Tales from the Trail

Good day for jobs, sad for panda lovers

December 4, 2009

For all those who woke up to the sad news that Washington’s loveable giant panda cub would be heading back to China, here’s a bright spot for your Friday:

USA/Job cuts in November were much lower than had been expected and the unemployment rate unexpectedly dropped to 10 percent from 10.2 percent.

The stronger-than-expected numbers helped boost the U.S. dollar and global stock prices on hopes for a strong economic recovery.

The jobs figures came one day after President Barack Obama held a jobs summit at the White House and asked the corporate sector to help the administration with its job-creation efforts.

Now on to the sad news. Tai Shan, the first surviving giant panda cub born at Smithsonian’s National Zoo, will be packing his bags soon. He will return to China early next year as promised in an agreement between the zoo and the Chinese government.

USA/Tai Shan’s parents are on loan to the United States but the deal called for any offspring to be sent to China. The Chinese granted an extension to the National Zoo but it will soon expire, the zoo said in a statement.

As a panda cub, Tai Shan became an instant celebrity in Washington. Nicknamed “butter stick” because of his size when he was born in 2005, Tai Shan drew millions of visitors and his image was plastered on souvenirs, stamps and toys.

Those who couldn’t make it to the zoo were able to keep tabs on the playful panda through a panda-cam. Check it out!

For more political news, click here.

Photo credit: Reuters/Robert Galbraith (an employment center in San Francisco), Reuters/Meghan Murphy-Smithsonian National Zoo handout (Tai Shan snacks on bamboo in 2008 photo)

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