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Category: A - Newsbreaks
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December 21--  Here are some of the stories you'll hear today on NewsTalk WVOP, AM 970 and FM 105.3 in Vidalia.

MEXICO FIREWORKS EXPLOSION
Twenty-nine people were killed and more than 70 injured after an explosion at a fireworks market outside of Mexico City Tuesday, according to the governor of the state of Mexico. The explosion in Tultepec was confirmed in an earlier tweet by Luis Felipe Puente, the National Coordinator for Civil Protection. Dramatic video posted to Facebook shows clouds of thick smoke billowing from the market as several fireworks appear to go off at once. The Federal Prosecutor will lead an investigation to determine the cause of the accident as they are not ruling anything out. 

BERLIN
Berlin police say they have received more than 500 tips relating to Monday's deadly truck crash into a Christmas market; they deem 80 of those tips "serious." ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the State Department says it does not have info that backs up the claim.  German prosecutors released a Pakistani man that they had thought was driving the truck.

US SECURITY
A beefed up police presence at Christmas shopping markets in the U-S. But no word yet of any specific terror threats targeting the United States, following the deadly truck attack in Berlin.

TRUMP
President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team is distancing the Trump family from a fundraiser scheduled for Inauguration Weekend organized by a nonprofit appearing to offer access to the president in exchange for donations. The Jan. 21 conservation fundraiser, of which Eric and Donald Trump Jr. are honorary co-chairmen, was planning to offer private receptions with Trump in exchange for $1 million contributions to the nonprofit Opening Day Foundation, according to an initial brochure first reported by TMZ and confirmed by ABC News. Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks issued a statement Tuesday distancing the family from the even.

STOCKS
An extraordinary rally on Wall Street should help your 401k. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closing Tuesday within 26 points of the 20-thousand mark, less than a month after the Dow hit 19-thousand for the first time ever.

NC BATHROOM LAW
A deal to repeal North Carolina's controversial "bathroom bill" comes up in a special session Wednesday for state lawmakers. Nixing the statewide law hinged on Charlotte undoing a local anti-discrimination measure.

OBAMAS
--In an effort to provide long-lasting protection to fragile Arctic ecosystems, President Obama has enacted an expansive, permanent ban on oil and gas leasing in several Arctic and Atlantic Ocean areas. The president has designated a large portion of the U.S. Chukchi Sea and the vast majority of the U.S. Beaufort Sea as permanently off-limits to drilling leases, saying the risks far outweigh any possible, distant-future benefits. 
--On Tuesday, the Obama family went to Hawaii's Bellows Air Force station to visit the beach with friends. It is a favorite beach spot for the first family; last year, the first family visited the beach three times, and in 2014 made it there five times. The visit came after Obama announced in a statement earlier in the day what he characterized as a permanent ban on drilling in parts of the Arctic and Atlantic.

ROAD RAGE MANHUNT
A Wednesday night vigil is planned for the three-year-old killed in a road rage incident in Arkansas.  The little boy's grandmother says a man driving a 2003 to 2005 black Chevy Impala opened fired after she and the suspect exchanged car honks Saturday evening. The woman told police she didn't realize the boy had been struck until about 15 minutes later. Police say they've gotten dozens of tips, and a reward for info has grown to 40-thousand dollars.

UNINSURED (HFR 12AM 12/21)
The rate of uninsured Americans has hit a 50-Year Low.  Before Obamacare in 2013, 45 million people (17% of the population) under age 65 were without health insurance in the U.S. Now researchers examine uninsured rates within the two-year period before/after the Affordable Care Act came into full effect in 2014. In every state except Massachusetts and South Dakota, uninsured rates declined each year. 

SYRIA
The brutal assassination of the Russian ambassador to Turkey during a televised event at the Museum of Modern Art in Ankara on Monday left observers shocked and appalled, but also asking difficult questions about the relationship between Turkey and Russia.

CANADA/AFGHANISTAN
Canada called Monday for the unconditional release of a Canadian man and his American wife after a new video appeared to show them begging their governments to intervene on their behalf with their Afghan captors.

NY/NJ BOMBING
The man accused of planting bombs in New Jersey and New York City and then engaging cops in a shootout pleaded not guilty Tuesday to the alleged attack on several Linden, New Jersey, police officers. A public defender entered a not guilty plea on the attempted murder charges on behalf of Ahmad Khan Rahimi as Rahimi made a brief appearance in a New Jersey courtroom, where a high police presence surrounded him. Rahimi is charged with five counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon and second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.

REALITY SHOW NURSE MURDER
The case of a missing former reality show contestant is now a homicide investigation, LAPD said on Tuesday, adding that a male nursing student will be booked on suspicion of murder. Lisa Marie Naegle, 36, attended a friend's 40th birthday party in Alpine Village in Torrance late Saturday night.  Naegle's husband said he received a text message from her around 2:45 a.m., telling him she would be getting food and then coming home. But the registered nurse never returned home. Tuesday afternoon, LAPD said information provided to them by that nursing student, 34-year-old Jackie Jerome Rogers, led investigators to believe that Naegle was murdered, and her body is likely at Rogers' Lennox residence.  Naegle was a contestant on the E! network show "Bridalplasty" in 2010. 

WINTER
The first official day of winter starts at 5:44am EST Wednesday morning.

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