropolitana.

Navy warns over tidal waves along northern and central coast

The Chilean Navy has warned of increased activities of tidal waves along the country's central and northern coast - from Arica-Parinacota to Biobio. The authorities said that the phenomenon will hit the Chilean coast from Friday and is expected to last until Monday, 30 January. It is recommended to act with extra caution in the area and follow all established safety regulations at the beaches and during nautical activities. The winter tidal waves come from the northern hemisphere, which in contact with waters of the north-western sea create enough power to reach the coast.

Chile and Bolivia to cooperate in anti-drug operations

Representatives of the Chilean and Bolivian anti-narcotics units are set to establish a bi-lateral partnership on fighting cross-border drug-trafficking. The meeting is to be held between 26 and 27 January, and will form a special task force to carry out joint intelligence and police operations along the shared border. Nearly 80 tons of drugs were seized and destroyed in Chile and Bolivia in 2016. The agreement aims to reinforce South America's current anti-drug partnerships.

Rain triggers mudslides and flooding in Atacama

Mudslides and floods have been triggered after northern Chile's Atacama region was hit by torrential downpour on Tuesday. The National Emergency Office (Onemi) has stated that 350 people were trapped in the town of Chollay and Alto del Carmen. Emergency services have been blocked from accessing the area as the mud covered the road and vehicles parked near ravines. Onemi has declared a red alert to the area and has intercepted the supply of drinking water. Intense weather including snowstorms and heavy rainfall is expected to reach Atacama on the coming days.

Emergency authority warns over flooding and snowstorm in Atacama

The National Emergency Office (Onemi) has issued a red Alert to Alto del Carmen in northern Chile's Atacama region. The alert has been enforced due to flooding caused by the rising levels of the Chollay river. The regional Onemi said that landslides and mudslides led to the evacuation of 360 people as 56 houses were hit. The Onemi also declared a warning of potential snowstorms to Atacama, especially in the areas of Diego de Almagro, Tierra Amarilla and Alto del Carmen. 

Dozens of wildfires remain active in central and southern Chile

Emergency authorities have announced that 44 wildfires remain active across central and southern Chile. The regions affected are Valparaíso, Metropolitana, O'Higgins, Maule, Biobío, La Araucanía and Los Lagos, where more than 125,000 hectares of land have been burnt. According to the National Emergency Office (Onemi) at least 172 people have been affected and evacuated from risk areas. Most of the towns and rural areas are either under Red or Yellow alert. Wildfires in central Chile has been affecting the country since November, especially in rural areas where thousands of hectares have already been destroyed.

Government declares emergency due to wildfires in Pumanque

A state of emergency has been declared as dozens of wildfires have spread around central rural area of Pumanque. A joint effort evolving several government agencies battled at least 18 separate blazes across central and southern Chile on Friday. President Michelle Bachelet said on Twitter that "I've instructed the Interior Ministry to declare a catastrophe zone and a state of emergency in the areas affected by the fires". Central Chile has been under high alert due to the widespread wildfires in the region, which has been enhanced by strong winds and heat wave.

Red alert declared in several areas over wildfires in central Chile

A series of wildfires has spread across central Chile forcing emergency services to declare a red alert in several areas. At least 60 cases were reported on Wednesday in the most affected areas, forcing scores of people to be evacuated. The authorities declared a red alert in Nogales in the Valparaíso region, along with communities in Santo Domingo, La Ligua, Llaillay, Hijuelas and Quilpué. Since the fire broke out in late-2016, dozens of villages have had their houses ravaged by the flames and thousands of hectares of forest grounds have been burnt.

One killed in arson attack in Bío Bío region

An arson attack has taken place in the Bío Bío region in southern Chile. The incident was reported in the early hours of Sunday morning when the terrains in the Cañete community in Arauco were attacked. One person who worked in the land was killed. The authorities blame the attack on Mapuche tribal sympathisers as a promotion of the Mapuche cause was found at the scene. In recent months, several arson attacks targeting extraction companies were also reported in La Araucanía region. The Mapuche is an Amerindian indigenous tribe that has been waging a historic territorial battle with the Chilean government.

Hundreds march in Santiago over immigrants rights

Hundreds of pro-immigration demonstrators have stormed the streets of Santiago. The march, endorsed by the National Coordination of Immigrants, has demanded that the government to recognise migration as a fundamental human right. Protesters have stormed the main central areas of the city, including the presidential palace in La Moneda and the Plaza de la Constitución. Organisers have said that immigrants in Chile suffer consecutive violation of their Human Rights on a daily basis. The move came as the main Chilean opposition urged to government to enforce stricter immigration policies.

Firefighters killed as massive wildfire breaks out in Maule province

A wildfire in central Chile's Maule province has led to the death of three fire-fighters and injured three other. The incident happened on Sunday in Vichuquén, when a fire broke out due to the ongoing drought in the region. Chile has been haunted by the spread of wildfires across its central region. Valparaíso raised concerns with the authorities, which announced the area as an state of exception, meaning it poses a threat to the nation - leading the government to apply extreme security measures.

Chairman of mining giant targeted by outlawed group in Santiago

The chairman of the state-owned mining giant Codelco, Oscar Laderretche, has been targeted in a bomb attack in Santiago. The 44-year-old executive was targeted by the Eco-terrorist group known as Individualists Tending towards the Wild (ITS-Chile) - who have claimed responsibly for the attack. The incident happened as a parcel containing explosives was delivered to Laderretche's residence in La Reina neighbourhood on Saturday. In May, 2016 the same group also claimed responsibility for a bomb attack in a department at the University of Chile.

Police crackdown amid conflict escalation in La Araucanía

Following successive arson attacks in the southern La Araucanía region, Chilean security forces have launched a police crackdown on several native Mapuche villages. Two men were arrested in the Ercilla community amid a crackdown carried out by dozens of officers. Both suspects were arrested under allegations of attempted murder, arson attacks and targeting security forces. President Michelle Bachelet headed to the region on Friday in order to address the recent escalation on the Mapuche conflict. Mapuche are an Amerindian population living in the country's south, who have been clashing with the government over indigenous land disputes for years. 

President confirms Valparaíso as Catastrophe Zone over wildfires

Chile's President Michelle Bachelet has confirmed that the central region of Valparaíso should be declared a Catastrophe Zone. The announcement came on Wednesday, after pressure from local residents to declare the area a Catastrophe Zone. The incessant wildfire remains highly active in the region, especially in the area of La Pólvora, and has forced several villages to be preemptively evacuated. Despite some progress in fighting the blaze, the wildfire has been spreading constantly since it first broke out in early November.

Border control affected as customs workers stage 48-hour strike

The Customs Workers' Association (Anfach) has announced a 48-hour strike. According to the organisation, the move comes amid an alleged governmental inefficiency on granting their demands. The Anfach said that if the demands are not met, the control of buses and lorries at the border - especially with Bolivia - will suffer significant disruption. The strike is the remnants of November's strike when the Chilean government refused the project to readjust 3.2 percent on customs workers salaries. It is expected that the strike will come to a close on Saturday 14 January.

Fires remain highly active in several areas across Chile

The National Emergency Office (Onemi) has announced that at least seven fires remain highly active across the country. The areas most affected are Valparaíso, especially Villa Alemana, Alto El Yali and Santo Domingo areas, where a widespread destruction was reported mainly in forest grounds. The regions of Metropolitana, O'Higgins and Biobío are also being severely affected by wildfires. On 10 January the Onemi raised the warning to a red alert in the area of Valparaíso.

Construction company targeted by arson attack near Temuco

An arson attack targeting a construction company has taken place in the La Araucanía region, southern Chile. The attack happened on Sunday in the Pillanlelbún locality, near Temuco, where an unknown group set a construction company's empty warehouse alight. According to the news outlet La Nación, several flyers allusive to the Mapuche cause were found at the scene demanding the liberation of Mapuche political prisoners. The Mapuche are an Amerindian population living in the country's south, who have been clashing with the government over indigenous land disputes for years.

Protesters demand government action after fires in Valparaíso

Following days of widespread wildfires in the central Chilean area of Valparaíso, residents who have their houses destroyed by the blazes have launched a protest to demand government action. The protesters stormed the area of La Pólvora on Tuesday and set road blocks until riot police arrived to disperse the protesters. Clashes erupted when a police officer was injured by a machete, forcing the authorities to fire tear gas and water cannons at the demonstrators. The residents are demanding that the government declare the area as a Catastrophe Zone - in Laguna Verde 220 - where houses were completely destroyed by the fire.

Bolivian government reinforces border over avian flu fears

The Bolivian government has ordered the closure of the Chilean border over the outbreak of avian flu in Chile. Furthermore, the Ministry of Lands and Rural Development has said that "live birds of any species, eggs and other products and sub-products of avian origin from Chile" are forbidden to enter the country. The border reinforcement was announced after the Bolivian health authority identified cases of avian flu in Quilpué, days after the Chile-based company Agrosuper reported a strain of the virus in one of its plants in Valparaiso. So far, no humans have been infected by the virus.

Weather triggers landslides and flooding in Los Lagos region

Thousands of people have had their water supply disrupted and dozens have been displaced as severe weather hit Los Lagos region, southern Chile. Nearly 60 people, mostly tourists, were stranded in shelters after landslides and flooding in the Puerto Varas community blocked the CH-225 international motorway, which remains under high alert. Emergency services have stated that a yellow weather warning issued to the region will remain active as heavy rains are likely to approach. 

Man stabbed to death in robbery attempt, Santiago

A 27-year-old man has been stabbed to death during a robbery attempt in Santiago. Alejandro Mardones Vázquez was ambushed by armed criminals when walking in the Santiago Metropolitan Park on Saturday evening. The park's security said that it has been heavily reinforcing its contingent, which has led to a decrease in the number of attacks compared with previous years. Criminals often target vulnerable individuals, especially at night when walking alone across isolated areas of Santiago and other major Chilean cities.

Low intensity earthquake hits northern Chile

A low intensity earthquake has been reported in the early hours of the morning in northern Chile. The University of Chile National Seismic Centre has confirmed that the 5.8-magnitude quake's epicentre was in the Antofagasta region, near the Bolivian border. Although no damages or casualties have been reported, the quake was also felt in the regions of Tarapacá, Atacama and Arica-Parinacota. The whole length of the Chilean territory is vulnerable to frequent earthquakes due to its close proximity to the highly seismic region known as the Pacific Ring of Fire. 

Five workers injured in armed attack in Biobío

At least five forest workers have been injured in an armed attack in Biobío region, southern Chile. The workers were targeted as they were travelling along the P-70 road near the Curaquidico sector in Tirúa. A police special detachment was also targeted by the bullets after being deployed to the area. Large companies operating in Biobío have often been attacked by subversive groups. The authorities believe that at least two distinct groups are behind the attacks - allegedly based on either ideological or territorial claims.

Uncontrollable forest fire breaks out, Quilpué

The National Emergency Office (Onemi) has issued a red alert after an uncontrollable forest fire has broken out in Quilpué, central Chile. The warning was announced after the fire begun to spread through the wooded area. Strong winds and dry conditions have enabled the fire to spread rapidly. Quilpué is located in the outskirts of Valparaíso, which has been severely affected by the wildfire. Those in the area may experience smoke blown over from the fire until the blaze is controlled.

New earthquake reported in Los Lagos Region

A new 5.5-magnitude quake has been reported in the Los Lagos Region in southern Chile. The National Emergency Office (Onemi) announced on Tuesday that the quake's epicentre was located off the coast of Quellón, in the Chiloé archipelago, and was also felt on the region of Aysén, where no casualties or damages were reported. The incident comes nearly a week after a strong 7.6-magnitude earthquake destroyed several infrastructures and triggered a temporary tsunami alert in the region.

Four lorries set on fire in La Araucanía

Four lorries have been set on fire by armed criminals in La Araucanía, southern Chile. Reports state that four masked men ambushed the drivers on the road between Los Sauces and Lumaco and set the vehicles alight. The police are still investigating who is behind the attack as preliminary investigations proved to be inconclusive. Arson attacks targeting lorries and vehicles dedicated to the extraction business in the region have been targeted on previous occasions. Large energy companies and the government hold grievances with the native Mapuche people, who have been waging a historical conflict over territorial claims.

Hundreds evacuated and several injured as wildfire hits Valparaíso

A renewed wildfire in Chile's central region of Valparaíso has led to the injury of at least 19 people. Dozens of fire brigades were deployed to the area on Monday afternoon, which affected nearly 100 houses and led to the evacuation of more than 400 people. The meteorological conditions and strong winds quickly spread the fire to the highly inhabited and popular tourist destination in the southern area of the region. The authorities issued a red alert over the recent wildfires in Valparaíso, which is a common phenomenon, especially during the summer. 

Strong earthquake triggers tsunami alert in Chiloé archipelago

A 7.6-magnitude earthquake has struck the south-western Chilean archipelago of Chiloé. The epicentre of the strong quake was on the Melinka in Aysén region. According to the National Emergency Office (Onemi), at least four regions in the area were forced to evacuate residents following the issue of a tsunami alert. No casualties were so far reported, however several houses and roads were destroyed. The region is prone to seismic activities due to the Nazca tectonic plate sliding underneath the South American plate.

At least 20 areas still affected by wildfires in central Chile

On 21 December, the National Emergency Office (Onemi) announced that there are still 20 active wildfires across central Chile. The regions of Valparaíso, Metropolitana and Biobío have been highly affected by the fire. The most affected areas are in Cartagena, Villa Alemana, Limache and San Antonio. Other minor and controlled incidents were also reported in the regions of Lampa and Pemuco. Wildfires in Chile are mainly caused by the reckless conduct of local residents when handling fire near heavy vegetation and dry areas.

Chinese community protest in Santiago over wave of insecurity

Leaders of the Chinese community in Chile gathered in Santiago to demand more security amid the wave of robberies targeting Chinese nationals. The protesters gathered at the Plaza de la Constitución to demand that the ministry of the interior increase security measures to stop the widespread crime and insecurity. The move was triggered by the death of a Chinese restaurant owner who was killed during a robbery in the La Florida area. 

Government issues Red alert over wildfires in Valparaíso

A renewed wave of wildfires have led the regional government of Valparaíso, central Chile, to issue on Monday a Red alert in the San Antonio community. Based on information provided by the National Emergency Office (Onemi) the government is set to deploy all necessary resources until the situation is fully controlled. The areas of Quintero, Casablanca and Algarrobo in the region will remain on Red alert, while the rest of the region will be downgraded to a preventive warning.

Elderly man dies due to suspicious Hantavirus infection in Quillota

On 14 December, a 61-year-old man died of a suspected Hantavirus infection. The patient was brought to a local clinic in Viña del Mar after being admitted to a hospital in the nearby town of Quillota, central Chile. The authorities are investigating how the victim contracted the disease and what definitive causes of death were. The Diario La Nación reported that this is the third suspected case in the Quillota province. Hantavirus is a pulmonary syndrome with a considerable case-fatality rate. The contraction is usually caused by the contact with infected rodents or their urine, initially causing fever, headaches, dizziness, chills, and stomach problems.

Red alert declared in VIña del Mar over wildfires

On 12 December, the National Emergency Office (Onemi) declared a Red alert in Viña del Mar, central Chile. The announcement came as a wildfire ravaged the area of Las Pataguas in Miraflores Bajo, while at least 100 houses had to be evacuated in Nuevo Miraflores sector. The Onemi aims to maintain the preventative wildfire alert in the region, especially a Red alert to Quintero and Yellow alert to Puchuncaví community. The dry Chilean weather has enhanced the spreading of the flames in the countryside. Most of the wildfires in central Chile are caused intentionally or by fire misuse on agricultural activities.

Three wounded at bar shooting in Valparaíso

On 15 December, three people were injured in a shooting at a bar in Valparaíso, central Chile. Among the victims are the bar's security guard and a couple who were shot in the leg. According to the authorities, the suspect fled the scene in a vehicle. The police are investigating the incident, which they believed to be drug-connected. Valparaíso, similar to other major Chilean urban centres, experiences an unusual high level of criminal activity.

Navy issues giant waves warning in northern Chile

The Chilean Navy has warned of a series of giant waves set to hit the coastal areas of Antofagasta and Constitución. It is expected that waves up to three-metres-high will hit the region. The Navy warned tourists and locals to follow all security procedures and to avoid walking through the rocks on the coast. The warning comes as the deep waters of the north-western sea head towards the main areas of northern and central Chile. 

Metro workers strike across stations in Santiago

Services on several metro stations across Santiago were disrupted due to a workers' strike on Wednesday morning. The move came after negotiations between the workers and syndicates failed.  The protesters - many of them cashiers of the company GSI-Metro S.A. - gathered in front of the syndicate's headquarters near the La Moneta station to demand better benefits and improved labour rights.

Yellow alert issued to southern Chile over volcano activity

The Interior Ministry National Emergency Office (Onemi) has declared a Yellow alert to some communities in southern Chile over recent activity of the Hudson volcano. Despite the Hudson already being a very active volcano, emergency services and local observatories have reported a further increase in the strength of activity. The alert will provide the necessary preventive measures to be stationed in place in case of a severe incident in the communities of Aysén, Río Ibáñez and Chile Chico. The announcement has come as activity reported in the Hudson gets closer to levels recorded in a previous eruption in 2011, where a 4.6-magnitude volcanic-tectonic earthquake took place.

Schools evacuated due to chemical emergency in Santiago

At least four firefighters brigades have been deployed to Conchalí, Metropolitan region of Santiago, to assist the evacuation of schools and kindergartens over a chemical emergency. The decision to evacuate was made after neighbours in the area started to report eye irritation and headaches on Friday morning. Local news has stated that preliminary reports show the situation has been caused by the release of an acetic acid through an undisclosed source.

Demonstrators block railway over fare increase in Santiago

Demonstrators set up a blockade to a train line over the recent rise on fare prices in Santiago. The line, which runs southwards from Santiago to Rancagua, was blocked near the Graneros area on Friday morning. Moments after the protest started, the local authority and representatives of trains companies agreed to meet with the population. The protest was triggered by the rise on train fares on services offered by the Metrotren, one of the major suburban train companies that operate across Santiago and San Fernando, O'Higgins region.

Emergency authority issues Red alert over wildfires in Valparaíso

On 27 November, the National Emergency Office (Onemi) declared a Red alert over wildfires in areas of Valparaíso, central Chile. The areas affected by the blaze were between VIlla Alemana and Quilpué. The alert was already issued by the authorities but, due to the aggravation of the fire, further measures had to be employed to an extended area in support of members of multiple emergency services. On 28 November, the Onemi lowered the severity of the threat to Yellow, as the fire in the 'Norte Las Vegas' area was under control.

Earthquake recorded in Argentina rocks central Chile

On 20 November, a 6.5-magnitude earthquake was reported near San Juan, eastern Argentina. According to data provided by the National Seismic Centre of the University of Chile, the quake affected the Chilean regions of Atacama, O'Higgins, Valparaiso and Coquimbo. The source also revealed that the epicentre was recorded 18 km south-west of San Juan, without any destruction or casualties being caused, despite three low-level aftershocks. The region is prone to seismic activities due to the Nazca tectonic plate sliding underneath the South American plate.

Criminal group raids jewellery shop at mall in Santiago

On 20 November, several criminals staged a violent robbery of two stores in the Paseo Quilin mall in the Peñaléon area of Santiago. At least six masked men stormed a jewellery and perfume shop and took multiple valuable items. The subjects fled the scene, but a 23-year-old suspect was arrested by security forces. Since the beginning of 2016, there has been a surge in the number of robberies of malls across Santiago. The situation even raised the concerns of the country's interior ministry, who organised meetings to discuss nationwide security changes.

Youngster shot dead when leaving disco in Santiago

On 20 November, a 25-year-old man was shot dead when leaving a party in Santiago. Reports show that Miguel Espinoza Hidalgo was shot in the stomach when people in a passing vehicle opened fire on a crowd near an illegal disco in the Ñuñoa neighbourood. Eyewitnesses told La Nación that at least 20 shots were fired over several minutes. Police are investigating the murder, and have not excluded the possibility that the attack was a revenge killing.

Hundreds stage protest near presidential palace in Santiago

Hundreds of public servants staged a demonstration in front of the presidential palace in Santiago. They stormed the Plaza de la Ciudadanía after the public sector's negotiation table announced the end of the workers' strike on 17 November. The police used water cannons to disperse the crowd as they approached the La Moneda palace. The authorities were also forced to close the main roads near the building. Chilean civil servants have been on a nationwide strike over the government's proposal on a new pension scheme.

Four lorries set on fire by masked men in Araucanía

Four lorries were set on fire by masked men on the road between Temuco and Labranza, in Araucanía, southern Chile. According to reports, five men approached the vehicles and threw gasoline into them before setting them ablaze. No casualties were reported. The lorries belong to the company Frontera S.A. which is part of the Saesa group; one of the main electricity providers in the region. Recent allegations blame the company of affecting the indigenous Mapuche territory through the installation of wires and support on the construction of a hydroelectric dam. The Mapuche people have been waging a historical conflict with the government and major companies over territorial claims. No connection between the tribe and the attacks were confirmed and the authorities are still investigating the incident.

Multiple quakes reported in south-estern Chile

Overnight on 8-9 November, at least ten consecutive low-intensity earthquakes were reported off the south-eastern Chilean coast. According to the National Seismic Centre of the University of Chile, the strongest quake was recorded at 01:55 local time with a 5.9-magnitude, near the city of Concepción. The National Emergency Office (Onemi) also reported strong tremors in Maule, La Araucanía and Los Ríos. Some energy services were affected by the shake, however no damages or casualties were caused.

Health ministry declares sanitary alert over garbage in Santiago

The country's Health Ministry declared a sanitary alert over the large amounts of refuse on the streets of Santiago. The situation has been caused by the ongoing strike called by civil servants. Health Minister Carmen Castillo said that the decision will engulf the whole region as the municipalities are failing to comply with the rubbish collection. The move comes at the same time as the ministry issued concerns over the spread of Zika virus in the region of Arica, northern Chile.

Major earthquake reported in central Chile

On 4 November, a major earthquake was reported in central Chile. According to the authorities, the 6.4-magnitude quake did not cause any damage or casualties in the region. The US Geological Survey stated that the epicentre of the quake was near Talca, at a depth of nearly 56 miles. Chile is located in the Pacific Ring of Fire, a region prone to seismic activity.

Two lorries target of arson attacks in Morello

On 3 November, two arson attacks were reported in the Morello province, southern Chile. Both incidents took place when two lorries carrying wood were burned down, minutes apart, on the Route R-49 near Curaco. The fire affected a nearby farm in Chiguaigue village, located between Angol and Collipulli. According to the authorities, seven men raided the vehicles and ordered the drivers to get out before setting the lorries ablaze. Preliminary investigations show that the attack was politically motivated, as the police found a note demanding the liberation of Mapuche political prisoners. Mapuche are an Amerindian population of Chile living in the country's south, who have been clashing with the government over indigenous land disputes for years.

Roadblocks across Santiago reported amid nationwide strike

On 4 November, dozens of road blocks were put u across the capital Santiago amid an ongoing national strike against the government cut on pensions. Since early morning, members of the No+AFP movement started to gather in Santiago and other locations across the country. The march is set to take place between 06:00 to 20:00 local time and will involve several social and workers' organisations nationwide. The No+AFP will be joined by other movements and associations who blame the deficient government plan on the current pension system. The movement is also endorsed by critics of the recent Transpacific Trade Partnership (TTP) under allegations that the agreement will affect the current pension system through the control of the country's major pension fund management companies.

Red alert issued in Valparaiso over wildfire spreading

On 2 November, the National Emergency Office (Onemi) declared a red alert for Valparaiso, central Chile. The announcement came amid the spread of wildfires across the region, especially in the communities of Concón and Viña del Mar. The alert also regards Fundo La Laguna area, in Laguna Verde, which has been highly affected. In less than 24 hours, at least five farms were rapidly consumed by the flames, and traffic on Route 64 was blocked. The announcement came as efforts to deploy all necessary means to control the situation intensify. The arrival of the dry season in Chile means that wildfires become more common across areas as rain precipitation levels decrease.

Customs officers set to resume strike along Bolivian border

On 2 November, the Chilean association of customs workers (ANEF) announced that its members are set to resume the strike at the Bolivian border. The move comes after the Chilean government refused the project to readjust 3.2 percent on customs workers salaries. The decision generated outrage from the Bolivian National and International Transportation Chamber, who acknowledge the economic impact created by having hundreds of lorries stuck along the border on their way to Chilean ports. The strike is a continuation of action carried out by civil servants on the previous week.

President announces cabinet reshuffle to occur November

On 27 October, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet confirmed that a cabinet reshuffle is set to take place in November. Bachelet stated that several members of her government are willing to become candidates ahead the 2017 general elections. The announcement comes days after the country's minister of justice, Javiera Blanco, resigned for undisclosed reasons. Bachelet, the leader of the centre-left coalition, La Nueva Mayoria, has been under pressure after losing several key constituencies to the right-wing opposition alliance, the Chile Vamos.

Border row sparked between Chile and Bolivia

The Bolivian government has announced its outrage over the disruption to the border crossings with neighbouring Chile. It comes amid the 72-hour general strike staged by Chilean civil servants, which also includes customs officers. The situation is affecting the transportation of goods between both countries and access to Chilean ports. The Bolivian government is set to make a formal complaint to international authorities regarding economic loses caused by the closures, estimated to be around $5m.

Seven police officers injured on coup d'état anniversary in Santiago

On 12 September, seven police officers were injured and 49 protesters were arrested in various instances of public disorder during commemorations of the 43rd anniversary of the military coup in Santiago. The coup, led by General Augusto Pinochet, took place on 11 September, 1973. Two of the officers were wounded by suspected gunfire. 140 incidents of public disturbances were recorded throughout the day, including the placements of barricades, blackouts, and violence. 

Students protest over education reform in Santiago

The education reforms proposed by the government of President Michelle Bacehelet have triggered a fresh wave of protests in Chile's capital, Santiago. The demonstration, led by the Chilean Students Confederation (CONFECH), included dozens of high-school students at the Plaza Itália in downtown. Clashes between the authorities and students erupted when police raided the square to disperse the unauthorized protest. Students across the country have been demanding that President Bachelet keeps her campaign promises, which included free tuition and financial help for the poorest students.

Tens of thousands rally against private pensions

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Chile's capital, Santiago, on Sunday to protest against the country's private pension scheme.  Organisers claim as many as 200,000 people took part in the event, with police putting the figure closer to 50,000.  The rally was organised by trade unions and was directed at the Pension Finds Administrators (AFP) which was created in 1981.  President Michelle Bachelet agreed to review the pension system but her government abandoned the proposals earlier this month.  Other smaller rallies were held in towns and cities across the country.

Hundreds of students protest in Santiago

Chilean students took to the streets of Santiago on Tuesday to launch an unauthorized protest against educational reforms. Clashes with the police led to officers firing tear gas and water cannons at the protesters, while over 140 students were arrested. They were demanding that education in Chile be free and be of a high standard, claiming that the government wants to turn the education sector into a business by including private sector groups.

Student demonstration turns violent in Santiago

A student demonstration took place on the main streets of the capital, Santiago, on Thursday. Protesters threw stones at the authorities, while police officers used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowds. At least 110 demonstrators have been arrested and over 30 police officers were injured wounded in the clashes.  Social reform policies were promised by the government of President Michelle Bachelet in 2014; however, these have been undermined by the country's current economic crisis.

Anti-government protesters clash with police in Valparaiso

Anti-government protests have clashed with police during the state-of-the-nation address by President Michelle Bachelet in Valparaiso.  At least one person died of asphyxiation after masked demonstrators threw firebombs at buildings, setting a pharmacy and a supermarket on fire.  Police responded by firing water cannons and tear gas at the rioters.  "Our condolences got to the family of Eduardo Lara. We reject, condemn and are overwhelmed by the fact that the demonstrations ended in the death of a worker," said government spokesman Marcelo Diaz.

Bolivia's President Morales accuses Chile over military base

Bolivia's President Evo Morales has accused neighbouring Chile of building a military base close to their shared border.  "This installation is an aggression to the life, homeland and to Bolivia," Morales said in a statement on Sunday.  Chile has strongly refuted the claims, saying military patrols have increased but no base has been established.  "It's a totally unfounded accusation of the Bolivian president," the Chilean Foreign Ministry said in reply. "The supposed military installation does not exist."

Fishermen protest against government in Chiloe archipelago

Fishermen on the western Chiloe archipelago staged a protest against the government on Wednesday. The main grievance of the demonstrators was the imposed prohibition on fishing, due to a red ride of toxic algae in the local waters. However, the situation escalated to demanding wider government support, and the protesters blocked the main roads that connect the islands to the mainland.  The El Mercurio newspaper reported that the blockade was costing Chile's fishing industry around $9m a day, with Salmon processers unable to move product from their plants on the archipelago.

Mass student rally taking place in Santiago

Around 20,000 people are taking part in a mass student protest in Chile's capital, Santiago.  The rally, which began at 10:30 local time, started at Plaza Baquedano and is heading towards Plaza Los Heroes.  The event, led by the Confederation of Chilean Students (CONFECH), has been authorised by the authorities, although clashes between protesters and the security forces are possible.

Deadly storms hit central Chile

At least one person has been killed and several others are missing after heavy rains battered central Chile.  A woman died in a landslide in the San Jose de Maipo valley, while three people were reportedly buried in a landslide in the same area.  Some 80,000 people were left without electricity and around four million had their water supplies cut.  Major copper producer Codelco said on Saturday that it had suspended production at its El Teniente mine over safety fears.

Catholic chapel burned down in Canete

An unknown group set fire to a catholic chapel in Canete on Tuesday morning. The arsonists left a message addressed to the Catholic bishop of Villarrica, Javier Stegmaier, accusing him of complicity in the "state repression" against the Mapuche people. No one has been wounded in the incident.  Over the past two years several Catholic and Protestant churches have been burned down, especially in the municipality of Ercilla. The Mapuche people is the largest indigenous group in Chile and have been in dispute with the government over land rights for several years.

Chile-Peru relations hit by border dispute

Chile has "strongly" protested against the decision by Peru's president, Ollanta Humala, to recognise an administrative district in a disputed border area.  Chile said it rejected the decision over the new La Yarado-Los Palos district because it concerns "unquestionably" Chilean territory. "Chile has made consistent efforts to generate a favourable climate for constructive bilateral relations. This move causes significant damage," read the statement by the Chilean government.  The two countries fought over the territory in the War of the Pacific (1879-1883) and it has remained a source of contention ever since.

Strong earthquake sets off Tsunami waves

An 8.3-magnitude earthquake has hit off the coast of Chile, about 232km north-west of the capital. Five people are confirmed to have been killed, and one million residents have been evacuated from coastal areas, with reports of panic in the cities. The earthquake produced waves of up to 4.5m along the coast in the Coquimbo region. The earthquake hit at 19.54 local time (22.54 GMT), about 55km west of Illapel, at a depth of about 10km. Several strong aftershocks were reported minutes later. 

Emergency measures in Santiago over pollution

Authorities in Chile's capital, Santiago, have declared a state of environmental emergency after pollution in the city reached a "critical level".  More than 900 industries will be forced to temporarily shut down and around 40 percent of cars will be banned from the city's roads between 07:00 and 21:00 on Monday. “We're currently facing unusual conditions, with one of the driest Junes in over 40 years and really bad air circulation conditions in the Santiago valley in recent days, which has boosted the concentration of pollutants,” the environment ministry said in the statement.

Mass student protest ends in violence

Police have clashed with protesters at the latest student rally in Chile's capital, Santiago.  Police fired tear gas and water cannons against the stone-throwing demonstrators at the protest, which was held on the eve of the Copa America football tournament.  Around 200,000 people are reported to have joined the rally, which was  organised by Teachers College Santiago, the National Coordinator of Secondary Students (Cones) and the Coordinated Assembly of Secondary Students (ACES).

Police clash with students in Santiago

Chilean police have clashed with student protesters in the capital, Santiago, in the latest unrest against the government's education reforms.  Police fired tear gas and water cannons at the stone-throwing students near the education ministry, while protesters also blocked roads by burning piles of rubbish. "We're still a very long way from achieving our dreams. The reforms are very inadequate," student leader Claudia Arevalo told the AFP.

President Bachelet delivers annual address as protests continue

Chile's President Michelle Bachelet has delivered her annual address to Congress as anti-government protests continue in the country.  Ms Bachelet has reiterated her earlier pledge to provide free university education to 260,000 of the country's students by 2020.  As she delivered the speech some 6,000 people joined a rally outside the Congress building in the port city of Valparaiso.

Two shot dead in student protests

Two people have been killed during a student protest in the port city of Valparaiso.  Interior Minister Jorge Burgos said Exequiel Borbaran, 18, and Diego Guzman, 24, were shot dead on Thursday.  Chilean police said a 22-year old suspect has been arrested in connection with the killings.

Mass student protest planned for 14 May

The US Embassy has warned of a planned student protest in Santiago on Thursday.  The Confederation of Students Chile (CONFECH) are due to congregate at the Plaza Italia and march toward Plaza Los Heroes between 11:00 and 15:00 local time.  It has been estimated that as many as 45,000 people could take part in the march.

President Bachelet asks cabinet ministers to resign

Chile's President Michelle Bachelet has asked all of her cabinet ministers to submit their resignations ahead of a major reshuffle. "Some hours ago I asked all of my ministers to submit their resignation," Bachelet said in a local Chanel 13 interview. "This is the time for a cabinet change."  Ms Bachelet currently has the lowest approval ratings of her political career following a corruption scandal involving her son and a campaign funding scandal.

Calbuco volcano erupts for third time

Chile's Calbuco volcano has erupted for the third time in eight days, releasing another cloud of ash and smoke into the sky. "As predicted, the third eruptive pulse at the Calbuco volcano has arrived. Red alert," the National Geology and Mines Service wrote on its official Twitter account.  Officials have set up a 20km evacuation zone around the volcano following the latest eruption.

Calbuco eruption causes flight disruption

Ash clouds created by the eruption at the Calbuco volcano has caused disruption to international flights.  A Qantas flight from Sydney to Santiago was forced to turn back on Friday, while two US flights to Buenos Aires both returned to their departure airports.  Other flights destined for Argentina have been diverted to Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

Thousands evacuated after Calbuco volcano erupts

The Calbuco volcano in southern Chile has erupted twice, prompting local communities to be evacuated.  The Onemi emergency office have declared a red alert and the military has been sent to Llanquihue province to enforce the evacuation radius of 20km.  Chile's interior ministry said there have not been any reports of deaths or injuries.

Mass student protest planned for 16 April

A large-scale student protest is set to take place in Chile's capital, Santiago, on 16 April.  The rally will begin at 11:00 local time and will start at the Plaza Italia/Plaza Baquedano before heading on Alameda Avenue to Plaza Los Heroes.  It is estimated that between 30-40,000 people will take part in the protest.

State of emergency declared over Atacama flooding

Chile's government has declared a state of emergency after flash flooding in the Atacama desert killed two people and left 24 others missing.  Officials said thousands of people are without electricity or water due to flooding, with the city of Copiapo and town of Chanaral particularly badly hit. "The weather situation is extremely complex. The report we have says that heavy rains will continue to fall in the area in the next eight hours," Interior Minister Rodgrigo Penailillo said. "We're asking the people of Atacama to self-evacuate to safe zones."

Chile issues forest fire alert

Chile has declared a national alert after strong winds and hot weather fuelled forest fires in three national parks.  Firefighters have been battling fires at the China Muerta and Nalca Lolco reserves along with the Conguillio national park. "Faced with this critical situation, there is no choice but to assume that the lack of water resources is a reality that is here to stay and that puts at risk the development of important regions of our country" President Michele Bachelet said.

Hundreds protest against appointment of Bishop Barros

Hundreds of people have protested against the appointment of a Catholic bishop accused of covering up the sexual abuse of young boys.  Around 3,000 people gathered at the Catherdral San Mateo de Osorno in the city of Osorno to call for Juan Barros to "get out of the city".  The demonstrators claim that Bishop Barros used his position to block an investigation into Fernando Karadima, who was found guilty of sexually abusing children in 2011.

Villarrica volcano erupts in southern Chile

The Villlarrica volcano has erupted in southern Chile, sending clouds of ash and lava into the air.  The government has issued a red alert and more than 3,000 people have been evacuated from the area as a precaution.

One killed in Santiago bombing

One person has been killed in Chile's capital, Santiago, after a homemade bomb exploded on Thursday morning.  "The young man killed in the explosion may have been handling the homemade device when it went off," local prosecutor Claudio Orellana told reporters.  The blast occurred in the central Yungay neighbourhood.

Bomb explodes at Santiago metro station

At least eight people have been wounded after a bomb exploded at metro station in Chile's capital, Santiago. "At 1400 (1700 GMT) an explosive device was detonated in the center (mini-mall) by the metro station, and at the moment investigations are being carried out to determine the origin," said a police spokesman. The government said it was "an act that has all the hallmarks of a terrorist deed", adding than anti-terrorism laws will be invoked. 

Clashes erupt in Chile ahead of Pinochet coup anniversary

Police have clashed with protesters in Chile's capital, Santiago, ahead of a march to commemorate the 41st anniversary of the brutal military coup led by General Augusto Pinochet.  Four journalists were wounded during the unrest, which saw protesters throw stones and petrol bombs at security forces.  More than 3,000 people were killed under Pinochet's rule between 1973 and 1990, and the 11 September anniversary is often marked by violence.

Masked gunmen carry out Chile's biggest robbery

Eight masked gunmen have robbed an armoured truck at Santiago's international airport, making off with more than $10m.  The robbery is reported be the biggest in the country's history.  The armoured truck, owned by the US security firm Brinks, was transporting cash for air delivery to banks and mining operations in northern Chile.

Tear gas fired at Santiago student protest

Chilean riot police have fired water cannons and tear gas at student protesters in the Chilean capital, Santiago, during the latest rally against the government's education reform programme.  Thousands of students took to the streets, claiming they have not been consulted about President Michelle Bachelet's proposals.  Smaller rallies were also reported in Valparaiso, Concepcion, Temuco, Valdivia, Copiapo and Arica.

Forest fire kills 16 in Valparaiso

At least 16 people have been killed and more than 500 homes destroyed by a large forest fire in the port city of Valparaiso.  The fire began in a hilltop area on Saturday afternoon and quickly spread across the city, helped by strong Pacific coast winds.  President Michelle Bachelet has declared the city a disaster zone, saying "this could be the worst fire in the city's history".

Chile hit by second strong earthquake

A strong 7.6 magnitude earthquake has been reported in northern Chile, 24 hours after an 8.2 quake killed six people and a caused a tsunami.  President Michelle Bachelet was evacuated from the area and a second tsunami alert was issued, although this was later lifted.  International observers said that strict building codes and rigorous evacuation plans had kept the death toll low after Wednesday's powerful quake.

Major earthquake off Chile sparks tsunami

A major earthquake has struck off the coast of northern Chile, sparking a tsunami and causing the deaths of at least six people.  Thousands of people were evacuated from the northern coast after the tsunami caused waves of up to 2.1m to hit some areas.  The 8.2 magnitude quake, which hit some 86km north-west of Iquique, was followed by several significant aftershocks.

Thousands rally in Santiago over government reforms

Tens of thousands of people have marched in Chile's capital, Santiago, to call for President Michelle Bachelet to push through the reform package she promised before being elected earleir this month.  Organisers said that around 100,000 people took part in the mainly peaceful protest, although some clashes were reported later in the day.  Three police officers were wounded and some 50 protesters arrested.

Government issues health alert over forest fires

The Chilean government has announced a health alert for four regions of the country after more than 70 separate forest fires broke out.  Strong winds and high temperatures have caused severe difficulties for the emergency services, while thick smoke has engulfed the capital Santiago, leading to extremely poor air quality in the city.

Clashes mark 40th anniversary of Pinochet coup

Dozens of protesters have been arrested after they clashed with riot police in Chile's capital, Santiago.  More than 8,000 officers have been deployed to the city ahead of the 40th anniversary of General Augusto Pinochet's military coup.

Police clash with students as protests resume

Chilean police have arrested more than 100 people after the latest student protest in the country descended into violence.  A small group of protesters threw Molotov cocktails at a police station in Santiago, while students also barricaded themselves in dozens of schools and restaurants around the capital.  More than 100,000 people are estimated to have taken part in the march to demand education reform.   

Chile and Argentina orders evacuation of Copahue volcano

Chile and Argentina have both declared a red alert and ordered the evacuation of around 2,500 people from a 25 km radius of the Copahue volcano.  There has been increased seismic activity at the 2,965m volcano in recent weeks, raising fears of an imminent eruption.

Student protests resume across Chile

Tens of thousands of students have resumed their protests for free education across Chile.  Isolated clashes with riot police were reported in the capital, Santiago, where water cannons and tear gas were used to disperse protesters.

Chilean students resume mass protests

More than 100,000 Chilean students have joined a protest in Santiago to demand reforms to the countries education system.  Riot police used tear gas and water cannons to break up the crowds, while eight officers were injured during clashes.

Chile Data Sheet

Population:
17.4 million
Major Religion/s:
Christianity
International dialing code:
+56
International dialing prefix:
00
Emergency services:
Police 133, Medical 131, Fire 132
Drives:
Right
Voltage:
220V
Climate:
Varies from desert in the north, Mediterranean in the centre and temperate in the south
Ohter Major Cities:
Vina del Mar, Valparaiso, Talcahuano, Temuco
Borders:
Peru, Argentina, Bolivia