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In brief: South Pole worker may catch flight

Wed., Oct. 12, 2011

An American engineer who has been trying to leave a South Pole research station since suffering what she thought was a stroke in late August could be on a plane out as early as Friday.

Renee Douceur, of Seabrook, N.H., told the Associated Press on Tuesday that she expects to fly out on a cargo plane scheduled to arrive from the United Kingdom’s Rothera Base in Antarctica.

Douceur, 58, is the station manager for Raytheon Polar Services Co., which has a contract with the National Science Foundation’s South Pole research station. She has been asking for an emergency evacuation since Aug. 26, when she had what she and on-site doctors believed was a stroke, but officials denied her request, saying that sending a rescue plane was too dangerous and that her condition wasn’t life-threatening.

Douceur said Tuesday that doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital she contacted for a second opinion told her they believe something other than a stroke – possibly a tumor – may be causing her vision, speech and memory problems.

Prison ordered for Tymoshenko

Kiev, Ukraine – Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, a popular opposition leader who once symbolized Western hopes for a democratic Ukraine, was convicted of abuse of office and sentenced to seven years in prison Tuesday.

Tymoshenko’s conviction bodes ill for Ukraine’s aspirations to shake off Russian influence, integrate more closely into the West, and eventually join the 27-nation European bloc.

The court found Tymoshenko guilty of abuse of office in the signing of a natural gas import contract with Russia in 2009, saying she lacked an official authorization for the deal and had agreed to a price that was too high.


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