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Deadly fireworks explosion ... IS claims responsibility for truck attack ... Report: US death sentences on decline



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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TULTEPEC, Mexico (AP) — Authorities in Mexico have not yet said what may have caused Tuesday's explosion at a fireworks market that killed at least 29 people and injured another 72. The market in Mexico State's San Pablito was bustling with shoppers when the powerful chain-reaction explosion ripped through its stalls. Some of the injured have been burned over 90 percent of their bodies.

BERLIN (AP) — The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the truck attack on a crowded Christmas market in Berlin. Meanwhile, a man taken into custody near the scene has been released. Authorities say there's no evidence the man was at the wheel of the truck that killed 12 people and injured 48. The man had been taken into custody based on a description from people who saw the driver jump out of the truck and run off.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Death sentences in the United States may be on the decline. A report from the nonprofit Death Penalty Information Center says the 30 people were sentenced to death in the United States this year. That's the lowest number since the early 1970s. Robert Dunham, the group's executive director, says "I think we are watching a major political climate change concerning capital punishment and it's reflected among reduced death sentences across the country."

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Singer-songwriter James Taylor has canceled his February concert in the Philippines, saying that he finds reports of the country's summary executions of suspected drug offenders without judicial proceedings "deeply concerning and unacceptable." Taylor has sent a tweet, saying that he had been looking forward to performing in Manila and that it's saddened him to cancel the concert. He says all tickets sold for the Feb. 25 performance will be refunded.

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas has put Planned Parenthood on notice of plans to soon cut off Medicaid funds. Planned Parenthood has responded by vowing to ask a court to stop Texas from defunding clinics in January. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott pledged to kick Planned Parenthood out of the state's Medicaid program more than a year ago, joining other socially conservative governors who took similar steps in 2015.

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The Associated Press

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