N.Y. Deadly Virus May Be Ebbing

Fifty people probably have been infected with the West Nile-like virus in New York, but the outbreak is on the wane, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It said that as of Tuesday, 27 cases had been confirmed and 23 deemed probable in laboratory tests. Five people died from the virus, which is transmitted from birds to mosquitoes to humans.

No one became ill after Sept. 17, the CDC said Friday. The outbreak, previously believed to be St. Louis encephalitis, prompted New York health officials to spray the city to kill mosquitoes.

The CDC confirmed it had found the virus in crows, domestic birds and exotic pet birds in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey. But no human cases were reported in New Jersey or Connecticut.

"CDC, state wildlife veterinarians, and an expanding group of federal agencies are using deaths in crows as sentinel events to define the current geographic distribution of mosquitoes and birds infected," the CDC said in a statement.

The agency said that the spraying and cooler weather would mean a decline in mosquitoes but that people should limit outdoor activities at dusk and at night and wear protective clothing and repellent.

N.M. Schools Reject Teaching Creationism

SANTA FE--Teachers in New Mexico no longer have to teach creationism along with the theory of evolution in their classrooms.

In a 14 to 1 vote Friday, the state school board decided against requiring instruction on creationism or other alternative theories about how life forms came to be.

"Other ideas may be part of classroom discussion and inquiry, but [the state] does not require their teaching," said board president Flora Sanchez.

Previously, the state required teachers to "present the evidence for and against" evolution, a theory that holds that humans are descended from apes and other species. Creationism is the belief that people and the Earth were formed by a divine being.

Interest was rekindled this summer when the Kansas Board of Education passed new standards diminishing the scientific importance of evolution. And earlier this month, the Kentucky Education Department deleted the word "evolution" from its standards, replacing it with "change over time."

S. California Adopts Tough Ozone Standard

DIAMOND BAR, Calif.--Under pressure from a federal judge, Southern California air quality regulators have adopted what they described as the nation's toughest restrictions on ozone-depleting emissions from cleaning solvents.

Solvents are used by scores of businesses to, among other things, flush paint guns, degrease auto tools, manufacture medical products and clean aerospace equipment. They contain compounds that deplete the ozone, and the new standards, adopted Friday by the South Coast Air Quality Management District board, are forecast to cut 15 tons of emissions into Southern California's air a day.