Rebecca Hersher | KERA News

Rebecca Hersher

Two Brazilian companies accused of a massive bribery scheme will pay more than $3.5 billion in fines to U.S. and Brazilian authorities.

In 2016, 30 people were sentenced to death in America, and 20 people were executed.

Those numbers are the lowest in decades, according to a report by the Death Penalty Information Center, which collects data on capital punishment in the United States, and advocates against the death penalty.

The 2016 numbers fit with a multi-decade trend. Death sentences and executions have been declining steadily since the mid-1990s.

New Orleans has agreed to pay $13.3 million to settle lawsuits over injuries and deaths at the hands of police in the weeks before and after Hurricane Katrina.

Updated at 8:15 p.m. ET

German police said at least 12 people were killed and at least 48 people were injured after a truck barreled into a packed Christmas market in Berlin.

The truck was driven into the crowd on a sidewalk, bringing down Christmas lights and smashing stalls at the festive market near the Gedaechtniskirche, or Memorial Church, in western Berlin.

The black truck had Polish license plates. Dozens of ambulances and hundreds of rescue workers were on the scene, NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reported.

A California judge has been cleared of misconduct after sentencing a Stanford University student to six months in jail for sexually assaulting a woman earlier this year.

"The California Commission on Judicial Performance ruled Monday that there was no evidence that Santa Clara County Judge Aaron Persky displayed bias in handing down a sentence decried as too lenient by critics across the country," The Associated Press reported.

Physicists at Harvard have built a radio receiver out of building blocks the size of two atoms. It is, almost certainly, the tiniest radio receiver in the world.

And since it's a radio, it can play whatever you want to send its way, including Christmas music, as this video by the Harvard team that designed it makes clear:

Updated at 9:35 p.m. ET

A French court found Christine Lagarde, the current head of the International Monetary Fund, guilty of negligence for improperly overseeing a 2008 case when she was France's finance minister. Later Monday, the IMF's executive board expressed its "full confidence" in Lagarde.

Residents of Corpus Christi, Texas, can use their tap water again, city officials announced on Sunday.

On Sunday, the city issued a statement saying:

"The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the City of Corpus Christi have concurred on the decision to lift the tap water restrictions citywide effective immediately.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has declared a Public Health Emergency for the town of St. Joseph, after officials found water going to three buildings — one of them the town hall — was contaminated with lead or copper.

The governor said state testing showed elevated levels of lead at a private residence as well as the town hall building, on Thursday. The tests also showed "elevated levels of copper" at two private homes.

Pat McCrory, North Carolina's outgoing Republican governor, has signed a law stripping executive powers from his successor, Democrat Roy Cooper.

The law removes the State Board of Elections from the governor's control by reducing the number of members on the board from five — three of whom could be from the governor's party — to four members, evenly split between the parties.

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