Approved legislation tests church-state separation
The state Legislature on Thursday approved a bill allowing public schools to display the Ten Commandments, leaving it up to Gov. Mike Easley to decide whether to make it law.
Displays of the Ten Commandments in schools have been repeatedly struck down by courts that said they violate the separation of church and state. But supporters say the bill would allow schools to display any historical document or object that has influenced the nation's government.
A spokesman for Easley did not immediately return a call for comment on whether the governor would sign the bill.
An American Civil Liberties Union spokeswoman said the organization would challenge the proposed law if a citizen complained about a school display.
Powerball jackpot rises
None of the tickets sold for the Powerball game Wednesday night matched all six numbers drawn in Des Moines to win the $45.9 million jackpot. The prize goes to an estimated $52 million for Saturday.
Tickets that match the first five numbers, but miss the Powerball, win $100,000 each, and there were four of those. They were sold in Iowa, Missouri, Louisianna and Rhode Island.
Stamp raises $21.5 million to fight breast cancer
A special fund-raising postage stamp for breast cancer has brought in $21.5 million for research with a year left to circulate.
Under legislation passed by Congress, the breast cancer stamp will remain on sale until the summer of 2002.
The stamp, called a semipostal, sells for 40 cents and the amount of money received in excess of the 34-cent postage rate is donated to research into breast cancer.
So far some 312.7 million of the stamps have been sold.
The post office is currently seeking proposals for its next semipostal, to replace the breast-cancer stamp next year and to remain on sale through 2004.
Virus worries prompt CDC to urge mosquito control
Federal officials warned health agencies Thursday to step up mosquito-control efforts and other measures to stop the spread of the dangerous West Nile virus, which is turning up in the Southeast.
The virus, which has killed nine people in New York and New Jersey since 1999, appeared this month in a Florida man and in dead birds in Florida, Georgia and Virginia. Mosquitoes can carry the virus from birds to humans and other animals.
The CDC urged Americans to clean out standing water from clogged gutters, stagnant bird ponds, overturned trash can lids and anywhere else mosquitoes can gather and lay eggs.
For most people, the virus causes no more than a flu-like sickness. But it can kill people who are elderly or have weakened immune systems.