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Southern Baptists are the largest Protestant group in the United States, but they have seen a decline in baptisms, church attendance and membership in recent years.

The denomination was formed in 1845 amid disputes with other American Baptists about slaveholding. Southern Baptists apologized to African-Americans in a 1995 resolution for the role that slavery played in the convention’s founding.


Court halts execution of former Army recruiter

HUNTSVILLE, Texas — A former Army recruiter who for the third time this year was hours away from his scheduled execution for the rape-slaying of a woman in Fort Worth nearly 10 years ago was granted yet another reprieve by the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday.

Cleve Foster, 47, was set to die Tuesday evening in Huntsville.

The high court earlier this year twice stopped Foster’s scheduled lethal injection. The latest court ruling came about 21/2 hours before Foster could have been taken to the Texas death chamber.

Foster was meeting with one of his lawyers in a small holding cell a few feet from the death chamber when a Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman delivered the news.

“He thanked God and pointed to his attorney, saying this woman helped save his life,” prison spokesman Jason Clark said.


Fire at nuclear plant office deemed to be suspicious

BRATTLEBORO — A spokesman for the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant says the cause of an early-morning fire at its corporate office is considered suspicious.

The plant’s owners and the state of Vermont have been engaged in a bruising fight about whether it should be allowed to operate beyond March. The company has sued to keep it running.

Company spokesman Larry Smith said the fire was reported about 3 a.m. Tuesday at its building in Brattleboro. The three-story building houses the plant’s communication equipment and its public and government relations offices. The reactor itself is about 7 miles south, in the town of Vernon.

Mr. Smith said no one was injured, but the building now is unusable.

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