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    Pati and Jaya are two rare Southeast Asian clouded leopards that were born May 14 at Jardin des Plantes park in Paris.

Hello, kitties

A Paris zoo has announced the birth of two rare Southeast Asian clouded leopards. The two female cubs, named Pati and Jaya, were born May 14 and made their first public appearance this week at the zoo in the Jardin des Plantes park. The cats are threatened by poachers and loss of habitat in Southeast Asia and parts of China.



Zeta-Jones and hubby visit hospital in Wales

CARDIFF, Wales » Catherine Zeta-Jones and husband Michael Douglas have visited a children’s hospital in Wales which the actress has supported for a decade.

Zeta-Jones, Douglas and her parents, Patricia and David Jones, spent 90 minutes yesterday touring facilities at the Children’s Hospital for Wales in Cardiff.

Four years ago the Hollywood couple officially opened the hospital, which includes both treatment and play wards.

She told reporters yesterday, "It really is an honor for me to come back when it’s running."

Zeta-Jones, who was born in the Welsh city of Swansea, became a patron of the Noah’s Ark Appeal for a Welsh children’s hospital in 2000. The appeal is now working to raise $10.8 million for the project.


Jury selection begins in Nicole Smith trial

LOS ANGELES » A woman who works with addictive drugs and one who was a fan of Anna Nicole Smith’s TV reality show were among those cleared to fill out questionnaires Thursday during the first phase of jury selection for the drug conspiracy trial of two doctors and the late model’s lawyer-boyfriend, Howard K. Stern.

Superior Court Judge Robert Perry greeted the jury prospects with warnings that it was a high-profile case and that they might be familiar with the life of the blond Playboy model, who died of a drug overdose in 2007 in Florida.

The defendants are not charged with causing Smith’s death, but are accused of illegally providing her with opiates and sedatives. Dr. Sandeep Kapoor, Dr. Khristine Eroshevich and Stern have pleaded not guilty to charges related to overprescribing drugs and illegally obtaining drugs for Smith under pseudonyms.

"I work for a hospital, and I know what Oxycodone does to people," one prospect said, referring to one of the drugs involved in the case. "I’ve had relatives that got hooked into it."

The prospect also said she watched TV coverage when Smith died.

The judge asked whether she could be fair in evaluating the evidence, to which she replied, after a long pause, "I think I could be fair."

He told her to fill out the 14-page questionnaire. Those who complete the forms will return Aug. 2 for in-depth questioning.

The trial was expected to last three months. Opening statements are scheduled for Aug. 4.


Former Iron Chef faces lawsuit in court

NEW YORK » Two former employees have accused celebrity chef Mario Batali and his famous New York City restaurant of cheating them out of tips.

The workers, a waitress and a kitchen runner, filed a lawsuit in Manhattan federal court on Thursday against the former "Iron Chef America" celebrity and Babbo Ristorante Enoteca in Greenwich Village.

They say Batali forced them to illegally share their tips with other workers who weren’t entitled to them.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and class-action status.


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