USA

The San Francisco Zoo announced that it will reopen Jan. 3 despite a continuing investigation of a Christmas Day attack by an escaped Siberian tiger, which killed a teenager and mauled two of his friends before police fatally shot it. Preliminary reports indicate that the tiger climbed over a wall that, at 12 feet 5 inches, was about 4 feet below the recommended minimum height. The zoo could face a huge lawsuit and even be stripped of its exhibitor license.

President Bush signed into law Saturday an extension of a child healthcare bill that covers about 6.6 million poor children through March 2009. Bush twice vetoed earlier legislation that would have expanded coverage to about 10 million children. Decisions about renewing the program, however, will fall to the next president and Congress.

Human rights advocates plan a protest to a Tournament of Roses Parade float honoring the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Protest organizer John Li, a member of Caltech's chapter of Falun Gong, the spiritual movement outlawed by the Chinese government, promised his group would be seen if not heard. Above, workers put the finishing touches on a Rotary International float for the Jan. 1 event.

The Big Dig in Boston, the name given to the nation's most complex and costliest highway project, officially comes to an end Dec. 31. Ground was broken on the dizzying array of underground roads, bridges, ramps, and a new harbor tunnel in 1991, when the project's estimated cost was $2.6 billion. It grew to $14.8 billion, partly due to the complexities of building in a heavily used area of the city.

Greenburgh, N.Y., which has the nation's third-highest property taxes, is pushing a proposal to let seniors work as part-time city employers for $7 an hour to help them pay their taxes. Similar programs have succeeded in Colorado, Massachusetts, South Carolina, and other locations where retirees do a variety of tasks, including landscaping, data gathering, and staffing information desks.

The New England Patriots became the first National Football League team since the Miami Dolphins to win every game during the regular season, beating the New York Giants Saturday, 38-35 to finish 16-0. The victory required quarterback Tom Brady (above, r.) to engineer a comeback from a 12-point, second-half deficit. The Patriots must win three playoff games in order to secure their third Super Bowl crown in the last seven years.

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