In brief: Fireworks blast kills 11 at religious festival
Mexico City – A truck loaded with fireworks exploded during a religious procession in a rural village in central Mexico on Friday, killing at least 11 people and injuring dozens more, authorities said.
The blast was set off when a firework malfunctioned and landed on the truck, igniting the fireworks it carried, officials said. Seventy people were burned or had other injuries, and at least 45 were taken to hospitals, authorities in the neighboring states of Tlaxcala and Puebla said.
The victims were marching in an annual procession in honor of Jesus Christ, the patron saint of Jesus Tepactepec, a village of about 1,000 people.
American, Russians return from space
Moscow – A Soyuz space capsule carrying an American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts landed on the steppes of Kazakhstan today, returning the three men to Earth after a 144-day mission to the International Space Station.
NASA’s Kevin Ford and Russians Oleg Novitsky and Yevgeny Tarelkin had been scheduled to return on Friday, but the landing was postponed by a day because of bad weather.
Snowstorm strands thousands of cars
Budapest, Hungary – A snowstorm in Hungary brought drifts 10 feet high and violent gusts of wind, forcing thousands of people to spend the night in their cars or in emergency shelters after being stranded on a major highway.
Rescue officials said wind gusts up to 62 mph caused trucks to jackknife across the key M1 highway between Budapest and Vienna – the capitals of Hungary and Austria – leading to the traffic jams.
More than 100 people were injured in traffic and snow-related accidents, the Hungarian Disaster Management Agency said, adding that 5,700 cars were stranded on the roads and 18 trains were stuck between stations.