Recession hurts readiness
The economic crisis is jeopardizing the nation’s ability to handle public-health emergencies and possible bioterrorist attacks, a nonpartisan research group said. Facing revenue shortfalls, governments are cutting back on programs that help communities respond to disease outbreaks and other crises. “That could lead to a disaster for the nation’s disaster preparedness,” said the Trust for America’s Health. Eleven states have already cut public-health budgets. 

Minorities reach milestone
For the first time, minorities account for half the population of the country’s biggest cities, the U.S. Census Bureau reported. The percentage of blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and other nonwhites in major cities is just a sliver below 50 percent, a 2 percent increase since 2000. The bureau also said ethnic diversity in small-town America has increased sharply in recent years.