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Chile Pol Faces Criticism For Choosing Rugby Over Quake Relief

Chile Pol Faces Criticism For Choosing Rugby Over Quake Relief

Photo: Biblioteca Congreso Nacional de Chile

SANTIAGO — If it's a scrum Chilean Sen. Jorge Pizarro wanted, he certainly got one. Though he didn't expect to be at the bottom of the heap.

Constituents complained to La Terceranewspaper that Pizarro, leader of Chile's Christian Democratic Party, traveled to the United Kingdom to watch rugby two days after the devastating Sept. 16 earthquake that shook the country rather than stay home during a parliamentary recess, when lawmakers were expected to visit their districts.

He departed for the rugby trip a day after visiting the worst-hit areas alongside President Michelle Bachelet. He told Chilean daily La Tercera that he had meant to go a day earlier but postponed his trip one day because of the earthquake.

The newspaper reported that locals were annoyed with his choice of priority. Pizarro defended it by saying he had planned it a year in advance. "It is a personal trip," he said. "I am in touch with all local, regional and national authorities, helping coordinate whatever is possible and most helpful to people in our region."

Ignacio Walker, a former Christian Democrat leader, told the newspaper in no uncertain terms, "He has to come back."

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Wagner Group 2.0: Why Russia's Mercenary System Is Here To Stay

Many had predicted that the death last month of Wagner Group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin meant the demise of the mercenary outfit. Yet signs in recent days say the private military outfit is active again in Ukraine, a reminder of the Kremlin's interest in continuing a private fighting formula that has worked all around the world.

Photograph of a Wagner soldier in the city of Artyomovsk, holding a rifle.

Ukraine, Donetsk Region - March 24, 2023: A Wagner Group soldier guards an area in the city of Artyomovsk (Bakhmut).

Cameron Manley


“Let’s not forget that there is no Wagner Group anymore,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov had declared. “Such an organization, in our eyes, does not exist.”

The August 25 statement from came less than two days after the death of Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader of the infamous Russian mercenary outfit, as questions swirled about Wagner's fate after its crucial role in the war in Ukraine and other Russian military missions around the world.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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How could an independent military outfit survive after its charismatic founder's death? It seemed highly unlikely that President Vladimir Putin would allow the survival of a group after had launched a short-lived coup attempt in late June that most outside observers believe led to Prigozhin's private airplane being shot down by Russian forces on August 23.

"Wagner is over,” said the Kremlin critic and Russian political commentator Maksim Katz. “The group can’t keep going. There’s the possibility that they could continue in parts or with Defense Ministry contracts, but the group only worked with an unofficial agreement between Putin and Prigozhin.”

Yet barely a month later, and there are already multiple signs that the Wagner phoenix is rising from the ashes.

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