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macon.com MIDDAY UPDATE: Biologists say most Ga. turtle nests survived Fay; Chambliss unleashes first TV ads; Dalai Lama, battling exhaustion, cancels trips

State biologists say Tropical Storm Fay destroyed fewer loggerhead sea turtle nests than they feared along Georgia beaches.

Georgia Department of Natural Resources biologists and sea turtle patrol volunteers made weekend surveys on all the beaches except Blackbeard Island. Preliminary assessments show about 8 percent of the state’s nests were lost.

The DNR’s sea turtle program coordinator, Mark Dodd, said Monday about 106 nests were lost. He says biologists don’t yet know the long-term effect but that Georgia still will have a record year for loggerheads.

As of Monday, the state had 1,634 nests. Dodd says many nests already had hatched before Fay struck.

The previous state record was 1,504 nests in 2003.

Chambliss unleashes first TV ads

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss has launched the first TV commercials in his re-election campaign.

They are set to start airing statewide this week and will run during the Democratic and Republican National conventions.

One spot features the Republican from Moultrie outlining his belief in GOP bedrock issues like smaller government, lower taxes and personal freedoms. The second ad is a testimonial from his wife Julianne who touts his credentials as ‘‘a wonderful husband, a great father, and a fabulous granddaddy.’’

Neither ad mentions Chambliss’ Democratic opponent, Jim Martin. The former state lawmaker has been keeping a low profile since emerging as his party’s nominee in an Aug. 5 runoff.

- Associated Press

Dalai Lama, battling exhaustion, cancels trips

The Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, was suffering from exhaustion and has canceled two planned international trips to undergo medical tests, his office said today.

The 73-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner had been ‘‘experiencing some discomfort in the past couple of days,’’ a statement from his office said, adding that his doctors had diagnosed ‘‘exhaustion.’’

The Dalai Lama just returned from an 11-day visit to France, capping an intense few months since the violent uprising against Chinese rule in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, in March and the subsequent harsh Chinese crackdown.

The Dalai Lama spends several months a year traveling the globe to highlight the struggle of Tibetans for greater freedom from China and to teach Buddhism.

He canceled two upcoming trips to Mexico and the Dominican Republic and would rest over the next three weeks, said Thupten Samphel, the spokesman of the self-declared Tibetan government-in-exile.

- Associated Press

WHAT'S COMING UP ON MACON.COM

- The Bibb County tax assessors are meeting this afternoon. We'll let you know if something newsworthy happens.

- Holly Petraeus, wife of Army Gen. David Petraeus, will inform Robins officials today about Better Business Bureau programs in support of military troops and their families at Museum of Aviation. We'll let you know what she says.

VISIT US AGAIN SOON

We invite you to check out our Web site again tomorrow for the Midday Update. Monday through Friday, Online Editor Beth MacFadyen will bring you timely information about what Telegraph staffers are working on, plus news we think you need to know immediately. Send feedback to bmacfadyen@macon.com

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