Associated Press

NASHVILLE,‭ ‬Tenn.‭ (‬AP‭) — Tennessee's unemployment rate fell four-tenth to‭ ‬8.7‭ percent in December,‭ ‬the lowest rate in three years.

State officials say that just over‭ ‬11,000‭ ‬people gained employment last month over November when the rate was‭ ‬9.1‭ ‬percent.

From November to December,‭ the professional and business services sector added jobs, as did durable goods manufacturing,‭ ‬and the clothing and accessories sectors.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A state trade mission to China and South Korea in April will focus on Tennessee's medical device manufacturers and other health care companies.

The state announced yesterday that Commissioner Bill Hagerty of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development will lead the April trip.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A federal judge in Knoxville has ordered a man suspected in a $6.5 million prescription painkiller operation jailed until his trial in March.

The ruling came at a Tuesday detention hearing for Eric Christopher Hefner. 

According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, Drug Enforcement Administration agent Bethel Poston testified during the hearing that -by conservative estimate - Hefner brought 260,000 pills into East Tennessee in a single year.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee lawmakers are proposing legislation that could affect Occupy Nashville protesters.

The measure says a person can’t live on publicly owned property that isn't designated or permitted as residential.

Protesters have occupied the plaza across the street from the state Capitol since early October. State troopers raided the encampment in late October and made 55 arrests, but the state has had to back down.

SMYRNA, Tenn. (AP) — The National Weather Service says an EF-0 tornado did touch down near Smyrna yesterday afternoon, causing some property damage but no injuries or deaths.

The tornado had relatively low wind speeds of between 80 and 85 miles per hour. That didn't stop it from overturning a recreational vehicle, uprooting trees and seriously damaging the roof of a house.

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