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Warning about caramel apples...Pakistan strikes back...Rocket hits Israel

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Health officials say prepackaged caramel apples are linked to five deaths and more than two dozen illnesses in 10 states. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says investigators are trying to determine the specific brands that were involved. But consumers are being warned not to eat prepackaged caramel apples until more is known.

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan is striking back against militants, just days after Taliban fighters killed 148 people -- most of them children -- in a school massacre. Officials say warplanes and ground forces have killed at least 77 militants in a northwestern tribal region near the Afghan border. In schools across Pakistan today, special classes were held, with schoolchildren chanting prayers in memory of the victims of the Taliban slaughter.

JERUSALEM (AP) — For the first time since September, a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip has struck southern Israel. Police say it landed in an open field, causing no injuries or damage. Israel fought a 50-day war this summer with Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that controls Gaza. Hamas launched thousands of rockets and mortars toward Israel, which carried out an aerial campaign and a ground invasion.

HAVANA (AP) — Amid the excitement over the thaw in U.S.-Cuba relations, one person has been conspicuously absent: Fidel Castro. The former Cuban president hasn't made any public comment about the announcement that the U.S. and Cuba will restore diplomatic relations after more than 50 years of hostility. Fidel Castro periodically has weighed in on world events in newspaper columns since he left office after falling ill in 2006. Information about the 88-year-old Castro is scarce in Cuba. But some Cubans say they are sure his brother, President Raul Castro, would not have agreed to renew ties with the U.S. without the behind-the-scenes blessing of his brother.

WASHINGTON (AP) — There's another indication today of the healthy job gains that have been seen across the country. The government says unemployment rates fell in 41 states in November, and were unchanged in six others. The jobless rate rose in just three states: Connecticut, Louisiana and Washington state.

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