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Despite monitoring systems put in place in the wake of the 2002-2003 SARS epidemic, news of the swine flu outbreak was slow to make its way to U.S. pandemic preparedness officials, the Washington Post reports. Health and Human Services officials did not learn of the Mexican outbreak until April 24, a full 18 days after Mexican authorities began investigating unusual cases of pneumonia.

The Obama administration may ask the 195 signatory countries of the Montreal Protocol, a 21-year-old treaty credited with virtually eliminating the use of ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons, to extend the treaty to include hydrofluorocarbons, coolants used in refrigerators, air conditioners and aerosol sprays. If the administration pursues this option, it would offer an anti-global-warming alternative to the Kyoto Protocol, which the Bush administration rejected.