Beirut Captors Acted Like 'Kids' on Jet, TWA Pilot Says

--The pilot of the TWA jetliner hijacked to Lebanon last summer told a meeting of aviation enthusiasts in New York that his captors in Beirut were like "kids." They played with switches in the cockpit and passed time dressing up in the crew's uniforms, said Capt. John Testrake, 57, whose 727 jet was hijacked June 14. He said the young Arabs also amused themselves with the plane's public address system. "They loved to sing those weird Arabic songs over the PA at 3 a.m.," Testrake said. He disconnected the system and told his captors it broke because they were "talking on it too much." Testrake drew a distinction between the terrorists who commandeered the jet soon after takeoff from Athens and those who later came aboard the plane in Beirut. "The first two were vicious, determined, fanatical, ruthless killers," Testrake said. He said he was lost when the hijackers first ordered him to fly to Algiers and had to use a Rand McNally atlas to chart his course. "That's one of those times you turn to your co-pilot and say, 'Where in the world is Algiers?' This is not on our regular route."

--Actress Linda Evans told a Washington committee hearing on nutrition and fitness all about the physical and emotional advantages of exercise. "Because I work long hours, exercise helps me," she said. "I sleep better, I have more energy and I can eat anything I want--all things I love to do." Evans told the lawmakers that "you don't have to fall apart because you are getting older. As a woman in her forties, I have learned that I am capable of changing what I don't like about my life." Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), chairman of the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee, later escorted Evans onto the Senate floor while he voted on legislation.

--The Emir of Qatar, Sheik Khalifa ibn Hamad al Thani, found that there is quite a difference between state dinners in his homeland and those in London. When Queen Elizabeth II visited Qatar six years ago, the emir gave a picnic in her honor. The menu included whole sheep, turkeys and chickens. This week, when he returned the visit, the Buckingham Palace menu featured cream of watercress soup, salmon, pheasant stuffed with mango and vanilla ice cream with chestnuts. After the dinner, the queen presented the emir with a silver centerpiece bowl emblazoned with her crest. The emir gave the queen a life-size silver falcon and a silver model of an Arabian sailing ship, and presented Prince Philip with a coffee set, an Arabian sword and bookends in the shape of an Arabian antelope.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World