Angered over FEMA’s flood insurance program, a senator said late Thursday he would block the nomination of R. David Paulison as the agency’s chief in the latest hitch in the push for his approval before the start of the hurricane season.
A spokesman for Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., said he will delay Paulison’s confirmation until the Federal Emergency Management Agency develops a suitable appeals process for property owners whose flood insurance claims are rejected.
FEMA administers the insurance program. Bunning spokesman Mike Reynard said the agency was supposed to establish an appeals process by December 2004.
The surprise delay surfaced hours after a Senate panel approved Paulison’s nomination after he pledged to refile three years of tax returns to correct questionable travel deductions.
Once-banned drug OK’d for cancer
Thalidomide received federal approval Thursday for treatment of bone-marrow cancer, marking the further rehabilitation of a drug originally banned more than 40 years ago after it caused thousands of birth defects.
The Food and Drug Administration approved the drug for the treatment of newly diagnosed multiple myeloma, agency spokeswoman Laura Alvey said. Multiple myeloma refers to cancers that affect cells in the bone marrow that are key to fighting infection.
Thalidomide was banned worldwide in 1962. In 1998, it received FDA approval for the treatment of leprosy. It is now marketed under a restricted distribution program and bears severe warnings cautioning patients of the risk of birth defects.
Milford Township, Mich.
FBI starts digging in Hoffa search
After tearing apart a barn, FBI agents began digging up the ground where it stood Thursday, taking photos and video and sifting through dirt by hand as they searched for Jimmy Hoffa’s remains at a suburban Detroit farm.
After a backhoe dug a hole at the site, FBI agents and crime-scene investigators jumped in to take pictures and comb through the soil. At one point, two dogs were sent into the hole.
The 100-by-30-foot barn was torn down Wednesday as the FBI scoured Hidden Dreams Farm, which once was owned by a Hoffa associate and is located not far from where the former Teamsters chief vanished in 1975.
The search of the Milford Township farm, 30 miles northwest of Detroit, began May 17. Officials have said the search would last a couple of weeks and involve cadaver dogs, demolition experts, archaeologists and anthropologists.