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Nation in brief

Census: 1.4-million more in poverty

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 3, 2003

WASHINGTON - Nearly 1.4-million more people in the United States fell into poverty last year, almost half of them children, even as the country emerged from recession, according to a Census Bureau survey.

About 12.4 percent of the population, or nearly 34.8-million people, lived in poverty in 2002, according to the bureau's American Community Survey that was to be released today. That was up from 12.1 percent, or 33.4-million, in 2001.

Roughly 17.2 percent of children, or 12.2-million, lived in poverty in 2002, up from 16.4 percent, or about 11.5-million, in 2001.

Median household income rose by $51, when accounting for inflation, to $43,057 after a similarly slight drop the previous year, when the nation was in recession from March to November. Median income refers to the point at which half of households earn more and half earn less.

The poverty threshold differs by the size and makeup of a household. For instance, a person younger than 65 living alone in 2002 was considered in poverty if income was $9,359 or less; for a household of three including one child, it was $14,480.

Virus shortens cruise

NEW YORK - A cruise across the North Atlantic was cut short Tuesday after more than 300 passengers and crew members became sick with a highly contagious stomach virus that caused vomiting and diarrhea.

Only two passengers remained ill when the Regal Princess docked in New York City one day earlier than scheduled, said Steve Nielsen, vice president of Caribbean and Atlantic operations for Princess Cruises. They were expected to be well enough to leave the ship on Wednesday.

Elsewhere . . .

JUDGE ALLOWS SNIPER CASE TESTIMONY: The judge in the capital murder trial of Lee Boyd Malvo will allow the testimony of two prison guards who say the sniper suspect bragged to them about committing several of the shootings. Defense lawyers had sought to suppress the testimony, contending that Malvo had invoked his right to remain silent by the time he had spoken with the guards.

CONGRESSMAN TO RETIRE: California Rep. Cal Dooley, a seven-term Democratic lawmaker who strongly supported international trade legislation, said Tuesday he will not seek re-election.

TEXAS SENATOR ENDS WALKOUT: Texas state Sen. John Whitmire broke ranks Tuesday with fellow Democrats who have been holed up in a New Mexico hotel in a quorum-busting walkout and returned to Texas.

"After being in my district for five days, I have concluded my constituents are opposed to redistricting, but they also believe the fight should be on the Senate floor," Whitmire said after spending the weekend in his district.


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