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NATIONAL BRIEFS


MAINE: First 75-mph limit in East

If you drive along Interstate 95 in the nation's far northeastern corner, "it's trees, trees, trees" for mile after mile, says one motorist. Drivers have been setting the cruise control at 75 mph for years. Now it's legal on one lonesome stretch, making Maine the only state east of the Mississippi River where 75 mph isn't breaking the law. It takes effect next week after the 65-mph signs are replaced. The 75-mph zone covers a 110-mile stretch between Old Town, a few miles north of Bangor, and Houlton.


ALABAMA: Ruling on immigration law

A federal judge refused Wednesday to block key parts of an Alabama law considered the strictest state effort to clamp down on illegal immigration, including a measure that requires immigration checks of public school students. U.S. District Judge Sharon Blackburn found some parts of the law conflict with federal statutes, but others don't. Left standing are key elements that help make the Alabama law stricter than similar laws passed in Arizona, Utah, Indiana and Georgia.


WASHINGTON: Spy charges for contractor

A former contract security guard at a U.S. consulate under construction in Guangzhou was charged Wednesday with trying to pass defense secrets to Chinese intelligence officials. Bryan Underwood, 31, was arrested early Saturday in Los Angeles and was being brought to Washington to face a four-count indictment.


CALIFORNIA: Pop singer's last days

The last days of Michael Jackson's life were filled with the adulation of fans and intense preparations for his big comeback in London. Things took a tragic turn, said Michael Amir Williams, testifying Wednesday in the trial of the doctor charged with involuntary manslaughter. Williams, who had dropped Jackson at home, said he got a frantic call the next day from Dr. Conrad Murray. "He said, 'Get here right away. Mr. Jackson had a bad reaction.' " Murray, 58, could face prison if convicted and would relinquish his medical license.

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