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Louisiana short 175,100 jobs

A year after Hurricane Katrina, the state has 175,100 fewer jobs than before the storm with virtually the entire toll coming from the hard-hit New Orleans region, the state Labor Department reported Monday.

But there was a silver lining: job figures for August were above their lows for the past year. At its low point last fall, the statewide job total was down more than 234,000 jobs. Katrina hit on Aug. 29, 2005, followed by Hurricane Rita on Sept. 24, 2005.

Metropolitan New Orleans had 173,400 fewer non-farm jobs in August 2006 than in August 2005, an indication of a painfully slow recovery in the area. The only other major Louisiana market that had a year-to-year loss was the Lake Charles area, which was hit by Rita. That region had 2,200 fewer jobs than a year ago, the Labor Department said.


19-day-old panda: She’s a girl!

The baby panda born earlier this month at Zoo Atlanta is a girl.

In a statement posted Monday on the zoo’s Web site, officials said the female cub appears to be healthy.

Zoo staff members had removed the tiny cub from its birthing den for the first time on Monday, 19 days after panda Lun Lun gave birth, and determined its gender during a 10-minute checkup.

With Lun Lun in an adjacent den, zoo veterinarian Maria Crane gently lifted the baby and began the examination. Because the newborn is so small and Lun Lun often held it close to her body, zoo officials have not known until now whether the newborn was male or female.

Crane also weighed the cub, listened to her heart and checked her pulse. She weighed nearly 1 1/2 pounds and was a little more than 12 inches long.

The 9-year-old Lun Lun gave birth Sept. 6 after a 35-hour labor. It’s the fifth giant panda born at a U.S. zoo in the last six years.


AOL subscribers file lawsuit

Three AOL subscribers who suddenly found records of their Internet searches widely distributed online are suing the company under privacy laws and are seeking an end to its retention of search-related data.

The lawsuit is believed to be the first in the wake of AOL’s intentional release of some 19 million search requests made over a three-month period by more than 650,000 subscribers, including the three plaintiffs – two unnamed Californians and Kasadore Ramkissoon of Richmond County, N.Y.

Filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Oakland, Calif., the lawsuit seeks class-action status. It does not specify the amount of damages being sought.

AOL already has apologized for the release, which it blamed on a researcher who had failed to gain proper clearances.

Compiled from news wires


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