BOSTON (AP) - Public health officials have announced 10 new human cases of West Nile virus, bringing to 24 the number of human cases acquired in Massachusetts this year. The newest reported cases are predominantly among older individuals. Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel said Friday the state has seen four times as many cases compared to last year.

(AP) - Researchers say an outbreak of distemper is to blame for a rash of seal deaths in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Friday that the main pathogen found in the seals is phocine distemper virus.

BOSTON (AP) - A judge on Massachusetts' highest court has denied a bid to block federal agents from arresting immigrants targeted for deportation at state courthouses. Justice Elspeth Cypher of the Supreme Judicial Court said in her ruling this week that the petition filed by civil rights and indigent defense groups seeks a "single, unprecedented and exceedingly broad remedy." She also rejected the group's request to submit the matter to the full court.

LAWRENCE, Mass. (AP) - Officials say hotplates and space heaters will be distributed to thousands of Massachusetts residents who were left without natural gas following a series of gas explosions and fires. Utility officials, meanwhile, pledged Friday to restore natural gas service to all customers by Nov. 19 as they replace 48 miles of natural gas pipeline. The Sept. 13 disaster killed one person, injured some 25 others and damaged or destroyed dozens of homes and businesses.

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