In brief: Postal Service also facing ‘fiscal cliff’
Washington – The struggling U.S. Postal Service on Thursday reported an annual loss of a record $15.9 billion and forecast more red ink in 2013, capping a tumultuous year in which it was forced to default on billions in payments to avert bankruptcy.
The financial losses for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 were more than triple the $5.1 billion loss in the previous year. Having reached its borrowing limit, the mail agency is operating with little cash on hand, putting it at risk in the event of a large downturn in the economy.
“It’s critical that Congress do its part and pass comprehensive legislation before they adjourn this year to move the Postal Service further down the path toward financial health,” said Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, calling the situation “our own postal fiscal cliff.”
Much of the red ink in 2012 was due to mounting mandatory costs for future retiree health benefits, which made up $11.1 billion of the losses.
Oklahoma leads in diabetes increase
New York – The nation’s diabetes problem is getting worse, and the biggest jump over 15 years was in Oklahoma, according to a new federal report issued Thursday.
The diabetes rate in Oklahoma more than tripled, and Kentucky, Georgia and Alabama also saw dramatic increases since 1995.
The South’s growing weight problem is the main explanation, said Linda Geiss, lead author of the report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study.
The disease exploded in the United States in the last 50 years, with the vast majority from obesity-related Type 2 diabetes. In 1958, fewer than 1 in 100 Americans had been diagnosed with diabetes. In 2010, it was about 1 in 14.