July 21, 2005 in Nation/World

Report says skies need to be safer

Compiled from wire reports The Spokesman-Review
 

Washington Pilots flew into restricted airspace 3,400 times across the country in the three years following the Sept. 11 attacks, according to a congressional report that says the government needs to better coordinate its response to such violations.

One agency should be in charge of steering planes away from restricted zones, according to the Government Accountability Office report, obtained by the Associated Press ahead of today’s hearing on the subject by the House Government Reform Committee.

Committee Chairman Tom Davis, a Virginia Republican, said it’s essential for agencies that oversee the skies to work together.

“A quick, coordinated response is absolutely vital if we are faced with a pilot or a plane with hostile intent,” Davis said in a statement.

The Federal Aviation Administration, the North American Aerospace Defense Command and the Transportation Security Administration are responsible for making sure pilots don’t fly where they shouldn’t.

Jets have been scrambled more than 2,000 times since the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001, including several well-publicized incidents during which private planes strayed into the restricted zone over Washington, causing the evacuation of the White House, the Capitol and other government buildings.

Most lumps don’t raise risk of breast cancer

Most women with breast lumps or other abnormalities that turn out to be noncancerous do not face a substantially greater risk of developing breast cancer later, especially if they have little family history of the disease, a reassuring study found.

However, certain “benign” growths are not so harmless and may be precursors to cancer, it also found. Women with these may want to consider surgery or tamoxifen to lower their risk, doctors say.

The study was one of the largest to look at cancer risk according to the types of benign growths women had. It involved 9,087 women biopsied from 1967 to 1991 at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. The findings were reported in today’s New England Journal of Medicine.

The information could be useful to a large number of women. In a decade of having mammograms, one out of five women will have a biopsy, and most biopsies will reveal benign growths, two specialists wrote in an accompanying editorial.

Overall, such women are 56 percent more likely to develop cancer during the next 15 years, the study found – the same conclusion previous ones reached. But the new work shows how much this risk varies – from very little to more than four times normal – depending on what the growths look like under the microscope.

“Many of these women are not at significantly increased risk for breast cancer, but it’s important that they know what their pathology showed” about the type of growth they had, said Dr. Lynn Hartmann, the Mayo doctor who led the work.

Elizabeth Smart’s sister describes kidnapping

Salt Lake City Fearful the man would come back and take her too, Mary Katherine Smart quietly remained in bed for two hours until she got up the courage to tell her parents that her sister had been kidnapped.

“I thought, you know, be quiet, because if he hears you, he might take you, too, and you’re the only person who has seen this and you have to tell them,” she told Diane Sawyer in a recent interview for “ABC News/Primetime.”

Her story of the June 2002 kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart is scheduled to air tonight on a show about five children who took heroic measures in horrible situations.

Mary Katherine was 9 when she witnessed her 14-year-old sister’s abduction from their bedroom in Salt Lake City.

Nine months later, Elizabeth was found walking in a suburb with Brian David Mitchell, a self-proclaimed street preacher who went by the name Immanuel. He had allegedly taken her as a second wife.

The night of the abduction, Mary Katherine remembers being “sort of awake.”

Now 13, Mary Katherine says she doesn’t know how Elizabeth remained calm as the man took her away. She says she didn’t recognize the abductor, and when she finally crawled out of bed to find her parents, all she could say was, “Dad, Elizabeth’s gone.”


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