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Cablegate: Chile Media Report - November 21

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STATE FOR R/MR, I/PP, WHA/BSC, WHA/PDA, INR/IAA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KMDR KPAO PGOV OPRC PREL PGOV SNAR EFIN CI
SUBJECT: CHILE MEDIA REPORT - NOVEMBER 21

Front Page News
---------------
1. All lead stories relate to the Senate's unanimous
approval of a 10% salary increase for public employees, highlighting
that this is the first two-digit increase the government has given
the public sector in 13 years and a defeat for the Bachelet
administration.

Local
-----
2. After three days of talks and strikes, the Senate
unanimously approved a 10% salary increase for all public employees
that will become effective December 1. This is the first two digit
increase in 13 years for fiscal employees and will amount to US$
1.648 billion. The approval is perceived as a tough loss for the
government, which had proposed a 9.5% graduated increase that was
rejected by all coalition congressmen, except four. The bill
includes improved additional benefits (El Mercurio, conservative,
influential newspaper-of-record, circ. 129,000, 11/21).
U.S. related
------------
3. A team of local and foreign experts on HIV/Aids control
strategies and representatives from health organizations will be
working for the next three months on a report with suggestions for
the Health Ministry. Among the participants are officials from the
U.S. Center for Disease Control La Nacion, government-owned,
editorially independent, circ. 4,200, 11/21).

4. Defense journalist Raul Sohr wrote a column on Ayman al
Zawahiri's remarks about Barack Obama:

"Jihadist organizations, which use terrorism to achieve their goals,
want to present the U.S. President-elect as a 'white peoples
'messenger'.... The international enthusiasm awakened by Obama's
election has reached the Middle East and this has Jihadists worried.
Political leaders in this troubled region have expressed optimism
for what they see as the end of an era of an unyielding attitude and
hope to see new initiatives that will allow them to implement the
peace plan and the respective road maps already designed.... Al
Qaeda's angry reaction is a symptom of fear felt by those who base
their proselytism and actions on the polarization of conflicts" (La
Nacion, government-owned, editorially independent, circ. 4,200,
11/21).

5. The Federal Court of Manhattan found Chilean Luis
Moreno Godoy and Syrian Monzer Al Kasser guilty of terrorism, money
laundering, conspiracy to assault U.S. officials, and weapons
trafficking in connection with the FARC. Moreno was captured with
Palestinian Tareq Mouza Al Gazhi in 2007 by U.S. and Spanish police
agents and extradited to the United States (El Mercurio, and La
Tercera, conservative, independent, circ. 101,000, 11/21).

6. Chilean exports to North America dropped 6.2% in
October compared to 2007, specifically 50% to Canada and 30.3% to
the United States. The change was primarily due to a drop in
refined copper exports (El Mercurio, 11/21).

Local
-----
7. China's second-highest defense official, General Xu
Caihou, met yesterday in La Moneda with President Bachelet and
Defense Minister Jose Goi. Today the general will call on the
Commanders in Chief of all military branches and visit several
military facilities (La Nacion, 11/21).

Other
8. The National Geographic cruise vessel was not
authorized to enter the Comau Fjord in southern Chile due to the
recent eruption of the Chaiten volcano (La Tercera, 11/21).

URBAN

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