Car stolen with kids in it

An Amber Alert was issued and quickly canceled last night when a stolen SUV containing two sleeping children was found at 61st Street and Passy-unk Avenue in Southwest Philadelphia.

Police said George Hionas, 6, and his sister, Kaliopi, 3, were asleep in the back of their mother's BMW X-5 when she parked it on Baring Street near 33rd in Powelton to visit a relative about 7 p.m. Someone jumped into the car and sped off toward I-76. The SUV was found about 9:30 p.m. Neither of the kids appeared to be harmed, and the car thief remains on the loose. Tipsters can contact police at 215-686-3183.

New wheels for parole officers

Have you seen a shiny, new white car with the words, "Philadelphia Courts Probation," emblazoned on it? Well, six of these snazzy vehicles are now on the streets to help probation and parole officers supervise gun-crime offenders sentenced to probation or parole through the city's Gun Court.

The cars will help increase the officers' visibility in the community, Robert Malvestuto, chief of the Adult Probation and Parole Department, said yesterday in a news release. Defendants are sent to Gun Court when their most serious charge is a weapons offense.

Registration for biz boot camp

Registration is now being accepted for the Business Center for Entrepreneurship & Social Enterprise's Business Development Boot Camp, to be held from Jan. 7 to 11 at Philadelphia University.

The course includes a business concept pre-assessment, instruction in business management, planning, marketing and public relations. For information or to register, call 215-247-2473, ext. 9, or visit www.thebizctr.com.

8 dead in holiday auto crashes

Eight people were killed in Pennsylvania traffic crashes investigated by state police during the five-day Christmas holiday driving period, State Police Commissioner Col. Jeffrey B. Miller said yesterday.

Besides the eight fatalities, 236 people were injured in the 964 crashes to which troopers responded. Miller said that 118 of the crashes, including two of the fatal crashes, were alcohol-related. Six of the eight people killed were not wearing seat belts, he said. In last year's four-day Christmas holiday, eight people were killed and 319 were injured in 906 crashes investigated by state police.

Pre-natal HIV test the law in N.J.

N.J. Senate President Richard J. Codey - acting governor while Gov. Jon S. Corzine is out of the country this week for the holidays - yesterday signed into law a bill that will require HIV testing as part of routine pre-natal care for newborns.

"We can significantly reduce the number of infections to newborns and help break down the stigma associated with the disease," Codey said.

"For newborns, early detection can be the ultimate lifesaving measure." *

- Staff and wire reports