Student Protesters Demand Education Reform in Chile

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Thousands of students demonstrated in favor of education reform in Chile on Thursday — specifically free higher education — while decrying recent corruption scandals that have rocked the country .

The protests remained largely peaceful as students marched through the streets of Santiago under the banner of “Chile Decides Its Education”, but became violent when groups of protestors in hooded sweatshirts threw rocks and gas bombs at the police. In total 134 protesters were taken into custody, and seven police officers suffered minor injuries.

“We need to protest against this caste of corrupt politicians and businessman,” one protester told The Associated Press. Students expressed frustration with President Michelle Bachelet for failing to fulfill her promise of education reform and anger over a series of financial scandals, including one involving the first son.

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  • Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

    North America

    • Mexican authorities are investigating 28 officials for the alleged cover-up last year of the army’s extrajudicial killing of at least a dozen criminal suspects after they had already surrendered.
    • A container of highly radioactive material, Iridium-192, was stolen from a truck in Mexico’s Tabasco state, prompting authorities to issue an alert in five states.
    • The U.S. Congressional Hispanic Caucus plans to draft a new immigration reform bill that could enter the debate between lawmakers within months, announced a representative Thursday, saying that the caucus feels responsible as representatives of the Latino community to put forward legislation.

    Caribbean

    • U.S. bankers are still wary to begin business with Cuba, according to a piece in The Guardian, due to the risks of violating sanctions even after President Barack Obama removed Cuba from the list of states that sponsor terrorism.
    • “Textiles are a crucial component to Haiti’s economy,” according to an article in The Financial Times, which chronicles the competitive advantage of Haiti-based producers and new projects that might bring economic expansion to the country.

    Central America

    • Over one dozen workers from Guatemala’s Tax Authority — including the current and former tax chief — were detained after a crackdown on a ring that defrauded the national treasury through bribery and theft.
    • Thirty-one gang members from gangs MS 13 and Barrio 18 in El Salvador were transferred to a maximum security prison, according to authorities.
    • Panama hosted its fourth international film festival, bringing influential filmmakers from Central America and the Caribbean to the Casco Viejo neighborhood of Panama City.

    Andes

    • Five civilians were reportedly killed on Thursday in Colombia’s Cauca region, where the goverment has resumed air raids against FARC rebels after the guerrilla group killed 11 soldiers Wednesday, resulting in the breakdown of a ceasefire between the two sides.
    • Ecuador signed two contracts on Thursday with Chilean and Belarusian oil companies to explore and develop operations in the country’s southeastern jungle province of Pastaza, an area that has seen conflict over oil drilling in the past.
    • Canadian gold-mining company Gold Reserve Inc. is looking to collect $750 million in an arbitration case over Venezuela’s 2009 expropriation of its largest gold concession in the country, a decision that is expected this year and could further strain the government’s already beleaguered finances.

    Southern Cone

    • Some 37 tons of dead fish have been removed in the past week from Rio de Janeiro’s Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon, where events are to take place during the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
    • In a bid to attract investment to Argentina’s vast but underexploited shale-oil reserves, the country’s state energy company YPF announced Thursday that costs for drilling in the energy rich Vaca Muerta shale formation will fall by at least 10 percent by the end of 2016 as extraction efficiency increases.

    Image: Screenshot, YouTube

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