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AP Explains: Catholic Church in Chile weakened by scandal
SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) ? When Pope Francis arrives in Chile's capital Monday, he will find a weakened Roman Catholic Church. As in many Latin American countries, the church in Chile has been losing followers to both evangelical faiths and increasing secularism. The shift has been exacerbated by a priest sex abuse scandal, and many Chileans are put off by the church's influence in keeping tight restrictions in social matters like marriage and abortion. Here are some of the contributing factors to the Chilean church's problems.
Stealth and Speed: America's SR-71 Blackbird Might Be Old (But Still the World's Fastest Plane)
The Blackbird?s design reflected the fact that it was pushing the limits. The SR-71?s J58 engines could only start through use of two vehicle-mounted V8 starter engines, and the triethylborane used in the fuel would belch green flames during ignition. The J58s would switch to a partial ramjet mode at high speeds, such that the SR-71 actually became more fuel efficient when it went faster.
Saudi Ritz Carlton to reopen after being used as luxury prison in corruption purge
The luxury Riyadh hotel used as a prison during Saudi Arabia's crackdown on corruption will reopen for business next month, suggesting authorities are close to settling the cases of many suspects. Dozens of princes, senior officials and top businessmen were detained and confined in the five-star Ritz-Carlton Riyadh as the government launched the purge in early November. The some 200 detainees occupied half the hotel's 492 rooms. The rest was closed to business. The hotel's website now accepts bookings from Feb. 14, quoting a nightly rate for its cheapest room of 2,439 riyals (£480). Saudi authorities have said they expect the vast majority of suspects to agree to financial settlements of charges against them, and that Riyadh hopes to recover about $100 billion of illicit funds. A small number are expected to be prosecuted. Construction giant Saudi Binladin Group said on Saturday that some of its shareholders might transfer part of their holdings to the state in a settlement with authorities. Chairman Bakr Bin Laden and several family members were detained in the crackdown. In late November, senior Saudi Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, once seen as a leading contender to the throne, was freed after reaching a settlement with authorities that involved paying more than $1 billion, according to a Saudi official. Another top businessman who has been held at the Ritz-Carlton is billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, chairman and owner of global investment firm Kingdom Holding. A Saudi official said this week that he was negotiating a possible settlement but so far had not agreed on terms. It has been rumoured, Mr Talal, one of the world?s richest men, could be forced to pay as much as $7bn. Saudi Arabia is in the midst of a massive political and economic shake-up, marked by the sudden appointment of Prince Mohammed bin Salman as crown prince in June. The 32-year-old son of the king has spearheaded the unprecedented crackdown on corruption among members of the government and royal family, as he consolidates his grip on power in the kingdom.
Venezuelan police surround fugitive chopper attack pilot
Oscar Perez, a rogue helicopter pilot who vanished last year after dropping grenades on Venezuela's Supreme Court, said Monday he and his companions were surrounded and pinned down by police marksmen. "They are firing at us with grenade launchers. Perez, a former elite police officer, is seen with other men in one of the videos, some of them armed.
Philippine online news site critical of Duterte ordered shut
MANILA, Philippines (AP) ? The Philippine securities commission has revoked the registration of an online news outfit known for its critical reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte, a move media watchdogs said is an act to muzzle the free press.
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