Panda's Big Adventure

* A wild giant panda that wandered into a city in China was mistaken by several people as a thief on the loose.

The panda, a 4- or 5-year-old female weighing 130 pounds, scaled a fence in the city of Dujiangyan on Saturday and climbed on top of a house. As residents chased what they initially thought was a thief, the panda hopped from roof to roof, scaled another fence and took off. Later it went for a dip in the river, then climbed into a tree for a snooze.

"The panda was amazingly agile and totally different from those at zoos," one woman said.

Rescuers tranquilized the animal in the tree, then took it away for a medical checkup.

There are an estimated 1,600 wild pandas in China. Most of them prefer to stay in the wild.

Small 'Wonder'

* Arfa Karim Randhawa wants to know why the Microsoft computer company doesn't hire people her age. Um, could it be because she's only 10?

But the question, which Arfa asked Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates last week, isn't so far-fetched. When she was 9, Arfa became the world's youngest Microsoft Certified Professional, an achievement usually reserved for grown-ups with years of computer experience.

Arfa became interested in computers at age 5. Her father later enrolled her in a computer institute near their home in Pakistan. Her teachers thought it would take her a year to become certified; Arfa did it in four months, leading one magazine to call her "Pakistan's girl wonder."

Arfa and her dad made their first trip to the United States last week. Meeting with Gates, she asked the computer gazillionaire why there aren't more women at Microsoft (75 percent of its employees are men). Gates said the industry is trying to interest more women in technology jobs, Arfa said.

Getting to talk with Gates and touring the Redmond, Washington, company was second on Arfa's list of things to do while in the United States. On her next trip, she hopes to visit her top pick: Disneyland.

Firemen lower a panda from a tree in Dujiangyan, China.Ten-year-old Arfa Karim Randhawa talks with Dipti Patil, a Microsoft software engineer from India.