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NEW HAMPSHIRE: Sick engineer evacuated

A sick American engineer who worked at the South Pole for a year has finally been evacuated to New Zealand. Renee-Nicole Douceur described the flight in an email to The Associated Press shortly after landing in Christchurch. "My brain is still intact," she wrote. She is scheduled for medical tests Tuesday. Douceur, 58, of Seabrook, N.H., was a manager for research station contractor Raytheon Polar Services Co. She asked for an emergency evacuation after having what doctors believed was a stroke in August, but her request was rejected because of bad weather. A storm delayed a flight attempt Saturday. The first part of Douceur's trip was to board a plane to the National Science Foundation's research station in Antarctica, before heading to New Zealand.

MARYLAND: Life term for ex-pastor

A former pastor was sentenced Monday to life in prison for ordering the murder of a blind, developmentally disabled man in Baltimore so he could collect $1.4 million in life insurance policies. Kevin Pushia, 35, pleaded guilty in August 2010 to orchestrating the Feb. 4, 2009, slaying of Lemuel Wallace, who was picked up from his group home and shot dead by an unknown gunman. City Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams also sentenced Pushia to 45 years for charges related to the insurance fraud. Brothers James Omar Clea III and Kareem Jamal Clea were charged with executing the murder but were acquitted after a trial in which Pushia provided erratic and often contradictory testimony against them.

MISSISSIPPI: Abortion ban on ballot

A national effort to put abortion bans into state constitutions is looking for its first victory next month in Mississippi, where voters are asked to approve an amendment declaring that life begins when a human egg is fertilized. Supporters hope the so-called personhood initiative will succeed in a Bible Belt state that has some of the nation's toughest abortion regulations and only a single clinic where the procedures are performed.

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