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Chile's Copahue Volcano Ready To Blow Its Top: VIDEO

Copahue

The Copahue Volcano in Southeast Chile is blowing off some steam this holiday season, and Chilean authorities are concerned enough about the temperamental volcano's disposition that they've issued a red alert, though aren't going so far as to order evacuations for the area.

In a statement, Chile's Geological and Mining Service stressed that no mandatory evacuations have been ordered around the remote volcano, which lies about 280 kilometers southeast (175 miles) of Concepcion, though the closest roads to it are in Argentina.

Even though the seismic activity suggests a minor eruption, the agency decided to raise the alert level because it could not rule out a major eruption. The service warned specifically about potentially dangerous mudslides within a 15-kilometer (9.3-mile) radius of the crater.

Alto Biobio, a community about 60 kilometers (37 miles) east of Copahue, is under the heightened alert. The governor and emergency officials in Biobio province met Sunday afternoon to discuss possible scenarios, including establishing a plan in case a mass evacuation is deemed necessary.

Minor eruptions were first detected around the mountain, which last erupted in 2000, on Saturday, and the plume of gas has spread steadily over the past few days, potentially providing the region's residents with a Christmas white with ash instead of snow.

Check out some video of the volcano doing its thing AFTER THE JUMP.

Volcanotrail

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Madonna Will Not Tolerate Smoking During Her Sound Check: VIDEO

Madgesmoking

Madonna, oh she who loathes hydrangeas, gave Chilean fans a piece of her mind yesterday when they were smoking during her sound check, something the singer simply will not stand for. She'll even call off the show!

On another note, Madonna's MDNA tour grossed $248 million in 2012, making it the most lucrative tour of the year.

Watch Madonna go after smokers, complete with not-for-work language, AFTER THE JUMP.

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Jaime Parada Hoyl, First Out Gay Man Elected to Public Office in Chile, Sworn In: VIDEO

Hoyl

Jaime Parada Hoyl, spokesperson for the Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation (MOVILH), won a seat on the municipal council in Providencia, one of the capital Santiago's wealthy and most conservative districts, on October 28. He was sworn in yesterday.

Watch hiw swearing in, AFTER THE JUMP...

Parada described long-time Providencia Mayor Cristián Labbé, whom he defeated, as a "recalcitrant fascist" during the election, the Washington Blade reported in November:

“We did not just present ourselves as gay in the election,” he said when asked about his historic election. “We put forth a platform that had a lot to do with a political agenda, and that is why our campaign had an impact. It had a lot to do with sexual diversity and discrimination in general. It was not something we would have been able to imagine with the setbacks of a few years ago. And with this opportunity we can communicate the contrary.”

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Chilean President Signs Hate Crime Bill into Law Three Months After Gay Man's Brutal Death at Hands of Neo-Nazis

A little more than three months after the death of Daniel Zamudio, who was beaten, stabbed, burned, and branded with a Swastika by a gang of neo-Nazis in March and died days later in a hospital, Chile's President Sebastian Pinera signed a hate crimes bill into law which had languished in the country's legislature for seven years, the AP reports:

Daniel_zamudio"Without a doubt, Daniel's death was painful but it was not in vain," Pinera said at a press conference joined by Zamudio's parents.

"His passing not only unified wills to finally approve this anti-discrimination law but it also helped us examine our conscience and ask ourselves: have we ever discriminated someone? ... After his death we'll think twice, thrice or four times before we fall prey to that behavior."

Four suspects, some with criminal records for attacks on homosexuals, have been jailed in Zamudio's killing. Prosecutors are seeking murder charges.

Said Gay Liberation and Integration Movement President Rolando Jimenez to the AP: "This law is a giant leap toward creating tools that can prevent and punish discrimination. There's still a lot to be done and we need the institutions to enforce it."


Chilean Singer And Activist Alex Anwandter's Music Video Is Inspired By 'Paris Is Burning:' VIDEO

Anwandter

Chilean pop-star Alex Anwandter's album Rebeldes hits U.S. shores later this month and to celebrate journalist Andrés Duque sat down with the singer to chat about his career, advocating for LGBT rights following Daniel Zamudio's murder and how legendary drag ball documentary Paris is Burning inspired the video for his single, "¿Como puedes vivir contigo mismo?"

Says Anwandter of the 1990 flick:

[I] thought a tribute to the Livingston film would also allow me to further introduce something that practically doesn't yet exist in my country: Strong role models or icons that represent sexual diversity in mainstream media or pop culture.

In a way, I wasn't doing a tribute to the documentary in itself but rather to the original impact I believe it had back in the day: The validation of the lives of people who were being marginalized or discriminated against.

As for Zamudio, the 24-year old whose murder earlier this year galvanized Chileans, Anwandter remarked, "His death was very shocking to me because I knew him and also because I kept thinking it could have been a friend of mine or anyone who was dear to me.

It was also incredibly intense to me when his brothers told me how much my music had meant to him and how they played my songs to him while he was dying and urged me to keep on speaking on behalf of people like Daniel. It's something that in a really tragic way makes me think that my job actually matters and that I should never stop fighting again discrimination.

Read the rest of the interview HERE and watch the video for "¿Como puedes vivir contigo mismo?" AFTER THE JUMP.

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U.S. Embassies In Latin America Get Down With Gay Pride

ElSalvadorSecretary of State Hillary Clinton has made no secret of her commitment to LGBT rights around the world. "Gay rights are human rights," she has said on a number of occasions. Apparently her State Department colleagues in Latin America agree.

Only a few weeks after it was reported that the U.S. Embassy in Kenya was celebrating pride, Andrés Duque reports that half-a-dozen U.S. satellites in the Latin America took part in their own pride events.

For example, Anne Andrew, the U.S. Ambassador to Costa Rica, held a "roundtable" on LGBT rights there, while the U.S. Ambassador to Honduras, Lisa Kubiske, sent out a tweet reiterating the States' engagement on LGBT issues. "The US Government supports the Honduran LGBT community in their fight for equality and respect," she wrote.

Officials in Chile, Panama, El Salvador and Ecuador also sent representatives to pride parades or held their own events, including a high heel race to erode traditional gender norms in Ecuador. As you can see in the photo above, the participants were in it to win it.

Read Duque's excellent article HERE.


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