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Alibaba surges in its stock market debut

People walk past an advertising billboard showing the mobile app of Alibabas Taobao consumer-to-consumer site at a subway station in Beijing Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014. Alibaba Group's U.S. stock offering is a wakeup call about an emerging wave of technology giants in China's state-dominated economy. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

NEW YORK (AP) — Alibaba’s stock is surging as the Chinese e-commerce powerhouse begins its first day trading as a public company. The stock opened at $92.70 and nearly hit $100 on the New York Stock Exchange Friday, a gain of 46 percent from the initial $68 per share price set Thursday evening. At Friday’s opening… Continue reading →

Louisiana gains 30,100 jobs in 12 months through August

Louisiana’s nonfarm employment grew by 30,100 over the year ended Aug. 31 and set a record 1,983,200. State government jobs decreased by 4,000 over the 12-month period, and local government jobs decreased by 2,100, according to reports of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Louisiana Workforce Commission. Over the same time, private employers hired 36,400… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge’s BRAVE initiative now expanding to 70802 area

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Representatives from the Baton Rouge Police Department BRAVE team and the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office SCAT Team pause for a photo during a gathering of local law enforcement in the 70802 community, with a goal on bringing community members together to take a stand against violence in the neighborhood, Thursday, Sept. 18 in Baton Rouge.

Baton Rouge’s crime-fighting initiative, BRAVE, officially is expanding into a second ZIP code area: 70802, the area north of LSU that has been the site of a disproportionate number of the city’s violent crimes. “We want them all to know that (70802) is not just a geographical location,” said BRAVE’s team leader and Baton Rouge police… Continue reading →

Gonzales man arrested, booked with cultivating marijuana in home

Photo provided by Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office -- Deputies on Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014, found 100 marijuana plants growing at a Gonzales residence, along with growing equipment and chemicals relative to growing marijuana.

The Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office arrested a Gonzales man Thursday night and booked him with growing marijuana in his home. According to Chief Deputy Tony Bacala, narcotics detectives were contacted by East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office advising that an individual may be growing marijuana in his residence. On Thursday night, narcotics detectives who went to 13158… Continue reading →

Florida man kills 6 grandchildren, daughter, sheriff says

A Gilchrist County sheriff's deputy lowers the yellow tape to let vehicles through at the scene of a shooting on Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014 in Bell, Fla. (AP Photo/The Gainesville Sun, Matt Stamey)

BELL, Fla. (AP) — A once-convicted felon killed six of his grandchildren, including an infant, his adult daughter and himself in a shooting at the man’s home in a small North Florida town Thursday, a sheriff said. Gilchrist County Sheriff Robert Schultz at a news conference identified the shooter as 51-year-old Don Spirit. He would not say… Continue reading →

France strikes Islamic State group’s depot in Iraq

French President Francois Hollande arrives for a press conference at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, Friday, Sept. 19, 2014. Joining U.S. forces acting in Iraqi skies, France conducted its first airstrikes Friday against the militant Islamic State group, destroying a logistics depot that it controlled, Iraqi and French officials said. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

PARIS (AP) — Joining U.S. forces acting in Iraqi skies, France conducted its first airstrikes Friday against the militant Islamic State group, destroying a logistics depot that it controlled, Iraqi and French officials said. Rafale fighter jets accompanied by support planes struck the depot in northern Iraq on Friday morning, and it was “entirely destroyed,” President Francois… Continue reading →

Scottish voters reject independence from United Kingdom in historic vote

NO ballots are stacked on a table during the Scottish independence referendum count at the Royal Highland Centre in Edinburgh, Scotland, Friday Sept. 19, 2014. From the capital of Edinburgh to the far-flung Shetland Islands, Scots embraced a historic moment and the rest of the United Kingdom held its breath after voters turned out in unprecedented numbers for an independence referendum that could end the country's 307-year union with England.  (AP Photo/David Cheskin)

EDINBURGH, Scotland (AP) — Scottish voters have resoundingly rejected independence, deciding to remain part of the United Kingdom after a historic referendum that shook the country to its core. The decision prevented a rupture of a 307-year union with England, bringing a huge sigh of relief to Britain’s economic and political establishment, including Prime Minister David Cameron,… Continue reading →

District judge faces sanctions for trip, other alleged improprieties

Judge J. Robin Free

A state district court judge is facing a possible 30-day suspension for alleged improprieties that include accepting an all-expense-paid trip from a Texas attorney whose client was awarded a $1.2 million settlement in a personal injury lawsuit tried in the judge’s court. Eighteenth Judicial District Judge J. Robin Free also drew fire from the Louisiana Judiciary… Continue reading →

Earl Theriot Jr. gets probation, fine for lying to FBI

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Former Sorrento Police Chief Earl Theriot Jr., left, heads into U.S. District Court Thursday for his sentencing for lying to the FBI about his inappropriate sexual contact with a woman, something the woman has called a sexual assault. Theriot is accompanied by his attorney Roger Jordan Jr., right.

With state charges still possible, former Sorrento Police Chief Earl Theriot Jr. apologized in federal court Thursday to the law enforcement community and the town of Sorrento — but not his female victim — before being put on probation for lying to the FBI about his admitted “inappropriate sexual contact” with the heavily intoxicated Ascension Parish… Continue reading →

White pushes tests to school leaders

Advocate Photo by WILL SENTELL -- State Superintendent of Education John White is shown speaking with reporters in this July 17, 2014, Advocate file photo.

The controversial Common Core tests that students take in the spring will offer valuable state-to-state comparisons, state Superintendent of Education John White told local superintendents Thursday. The exams will come from a consortium called the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC. Whether to use the assessments has sparked controversy for months,… Continue reading →

Southern and Baton Rouge Community College students can now transfer seamlessly

Provided Photo by NAVILLE OUBRE JR. -- Standing from left to right at the signing are William Arp, Dean of Southern's College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, VerJanis Peoples, Southern Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Andrea Lewis Miller, Chancellor of Baton Rouge Community College and Flandus McClinton, Acting Chancellor of Southern University.

Students at Baton Rouge Community College and Southern University can now transfer between the schools seamlessly after the signing Thursday of a new partnership called “Bears 2 Jaguars.” During a ceremony held at Southern, BRCC Chancellor Andrea Lewis Miller and Flandus Mclinton, Southern’s acting chancellor, signed the Memorandum of Understanding . The “Bears 2 Jaguars”… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge casino revenue up slightly in August

Baton Rouge’s three riverboat casinos brought in slightly more money in August than they did the year before, thanks to gains at the Belle of Baton Rouge and L’Auberge. The riverboats brought in just over $24.4 million in August, compared with just over $24.3 million in August 2013, a 0.4 percent gain, according to figures released… Continue reading →

Crime blotter: Baton Rouge man wanted in shooting

Jerome Verret

A 23-year-old Baton Rouge man is wanted in the shooting injuries of two men Sunday on Bob Pettit Boulevard, Baton Rouge police said. Jerome Lamar Verret, of 3026 Monroe Ave., is wanted on two counts of attempted first-degree murder in the 2:45 a.m. shooting in the 1200 block of Bob Pettit Boulevard, police spokesman Cpl. Don… Continue reading →

Facing the Oct. 1 student count, East Baton Rouge School Board defers on program to re-enroll dropouts

Although many members supported the idea in concept, the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board on Thursday was unwilling to fast-track hiring a Dallas-based online education company to help kids who have dropped out or who are in danger of dropping out get a diploma. “It sounds really great, but there are things that need to… Continue reading →

Few objections lodged as Ascension adopts tax roll fattened by ‘data sweep’

Ascension Parish Assessor M.J. “Mert” Smiley Jr. said Thursday a recent data sweep of existing properties and improvements missing from the tax rolls has generated far less public consternation than expected. “It all went very, very well,” Smiley said after a Board of Review hearing Thursday night in Gonzales during which his… Continue reading →

Livingston Parish School Board considers crisis, athlete grade policies

The Livingston School Board is considering adopting two new policies: one that would overhaul the school district’s crisis response and another that would require student athletes to maintain a C average. As for crisis response, even the policy name would be changed — from Emergency Drills to Emergency/Crisis Management, indicating the new… Continue reading →

Scots wait in anticipation as independence vote counted

A Yes campaign washing line for the Scottish independence referendum stands backdropped by Edinburgh Castle, in Edinburgh, Scotland, Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014.  Scots held the fate of the United Kingdom in their hands Thursday as they voted in a referendum on becoming an independent state, deciding whether to unravel a marriage with England that built an empire but has increasingly been felt by many Scots as stifling and one-sided. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

EDINBURGH, Scotland — From the capital of Edinburgh to the far-flung Shetland Islands, Scots embraced a historic moment — and the rest of the United Kingdom held its breath — after voters turned out in unprecedented numbers for an independence referendum that could end the country’s 307-year union with England. After the polls closed late… Continue reading →

LSU tackles African-American male achievement at summit

LSU is looking to expand educational opportunities and success for African-American boys and men in Louisiana, and a Thursday panel of experts weighed in on what works and the complex hurdles that exist. Based on U.S. Department of Education statistics, African-American males lag significantly behind their white counterparts, white females and black females in obtaining college degrees.… Continue reading →

Regents name three finalists for higher ed commissioner

For two days, members of the Louisiana Board of Regents met with an unknown number of people interested in becoming the state’s next higher education commissioner at the Hilton across from the New Orleans airport. They weren’t considered “candidates,” “applicants” or “semifinalists” — as far as the board is concerned — so the state higher education arm… Continue reading →

Donaldsonville felon on probation surrenders in suspected drug deal

Jyrah Bringier

A convicted felon who authorities said fled a failed drug deal earlier this month in Donaldsonville surrendered Thursday and is a potential witness in a June 2013 slaying over another failed drug transaction in Geismar. Jyrah J. Bringier, 22, 128 Elizabeth St., Donaldsonville, also has been separately accused of bribing the victim in a March 2013… Continue reading →

West Feliciana farmer severely injured in barn fire

A St. Francisville man was severely burned and a 7,000-square-foot building was incinerated when the man’s tractor struck a large gasoline tank Thursday morning on Pittman Road, West Feliciana firefighters said. After Robert Graham accidentally backed his tractor into a gas tank at 10 a.m., he tried to stem the leaking gasoline with a pipe wrench… Continue reading →

Grand jury indicts man for using company credit cards on personal goods

A federal grand jury on Thursday indicted a Baton Rouge man, already accused of stealing thousands of dollars from the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, with trying to steal almost $300,000 from other health care centers, U.S. Attorney Walt Green’s office announced. Larry Butler, 49, was arrested in Tacoma, Washington, on Monday almost a month after… Continue reading →

BREC hires new director to manage golf course operations

BREC has hired a Professional Golfers’ Association master professional, Michael Raby, as its newest director of golf. The master professional designation is the highest educational designation a PGA member can attain. Raby most recently served as general manager and head professional of the Cleveland Metroparks golf operations, where he has worked since 1998. Cleveland Metroparks… Continue reading →

Cheniere boosting natural gas export facility by $6 billion

Cheniere Energy is boosting its investment in its Sabine Pass liquefied natural gas export facility in Cameron Parish by $6 billion to build two production units in addition to the four already under construction. The two units lift the total project cost to $18 billion, the company said. About 120 new direct jobs will be created on… Continue reading →

Acadiana crime blotter: Woman suspected of shooting her parents

Jamie Kristen Fontenot

A woman in the St. Landry Parish town of Washington is accused of shooting her mother and father Wednesday night, with responding deputies finding the suspect sitting on the couple’s porch holding gun, officials said. Jamie Fontenot, 27, was arrested without further violence at about 9:10 p.m. Wednesday. On Thursday, she was… Continue reading →

Ascension deputies: Two women use forged prescription to get oxycodone

Luvada Pondexter and Bonnie Toppins

Two Baton Rouge women were arrested Wednesday after an Ascension Parish pharmacist reported that a woman had presented a forged prescription for the pain medicine oxycodone, said Chief Deputy Tony Bacala, of the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office. Narcotics detectives, summoned on Wednesday to the Dutchtown Pharmacy about a forged prescription, stopped Bonnie Toppins,… Continue reading →

Malaria identified as cause of illness on ship

Health officials have identified malaria as the cause of an illness that hospitalized at least one crew member aboard a ship that’s now docked in New Orleans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said at least one crew member of the Liberian-flagged ship Marine Phoenix tested positive Wednesday for the potentially… Continue reading →

St. Landry woman suspected of shooting her parents Wednesday

Jamie Kristen Fontenot

A woman in the St. Landry Parish town of Washington allegedly shot her mother and father Wednesday night, with responding deputies finding the suspect sitting on the couple’s porch holding gun, officials said. Jamie Fontenot, 27, was arrested without further violence at around 9:10 p.m. Wednesday. On Thursday, she was being questioned St.… Continue reading →

St. Landry man accused of having sex with underage girl

Javin Mason

St. Landry authorities have arrested a Morrow man and accused him of having a sexual relationship with an underage girl, officials said. Javin Mason, 22, was arrested Wednesday on two counts of carnal knowledge of a juvenile, St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office Capt. Megan Vizena said. Vizena said Mason knew the 14-year-old… Continue reading →

Lafayette man booked in child porn investigation

Daniel Reed

A Lafayette man was arrested on 20 counts of child pornography crimes following an investigation by state and local authorities. The Louisiana Attorney General’s Office said Thursday that Daniel E. Reed, 38, was arrested on counts of possession of child pornography and possession with intent to distribute child pornography. Reed, whose… Continue reading →

Armed robber sought in Lafayette CVS pharmacy heist

Surveillance image

Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office detectives are looking for an armed man who robbed a Johnston Street drug store early Thursday morning. The robber walked into the CVS Pharmacy in the 6800 block of Johnston Street at around 12:40 a.m. with a gun and demanded pills, Capt. Craig Stansbury said. The man fled… Continue reading →

Iberia Parish authorities investigating home invasion

A man forced his way into a New Iberia home Wednesday night, hit an elderly woman then tried to shoot another female in the home with a handgun that malfunctioned, police said. The home invasion began before midnight in the 1000 block of Anderson Street, Sheriff’s Office Capt. Ryan Turner said.… Continue reading →

Three Florida men arrested after driver pulls away during traffic stop

Three men from Jacksonville, Florida, were arrested Thursday following an early morning chase after they drove away during a traffic stop, State Police said. The men were headed west on Interstate 10 in a 2014 Cadillac sedan when a State Police trooper pulled them over east of Grosse Tete just after midnight Thursday for multiple traffic violations,… Continue reading →

Pick 6: Q & A with beat writer Michael Bonner about the Mississippi State at LSU game

Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott (15) scrambles in the first half of an NCAA college football game against South Alabama, Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014, in Mobile, Ala. (AP Photo/, Mike Kittrell)

Insight on the Mississippi State Bulldogs, who will take on LSU’s Fighting Tigers in this Saturday’s football game.… Continue reading →

Bayou Health report questioned

Kathy Kliebert

A report legislators ordered up to help evaluate how goes the privatization of the government-run health insurance program is full of errors and inconsistencies, the legislative auditor said Wednesday, an assessment with which the state’s medical chief disagrees. State Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Kathy Kliebert said the report “fully complies”… Continue reading →