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It’s been 100 days since the latest panda cub was born there. That’s the day Chinese tradition at the zoo calls for the cub to get its name.

In a ceremony Tuesday, the cub was dubbed Xiao Liwu. That’s means Little Gift in English.

NORTH CAROLINA

Judge rules against holiday possum drop

RALEIGH — A possum drop that attracts thousands of people to a tiny town in western North Carolina each New Year’s Eve may have had its last hurrah after a judge ruled Tuesday that a state agency didn’t have the authority to issue a permit for the event.

The ruling would end a 19-year tradition of suspending a possum in see-through box covered with holiday tinsel and lowering it to the ground at midnight.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals had sued the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, which issues the permit for the event, saying it’s illegal and cruel.

REGION

Feds: 2 caught snakes, flew them to Florida

Two Florida men were charged Tuesday with conspiracy to traffic in endangered and threatened reptiles, including rattlesnakes that allegedly were trapped in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey and shipped to Florida.

Robroy MacInnes, 54, of Fort Myers, and Robert Keszey, 47, of Bushnell, along with Glades Herp Farm Inc., a business they owned, were named in a two-count indictment handed up in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia.

According to the indictment, from 2007 to 2008, the two men collected protected snakes from the wild in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, purchased protected eastern timber rattlesnakes that had been illegally collected in violation of New York law and transported federally threatened eastern indigo snakes from Florida to Pennsylvania.

Assistant Attorney General Ignacia S. Moreno, who heads the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, said the men and the company were charged with conspiracy to traffic in endangered and threatened reptiles. Mr. MacInnes and Mr. Glades also were charged with trafficking in protected timber rattlesnakes in violation of the Lacey Act.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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