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Colin Jeffery

Colin Jeffery

WASHINGTON (AP) — Chances are you've heard of mapping genes to diagnose rare diseases, predict your risk of cancer and tell your ancestry.

But to uncover food poisonings?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is beginning a program to outsmart food outbreaks by routinely decoding the bugs' DNA.

First up is listeria, bacteria especially dangerous to pregnant women.

Federal and state officials are sequencing the genomes of all the listeria infections diagnosed in the U.S. this year, along with samples found in tainted foods or factories.

It's the first time the technology has been used for routine disease surveillance — looking for people with matching strains who may have gotten sick from the same source.

CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden calls it a new, more precise way to find and fight infections.

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans quietly secured a recent change in President Barack Obama's health law to expand coverage choices.

It's a one-of-a-kind departure from the GOP's dozens of attempts to repeal or dismember the law.

Democrats describe the change as a straightforward improvement of the type they're eager to make.

Republicans are reluctant to agree, given the strong sentiment among the rank and file that the only fix the law deserves is a burial.

The provision eliminated a cap on deductibles for small group policies offered inside the new health exchanges as well as outside. That cap was set at $2,000 for individuals and $4,000 for families.

Republicans say they sought the change so small businesses could offer high-deductible plans that could be bought by individuals who also have health savings accounts.

Casino Riverboat fetches $600,000 at auction

Sunday, 06 April 2014 08:10 Published in Local News

WOOD RIVER, Ill. (AP) — The former riverboat that once served as the Casino Queen along East St. Louis' riverfront is under new ownership.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that federal marshals on Friday auctioned off the vessel called White Star One for $600,000.

There were 14 bids during the sale that lasted just five minutes and opened with a $200,000 bid.

Gerald Smallwood was one of the three bidders and represented a Florida man who had the winning offer. It's not immediately clear what that buyer — a former shipyard owner who owns riverfront properties in Kentucky — plans to do with the vessel.

The White Star has languished since the Casino Queen operation moved inland a few years ago.

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