Across Georgia

Baby panda begins to explore the outdoors


ATLANTA - Zoo Atlanta's giant panda cub is on the verge of discovering the great outdoors.

Zookeepers began letting the 27-pound Mei Lan venture into the outside section of the panda exhibit Wednesday, the last step in the cub's debut.

But the debutante was a little shy. After peeking outside, she retreated indoors.

"For her to live a life like a wild panda would, we want her to spend as much time as she can outside," said Rebecca Snyder, curator of giant panda research and management at the zoo. "We made all the preparations. She just has to do it on her own time."

Attack in prison kills inmate, wounds other

MORGAN - State officials are investigating an assault at Calhoun State Prison that left one inmate dead and another hospitalized.

Paul William Phillips, 53, who was serving a 30-year sentence for aggravated child molestation, died after being attacked by a fellow inmate Wednesday, said Yolanda Thompson, spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Corrections. She said she did not know what kind of weapon was used.

Judge bars trees from coming down on I-185

COLUMBUS - A judge has ordered the state Department of Transportation to cease issuing permits allowing billboard companies to cut trees and vegetation along the Interstate 185 corridor in west Georgia.

Muscogee Superior Court Judge Bobby Peters signed a temporary restraining order Tuesday barring permits from being issued along the interstate corridor.

The order came in response to a lawsuit attacking the process that allows billboard companies to trim or cut vegetation or trees near their signs. Companies that want to cut trees along state rights of way must obtain permits from the Georgia Department of Transportation.

The complaint, filed by the city of Columbus, Gateways Foundation Inc. and Trees Columbus Inc., also asked the court to declare the I-185 corridor a beautification project protected from the permit process.

Full Macy's delivery truck stolen at store

ALPHARETTA - Two men armed with pistols hijacked a Macy's delivery truck early Wednesday and drove off with the merchandise on board.

The truck was taken around 2:30 a.m. from a parking lot at North Point Mall, Alpharetta police said.

The driver had brought the truck carrying merchandise to Macy's and was switching to an empty delivery truck. The robbers appeared as he was making the switch, pistol-whipped the driver, bound him with duct tape and put him into the empty trailer, police said.

- Edited from wire reports