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February 22, 1996 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-02-22

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Oil tanker
to pollute
UK water
ST. ANN'S HEAD, Wales (AP) -
A fleet of tugboats failed Tuesday to
refloat a stranded super tanker, which is
leaking thousands of gallons of oil near
an important wildlife haven.
Despite a tide that was the highest in
at least 15 years, the combined power of
ven tugboats, a team of salvage work-
s and the tanker's engines failed to
move the Sea Empress.
The tanker is at the mouth of the
Milford Haven estuary, one of Britain's
most important wildlife conservation
areas. Local environmentalists say oil
has surrounded two islands that are
home to seals and thousands of sea-
About a dozen of the tanker's 17
lds are believed to have ruptured, the
ast guard said. They have spilled an
estimated 8.8 million gallons of the
36.75 million gallons of oil aboard.
Although the ship slowly see-sawed
from side to side, it appeared the central
section was refusing to come clear of
The Sea Empress ran aground last
Thursday on St. Ann's Head. By Tues-
day afternoon, it was stuck firmly 300
yards from shore.


The Michigan Daily - Thursday, February 22, 1996 - 5A
Alleged hijacker
identified in
court testimony
The Washington Post name was called, Baker said he saw "no
WASHINGTON - Though more point" in keeping quiet and forcing th&-
than 10 years have passed since Cairo- hijackers to find him, as another pass
bound Egyptair Flight 648 was diverted senger had unsuccessfully tried to do4
to Malta in one of the bloodiest "1llocked eyes with (the shooter),"he
hijackings in history, passengers Jackie said. "My intention was to kick at him
Pflug and Patrick Baker remember the and run out the door. But he may have
details. To this day, Pflug recalls the sensed something in my eyes ... and he
feel of a gun barrel against the back of jumped back."
her head, the empty look in the hijacker's Baker said he then decided to jump to
face, the explosion of the shot. Baker the tarmac as he reached the door of the

Colin Seddan of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals carries a swan covered in crude oil after it arrived
at the Fort Poptan research center yesterday.

The coast guard said air and gas had
been pumped into the vessel to improve
its buoyancy, and that the tanker's own
engines were working with the seven
tugboats trying to move it.
Salvage workers hoped to guide the
ship to an area near the mouth of the
estuary where the air and gas would be
released and it would be allowed to,
settle on the seabed in a stable area.
They could then prepare to unload the
remaining oil to smaller vessels.

Seven low-flying aircraft were spray-
ing chemicals on a slick about 3 1/2
miles long Tuesday to break it up. About
150 workers cleaned up nearby beaches
and coves.
Spilled oil already has killed some
3,000 rare rock pool starfish at West
Angle Bay, close to the stranded
"The evidence is so far that very low
numbers of oiled birds are coming in.
We believe a great deal of the oil is

evaporating because it is a light crude,"
said Kevin Colcomb, a government sci-
enti st.
But Judith Phillips of the Dyfed Wild-
life Trust said two reserves "are now
surrounded by oil."
The Royal Society for the Protection
of Birds has said the spill threatened
birds including guillemots, fulmars,
gulls, shags and cormorants, as well as
gray seals, harbor porpoises and bottle-
nosed dolphins.

will never forget locking eyes with the
hijacker's and
jumping from the
stairs outside the
plane to the run- , had
way just as a bul-
let grazed the much sa
back of his head.
Testifying in goodbye
U.S. District
Court yesterday, everyb(M
Pflug and Baker - - - -
described how s
Israeli and right in h
American pas-
sengers were felt
singled out for
execution, sum- heads"
moned to the
shot and then Egyptair
thrown to the
tarmac during
Nov. 23-24, 1985. A subsequent rescue

airplane. He timed it
l in
his eyes.I
gun to may
--Jackie Pflug
"hijacking victim

perfectly, just
Rezaq fired. '
was stunned for a
moment and then
I rolled down the
stairs ... as if (
was dead." s
Scott Glick and
Joseph Valder
called Baker and
Pflug to testify in
a pretrial hearing
before U.S. Dis=
trict Judge Royce
Lamberth. De-
fense attorneys
Robert Tucker
and Teresa Alva
are challenging
previous identifi,
cations of Rezaq
by various wit,

Senate committee debates FDA reforms


The Washington Post
WASHINGTON - Congressional
efforts to reform the Food and Drug
Administration geared up again yester-
day, as a Senate committee considered
bill that would force the agency to
approve new drugs and devices faster.
But FDA Commissioner David
Kessler told members of the Senate
labor and human resources committee
that the agency he has headed since
1990 was already doing a good job of
reforming itself. He suggested that some
of the provisions of the bill, sponsored
by committee chair Sen. Nancy
Kassebaum (R-Kan.) could compromise
*ublic health.
Kessler said the agency's harshest
critics threaten "intentionally or not, to
undermine the real progress that has
been made."
The Kassebaum bill would require
the FDA to act within four months on
applications for new drugs to treat life-
threatening diseases or other disorders

We are faced with an agency that is
still way behind the times."
-Sen. Dan Coats

with no approved treatment. The agency
would be required to act within six
months on applications for all other
FDA-regulated products. The bill con-
tains a "hammer" provision that would
force the FDA to meet the deadlines by
1998 or cede parts of the approval pro-
cess to private companies.
Federal law already requires that the
agency act on applications within six
months, but the FDA has historically
taken much longer. A 1992 law created
a user-fee system for drug companies
and set deadlines for the agency to shorten
its review times. Kessler said the FDA
was three years ahead of schedule in
meeting those goals, and that most new
drug reviews now take 12 months. He

cited statistics showing that his agency
is currently approving new drugs for
AIDS and otherlife-threatening diseases
in less time than the Kassebaum bill
would require, adding that many new
drugs reach Americans before they are
approved in other nations.
But Kessler said there are limits to
how fast the FDA can act. "One day we
are going to make a mistake," he said.
He predicted that when something goes
tragically wrong with arapidly approved
drug, he would be back before a con-
gressional committee to answer the
question, "Where was FDA?"
Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) accused the
agency of having "a Ralph Nader men-
tality" of mistrusting the companies it

regulates and refusing to tolerate the
slightest risk. Despite what he called
Kessler's "fancy talk" about statistical
improvement in drug review times,
Coats said, "We are faced with an agency
that is still way behind the times."
Yesterday's session was the first of
several scheduled hearings on FDA fe-
form in both Houses. Today the Labor
and Human Resources Committee will
take up a portion of the Kassebaum bill
that would allow companies to provide
doctors with the results of scientific
studies ofunapproved uses of approved
drugs -so-called "off-label" uses. The
FDA currently outlaws such activities,
saying that companies must prove to the
agency that their products are effective
for such uses before advertising them.
In an interview yesterday, Sen.
Connie Mack (R-Fla.), the sponsor of
the provision, said the agency's attitude
"implies that peer-reviewed data is in-
adequate unless it receives
Washington's approval."

attempt by Egyptian commandos turned
into a disaster when the hijackers deto-
nated hand grenades, killing 57 other
For the first time in an American
courtroom, Pflug of Minneapolis, and
Baker of Bellingham, Wash., picked
out the man they said shot them -
Omar Mohammed Ali Rezaq. Pflug,
who can only see when she gazes
straight-on because of the bullet she
took in the head, didn't hesitate to pick
out Rezaq. Neither did Baker.
"I was so much in shock," Pflug said,
recalling what she felt when it was her
turn to face Rezaq - after four others
had been shot. "I had pretty much said
goodbye to everybody in spirit. I looked
right in his eyes. I felt the gun to my
head, this round thing to my head."
When the shot was fired, Pflug said,
"I just felt this explosion. My eyes went
to the back of my head. I just remember
a floating, a tumbling."
By the time Pflug had been sum-
moned to the front of the plane, Baker
had already made the trip. When his

nesses. The hearing is to continue today
with testimony from other survivors.
Rezaq is scheduled to go on trial April;
9. In 1986, he was tried and convicted in
Malta for murder and unlawful taking of
hostages. He was sentenced to 25 years
in prison but was suddenly released in
1993 and permitted by Maltese authori-
ties to board aplane bound for the Sudan.
En route, however, he was intercepted
by FBI agents in Nigeria and brought
back to the United States to stand trial for
air piracy.
Pflug, a petite woman with brown
hair and glasses, drew in deep breath
and ran her fingers through her hair oil
the right side ofherhead, the side where
she was shot, as she explained in great
detail how she felt and what she did
during the hijacking. Baker, who is 6
feet 5, answered matter of factly, rarely
diverting his gaze from the defense
table where Rezaq sat wearing eat-
phones listening to an interpreter trans-
late the testimony into Arabic.
Baker and Pflug said Rezaq shot five
people, including them. Two died-an
Israeli woman and an American woman.




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