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Tuesday, August 1st 2000 - 21:00 UTC
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Local election in Santiago

Two heavyweights will be disputing Santiago's city government in the coming Chilean municipal elections to be held next October. President Ricardo Lagos ruling coalition has picked the former First Lady, Mrs. Martha Frei, and the conservative opposition, Joaquín Lavin the man who almost changed Chilean history when, against all odds and forecasts, forced a second round in the last December-January presidential elections and was barely defeated. Mr. Lavin after his showing in the presidential election, and strategic distancing from former General Pinochet, has become a national figure and undisputed leader of Chilean conservatives. Martha Larraechea is very popular for all her caring and social work displayed during her husband's six years mandate that ended last March. Next October 342 Chilean cities and towns will be electing new mayors and Legislative Councils, and Conservatives with Lavin running in Santiago, want to make sure that the almost even vote split in the presidential elections reflects next October. In the last municipal elections, October '96, the ruling coalition obtained 56% of the vote and conservatives 33%. Last January Lavin was defeated by President Lagos by just one point. However President Lagos current popularity is running high with a 65% approval.

Second carrier for Brazil

The Brazilian press published this week that the country has purchased a second aircraft carrier, "Sao Paulo". French built, it will be delivered next November and according to Admiral Sergio Chagastelles, Commander of the Brazilian Navy, "the vessel needs practically no refurbishing". "The original price was 40 million US dollars, but we finally agreed on 12 million US dollars", said Admiral Chagastelles adding that the "Sao Paulo" will have a life span of twenty years. The "Sao Paulo" will eventually replace the "Minas Gerais", an obsolete carrier that is still used by the Brazilian Navy for sea operations and air-sea theatre exercises. "The aircraft will be delivered with all its gear and sophisticated equipment excepting missile electronics, but we expect to have our missile and radar technology at the most in two years time", indicated the

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