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Extra! Chile's Bachelet Axes Entire Cabinet

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La Tercera, May 7, 2015

Hoping to hit the reset button on her slumping presidency, Chile's Michelle Bachelet has decided to dump not just one or two ministers, but her entire cabinet.

Bachelet made the stunning announcement during a Wednesday evening television interview, saying she “requested the resignation of all the ministers” and will take 72 hours to sort out replacements and make final decisions about “who will stay and who will go."

The “unusual and surprising change of direction,” as the dailyLa Tercera described it in Thursday’s front page headline, comes amidst a whirlwind of scandals that have eroded public faith in the political system as a whole and sent Bachelet’s approval rating to a new low — 31% at last count.

One of the scandals involves the president’s son, Sebastian Davalos, who is being investigated for possible influence peddling in relation to a lucrative land deal brokered by his wife. Separate inquiries into corporate tax fraud and illegal campaign financing, meanwhile, have muddied the reputations of several leading figures in Chile’s conservative opposition.

Bachelet first held the presidency from 2006-2010. She returned to office in March 2014, promising wide-reaching reforms to Chile’s education and political systems.

ABOUT THE SOURCE: La Tercera ("The Third One") is a daily newspaper published in Santiago, Chile and owned by Copesa. It was founded in 1950 and is El Mercurio"s closest competitor.

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Indigenous Women Of Ecuador Set Example For Sustainable Agriculture

In southern Ecuador, a women-led agricultural program offers valuable lessons on sustainable farming methods, but also how to end violence.

Photo of women walking in Ecuador

Women walking in Guangaje Ecuador

Camila Albuja

SARAGURO — Here in this corner of southern Ecuador, life seems to be like a mandala — everything is cleverly used in this ancestral system of circular production. But the women of Saraguro had to fight and resist to make their way of life, protecting the local water and the seeds. When weaving, the women share and take care of each other, also weaving a sense of community.

With the wrinkled tips of her fingers, Mercedes Quizhpe, an indigenous woman from the Kichwa Saraguro people, washes one by one the freshly harvested vegetables from her garden. Standing on a small bench, with her hands plunged into the strong torrent of icy water and the bone-chilling early morning breeze, she checks that each one of her vegetables is ready for fair day. Her actions hold a life of historical resistance, one that prioritizes the care of life through the defense of territory and food sovereignty.

Mercedes' way of life is also one that holds many potential lessons for how to do agriculture and tourism better.

In the province of Loja, work begins before sunrise. At 5:00 a.m., the barking of dogs, the guardians of each house, starts. There is that characteristic smell of damp earth from the morning dew. Sheep bah uninterruptedly through the day. With all this life around, the crowing of early-rising roosters doesn't sound so lonely.

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