News MIDDAY UPDATE: Father, 8-year-old son hurt in Tenn. bear attack; Bush warns Russia on attacks on neighbor; King Memorial project announces new fundraising goal

An 8-year-old Florida boy and his father were treated and released from a hospital after battling a black bear in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, officials said today.

Evan Pala and his father John Pala of Boca Raton were able to leave Fort Sanders Sevier Medical Center on Monday evening within hours of the incident in the park, hospital spokeswoman Amanda Bradson said.

Park rangers later killed a young 55-pound male bear matching the description of the one in the attack.

Park spokesman Bob Miller said the bear approached the boy around 7:30 p.m. Monday while Evan was playing in a creek about 300 yards up Rainbow Falls Trail, a popular hiking trail about 2.5 miles south of Gatlinburg.

Miller said the bear attacked the boy, was driven off and came back a second time.

Finally, the father was able to drive the bear off with rocks and sticks, Miller said.

The boy suffered cuts, scratches and some puncture wounds. The father received several cuts during the attack.

– Associated Press

Bush warns Russia on attacks on neighbor

The Bush administration sought today to determine the staying power of Russia’s promise to stop attacks in neighboring Georgia.

At the same time, the White House rejected demands by Moscow that Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili step down. President Bush has been in touch with leaders in Western and Eastern Europe over available options in the face of the Cold War-style crisis.

Earlier today, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev ordered a halt to its military action in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, saying the campaign had brought security in Georgia’s breakaway South Ossetia region.

‘‘The aggressor has been punished and suffered very significant losses. Its military has been disorganized,’’ Medvedev said in a nationally televised statement. His order came just hours after Bush’s strongest statement on the fighting since it began at the end of last week. He demanded that Russia withdraw its troops from Georgia, end what he called a ‘‘dramatic and brutal escalation’’ of violence, and accept international mediation to end the crisis.

‘‘Russia has invaded a sovereign neighboring state and threatens a democratic government elected by its people. Such an action is unacceptable in the 21st century,’’ Bush had said on Monday, shortly after he returned to Washington from the Beijing Olympics.

Bush said at that time that Russia’s escalation had ‘‘raised serious questions about its intentions in Georgia and the region’’ and had ‘‘substantially damaged Russia’s standing in the world.’’

– Associated Press

King Memorial project announces new fundraising goal

The addition of a bookstore and rising construction costs are driving up the price tag of the planned Martin Luther King Memorial.

The group building the memorial raised their fundraising target by $20 million on Tuesday to $120 million. Organizers say the additional funds will cover the bookstore, security enhancements required by the National Park Service and the rising costs of fuel and construction materials.

Also today, the group announced a $3 million gift from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and a $1 million gift from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

The announcements come as the memorial project was closing in on its initial $100 million fundraising goal. The total raised now stands at $98.8 million.

– Associated Press


– The trial of a Macon woman accused of child abuse in an incident that left her child severely brain damaged continues today. We'll let you know what happens.– Today is the first day of the third annual Southeast Bioenergy conference in Tifton. We'll let you know what's on the horizon as far as biofuels go.


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