Pet stamps promote adoption
A new set of 10 first-class stamps featuring cheerful dogs and cats will go on sale nationwide today, designed to promote adoption of animals from shelters. The 44-cent stamps are part of a "Stamps to the Rescue" campaign, not only to encourage pet adoptions but also raising funds to buy food for animals in shelters. The stamps feature photographs of five cats and five dogs taken by photographer Sally Andersen-Bruce. All ten animals were adopted from a shelter in New Milford, Conn.
239women who have filed to run for seats in the U.S. House, breaking the record of 222 set in 1992.
31 women who have filed to run for seats in the Senate, breaking the record of 29, also set in 1992.
107 Republican women who have filed to run for seats in the U.S. House, breaking the record of 91 set in 1994.
Source: Rutgers Center for American Women and Politics
EU rights charter will not rhyme
The European Union's charter of fundamental rights will not be turned into poetry. But it came close to happening. An agency director had planned a contest calling for submissions of the charter in verse to raise public awareness, but his boss told him to abandon the idea to save the charter's dignity. "The language of the charter is already clear and direct," commissioner Viviane Reding said in nixing the idea. She also told Morten Kjaerum that she wants to know his ideas before he announces them.
Swine scare spurs shot record
Fears of swine flu helped boost vaccination for ordinary seasonal flu last year, with a record 40 percent of adults and children getting the vaccine, health officials said Thursday.
The jump was most dramatic in children, but vaccinations also increased in healthy adults under 50, according to researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For all ages, the highest seasonal flu vaccination rate previously was about 33 percent, in the 2008-09 season. Several things made last fall's campaign unusual:
• Swine flu appeared last spring and was unusually dangerous to children and young adults, prompting more interest in regular flu shots. "We do have the pandemic driving that," said Gary Euler, one of the study's authors.
• Government recommendations called for seasonal flu vaccinations for all children.
• Seasonal vaccine was out earlier than usual so manufacturers could focus on the separate swine flu vaccine.
Annual flu shots were recommended for roughly 85 percent of Americans during the vaccination campaign.
Hawaii had the highest seasonal vaccination rate, nearly 55 percent. The Southeast is at the bottom of the list: Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Alabama had rates under 36 percent.