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Nation in brief: Protections sought for loggerheads

Washington – Federal agencies are proposing to increase protections for loggerhead turtles, the long-lived sea creatures known for their big heads and capacity to swim thousands of miles across the Pacific.

The National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed a rule Wednesday that would list seven distinct loggerhead populations, including two in the Pacific, as endangered.

Since loggerheads were listed as threatened in 1978 under the Endangered Species Act, they have continued to decline. Wildlife agencies say the primary cause is incidental capture in fishing nets and long lines. But the turtles also have lost beach nesting habitat.

Study: Too many angiograms done

New York – A troublingly high number of U.S. patients who are given angiograms to check for heart disease turn out not to have a significant problem, according to the latest study to suggest Americans get an excess of medical tests.

The researchers said the findings suggest doctors must do better in determining which patients should be subjected to the cost and risks of an angiogram. The test carries a small but real risk – less than 1 percent – of causing a stroke or heart attack, and also entails radiation exposure.

Every year in the United States, more than a million people get an angiogram, in which a thin tube is inserted in the arm or groin and threaded up to the heart to check for blocked arteries that could lead to a heart attack. Dye is injected through the tube to make blockages show up on X-rays.

Man pleads guilty to Letterman plot

New York – A former television producer pressured by debt and riven by jealousy has admitted that he tried to extract vengeance and money by shaking down David Letterman in a case that bared the late-night icon’s affairs with staffers.

Robert “Joe” Halderman pleaded guilty Tuesday to attempted grand larceny, acknowledging he tried to chisel $2 million from the TV show host. He threatened to destroy Letterman’s reputation by airing his workplace dalliances – using information authorities have said he mined from a former girlfriend’s diary.

The plea deal by Halderman, a producer for CBS’ “48 Hours Mystery” at the time, spares him a potential 15 years in prison had he been convicted. The 52-year-old is due instead to get a six-month jail sentence and 1,000 hours of community service.


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