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Chile inaugurates Antarctica research site

PLEASE NOTE: EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, accompanied by government and military officials, planted the Chilean flag in the snowy ground of Antarctica to inaugurate the site of a new research station on Tuesday (January 15). The station, which has not been built, will be controlled by Chile's Air Force and will be one of three bases situated closest to the South Pole. "This new base on the Union Glacier is going to be one of the three bases closest to the South Pole in the world, together with the American and Chinese bases," said Pinera during the ceremony. In addition to underscoring Chile's presence on the icy continent, the future research centre has been lauded as strategic location for the study of glaciers and meteorology. "We know there are great expectations for this territory for the future, the principal water reserve in the world, with still unlimited scientific and research importance," said Chilean Defence Minister, Rodrigo Hinzpeter. To date, Chile has seven bases on the continent, three of which are civil-military, while the remaining four are devoted to scientific investigation. Tuesday's visit marked Pinera's third trip to Antarctica since assuming presidency in 2010.

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