New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - September 24, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas
Page 2A — Herald-Zeitung — Saturday, September 24, 2005
Embattled FDA commissioner
Crawford resigns DIGEST
Audience members listen to the chef at theTaste of Home Cooking School.
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Embattled Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Lester Crawford resigned Friday, telling his staff that at age 67 it was time to step aside.
His resignation came just two months after the Senate, in a long-delayed move, elevated the longtime agency deputy and acting commissioner to the top job.
Crawford’s three-year tenure at FDA was marked by increasing criticism, as the painkiller Vioxx was pulled off the market for safety problems, recalls of malfunctioning heart devices mounted and controversy grew over wider access to emergency contraception.
Last month, morale at the agency plummeted when Crawford indefinitely postponed nonprescription sales of inoming-after contraception over the objections of staff scientists who had declared the pill safe. FDA’s women’s health chief resigned.
Still, Crawford’s resignation, effective immediately, was a surprise. An affable veterinarian who specialized in food safety, he was elevated by President Bush from acting commissioner to the full job in part because his experience was deemed important as the FDA attempted to better safeguard die food supply against bioterrorism.
From staff, wire reports
PSYCHOLOGIST TESTIFIES ABOUT WORK WITH ENGLAND
— A West Virginia school psychologist said Friday that he realized he had failed Lynndie England when he saw the Army private posing in prisoner abuse photos at Abu Ghraib.
Thomas Denne, who had worked with England as a spe-cial-education student since early childhood, testified during her military trial on charges of conspiracy and abuse in the 2003 Iraq prison scandal.
Denne said he concluded that he and others focused too much on getting the mild-mannered girl through school and not enough on providing her with real-life skills.
“Maybe I thought, ’I didn’t shoot high enough for Lynndie
England,’” said Denne, who works for the Mineral County school system. “Maybe I thought, ’We should have taught her how to think.’”
Denne’s testimony supported England’s core defense that she was overly compliant and she did what her soldier boyfriend, Charles Graner, told her to do. Graner, who England has said fathered her son while they were deployed, is described by prosecutors as the ringleader of detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib.
England, 22, is charged with seven counts of conspiracy and abuse that carry a maximum sentence of 11 years in prison.
I ler case will be decided by a jury of five Army officers.
JEBALIYA, Gaza Strip
TRUCK OF HAMAS MILITANTS, WEAPONS EXPLODES AT GAZA RALLY — A truck filled
with masked militants and homemade weapons exploded at a I lamas rally f riday, killing at least 15 Palestinians and wounding 80 — including children — bringing a grisly and terrifying end to one of the last gatherings by armed groups celebrating Israel’s Caza pullout.
The blast sent a huge cloud of white smoke over the mass festivities, a sea of green Hamas flags and thousands of people gathered at Jebaliya, a Palestinian refugee camp that was the scene of harsh fighting between militants and Israeli soldiers during the past five years of violence.
After initial confusion, people began running away from the rally and gunmen Fired in the air. People wailed in grief as others tried to tend to the mangled and dismembered bodies of the dead and wounded.
Mishandled explosives apparently caused the blast, which
came a day before an agreement by militants not to publicly parade weapons is to take effect.
Witnesses said many children were among the casualties.
llamas said six militants were killed, including jihad Shaleal, head of the group’s military wing in Jebaliya. I lamas blamed Israel, but the Israeli military denied any connection. Palestinian security officials said the blast was an accident.
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Campaign for constitution wins support of cleric
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) — The Iraqi government’s campaign to win support for the country’s new constitution has won the critical backing of the most influential Shiite religious leader, less than a month before a national referendum on the draft charter.
The U.S. military on Friday reported the deaths of two American soldiers west of Baghdad overnight. One was killed by a roadside bomb between the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi, the other by small arms fire in Ramadi.
In the capital, a suicide bomber on a small public bus set off hidden explosives in a bustling open-air bus terminal Friday, the Muslim day of worship, killing at least five people and wounding eight, police said.
Also in Baghdad, gunmen killed two members of the commission charged with ensuring former members of Saddam Hussein’s Baathist
regime were banned from the Iraqi hierarchy, police said. Their deaths raised to 14 the number of commission members who have been killed since the 323-member Supreme National Commission for de-Baathification was created two years ago.
Grand Ayatollah AH al-Sis-tani, meeting with aides Thursday in the holy city of Najaf, urged his followers to vote “yes” on the new basic law, according to two top officials in al-Sistani’s organization. The officials refused to be identified because they are not authorized to speak for the reclusive cleric.
In January, millions of Shiites followed al-Sistani’s call to vote in Iraq’s first democratic elections in nearly half a century, and the ballot gave the Muslim sect a majority in the new parliament and government.
If two-thirds of the voters in any three of Iraq’s 18
provinces reject the constitution during the Oct. 15 national referendum, a new government must be formed and the process of writing the document would start again.
Days after the draft constitution was approved by Iraq’s National Assembly and sent to the United Nations for printing and distribution, the government issued fliers and posters, with the banner headline stating: “Read the Constitution, it was written for your freedom.’’ But copies of the proposed constitution haven’t been distributed to the Iraqi public yet.
Most Sunni Muslim clerics and politicians have urged
their followers to vote against the document, complaining that they did not have adequate representation in drafting it. Sunnis, the favored group under Saddam, account for an estimated 20 percent of the population and form the majority in four provinces.
Two other popular leaders in Iraq’s majority Shiite sect, Muqtada al-Sadr and Ayatollah Mohammed al-Yaqoubi, also have rejected the constitution, and their stand — representing a potentially serious rift in the Shiite monolith — has been reflected recent violence in the southern city of Basra.
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