FDA Rejects Request

On Animal Antibiotic

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Lester M. Crawford has turned down a petition by Bayer Corp. asking for permission to keep selling its veterinary antibiotic Baytril while it appeals an agency ban on the drug.

The FDA announced its ban on the widely used drug in 2000, when it concluded that Baytril was increasing the speed at which similar human antibiotics were becoming ineffective. Baytril is in the same antibiotic family as the important human antibiotic Ciprofloxacin (Cipro).

Bayer is fighting the ban through the FDA appeal process and has indicated it may pursue the case in federal court. Bayer, as well as the trade group that represents animal drugmakers and several veterinarian associations, asked Crawford last month to delay implementing the ban.

In his Sept. 2 denial, announced yesterday, Crawford said that there are alternatives to Baytril and that the parties did not show that they would suffer irreparable harm if the drug is taken off the market.

Mideast Nations to Join

U.S. in War Exercises

Troops from the United States and a dozen Middle Eastern and other countries will take part in a joint military exercise in and near Egypt beginning Saturday, the U.S. Central Command said.

Operation Bright Star, which runs through Oct. 3, is the 12th in the series of such joint training sessions over the years. It was last scheduled for 2003 but was canceled that year because of U.S. anti-terrorism efforts and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Central Command officials said yesterday about 8,600 U.S. troops would be involved in the exercise, but did not name the participating countries other than Egypt, or say how many other troops would take part.

Bright Star is the largest regional exercise conducted by the Central Command, which is based in Tampa, and oversees U.S. military in the Middle East and Persian Gulf.

It is designed to improve readiness and interoperability and strengthen ties among U.S., Egyptian and other participating forces.

U.S. Urges Peace Among

Factions in Ethiopia

The administration yesterday made a pitch to Ethiopia's governing party and its opponents to try to resolve their differences peacefully.

The governing party, which rose to power by overthrowing a brutal junta more than a decade ago, on Monday was declared the winner of May elections that drew allegations of vote stealing and touched off violent street protests.

Opposition parties made strong gains in the balloting but continued to argue that they were robbed of a victory by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front.

"We expect all political parties to work through any future phases of this process, including the formation of a new government, in a peaceful, transparent and democratic manner," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said.

-- Compiled from reports

by staff writer Marc Kaufman

and news services