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Crews battle fatigue at bridge collapse site



Published: Wed, May 29, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Crews battle fatigueat bridge collapse site

WEBBERS FALLS, Okla. -- Although divers have battled lightning, rubble and fatigue to recover victims of a deadly bridge collapse, their hardest fight may be against hopelessness.

With the aid of sonar and a large crane, recovery crews have been able to pull the bodies of 13 people, as well as 10 vehicles, from the murky Arkansas River. The agonizing search was to resume this morning.

"We're having a beneficial effect, but at the same time, there's a feeling of helplessness that we're not doing all we can be doing, just because of the obstacles and treacherous conditions," said Dennis Splawn, a diver with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

An unknown number of people are still missing after an out-of-control barge hit the Interstate 40 bridge on Sunday and knocked out a 500-foot section of highway, sending about a dozen vehicles plunging 62 feet into the river.

Gunman shoots selfat CBS complex in LA

LOS ANGELES -- A suicidal gunman stormed into the CBS television network complex and kept police at bay for more than four hours before ending the standoff by shooting himself, officials said.

The standoff forced the evacuation of CBS' Television City, a sprawling complex where "The Price is Right" and other shows are filmed.

The 31-year-old man was hospitalized in critical condition after shooting himself in the abdomen late Tuesday, said Officer Jason Lee, a police spokesman. No one else was hurt.

After the area was secured, police negotiators began talking to the gunman. At one point he was lying on the floor with the gun to his head and threatening suicide, said Deputy Chief David Kalish.

Texas inmate executedfor juvenile offense

HUNTSVILLE, Texas -- Napoleon Beazley went to his death apologizing for the murder he committed at age 17 yet was upset at the system that condemned him -- the final chapter in a case that threw the spotlight on capital punishment for young people.

Beazley's age, his background as a high school class president and star athlete, and lack of previous criminal record prompted calls to save his life and end what Amnesty International USA called "the barbaric practice of executing juvenile offenders."

Beazley, 25, was convicted of killing the father of a federal judge during a 1994 carjacking when he was 17. He repeatedly expressed remorse for shooting John Luttig, 63, while trying to steal the man's Mercedes.

But the U.S. Supreme Court rejected his final appeal on Tuesday, and Beazley was executed by injection hours later.

Study of new drugs

WASHINGTON -- Only 15 percent of new drugs approved in the last decade were novel chemicals that the Food and Drug Administration deemed a significant improvement over older drugs, a study says.

The vast majority instead were similar to existing medicines. Yet during the same time, consumer spending on prescription drugs more than doubled to $132 billion -- and most of the increase was spent not on the most innovative drugs, but on the less important or copycats, says the study by the National Institute for Health Care Management.

The FDA and other groups have long cautioned that major pharmaceutical breakthroughs are rare. But the study to be released today -- by an institute partly funded by managed care -- is among the first to rank spending according to drugs' relative importance to health care.

Associated Press




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