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"San Francisco; an oasis of civilization in the California desert." - Addison DeWitt, "All About Eve"

If the walls could only talk, what stories the Oasis would have to tell.

It started its life as the Polly Ann Restaurant in the middle of blue-collar auto shops and gas stations. You can almost see the gingham tablecloths and smell the spaghetti. When it became the Covered Wagon in 1968 and turned gay, it was still a restaurant, but it evolved into a bar that held private parties for the mysteriously named "Longhorn Club."

We should not be so puzzled by the presence of longhorns in the South of Market Area however, since the iconic Tool Box, the first leather bar in the neighborhood, was at 4th Street and Harrison by 1964. The Tool Box garnered national attention that year when the Chuck Arnett mural in the bar of men seriously pursuing pleasure was the opening spread of Life magazine's article "Homosexuality In America."

In 1966, two years before the Covered Wagon opened, Febe's and the Stud opened in the same block of Folsom Street with the Cruiser Café (which would become Hamburger Mary's) opening at the other end of the block in 1967. The leather community was already well established in the neighborhood before the Covered Wagon pulled into town.

By the time the Covered Wagon became the Leatherneck in 1977, the community was well established. The mural in the Tool Box had echoes in the Leatherneck with "The Perils of Pecs O'Toole" cartoon panels by Al Shapiro (A. Jay), which Jim Stewart wrote about in the BARchive column ( 7/24/14). It's obvious that there was a homey feel to the bar and a thriving community established there by Thanksgiving of the next year, as Stewart recounted in "Thanksgiving High" (11/21/13).

But the Leatherneck only lasted through 1978 and was replaced in that year by Dirty Sally's, which only lasted one year. By 1979 the bar had become the "San Francisco Plunge." The Plunge was advertising in a May 1979 issue of the Bay Area Reporter, letting readers know that "summer is here" and that the pool was open.

In 1980 the Plunge was gone and the Drummer Key Club and its retail outlet, the 'Studstore' had taken over the spot. Jack Fritscher has written extensively about this period of time in his books "Eyewitness Drummer" and "The Rise and Fall of Drummer Magazine."

I was particularly interested in the incongruity of pool culture and leather and asked Fritscher about this. Apparently John Embry, the publisher of Drummer was interested in emulating the Playboy Clubs and attempted to start his own gay club empire, starting with the Drummer Key Club. But it was not a fully formed concept and the business faltered a few years in.

"The Rise and Fall of Drummer Magazine" includes an essay by Daniel Curzon, who wrote, "'His [Embry's] publications were doing well in the late 1970s, and then Embry got too ambitious. He decided to open the Drummer Key Club, modeled after the Playboy clubs, only for South-of-Market types. The Key Club was a flop, and money became tighter." Embry did have elements which could possibly have saved the enterprise as Jim Stewart, late of the Leatherneck, was managing the bar, but it was not to be and the Drummer Key Club locked the doors in 1982.

The Oasis opened later that summer of 1982. It was an inauspicious time to be starting a new club in San Francisco. The ephemera collection of the GLBT Historical Society reflects this. The announcement for the first event at the new club is a benefit for the (then newly formed) K.S. Foundation, which would eventually become the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. The business sponsoring the event was The Connector, an "Electronic Glory Hole."

Not all signs pointed to doom, however. In September 1982 there was a travel event at the club sponsored by a local travel agent that had a drawing for a trip "to beautiful sunny Puerto Vallarta!"

And in the ad for the event, the iconic pink flamingo (which adorned the outside wall of the club on 11th Street) was featured for the first time. Halloween was also an event at the club that first year. It was open from 6 A.M. for revelers who had spent the previous night partying "After The Galleria, I-Beam & Trocadero the party begins at Oasis" the ads promised.

The Oasis also seemed to retain some of the leather clientele from the Leatherneck and the Drummer Key Club, because Manifest magazine held the contest to choose the "Manifest Man" at the club in December 1982.

But the club's luck didn't last, and it had new owners with a different vision. On March 28, 1984, the club reopened with the same name, but (as the flyers promised) "A New Beginning." And gay patrons of the club wouldn't notice much of a change - at least at first.

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BALOONS

A pair of American and Russian pilots has traveled farther and longer in a gas balloon than anyone in history, trying to eliminate any remaining debate over a century of records in long-distance ballooning.

The Two Eagles pilots surpassed the distance and duration records that have held since the 1970s and 1980s, and were aiming Friday for a safe landing somewhere on a beach in Mexico's Baja California peninsula.

Troy Bradley of Albuquerque and Leonid Tiukhtyaev (too-kh-TY'-yev) of Russia lifted off from Japan Sunday morning, and by Friday, they beat what's considered the "holy grail" of ballooning achievements, the 137-hour duration record set in 1978 by the Double Eagle crew of Ben Abruzzo, Maxie Anderson and Larry Newman in the first balloon flight across the Atlantic.

By Friday afternoon, the Two Eagles team had been in the air more than 143 hours and was smashing the distance record, having traveled more than 6,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean.

"The technology has improved so much in the last couple of years. I don't think there's going to be any question about the records," said Katie Griggs, a regional director with the nonprofit Balloon Federation of America.

The world has been tracking their progress online and through social media sites. Still, the official distance and time of the Two Eagles flight must be confirmed by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale, which requires staying aloft 1 percent longer and farther than the previous record.

The balloon is outfitted with an array of monitors and other instruments that are tracking its course and compiling the data, using technology that didn't exist in decades past, leaving some claims unproven.

Their first target was the official distance record of 5,209 miles set by the Double Eagle V team during the first trans-Pacific flight in 1981. They surpassed that on Thursday.

The journey has been tough on the pilots, who have been on oxygen for days; high altitude can take a physical toll. But they've been managing to crack jokes when checking in with mission control and their families.

The flight's mission control director, Steve Shope, said their priority now is getting the balloon to a safe landing after bad weather along the U.S. West Coast forced them to make a sharp right turn toward Mexico.

"Right now we have a big job ahead of us to get this balloon down," Shope said.

A chase crew of volunteers and members of the mission were en route Friday to record their arrival, help tether their craft and gather the balloon.

The pilots plan to come in low and drop thick trailing ropes into the ocean to help slow the balloon before setting down on some dunes in Baja California. Once they reach the sand, they will have traveled more than 6,800 miles.

"We're very excited. The pilots are excited. I think they're ready to land," Shope said.

 

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Pop diva Jennifer Lopez appeared on Sunday on the first broadcast of Univision's new contest program "Nuestra Belleza Latina," which returned to the television screens of U.S. Hispanics with the aim of being "much more interaction," the current beauty queen, Aleyda Ortiz.

In the first program, hosted by Chiquinquira Delgado and Javier Poza, the "Nuestra Belleza Latina" mansion was visited by Lopez, to whom program judge Osmael Sousa symbolically presented a crown to emphasize her beauty.

In this year's series of shows, the panel of judges are comprised of actress Jacqueline Bracamontes and image expert Jomari Goyso, who will select the next beauty queen along with Sousa, an international beauty competition adviser and expert.

Meanwhile, the reigning beauty queen will host the program on #NBL, which will be broadcast via the online UVideos network, and will offer extra information about the 12 contestants aspiring to win the crown to be presented by the TV reality show.

"The idea is to connect directly with our audience and for their opinions to be heard," said Ortiz about her role in the current edition of the contest, adding that she is "enthused" about the possibility of "reliving" the same experience she had a year ago when she won the crown.

"It's a difficult contest, with many challenges, and we'll have difficult moments of anxiety, of frustration," Ortiz said.

"But my experience was very positive and I remember the finalists with lots of affection and I'm still friends with some of them," the young host said.

 

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The Super Bowl marks the dramatic culmination of the NFL season. On Sunday, the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks will compete for the Vince Lombardi Trophy as their fans await the opportunity for a year's worth of bragging rights. But while the main event is the game, football is also a big business. Plenty of money trades hands before, during and after the event.

1. It's the Most-Watched Event in History

The Super Bowl has been the most watched television event in United States history for two of the last three years. NBC told Adweek it would be a "huge disappointment" if that record isn't broken again.

2. It Would Take 9,000 Years of Your Work to Buy the Stadium

If you dream of hosting the Super Bowl in your own stadium one day, it would take almost 9,000 years of work to buy the current venue, University of Phoenix Stadium, given the U.S. median household income of $51,900 and the $455 million it cost to build it. Factor in other routine expenses such as food and shelter -- not to mention all applicable taxes -- and you'd need a very potent Fountain of Youth to buy what would surely be an extraordinarily obsolete facility by then.

3. 51 Minutes of Commercials Would Pay for the Stadium

You'd have a much quicker route to owning University of Phoenix Stadium if you profited from Super Bowl commercials. A one-minute ad costs a whopping $9 million this year, according to USA Today. It would take about 51 minutes of commercial revenue to pay for the entire stadium.

4. There Will Be Fewer Car Ads This Year

You'll see fewer car ads during this year's Super Bowl thanks in part to high advertising prices, according to Kantar Media. Companies that won't be buying a spot include Volkswagen and Jaguar.

5. Tickets Cost More Than an Average Month's Salary

As of this writing, a Super Bowl ticket will cost you around a month's salary if you earn the national average. According to TiqIQ, an online aggregator of event tickets, the average Super Bowl ticket price is $5,188.30, as of Jan. 27 -- that's up 51.8 percent over the same time last year. Tickets are the priciest of any event.

6. The Event Will Bring 100,000 Visitors to Phoenix

Officials in the Phoenix area expect the event to generate bring at least 100,000 visitors and generate at least $500 million for the local economy, according to AZ Central.

7. Car Rentals Will Surge

Car rentals are expected to increase by approximately 40 percent near game day, according to the NFL.

8. Hotel Rooms Are Almost Twice as Expensive

Hotel rooms in the Phoenix area cost 89 percent more than they did last year. Despite high prices, most hotels in the Phoenix area are sold out.

9. Flights Will Surge the Day After

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is expected to see a 60 percent increase in passengers the day after the game, according to ABC. That should mean big business for airlines, airport vendors, taxi companies and others that provide services to travelers.

10. Second Biggest Day of the Year for Eating

Grocery stores stand to hit it big on Super Bowl Sunday. This day trails only Thanksgiving in terms of food consumption.

11. Winning Players Earn Double Average American's Salary

Last year, each Seattle Seahawks player earned $92,000 for winning the big game. That's roughly twice the average American's salary of $46,400. It's not clear what the payout will be this year, but this figure has either increased or remained the same for every Super Bowl in history.

12. Players Earn Average American's Salary for Losing

Denver Broncos players each earned $46,000 for their part in Super Bowl XLVIII. This figure has also increased or stayed the same throughout history, suggesting the losing players in Super Bowl XLIX will earn about the average American's salary.

13. Halftime Performers Aren't Paid

The performers on stage at halftime might be filthy rich, but they don't earn anything for it.

14. $7,200 for Footballs?

Seventy-two footballs will be used for Super Bowl XLIX. At Walmart's (WMT) price of $99.95 for an official NFL game ball, balls for the whole game would add up to nearly $7,200.

15. The Two Teams Are Worth Nearly $4 Billion

The Patriots are worth $2.6 billion, and the Seahawks are worth $1.33 billion.

16. NFL Is Looking to Become a $25 Billion Organization

The NFL seeks to reach $25 billion in annual revenue by 2027. As of last year, it stood at about $10 billion.

17. Five Seahawks Are in the Top 50 in Merchandise Sales

According to NFL Players Inc., the licensing and marketing arm of the NFL Players Association, five Seahawks players are among the top 50 in sales of licensed products: Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman, Marshawn Lynch, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor.

18. Two Patriots Are in the Top 50 in Merchandise Sales

Two Patriots players -- Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski -- are among the top 50 in sales of licensed products.

19. You Could Dine with Peyton Manning for $200

For $200, you could attend the Super Bowl Breakfast, featuring Denver Broncos Quarterback Peyton Manning, this year's Bart Starr Award winner, at the JW Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix. New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees and other current and former NFL players will also be in attendance at the Jan. 30 event.

20. You Could Watch a Doug Flutie Performance for $7,000

If the big game isn't enough for you, your experience can include a performance by former NFL quarterback Doug Flutie. While he won't throw an incredible pass or drop-kick an extra point, a $7,000 ticket will get you access to, among other things, a performance by his band in the Touchdown Club.

21. Gamblers Lost Record Amount Last Year

Those who bet on Super Bowl XLVIII in Nevada lost big, dropping $19.8 million. A 2.5-point spread favored the Broncos, who were soundly defeated.

22. People Will Bet $100 Million This Year

There are expected to be more than $100 million in bets by game time in Las Vegas. As of this writing, the game is a pick 'em in Las Vegas, and odds are not expected to fluctuate much leading up to the game.

23. Seahawks Win Best for Investors?

The Super Bowl indicator, which states that the stock market will likely perform positively that year if the winner comes from the National Football Conference, is on a six-year streak of success, according to The Wall Street Journal. That means an overall accuracy rate of 81 percent. If the Seahawks, an "original," pre-merger National Football Conference team, win this year, look for a bull market.

24. The Vince Lombardi Trophy Costs More Than a Car

It costs an astonishing $50,000 to make the sterling-silver Vince Lombardi Trophy.

25. MVP Gets $30,000 and a Trip to Disney World

The Super Bowl MVP doesn't just say he's "going to Disney (DIS) World" because he feels like it. In addition to a huge payout and tons of glory, he usually gets asked to be a Disney spokesman and gets paid $30,000 to participate in Disney ads and appear at the park. That's not a bad way to cap a successful season.

[readon1 url="http://newspower.org/super-bowl-xlix-25-fun-financial-facts/"]Source:newspower.org[/readon1]

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Manila (AFP) - 10:44 GMT - WE ARE CLOSING THIS LIVE REPORT on Pope Francis's mass in the Philippines, the final event in his five-day visit to the Catholic Church's passionate and chaotic Asian heartland.

A record-breaking crowd of six million people braved grim weather to see the pontiff, who heralded the island nation as "the foremost Catholic country in Asia" and "a special gift of God, a blessing" in a homily that wrung tears from many ecstatic believers.

The mass was the highlight of the pope's two-nation tour, which also included Sri Lanka, aimed at building momentum for the Church's expansion in Asia, with its support in the Philippines the benchmark for the rest of the region.

10:28 GMT - Six million faithful - Six million people turned out to see Pope Francis celebrate mass in the Philippine capital Sunday, the head of Manila's planning agency tells AFP, making it a world record crowd for a papal gathering.

"We have it at six million," according to Metro Manila Development Authority chairman Francis Tolentino, when asked for the crowd size.

10:25 GMT - RECORD CROWD - PAPAL CROWD IN PHILIPPINES A RECORD AT SIX MILLION: CITY OFFICIAL

10:07 GMT - #WeLovePopeFrancis - As the Philippines bathes in the afterglow of the papal visit, now drawing to its close, social media users started using the #WeLovePopeFrancis to share their excitement.

@MisterBanatero pointed out how even the wet weather was not enough to dampen spirits, tweeting "the Filippino faith is waterproof," while @DYOWKS posted that the country's love for the pontiff was "stronger than any rain or storm at Quirino Grandstand," where the ceremony was held.

09:28 GMT - Rockstar exit - Pope Francis is now making a rockstar exit through the streets of Manila, where huge crowds of screaming faithful are straining against barriers or even climbing onto footbridges to catch a glimpse of him.

09:15 GMT - Brand pope - Pope Francis may be known as the "pope of the poor" by many, but that hasn't stopped big business in the Philippines from trying to cash in on his trip.

Smiling images of the 78-year-old pontiff are splashed across towering billboards and full-page newspaper advertisements, stamped with logos of McDonald's, Pepsi, Hyundai and myriad local companies.

Gerald Bautista, who runs his own consulting firm in Manila, puts the pope's magnetic marketing pull down to his "100 percent benefits in terms of credibility and integrity".

09:12 GMT - Yellow poncho - The pope dons his now famous yellow poncho as he leaves the mass and climbs into his jeepney "popemobile" to chants of "We love you Papa Francisco".

AFP Manila bureau chief Karl Malakunas says his choice of the cheap apparel is "being widely welcomed here as a symbol of him being a genuine man-of-the people. He's happy to get wet with everyone else, and wants to wear the same cheap rain coats as everyone else."

09:08 GMT - #BFF2015 - While authorities were preparing for a record-breaking crowd of up to six million, most of the Philippine's 80 million Catholics will not be able to make it.

To help those who won't be able to see Pope Francis in person, one group of college students called #BFF2015 or Best Friends for Francis, set up selfie booths in Manila schools as part of their marketing course project to promote the papal visit.

09:24 GMT - Follow AFP - Social media users can stay up to date on all of AFP's coverage of the pope's trip to the Philippines by following @karlmalakunas and @AFPManila on Twitter.

There you can find links stories including on how prostitutes, priests and rich Filipinos are mixing in the nation's malls, why big business has hijacked 'brand pope' to cash in on his popularity and Filipinos trying to find God via the Internet.

09:04 GMT - Final chords - The ecstatic crowd waves flags, t-shirts -- anything they can get their hands on -- as the choir sings the triumphant final chords of the mass, then breaks into chanting "Papa Francisco," meaning Pope Francis.

Final Chords

08:57 GMT - 'Missionaries of light' - Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of the Philippines asks Pope Francis to "send us as your missionaries of light... to spread the light of Jesus," to rapturous applause from the crowd.

Born to a working-class couple in a then-rural town two hours' drive south of the Philippine capital, Tagle is a young, electric orator who has been tipped as Asia's best hope for the papacy

Since being named the spiritual leader of the Philippine's more than 80 million Catholics in 2012, he has been outspoken about the need for Catholic Church leaders to be more open and humble.

08:39 GMT - 'Typhoon-proof' love - Socrates Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, tells the pope that his love is "typhoon-proof".

"We are not feeling the rain" with you here, he told a smiling Francis. "Holy father you are our sunshine... You have brought us enough sunshine to last us many lifetimes."

08:33 GMT - Logistical difficulties - Holding a mass for millions of people raises some difficult logistical questions, particularly when it comes to celebrating communion.

Luckily, devotees in Manila seem to have taken Pope's Francis's call to share in God's love quite literally, and are passing the wafers from hand to hand through the crowd.

The visibly moved pontiff hugged her for a few seconds and later discarded most of his prepared speech in English, reverting to his native Spanish to deliver an impromptu and heartfelt response.

"She is the only one who has put a question for which there is no answer and she wasn't even able to express it in words but in tears," he said. "The nucleus of your question... almost doesn't have a reply."

08:10 GMT - Pope of the poor - One theme of the pope's homily was protection, with him reminding Catholics of "the importance of protecting our families and those larger families, which are the Church, God's family and the world, our human family".

Often called the "pope of the poor," Francis's care for the needy and disadvantaged has resonated deeply in the Philippines as it continues to struggles to rebuild after Super Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.

Church officials say the pontiff vowed to make a "mercy and compassion" trip when he saw the devastation wrought by the storm, which left 7,350 people dead or missing.

08:04 GMT - 'Flowers in a desert' - AFP journalist Cecil Morella, at the scene, poetically describes the sea of faithful in their rainbow of different coloured raincoats as "like flowers abloom in a desert".

"Most remarkable for me are... the sudden bursts of colour from the cheap disposable (75 pesos) ponchos amidst the sombre backdrop of dark rain clouds."

08:15 GMT - Tough questions - The pope has faced some tough questions during his visit to the abjectly poor Philippines, not least from Glyzelle Palomar, a one-time homeless child taken in by a church charity, when she asked him about child prostitution.

"Why does God allow these things to happen to us? The children are not guilty of anything," the 12-year-old asked the pontiff when he visited a Catholic university in Manila ealier in the day.

08:01 GMT - Controversy - Still, while the pope's trip has delighted the Philippines' millions of Catholics, it has not been without controversy.

Francis sent social media networks into a frenzy when he told reporters there should be "limits" to what can be said about religion in the wake of a spate of deadly Islamist attacks in Paris, including on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Militant atheist Richard Dawkins said the pontiff had "shed his sheep's clothing," while the Guardian's Poly Toynbee said he was "using the wife-beater's defence" for the attacks.

07:54 GMT - Social media frenzy - There's not a dry eye in the Filippino Twittosphere after the pope's speech, it seems. @trinaborbyy says "my tears are falling every time I see the pope", while @desh0208 saying the homily gave her "goosebumps and tears".

07:47 GMT - Prayers of the faithful - The crowd stands as the prayers of the faithful are read out in several of the Philippine's different dialects -- Hiligaynon, Kapampangan, Ilokano, Cebuano, Waray and Bikolano.

07:46 GMT - Silence - You can hear a pin drop as the crowd of six million observe a minute of silence after Pope Francis's speech.

07:34 GMT - Stuck in the mud - AFP and other international media's best laid plans for covering the pope's visit took a hit this morning when their teams who had followed the pope to typhoon-hit Tacloban could not fly back to Manila because of a crashed plane.

The aircraft overshot the runway at the island's airport yesterday, buffeted by strong winds from Tropical Storm Mekkhala, just 30 minutes after the pope took off from the same tarmac. The plane's nose was still buried in mud this morning, and all traffic at the airport was suspended.

07:42 GMT - Security concerns - Security has been a major issue during Pope Francis's five-day trip after two previous attempts to kill visiting pontiffs, with some 40,000 soldiers and police out on the streets.

Earlier, @PhilCoastGuard1 tweeted: "Two hours before the #PopeFrancis Mass in Quirino, PCG personnel intensified the maritime security patrol operations. "

07:38 GMT - Asia's Catholic hub - Pope Francis in his speech describes the Philippines as "the foremost Catholic country in Asia" which is "a special gift of God, a blessing".

Eighty percent of the former Spanish colony's 100 million people follow a famously fervent brand of Catholicism, and the pope has enjoyed thunderously enthusiastic crowds throughout his stay.

Francis says his two-nation tour aimed to build momentum for the already impressive growth for the Church in Asia, with its support in the Philippines the benchmark for the rest of the region.

07:27 GMT - Pope addresses Philippines - "It is a special joy for me to celebrate Santo Nino Sunday with you," the pope tells the rapt crowds.

People are advised to "be calm, don't push, don't run," to "avoid... forcing your way through the sea of people" and "if you fall and can't get up keep crawling in the direction of the crowd".

According to the video, which can be viewed here , a key sign of danger is "the sensation of being touched on all four sides".

07:17 GMT - - Stormy weather - - A sea of people wearing multicoloured ponchos against the rain listen rapt as a blind girl speaks, opening the huge mass in the bayside park.

Stormy weather has already hampered Pope Francis's trip, with a tropical storm on Saturday killing one papal volunteer and forcing him to short a mass to some 200,000 worshippers on the island of Tacloban.

The Philippines is still struggling to rebuild after Super Typhoon Haiyan -- the strongest storm ever recorded on land -- hit in November 2013, leaving 7,350 people dead or missing and wiping out entire communities.

07:14 GMT - - Kings of the road - - Pope Francis arrives to a rapturous welcome from the crowds in a specially made "popemobile" for his Philippines trip.

The "jeepney" -- a type of vehicle originally made from converted US military jeeps left behind after World War II -- is known as the "king of the road" in the island nation, where they are used to transport anything from people to farm animals and produce.

While jeepneys are often painted with colourful religious scenes, the pontiff's vehicle is white and has an elevated rear deck and seats.

07:09 GMT - - Pope arrives - - Pope Francis is welcomed by millions of cheering, singing Catholics as he arrives to celebrate mass in the Philippine capital in one of the world's biggest outpourings of papal devotion.

06:47 GMT - - Santo Nino - - Hundreds of Filipinos are clutching statues of the infant Jesus as Sunday's mass falls on the feast of Santo Nino -- or Holy Child -- one of the oldest and most popular Catholic traditions in the Philippines.

Before the service starts, devotees from the Archdiocese of Cebu will lead worshippers in the Sinulog dance to venerate the holy infant, a traditional street dance where the faithful wave their icons overhead.

The image of the infant Jesus is venerated in the largely-Roman Catholic nation and it is widely displayed in homes and businesses. Organisers of the mass say that for Filipino Catholics, it "represents a God who is accessible to all and can be approached without fear".

06:35 GMT - - Considerate chaos - - AFP video journalist Eliezer Matienzo says there is an atmosphere of considerate chaos at Manila's Rizal Park as millions of faithful arrive ahead of the papal mass.

"I've never seen crowds as big as this," he says from the scene. "People were jostling, bumping me as I was trying to film.

"But at the same time, everyone is trying to help each other. Everyone's very conscious of safety. When there's a little child, everyone says look out for them. There was a speed hump, and everyone was pointing it out to each other so they wouldn't trip over."

06:30 GMT - WELCOME TO AFP'S LIVE REPORT - WELCOME TO AFP'S LIVE REPORT on Pope Francis's mass in the Philippines, the highlight of his five-day visit to the Catholic Church's passionate and chaotic Asian heartland where he is expected to address a world-record papal crowd.

Huge crowds of the faithful are pouring into Rizal Park in Manila for the open-air service, which organisers expect will attract up to six million people despite rain and concerns about security.

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cambridge winter snow

Traffic moves through the falling snow down southbound I79 near Evans City, Pa. on Monday, Jan. 26, 2015. Cities across the Northeast mobilized snowplows and airlines canceled thousands of flights Monday as a potentially historic storm pushed its way up the Philadelphia-to-Boston corridor with what forecasters said could be up to 2 feet of snow. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Philadelphia-to-Boston corridor of more than 35 million people began shutting down and bundling up Monday against a potentially history-making storm that could unload a paralyzing 1 to 3 feet of snow.

More than 5,000 flights in and out of the Northeast were canceled, and many of them may not take off again until Wednesday. Schools and businesses let out early. And cities mobilized snowplows and salt spreaders to deal with a dangerously windy blast that could instantly make up for what has been a largely snow-free winter in the urban Northeast.

Snow was already falling during the morning commute in several cities, including Philadelphia and New York, with Boston up next in the afternoon. Forecasters said the brunt of the storm would hit Monday evening and into Tuesday.

All too aware that big snowstorms can make or break politicians, governors and mayors moved quickly to declare emergencies and order the shutdown of highways, streets and mass transit systems to prevent travelers from getting stranded and to enable plows and emergency vehicles to get through.

"You cannot underestimate this storm. It is not a regular storm," New York Mayor Bill de Blasio warned in ordering city streets closed to all but emergency vehicles beginning at 11 p.m. "What you are going to see in a few hours is something that hits very hard and very fast."

Boston is expected to get 2 to 3 feet, New York 1 1/2 to 2 feet, and Philadelphia more than a foot. The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for a 250-mile swath of the region, meaning heavy, blowing snow and potential whiteout conditions.

In Hartford, Connecticut, Frank Kurzatkowski stopped for gas and said he also filled several five-gallon buckets of water at his home in case the power went out and his well pump failed.

"I've got gas cans filled for my snowblowers," he said. "I have four-wheel-drive."

Supermarkets and hardware stores did a brisk trade as light snow fell in New Jersey.

Nicole Coelho, 29, a nanny from Lyndhurst, New Jersey, was preparing to pick up her charges early from school and stocking up on macaroni and cheese, frozen pizzas and milk at a supermarket. She also was ready in case of a power outage.

"I'm going to make sure to charge up my cellphone, and I have a good book I haven't gotten around to reading yet," she said.

About half of all flights out of New York's LaGuardia Airport were called off Monday, and about 60 percent of flights heading into the airport were scratched. Boston's Logan Airport said there would be no flights after 7 p.m. Monday.

The storm posed one of the biggest tests yet for Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, who has been in office for less than three weeks. He warned residents to prepare for power outages and roads that are "very hard, if not impossible, to navigate."

Wind gusts of 75 mph or more were possible for coastal areas of Massachusetts, and up to 50 mph farther inland, forecasters said.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency and urged commuters to stay home on Monday, warning that roads could be closed before the evening rush hour, even major highways such as the New York Thruway and the Long Island Expressway.

Similarly, Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy ordered a travel ban on his state's highways, while officials in other states asked residents to avoid going anywhere unless it is necessary.

The Washington area was expecting only a couple of inches of snow. But the House postponed votes scheduled for Monday night because lawmakers were having difficulty flying back to the nation's capital after the weekend.

On Wall Street, the New York Stock Exchange said it will stay open and operate normally on Monday and Tuesday.

A tractor-trailer jackknifed, and a beer truck crashed into the median on Interstate 81 near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, during the morning commute. No injuries were reported.

Some schools were planning to close early or not open at all Monday in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut.

The Super Bowl-bound New England Patriots expected to be out of town by the time the storm arrived in Boston. The team planned to leave Logan Airport at 12:30 p.m. Monday for Phoenix, where the temperature will reach the high 60s.

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Dave Collins reported from Hartford, Connecticut. Associated Press writers Pat Eaton-Robb in Hartford, Connecticut; David Porter in Lyndhurst, New Jersey; Bruce Shipkowski in Trenton, New Jersey; Deepti Hajela in New York; Albert Stumm in Philadelphia; and Marcy Gordon and Darlene Superville in Washington contributed to this report.

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BAKER CITY, Ore. (AP) — Black ice is believed to be the cause of a freeway pileup involving more than a dozen tractor-trailers that left 12 people injured Saturday in eastern Oregon, police said.

The 26-vehicle pileup left a long stretch of Interstate 84 closed for most of the day as crews worked to clean spilled diesel fuel and clear away dozens of vehicles that were either damaged or stranded.

12 people were treated for injuries at a Baker City hospital, with four of them then going to other hospitals with more serious injuries, Oregon State Police Sgt. Kyle Hove said. Police had initially reported just four people hurt. There were no fatalities.

The crash occurred shortly before 5 a.m. east of Baker City, about 130 miles northwest of Boise, Idaho.

Hove arrived on the scene to find "a sheet of ice" on the roadway. Troopers are still investigating, but Hove said he believes it was a chain-reaction crash.

"A couple of the trucks came upon the black ice, and they jackknifed and crashed into each other. And it just continued to escalate," Hove told The Associated Press by phone.

Authorities updated their report hours after the crash, increasing the number of vehicles directly involved from 20 to 26, and saying that the pileup left 50 to 70 vehicles stranded at the scene.

There were several separate collisions over a stretch of about three-quarters of a mile in the eastbound lanes, Hove said. He said many of the damaged vehicles were tractor-trailers, and several spilled their loads.

Two trucks were transporting hazardous materials. Their cargo did not spill, but crews had to clean up diesel from the trucks' fuel tanks.

"We understand it's frustrating when the freeway is closed like this," said Tom Srandberg, a spokesman for the Oregon Department of Transportation. "Our primary concern is safety, and (we) want to make sure everything is cleared by our hazmat folks before we let any traffic through the areas."

Interstate 84 links Salt Lake City with Portland, Oregon, and is the primary east-west highway through eastern Oregon. The eastbound lanes were closed for several hours but officials said at least one lane was reopening Saturday night. Westbound lanes were closed temporarily near the crash site.

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Mexico Birth Certificates

SANTA ANA, CALIF. (AP) – The Mexican government on Thursday will start issuing birth certificates to its citizens at consulates in the United States, seeking to make it easier for them to apply for U.S. work permits, driver's licenses and protection from deportation.

Until now, Mexico has required citizens to get birth certificates at government offices in Mexico. Many of those living in the U.S. ask friends and relatives back home to retrieve them, which can delay their applications for immigration or other programs.

Now, even as Republicans in Congress try to quash President Barack Obama's reprieve to millions of immigrants living illegally in the U.S., Mexico is trying to help them apply for programs that would allow them to remain temporarily in the country and continue sending money back to relatives across the border.

"It is a huge help. It helps individuals really begin to formulate their formal identity in this country," said Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles.

About half of the 11 million immigrants living in the United States illegally are from Mexico, and immigration experts estimate that roughly 3 million Mexicans could be eligible to apply for work permits and protection from deportation under the administration's plan.

About two weeks ago, California — which is home to more Mexicans than any other state — began issuing driver's licenses to immigrants in the country illegally.

Starting Thursday, the country's 50 consulates in the United States will be able to access data maintained by regional governments in Mexico and print birth certificates at the consulates, said Arturo Sánchez, consul for press and commercial affairs in Santa Ana, California.

Consulates should be able to issue birth certificates for nearly all birthplaces in Mexico, but some rural villages where documents are not digitally recorded may not be covered, Sánchez said.

Over the past year, the Santa Ana consulate has seen a surge in the demand for documents. Daily appointments have jumped by a third to nearly 400, with many people trying to get birth certificates, Sánchez said.

Mexican immigrants usually seek birth certificates to obtain a passport or consular identification card so they can then apply for a driver's license or immigration relief, he said.

In California, Mexican consular officials have supported the rollout of the new driver's license program, holding information sessions and offering test preparation classes to help immigrants pass the written test required to get a license.

Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, said she believes Mexico is trying to make it easier for its citizens to stay here because of the money they send across the border.

Mexican migrant workers, many who live in the United States, sent home $21.6 billion to their families in 2013, according to the country's central bank.

Vaughan, whose organization advocates for tighter limits on immigration, said the integrity of birth certificates is critical because they are used to issue key identity documents like passports.

"If we can trust the Mexican government to do its due diligence and establish a system with integrity, then this will work and it is up to us to make sure we are communicating with them about what we need to see in terms of integrity," she said. "That is a big if."

 

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Miss Universe 2015 trio

These 21 women from Latin America and the U.S. are vying to become the next Miss Universe.

The Miss Universe pageant will be held in Doral, Florida, on Sunday, Jan. 25. From left: Miss USA, Nia Sanchez; Miss Costa Rica, Karina Ramos; and Miss Mexico, Josselyn A. Garciglia.

Marline Barberena, Miss Nicaragua 2014 poses in Yamamay for Miss Universe swimwear upon arriving to Trump National Doral Miami. The 63rd Annual MISS UNIVERSE® Pageant contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Doral-Miami, Florida. Tune in to the NBC telecast at 8:00 PM ET on January 25, 2015 live from the FIU Arena to see who will be crowned the 63rd Miss Universe. HO/Miss Universe Organization L.P., LLLP --LIGHT RETOUCHING--

Hellen Toncio, Miss Chile 2014 poses in Yamamay for Miss Universe swimwear upon arriving to Trump National Doral Miami. The 63rd Annual MISS UNIVERSE® Pageant contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Doral-Miami, Florida. Tune in to the NBC telecast at 8:00 PM ET on January 25, 2015 live from the FIU Arena to see who will be crowned the 63rd Miss Universe. HO/Miss Universe Organization L.P., LLLP --LIGHT RETOUCHING--

Josselyn A. Garciglia, Miss Mexico 2014 poses in Yamamay for Miss Universe swimwear upon arriving to Trump National Doral Miami. The 63rd Annual MISS UNIVERSE® Pageant contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Doral-Miami, Florida. Tune in to the NBC telecast at 8:00 PM ET on January 25, 2015 live from the FIU Arena to see who will be crowned the 63rd Miss Universe. HO/Miss Universe Organization L.P., LLLP --LIGHT RETOUCHING--

Patricia Murillo, Miss El Salvador 2014 poses in Yamamay for Miss Universe swimwear upon arriving to Trump National Doral Miami. The 63rd Annual MISS UNIVERSE® Pageant contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Doral-Miami, Florida. Tune in to the NBC telecast at 8:00 PM ET on January 25, 2015 live from the FIU Arena to see who will be crowned the 63rd Miss Universe. HO/Miss Universe Organization L.P., LLLP --LIGHT RETOUCHING--

Nia Sanchez, Miss USA 2014 poses in Yamamay for Miss Universe swimwear upon arriving to Trump National Doral Miami. The 63rd Annual MISS UNIVERSE® Pageant contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Doral-Miami, Florida. Tune in to the NBC telecast at 8:00 PM ET on January 25, 2015 live from the FIU Arena to see who will be crowned the 63rd Miss Universe. HO/Miss Universe Organization L.P., LLLP --LIGHT RETOUCHING--

Desire Ferrer, Miss Spain 2014 poses in Yamamay for Miss Universe swimwear upon arriving to Trump National Doral Miami. The 63rd Annual MISS UNIVERSE® Pageant contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Doral-Miami, Florida. Tune in to the NBC telecast at 8:00 PM ET on January 25, 2015 live from the FIU Arena to see who will be crowned the 63rd Miss Universe. HO/Miss Universe Organization L.P., LLLP --LIGHT RETOUCHING--

Gabriela Berrios, Miss Puerto Rico 2014 poses in Yamamay for Miss Universe swimwear upon arriving to Trump National Doral Miami. The 63rd Annual MISS UNIVERSE® Pageant contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Doral-Miami, Florida. Tune in to the NBC telecast at 8:00 PM ET on January 25, 2015 live from the FIU Arena to see who will be crowned the 63rd Miss Universe. HO/Miss Universe Organization L.P., LLLP --LIGHT RETOUCHING--

Melissa Gurgel, Miss Brazil 2014 poses in Yamamay for Miss Universe swimwear upon arriving to Trump National Doral Miami. The 63rd Annual MISS UNIVERSE® Pageant contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Doral-Miami, Florida. Tune in to the NBC telecast at 8:00 PM ET on January 25, 2015 live from the FIU Arena to see who will be crowned the 63rd Miss Universe. HO/Miss Universe Organization L.P., LLLP --LIGHT RETOUCHING--

Alejandra Argudo, Miss Ecuador 2014 poses in Yamamay for Miss Universe swimwear upon arriving to Trump National Doral Miami. The 63rd Annual MISS UNIVERSE® Pageant contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Doral-Miami, Florida. Tune in to the NBC telecast at 8:00 PM ET on January 25, 2015 live from the FIU Arena to see who will be crowned the 63rd Miss Universe. HO/Miss Universe Organization L.P., LLLP --LIGHT RETOUCHING--

Karina Ramos, Miss Costa Rica 2014 poses in Yamamay for Miss Universe swimwear upon arriving to Trump National Doral Miami. The 63rd Annual MISS UNIVERSE® Pageant contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Doral-Miami, Florida. Tune in to the NBC telecast at 8:00 PM ET on January 25, 2015 live from the FIU Arena to see who will be crowned the 63rd Miss Universe. HO/Miss Universe Organization L.P., LLLP --LIGHT RETOUCHING--

Kimberly Castillo, Miss Dominican Republic 2014 poses in Yamamay for Miss Universe swimwear upon arriving to Trump National Doral Miami. The 63rd Annual MISS UNIVERSE® Pageant contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Doral-Miami, Florida. Tune in to the NBC telecast at 8:00 PM ET on January 25, 2015 live from the FIU Arena to see who will be crowned the 63rd Miss Universe. HO/Miss Universe Organization L.P., LLLP --LIGHT RETOUCHING--

Jimena Espinosa, Miss Peru 2014 poses in Yamamay for Miss Universe swimwear upon arriving to Trump National Doral Miami. The 63rd Annual MISS UNIVERSE® Pageant contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Doral-Miami, Florida. Tune in to the NBC telecast at 8:00 PM ET on January 25, 2015 live from the FIU Arena to see who will be crowned the 63rd Miss Universe. HO/Miss Universe Organization L.P., LLLP --LIGHT RETOUCHING--

Johana Riva Garabetian, Miss Uruguay 2014 poses in Yamamay for Miss Universe swimwear upon arriving to Trump National Doral Miami. The 63rd Annual MISS UNIVERSE® Pageant contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Doral-Miami, Florida. Tune in to the NBC telecast at 8:00 PM ET on January 25, 2015 live from the FIU Arena to see who will be crowned the 63rd Miss Universe. HO/Miss Universe Organization L.P., LLLP --LIGHT RETOUCHING--

Migbelis Castellanos, Miss Venezuela 2014 poses in Yamamay for Miss Universe swimwear upon arriving to Trump National Doral Miami. The 63rd Annual MISS UNIVERSE® Pageant contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Doral-Miami, Florida. Tune in to the NBC telecast at 8:00 PM ET on January 25, 2015 live from the FIU Arena to see who will be crowned the 63rd Miss Universe. HO/Miss Universe Organization L.P., LLLP --LIGHT RETOUCHING--

Sally Jara Davalos, Miss Paraguay 2014 poses in Yamamay for Miss Universe swimwear upon arriving to Trump National Doral Miami. The 63rd Annual MISS UNIVERSE® Pageant contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Doral-Miami, Florida. Tune in to the NBC telecast at 8:00 PM ET on January 25, 2015 live from the FIU Arena to see who will be crowned the 63rd Miss Universe. HO/Miss Universe Organization L.P., LLLP --LIGHT RETOUCHING--

Valentina Ferrer, Miss Argentina 2014 poses in Yamamay for Miss Universe swimwear upon arriving to Trump National Doral Miami. The 63rd Annual MISS UNIVERSE® Pageant contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Doral-Miami, Florida. Tune in to the NBC telecast at 8:00 PM ET on January 25, 2015 live from the FIU Arena to see who will be crowned the 63rd Miss Universe. HO/Miss Universe Organization L.P., LLLP --LIGHT RETOUCHING--

Paulina Vega, Miss Colombia 2014 poses in Yamamay for Miss Universe swimwear upon arriving to Trump National Doral Miami. The 63rd Annual MISS UNIVERSE® Pageant contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Doral-Miami, Florida. Tune in to the NBC telecast at 8:00 PM ET on January 25, 2015 live from the FIU Arena to see who will be crowned the 63rd Miss Universe. HO/Miss Universe Organization L.P., LLLP --LIGHT RETOUCHING--

Claudia Tavel, Miss Bolivia 2014 poses in Yamamay for Miss Universe swimwear upon arriving to Trump National Doral Miami. The 63rd Annual MISS UNIVERSE® Pageant contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Doral-Miami, Florida. Tune in to the NBC telecast at 8:00 PM ET on January 25, 2015 live from the FIU Arena to see who will be crowned the 63rd Miss Universe. HO/Miss Universe Organization L.P., LLLP --LIGHT RETOUCHING--

Ana Luisa Montufar, Miss Guatemala 2014 poses in Yamamay for Miss Universe swimwear upon arriving to Trump National Doral Miami. The 63rd Annual MISS UNIVERSE® Pageant contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Doral-Miami, Florida. Tune in to the NBC telecast at 8:00 PM ET on January 25, 2015 live from the FIU Arena to see who will be crowned the 63rd Miss Universe. HO/Miss Universe Organization L.P., LLLP --LIGHT RETOUCHING--

Gabriela Ordonez, Miss Honduras 2014 poses in Yamamay for Miss Universe swimwear upon arriving to Trump National Doral Miami. The 63rd Annual MISS UNIVERSE® Pageant contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Doral-Miami, Florida. Tune in to the NBC telecast at 8:00 PM ET on January 25, 2015 live from the FIU Arena to see who will be crowned the 63rd Miss Universe. HO/Miss Universe Organization L.P., LLLP --LIGHT RETOUCHING--

Yomatsy Hazlewood, Miss Panama 2014 poses in Yamamay for Miss Universe swimwear upon arriving to Trump National Doral Miami. The 63rd Annual MISS UNIVERSE® Pageant contestants are touring, filming, rehearsing and preparing to compete for the DIC Crown in Doral-Miami, Florida. Tune in to the NBC telecast at 8:00 PM ET on January 25, 2015 live from the FIU Arena to see who will be crowned the 63rd Miss Universe. HO/Miss Universe Organization L.P., LLLP --LIGHT RETOUCHING--

 Miss Universe 2015

 

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Puerto Rico Militant GarcNorberto Gonzalez Claudio kisses his wife Elda Santiago in Carolina, Puerto Rico, Jan. 15, 2015.

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO (AP) – Supporters of Puerto Rican independence are welcoming the return of Norberto Gonzalez Claudio, who has completed a prison sentence for his role in a holdup in Connecticut carried out by Puerto Rican militants more than 30 years ago.

It was the largest heist in U.S. history at the time.

Reportedly $7.2 million dollars were stolen from a Wells Fargo truck, in Hartford, Connecticut, on Sept. 12 1983.

Gonzalez, 69, had eluded the FBI for decades until he was arrested in Puerto Rico in May 2011.

He arrived Thursday in the U.S. territory just hours after he was released from a prison in central Florida. Some 150 supporters raised fists in the air and waved Puerto Rican flags as Gonzalez emerged from the airport.

He pleaded guilty in June 2012 to charges including foreign transportation of stolen money and conspiracy to rob federally insured bank funds.

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