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POSTED July 25, 2012 9:00 p.m.

HEALTH

STUDY QUESTIONS CT SCANS TO RULE OUT HEART ATTACKS: If you're having chest pains, an advanced type of CT scan can quickly rule out a heart attack. New research suggests this might be good for hospitals, but not necessarily for you. These heart scans cut time spent in the hospital but didn't save money, the study found. They also prompted more tests and questionable treatments and gave relatively large doses of radiation to people at such low risk of a heart attack that they probably didn't need a major test at all. There is no evidence that adding these tests saved lives or found more heart attacks, wrote Dr. Rita Redberg, a cardiologist at the University of California, San Francisco in an editorial. And since radiation from the scans can raise the long-term risk of developing cancer, doctors "may legitimately ask whether the tests did more harm than good," she wrote.

PETS

 113 DEAD KITTENS FOUND IN COASTAL CALIFORNIA TOWN:  Officials with a Northern California animal humane society are reporting a gruesome discovery in the Monterey County community of Seaside. A spokeswoman for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for Monterey County says officials found 113 dead kittens in an apartment believed to belong to a cat hoarder. Besides the dead kittens, investigators found 51 cats locked in rooms in the suspected hoarder's nearby house. Those cats were alive, but sick and neglected. COLORADO

 

POLITICS

OFFSHORE DRILLING: Republicans take an election-year swipe at President Barack Obama's energy policies with a House vote to open areas off the Atlantic and California coasts to oil and gas drilling and greatly expand it in Alaska and Gulf of Mexico waters. The White House has promised a veto.

 

CONGRESS, TAXES&  POLITICS: Democrats pushed a yearlong extension of tax cuts for all but the highest-earning Americans through the Senate on Wednesday, giving Democrats a significant political victory on a measure that is fated to go no further in Congress.

 

NATION

PUBLIC HELPING COVER MEDICAL BILLS: Fighting for their lives after surviving the shootings at the new Batman movie, some victims may face new challenges when they get out: enormous hospital bills with no health insurance to pay them. Sympathetic members of the public, along with the movie studio that released "The Dark Knight Rises," have chipped in nearly $2 million to help victims pay their bills. But the impressive sum is unlikely to cover costs for more than four dozen injured, some of whom have been through multiple surgeries to remove bullets, buckshot and shrapnel, with a long recovery ahead.

BENEFITS OF MEDICAID: States that expand their Medicaid programs under President Barack Obama's health care law may end up saving thousands of lives, says a new medical journal study. Until now the Medicaid debate has been about costs and states' rights, but research published in the New England Journal of Medicine finds a 6 percent drop in adult death rates in states that have already expanded low-income medical coverage along the lines of the federal health care law.

SISTER WIVES LAWSUIT: In Utah, living with more than one wife can get you thrown in prison. But polygamists now have a high-profile champion — Kody Brown and his four wives, whose show "Sister Wives" on TLC brought the story of a polygamous family to living rooms across America. They've sued the state to overturn the state's bigamy law, and the case could decriminalize a way of life for tens of thousands of self-described Mormon fundamentalists, most of whom live in Utah where bigamy is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

WORLD

 

SYRIA VIOLENCE: Some see a grim pattern in the sectarian violence in Syria: Alawite fighters loyal to Bashar Assad trying to carve out an enclave for themselves by driving out local Sunnis or killing entire families. If the regime falls, the Alawite heartland on Syria's mountainous coast could become a refuge for the minority sect and even Assad himself to fight for survival in a bloody Balkanization of the conflict.

NORTH KOREA’s MYSTERY WOMAN: North Korea ends weeks of speculation by confirming the mystery woman accompanying leader Kim Jong Un at recent public events is his wife, "comrade Ri Sol Ju." No details are given, but the public appearances and marriage announcement are a marked change from the secrecy that surrounded his father's companions and children.

TICKETLESS TO ROME: The 11-year-old boy didn't have a passport, didn't have a ticket, didn't have a boarding pass, and got all the way from England to Italy on his own. For him, the 1,000-mile journey was a great adventure. For the airport, airline and British government, it was an embarrassing breach of security days before the start of the Olympics.

 

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