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200 in New Mexico say release of substance caused sickness<p></p>

Published Oct. 31, 2012

SANTA TERESA, N.M.

200 say release of SUBSTANCE caused sickness

An unknown hazardous material sickened about 200 people Tuesday, with some workers in the industrial area where the substance was released describing a burning sensation on their skin, according to New Mexico authorities. A 1-mile area surrounding the Dona Ana County Industrial Park in Santa Teresa was evacuated for a few hours and the county airport was closed. Workers a few miles away said they could smell something in the air. By Tuesday afternoon, only the industrial park remained off-limits as hazmat crews took samples to determine what made the people sick. No serious injuries were reported and no one was hospitalized.

Fort Worth, Texas

Brother says killer didn't know pastor

The brother of the man who rammed his car into a church wall said Tuesday that the man had been acting strange for the past week and didn't know the pastor he beat to death. Glen Birdow told the Associated Press that he did not know why his brother, Derrick Anthony Birdow, drove from Fort Worth to Greater Sweethome Missionary Baptist Church in nearby Forest Hill on Monday. Derrick Birdow, 33, died after being found unresponsive in a patrol car. Officers had subdued him with a Taser after arriving to find him assaulting the Rev. Danny Kirk Sr. with an electric guitar. Kirk, 53, died at the scene, authorities said.

PASADENA, Calif.

NASA rover makes soil assessment

The Martian soil at the rover Curiosity's landing site contains minerals similar to what's found on Hawaii's Mauna Kea volcano, NASA scientists said Tuesday. The finding is the latest step in trying to better understand whether the environment could have been hospitable to microbial life. Curiosity recently ingested its first soil sample and used one of its instruments to tease out the minerals present.

Afghanistan

2 British soldiers killed by gunman

Two soldiers from the British army were slain in southern Afghanistan on Tuesday by a gunman dressed in an Afghan police uniform, the NATO-led military coalition said. The attack in Helmand province had the hallmarks of a series of insider attacks in which Afghan security forces have turned their guns on their international partners. At least 53 troops have been slain in such attacks this year, according to the NATO-led alliance.

Poland

Officials dismiss report on crash

Polish military prosecutors on Tuesday denied a report on the daily newspaper Rzeczpospolita that said investigators had found traces of explosives in the 2010 plane crash in Russia that killed Polish President Lech Kaczynski and 95 others. Ireneusz Szelag, a spokesman for the prosecutors, said experts who examined the wreckage in recent weeks in Russia detected no explosives on plane parts or at the site of the crash. The story reignited accusations from the opposition and some victims' families that the crash in heavy fog near the airport in Smolensk was an assassination.

Elsewhere

Japan: About a quarter of the $148 billion budget for reconstruction after Japan's March 2011 tsunami and nuclear disaster has been spent on unrelated projects, including subsidies for a contact lens factory and research whaling, a government audit found.

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