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Cheetah gets loose amid luggage on Delta jet

A Delta baggage worker got a scare before Halloween when she opened a jetliner's cargo door and found a cheetah running loose amid the luggage. Two cheetahs were being flown in the cargo area of a Boeing 757 passenger flight from Portland, Ore., to Atlanta on Thursday when one escaped its cage, Delta spokeswoman Betsy Talton said Friday.

The good news for passengers: The cheetah didn't damage any of their luggage.

The airline summoned help from Zoo Atlanta, and experts rushed to a closed hangar, tranquilized the escaped animal and took both big cats to the zoo. Both 1-year-old female cheetahs were on their way from the Wildlife Safari Park in Winston, Ore., to the Memphis Zoo in Tennessee. Associated Press

WASHINGTON

Libya has paid $1.5 billion into a fund to compensate the families of American victims of Libyan-linked terror attacks in the 1980s, clearing the last hurdle in full normalization of ties between Washington and Tripoli. In exchange, under a deal worked out earlier this year, President Bush on Friday signed an executive order restoring the Libyan government's immunity from terror-related lawsuits and dismissing pending compensation cases, the White House said. Associated Press

Chicago

Police said they found the gun used in the killings of actress Jennifer Hudson's mother, brother and nephew, as the family's South Side community prepared a public memorial. The .45-caliber gun was discovered Wednesday in a vacant lot in the West Side neighborhood where the body of Hudson's 7-year-old nephew, Julian King, was found a few days earlier in an SUV. The bodies of her mother, Darnell Donerson, 57, and brother, Jason Hudson, 29, were found in the family's home last week. Associated Press

Washington

Regulators on Friday shut down Freedom Bank, a small bank in Bradenton, Fla. It was the 17th failure this year of a federally insured bank. The FDIC said the bank's deposits will be assumed by Fifth Third Bank of Grand Rapids, Mich. Its four branches will reopen Monday as offices of Fifth Third Bank. Associated Press

Maine Stockton Springs

A gunman who had been on the lam for a week held 11 fifth-graders hostage at a school Friday but was tackled outside a classroom with no harm to the children, police said. Randall Hofland, 55, had released all the students and had turned over a loaded gun to one of the young hostages before he was arrested, authorities said. He was taken to jail and all of the school's pupils, about 80, were taken by bus to an elementary school in neighboring Searsport. Associated Press

Ireland Dublin

Plans to build the tallest building in Ireland – with new recording studios for Irish supergroup U2 on top – were suspended Friday because of Dublin's slumping property market and slide into recession. The Dublin Docklands Development Authority said it remains committed to building the long-planned U2 Tower, but a souring economy at home and abroad means the project must be shelved. Associated Press

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