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Cyberattack on New Orleans city computers called 'minimal'

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Officials say no data was held for ransom and a recovery operation is getting underway in New Orleans after a cyberattack prompted a shutdown of city government computers. The city's chief information officer, Kim LaGrue, said at a news conference Saturday that the south Louisiana city hadn't heard from any hackers making any demands. She described Friday's attack  as “minimal" and said officials expect to move quickly to bring the system fully back online. Officials say the disruption didn't affect the operations of firefighters and emergency medical personnel who respond to calls. But officials say about 4,000 computers must be scrubbed as a precaution.


Louisiana husband and wife indicted on child rape charges

MANY, La. (AP) — A north Louisiana husband and wife have been indicted on child rape charges stemming from their arrests this summer. Sabine Parish District Attorney Don Burkett tells local news outlets that the indictments were handed up Thursday. Dustin Lee Crow faces six counts of first-degree rape and Samantha Crow faces three counts of first-degree rape. Both are 30-year-old Noble residents. Prosecutors have separately filed criminal charges including multiple counts of indecent behavior with juveniles and sexual battery. The alleged victims are younger than 13. The couple also faces child pornography charges in federal court in Shreveport.


Generator for New Orleans drainage pumps explodes, injures 2

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — An explosion at an electrical generating plant that powers New Orleans' drainage system injured two people and rattled windows in nearby neighborhoods. The New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board says the explosion took place Saturday afternoon at its main water plant on the western edge of the city. New Orleans Emergency Medical Services says on Twitter that two people were taken to a hospital, while a third person refused treatment. The power plant generates electricity to drive the massive pumps that drain the Louisiana city when it rains. Rainwater must be pumped out to prevent flooding.


Mississippi vows further appeal after loss on abortion ban

Mississippi's governor says he will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold Mississippi's ban on abortion at 15 weeks. Republican Phil Bryant made the announcement on Twitter. The vow comes Saturday, a day after a federal appeals court ruled the ban was unconstitutional. But Mississippi has been aiming for the Supreme Court all along. Leaders hope conservative justices will spur the high court to overturn its 1973 ruling legalizing abortion rights nationwide. Mississippi's ban at 15 weeks of pregnancy has never taken effect. It was blocked by a lower court judge.


Entergy Louisiana CEO named to state higher education board

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana's top higher education board has a new member. Gov. John Bel Edwards has appointed Entergy Louisiana President and CEO Phillip May of New Orleans as his latest appointee to the Louisiana Board of Regents. May was sworn in Wednesday at the board's meeting. The Board of Regents is the policy-making board for public colleges in the state. It devises the financing formula that divvies up most state dollars for campuses and develops the master plan for higher education. The governor appoints the board's 15 members for staggered, six-year terms. Edwards also reappointed former state Sen. Marty Chabert of Houma, who currently serves as chairman.


Louisiana education leaders set early college credit goal

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana education leaders are pushing for all high school graduates by 2029 to leave school with college credit or an industry-based credential. The state's Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and its Board of Regents adopted the goal Wednesday during a joint meeting. If accomplished, the goal would double the current achievement level. The courses are known as dual-enrollment classes. Students take college-level courses for both high school and college credit. The education department says half of the high school graduating class of 2018 earned at least one course of college credit or an industry credential. But expansion of dual enrollment offerings will come with a price tag that is currently unclear.


Guatemalan cardinal to visit Mississippi after migrant raids

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A Guatemalan cardinal who advocates for migrants will visit Mississippi following immigration raids last summer that prompted 680 arrests. The Rev. Roberto Mena announced the visit Saturday. Pope Francis raised Alvaro Ramazzini to the rank of cardinal in October. Ramazzini has spoken out for decades against exploitation of poor rural people in regions he has ministered to. A majority of those arrested in the raids of seven Mississippi chicken processing plants in August was Guatemalan. Some speak Mayan dialects instead of Spanish. Mena says Ramazzini is “coming to be present” with affected families.


Nearly 80 authors on tap for New Orleans Book Festival

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Nearly 80 authors will be featured at the inaugural New Orleans Book Festival next year. Organizers announced Wednesday that 30 more authors agreed to participate in the festival which will be held March 19-21 at Tulane University. The latest group includes several names familiar to the New Orleans community, including Poppy Tooker, John Pope, Susan Langenhenning, Cheryl Gerber and Chris Granger. Event Co-chair Cheryl Landrieu says the list of new participants meets the festival's goal of connecting emerging and well-established writers with diverse readers in the New Orleans community.