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The news at a glance...Americas

Americas

St.-Jérôme, Quebec
Daring jailbreak: Two inmates made a spectacular escape from a Quebec prison this week by climbing ropes dangled over the prison yard from a helicopter two of their buddies had hijacked. But they only managed to stay on the run for a few hours before police found them and arrested all four: escaped prisoners Benjamin Hudon-Barbeau, 36, and Dany Provençal, 33, and alleged accomplices Yagé Beaudoin, 24, and Mathieu Steven Marchisio, 21. Yves Galarneau, the correctional officer in charge of the jail, said Quebec prisons have no security measures to prevent a helicopter from swooping down. “As far as I know, it’s a first in Quebec,” he said. “It’s exceptional.”

Mexico City
Guns from U.S.: The scale of gun smuggling from the U.S. to Mexico is much higher than previously thought: a quarter million guns a year, worth some $127 million. According to a new study by the University of San Diego’s Trans-Border Institute and Brazil’s Igarapé Institute, more than 2 percent of all U.S. gun sales go to smugglers. Profit margins at gun shops are so low, the study said, that thousands of them would go out of business without the illegal traffic to Mexico. There’s a glut of gun shops in U.S. border states: More than three gun dealers for every mile of the 1,969-mile border. “The Mexican demand explains that abundance and the successful nature of the business,” said study co-author Robert Muggah.

Caracas, Venezuela
Chávez won’t be on view: Venezuela’s government has given up on its plan to preserve the body of late President Hugo Chávez in a glass case like that of Vladimir Lenin. After Chávez died earlier this month of cancer, acting President Nicolás Maduro announced that the body would be placed on display in perpetuity in the Museum of the Revolution. But Russian scientists told Venezuelan officials that the body was not embalmed in the right way to preserve it for long, and now it is too late. Instead, Maduro says he will convene a commission of “the world’s best scientists” to study tissue samples and investigate whether Chávez was poisoned by the U.S.

Atacama Desert, Chile
World’s largest telescope: Scientists have completed the world’s largest radio telescope array, more powerful than all other radio telescopes in the world combined. The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, or ALMA, boasts a resolution 10 times sharper than that of the Hubble Space Telescope. It will look deep into space to study newborn galaxies from the earliest periods of the universe, and it’s expected to help scientists understand how stars are formed. “ALMA is going to blow this field wide open,” said astrophysicist Christine Wilson.

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