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5.16.11 Blood test tells you how long you will live

May 16 - A $700 blood test that tells someone's biological age will go on sale in Britain later this year, the Independent reported Monday. The test will be able to offer the possibility of estimating how long the person has left to live by measuring telomeres on the tip of their chromosomes, the most important and accurate indicators of how rapidly someone is aging. However, critics worry that it can be misused by some companies that try to sell unproven anti-aging remedies. Insurance companies might also take interest in the result of the test to decide what kind of medical coverage they will offer. However, the test could provide insights into a range of age-related disorders, from cardiovascular disease to Alzheimer's and cancer.

The inventor of the test said that the fact that short telomeres can cause a shorter lifespan is already known. "What's new about this test is that it is very precise. We can detect a very small differences in telomere length and it is a very simple and fast technique where many samples can be analyzed at the same time. Most importantly, we are able to determine the presence of dangerous telomeres
those that are very short," said Maria Blasco of the Spanish National Cancer Research Center. Telomere research is also an exciting area in biomedical science and three scientists who received the Nobel Prize last year are pioneers in the field. "It will be useful for you to know your biological age and maybe to change your lifestyle habits if you find you have short telomeres," said a former post-doctoral student of the Nobel Prize winner Carol Greider of Harvard Medical School. [>koreaherald.com; See more details, independent.co.uk, Mays 16,The £400 test that tells you how long you'll live."]

5.16.11 Endeavour lifts off on final space voyage

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida, May 16 - Next-to-last flight of space shuttle era bound for International Space Station before retirement at Los Angeles museum. Endeavour blasted off on NASA's next-to-last shuttle flight, thundering through clouds into orbit Monday morning as the mission commander's wounded wife, Gabrielle Giffords, watched along with an exhilarated crowd well into the thousands. NASA is winding down its 30-year-old shuttle program before embarking on something new. The event generated the kind of excitement seldom seen on Florida's Space Coast on such a grand scale — despite a delay of more than two weeks from the original launch date because of an electrical problem. At 8:56:28am EDT, Endeavour's twin solid-fuel boosters ignited with a rush of 5,000-degree exhaust, instantly pushing the spacecraft away from pad 39A, CBS News space consultant William Harwood reports. "Final liftoff for Endeavor, expanding our knowledge, expanding our lives," a NASA announcer said as the shuttle lifted off. [More>>cbsnews.com]

5.16.11 Data recovered from black boxes of Rio-Paris crash

(AFP) May 16 - All flight data from the Air France jet that crashed into the Atlantic in 2009 has been preserved in the plane's retrieved black box recorders, French aviation authorities said Monday. The BEA air safety agency probing the crash of the Rio to Paris flight, in which all 228 people on board were killed, said it recovered the data from the recorders, pulled from the ocean after a nearly two-year search. "Following operations to open, extract, clean and dry the memory cards from the flight recorders, BEA safety investigators were able to download the data over the weekend," it said in a statement..."In the framework of the safety investigation directed by the BEA, all of this data will now be subjected to detailed, in-depth analysis," the statement said. "This work will take several weeks, after which a further interim report will be written and then published during the summer." [Full story>>france24.com]

5.16.11 Tanks push deeper into restive Syrian area

AMMAN, Jordan (Reuters) May 16 - At least 15 Syrian tanks pushed overnight into a rural area near the Lebanese border, where security forces have concentrated their latest crackdown against pro-democracy demonstrations, human rights activists said. The activists, who were in contact with residents, said the tanks deployed around Arida, near the Jisr al-Qomar border crossing point with northern Lebanon. Witnesses on the Lebanese side of the border told Reuters they could hear the sound of gunfire throughout the night. Activists said Syrian troops and gunmen had entered the border town of Tel Kelakh on Saturday after protests erupted against President Bashar al-Assad's autocratic rule, prompting dozens of families to flee into Lebanon.

An activists' protest group said at least seven Syrian civilians were killed on Sunday when troops shelled the town and sniper fire killed another civilian on Monday, raising the death toll in the army's assault since Saturday to 12...Troops backed by armor have now deployed in or around towns and villages across the southern Hauran plain, the central province of Homs and areas near the coast. The security grip has been also tightened in Damascus and its suburbs. The Lebanese army said it had sent reinforcements to the border, set up checkpoints and started intensive patrols to prevent "infiltration activities on both sides."
[Full story>>khaleejtimes.com]

5.16.11 US accuses Syria of inciting Israel border clashes

(Reuters) May 16 - Lebanese delegation files complaint at UN after 10 people killed in border clashes; Israel's delegation plans to follow suit, with complaints against both Syria and Lebanon. The White House on Monday accused Syria of inciting deadly border clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinian demonstrators, saying Damascus was trying to distract attention from its own violent crackdown on protests. White House spokesman Jay Carney expressed regret for the loss of life in confrontations on Israel's frontiers with Syria, Lebanon and Gaza on Sunday but said Israel "has the right to prevent unauthorized crossing at its borders." "We urge maximum restraint on all sides," Carney told reporters on Air Force One as President Barack Obama flew to Tennessee. Israeli troops opened fire at three separate border locations to prevent crowds of demonstrators from crossing, killing at least 13 people. Syrian media reports said Israeli gunfire killed two people after dozens of Palestinians infiltrated the Golan Heights from Syria, along a front line that has been largely tranquil for decades. The White House put the onus on the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for the violence that broke out on the Israeli-Syrian border. [More>>haaretz.com]

5.16.11 Security forces fire on Cairo 'Nakba' rally

May 16 - Hundreds injured and sent for military interrogation after live ammunition used to disperse Israel embassy protest. At least 353 people were injured, one of them critically, when Egyptian security forces attacked a pro-Palestine demonstration outside the Israeli embassy in Cairo on Sunday night, according to witnesses and the Health Ministry. Activists told Al Jazeera that army and internal security troops used tear gas, rubber-coated bullets and live ammunition to disperse thousands of protesters who had gathered to mark the 63rd anniversary of the "Nakba" or "catastrophe" - the day in 1948 that Israel declared its independence and thousands of Palestinians fled or were expelled form their homes.

At least two protesters were shot by live ammunition, while others were hospitalized after inhaling tear gas or being hit by rubber-coated steel bullets, some of which penetrated the skin, witnesses said. One protester, Atef Yehia, was shot in the head, while another, Ali Khalaf, was shot in the abdomen. Both survived, though Yehia was being kept on a ventilator and would likely suffer brain damage, his friend said on Monday afternoon.  The crackdown on the protest also marked a setback for activists campaigning to limit the military's judicial power in post-revolutionary Egypt. A senior police officer told Al Jazeera that 137 protesters had been arrested and would be questioned by a military prosecutor. As they awaited questioning, the protesters was being held in Hikestep military prison on the outskirts of Cairo, according to activists and a human-rights lawyer.

The violence began at around 11pm after a group of protesters surged toward the front of the multi-story office building that contains the Israeli embassy and managed to push aside some of the barriers that had been erected in front of the ground-floor entrance, witnesses said. The crowd had called for Egypt to break off its diplomatic ties with Israel and for the Israeli flag to be taken down from the building.

5.16.11 Israel fires warning shots at aid ship to Gaza as Palestinian factions meet in Cairo

May 16 - Israeli naval forces fired warning shots at a Malaysian ship carrying aid to Gaza as it approached the shore, forcing it to withdraw to Egyptian waters, as Palestinian factions were scheduled to meet in Cairo to discuss the formation of a new government. "The MV Finch, carrying sewage pipes to Gaza, had warning shots fired at it by Israeli forces in the Palestinian security zone this morning at 0654 Jordan time (0354 GMT)," Shamsul Azhar from the Perdana Global Peace Foundation, the organizer of the trip, told Agence-France Presse. "Currently the ship has been forced to anchor in Egyptian waters, 30 nautical miles from Gaza," he told AFP. The Perdana Foundation is helmed by former premier Mahathir Mohammed of Malaysia, an 85-year-old firebrand who was a strident critic of the West and Israel over the Palestinian issue during his two decades in power. The organization was also involved in the first "Freedom Flotilla," a 2010 attempt to break the Israeli embargo on Gaza which ended in disaster when naval commandos raided the aid ships, killing nine Turks on board one of them. Israel has earlier authorized the resumption of the transfer of Palestinian funds that had been frozen after a new unity deal between Fatah and Hamas, Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Yaalon said on radio Monday. [More>>alarabiya.net]

5.16.11 Prosecutor seeks Gaddafi arrest over protest deaths

THE HAGUE (Reuters) May 16 - An international prosecutor on Monday sought an arrest warrant for Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi accusing him of committing crimes against humanity by killing protesters during an uprising against his 41-year rule. Luis Moreno-Ocampo, International Criminal Court prosecutor, also asked judges, who now need to see if there is enough evidence to issue warrants, for the arrest of Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam and his spy chief Abdullah al-Senussi. Moreno-Ocampo signalled his action earlier this month when he said he would seek three arrests for the "pre-determined" killing of protesters in Libya after the UN Security Council referred the violence to the Hague-based court in February. "The office gathered direct evidence about orders issued by Muammar Gaddafi himself, direct evidence of Saif al-Islam organizing the recruitment of mercenaries and direct evidence of the participation of al-Senussi in the attacks against demonstrators," Moreno-Ocampo said at the ICC on Monday. Thousands of people have been killed in the conflict in the North African oil-producing desert nation, the bloodiest of the revolts which have convulsed the Middle East in what has been called the "Arab Spring." [More>>thestar.com.my]

5.16.11 Bin Laden played host to Taliban leaders, Arab fundraisers

May 16 - Osama Bin Laden played host to Taliban leaders and wealthy supporters while he was living in his Abbottabad compound in Pakistan. In reporting this, Britain's Sunday Telegraph said that this was the first revelation that the al-Qaeda leader was not wholly reliant on couriers for communication purposes and that he had direct contact with his followers. The news comes as US officials comb through evidence retrieved from the compound in the US Navy Seals operation that killed Bin Laden in Pakistan on May 2. The Telegraph report also mentions British intelligence officers who joined their US counterparts in sifting through the material, which contained references to possible attacks on Britain. An Afghan leader of the Taliban said he had visited Bin Laden in the Abbottabad compound. He said other members of al-Qaeda met with Bin Laden too, as did Taliban allies and Arab fundraisers.

Since the al-Qaeda leader was killed two weeks ago, US officials are learning that Bin Laden seemed actively involved in the operations of the terror organization. His communication techniques were thought to be limited to using computer thumb drives to relay messages. When the Taliban commander met Bin Laden two years in Abbottabad, the Telegraph quotes him as saying that the al-Qaeda leader was well "but concerned about his safety and money." Bin Laden said he had to meet leaders because so many in the top brass had been captured or killed. "He said he had no choice but to be active and meet people, despite the security risks," the Taliban leader is quoted as saying by the Telegraph. "He was meeting with other top al-Qaeda leaders who could get access to Abbottabad without endangering their safety." The report will once again put into the spotlight how Bin Laden lived in Pakistan without being detected by Pakistani authorities.

Pakistan has repeatedly denied any knowledge of Bin Laden's existence and ordered an inquiry into the US raid that killed him on May 2. Pakistan's intelligence officials have withdrawn their cooperation to their American counterparts in protest of the US operation that killed Bin Laden. Bilateral relations between the two countries seem to be at their nadir. Senator John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, arrived in Pakistan to discuss the situation with the country's leader. There are new fears of potential attacks on Western cities — especially in the face of al-Qaeda and its allies vowing the avenge their leader’s death. Last Friday, 80 people died in Charsadda, Pakistan in the first suicide attack carried out to avenge Bin Laden’s death.

5.16.11 51% of Pakistanis sad over Osama's death: survey

ISLAMABAD, May 16 - A majority of Pakistanis surveyed in a poll appeared to be aggrieved over the death of Osama bin Laden, with 51 percent describing their emotions as "grief" though one-third said they were unconcerned by the incident. The nation-wide poll was conducted by Gallup Pakistan during May 7-10, less than a week after bin Laden was killed in a raid by US special forces in the garrison city of Abbottabad on May 2. Only 11 percent of respondents said they were glad or relieved to know about the death of the al-Qaeda leader. Forty-four percent said they considered bin Laden a martyr while 28 percent said they believed he was killed because he was an outlaw. Forty-nine percent considered the raid against bin Laden an activity which was staged by the Americans. Only 26 percent believed the story being told is true and 25 percent was unsure. A majority said they believed Pakistani authorities were acted in connivance with American forces to conduct the operation. [More>>indianexpress.com]

5.16.11 Osama violated Pakistan sovereignty: Kerry

ISLAMABAD, May 16 - The visiting US senator John Kerry Monday said that his country understands that the issue of sovereignty is critical for Pakistan, Geo News reported. Addressing the media here, John Kerry said Osama bin Laden's presence in Pakistan had given rise to a number of questions. He said it was Osama bin Laden who violated the sovereignty of Pakistan. John Kerry said only a handful of people knew about the Abbottabad operation, so much so that even General Petraeus had no knowledge of it until the last moment. The operation had to be kept classified in view of the safety of the US soldiers, he added. He said President Obama did not want to lose Osama and added that Pakistan and America were facing a common foe in the shape of terrorism. Osama bin Laden was responsible for the deaths of 35,000 Pakistanis and a mastermind violence that killed 3,000 Americans, John Kerry said. He said he apprised General Kayani and Lt. General Pasha of the apprehensions of the Americans. There is a pressure for suspending Pakistan's aid, however the projects under Kerry-Lugar Bill will continue unaffected, he added. [>thenews.com.pk]

5.16.11 Saudi diplomat shot dead in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, May 16 - A Saudi Arabian diplomat was shot and killed by unidentified attackers in Karachi on Monday, just five days after explosives devices were lobbed at the Saudi consulate in the southern Pakistani port city. The Saudi diplomat, identified in media reports as Hasan M M Al-Kahtani, was attacked by four gunmen riding two motorcycles while he was driving to work. The attack occurred a short distance from the Bahrain consulate. The Saudi Embassy in Islamabad confirmed that the victim was a diplomat. Police officials said the gunmen intercepted the car and fired over a dozen bullets at the victim. He was declared dead on arrival at the Jinnah Hospital.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack. On May 11, two men riding a motorcycle lobbed two low intensity explosive devices at the Saudi consulate in Karachi though no one was injured in the attack. Saudi officials said the blasts caused minor damage to buildings within the consulate compound. The attacks came in the wake of the May 2 raid by US special forces in the garrison city of Abbottabad that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Saudi assistant foreign minister Prince Khaled bin Saud had urged Pakistani authorities to ensure the protection of the kingdom's diplomatic missions in the country.

5.16.11 29 slain in Guatemalla's 'worst massacre' in a generation

GUATEMALA CITY, May 16 - Two women, two children among the dead; victims showed signs of torture. Assailants killed at least 29 people — decapitating most of the victims — in one of Guatemala's worst mass killings in a generation. The massacre took place early Sunday on a ranch in a part of the country plagued by drug cartels. Many of the victims were shot and beheaded, police said. Among the 29 dead in the town of Caserio La Bomba in Peten province near the Mexico border were two children and two women, according to National Civil Police spokesman Donald Gonzalez. "This is the worst massacre we have seen in modern times," Gonzalez told Reuters, saying it was hard to remember a incident on this scale since Guatemala's 36-year civil war ended in 1996. Gonzalez said police are investigating whether the attack is related to Saturday's killing in Peten of Haroldo Leon, the brother of alleged Guatemalan drug boss Juan Jose "Juancho" Leon. [More>>msnbc.msn.com]

5.13.11 80 killed as Taliban avenge Osama

SHABQADAR, Pakistan (AFP) May 13 - Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Friday claimed their first major attack to avenge Osama bin Laden's death as 80 people were killed in a double suicide bombing on a paramilitary police training centre. Around 140 people were wounded, 40 of them fighting for their lives, in the deadliest attack this year. Friday's explosions detonated in Shabqadar as newly trained paramilitary cadets, dressed in civilian clothes, were getting into buses for a 10-day leave, police said. "This was the first revenge for Osama's martyrdom. Wait for bigger attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan," Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan said by telephone from an undisclosed location. The bombers blew themselves up in Shabqadar town outside the biggest Frontier Constabulary training centre in the northwest. The town is close to Mohmand.

...Bashir Ahmed Bilour, senior minister for Khyber Paktunkhwa province, said 80 people had been killed, including 69 FC men and 11 civilians, making it the deadliest attack in Pakistan since July 9, 2010 when bombers killed 105 people in Mohmand. Doctors in Peshawar's main Lady Reading hospital said they were struggling to save the lives of more than 40 critically wounded paramilitary policemen and had declared a state of emergency to cope with the scale of the casualties. "Both attacks were suicide attacks. The first suicide bomber came on a motorcycle and detonated his vest among the Frontier Constabulary men," said the police chief of the Charsadda district, Nisar Khan Marwat. "When other FC people came to the rescue to help their colleagues, the second bomber came on another motorcycle and blew himself up." The Taliban last week threatened to attack security forces to avenge bin Laden's killing in a US helicopter raid north of the capital Islamabad.
[Full story>>thenews.com.pk; See related story,

telegraph.co.uk, May 13, "Pakistan suicide attack: militants killed in US drone response"
: At least three militants have been killed in a Taliban and al-Qaeda stronghold after a US drone fired two missiles into a vehicle in Pakistan's tribal district of North Waziristan. The attack in the Kharkamar area came after 80 were killed at a paramilitary police training centre in Pakistan which Taliban militants said was to avenge the death of Osama bin Laden. The drone attack was the fourth such strike since the death of bin Laden, and coincided with a joint sitting of parliament in Islamabad where Pakistan's intelligence chief Ahmad Shuja Pasha and Ashfaq Kayani, army chief of staff, were briefing on the bin Laden operation...

5.13.11 Fermi gamma-ray image updates 'extreme Universe' view

Mau 13 - The Fermi space telescope has yielded the most detailed gamma ray map of the sky representing the Universe's most violent and extreme processes. The telescope's newest results, as well as the map, were described at the Third Fermi Symposium in Rome this week. Gamma rays are the highest-energy light we know of, many millions of times more energetic than visible light. The Fermi collaboration will soon release a full catalogue of all the gamma ray sources discovered so far. The space telescope was launched in 2008, and the Rome meeting gathered together the hundreds of scientists who worked with the data it produces. Every three hours, the telescope gathers up a full scan of the sky, spitting out 40 million bits of information each second that it beams back to the Earth.

One of its two instruments, the Large Area Telescope (Fermi-Lat), has already identified some 1,400 gamma ray sources
a number that will jump significantly with the publication of the next catalogue. Meanwhile, its Gamma Ray Burst Monitor has caught hundreds of the bursts occasional outpourings of gamma ray energy that can release in hours more energy than our Sun will ever produce. "When you look at the Universe with gamma-ray eyes what you're seeing is the 'extreme Universe,'" said Julie McEnery, Fermi project scientist. "You're looking at things where there's enormous acceleration, enormous energy. We see neutron stars, we see supermassive black holes, we see particles moving at close to the speed of light smashing into gas in our galaxy," she told BBC News.

..."We didn't expect that we'd see as many pulsars shining only in gamma rays, and we've been stunned to discover dozens of millisecond pulsars, that's been really astounding. And in some cases we haven't seen things we did expect to see, and that's interesting too. For example we haven't seen clusters of galaxies; you'd expect them to be gamma ray sources and by not seeing them, that means that some of the ideas people had about high-energy particles in galaxy clusters must not be true."
[Full story>>bbc.co.uk]

5.13.11 War for American hearts and minds rages over Islam

EVERETT, Washington, May 13 - Where Islam is discussed, controversy follows. Though the 9/11 attacks by Islamic extremists are almost 10 years past and al-Qaeda boss Osama bin Laden is dead, the American debate over Islam is still raging, as evidenced by numerous conflicts over public events around the country. The battles — a kind of holy war for American hearts and minds — feature a changing cast of players, but they typically array some of the dozens of groups dedicated to exposing the threat of radical Islam in the US against dozens of others established to protect the rights of Muslim Americans and defend their religion as peaceful. Charles Kurzman, a professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, says the clashes over Islam point to two powerful prevailing currents. "One trend is heightened alarm and suspicion on the part of people concerned about domestic security," he said. "The other trend is increased assertiveness and political activism on the part of Muslim Americans." At a national level, the conflict played out in controversial congressional hearings in April, which featured testimony from witnesses warning of a threat posed by Islamic radicals within the United States. Meanwhile Muslim leaders and civil rights groups — who were largely excluded from the proceedings — held press briefings comparing the hearings to red-baiting of the McCarthy era. But more often they unfold on smaller battlefields. Recent examples include:

In Detroit, the city transit system is locked in a legal struggle with groups who sought to use advertising space on the sides of buses for controversial messages on “honor killings” of Muslim women. After the city rejected the ads as too political, the groups behind the ads — Stop Islamization of America and the American Freedom Defense Initiative — sued the city, and won. Detroit is appealing.

In Temecula, Calif., a group called Citizens Concerned about the First Amendment this month held a protest outside the local high school, where they handed out fliers that labeled the teaching of Islam in the school’s social studies program as “brainwashing.” The fliers offered links to national anti-Islam groups.

In Texas, the board of education passed a resolution last September to reject the purchase of textbooks that include “pro-Islamic, anti-Christian half-truths and selective disinformation.” The debate is expected to resurface with the review of new textbooks this year. At least 20 states are considering "anti-Shariah" measures, which in various ways prohibit the courts from considering Islamic law in their decisions. Muslim advocates say the measures are legal gibberish that promote fear and hatred, while drafters portray them as a bulwark against creeping Islamization.

...The talk that inspired the most recent protest at Everett Community College was a May 5 appearance by Raymond Ibrahim, who works for the Middle East Forum, a conservative think tank in Philadelphia. Ibrahim, an Egyptian American of Coptic Christian upbringing, holds that there can be no such thing as a “moderate” Islam. If Muslims adhere to the Quran, he said, they are compelled to engage in jihad or "struggle"— by persuasion, deceit or violence, if necessary — so Islam can triumph. "To a Muslim, jihad means a certain kind of struggle — spreading and empowering Islam against non-Muslims," Ibrahim told students and local residents who crowded the lecture hall. "Peace with non-Muslims is a provisional state only." Ibrahim invoked a notion from Islamic theology called "taqiyya," which allows Muslims to lie in certain circumstances. Ibrahim argued that taqiyya is broadly used by apparently moderate Muslims whose real aim is to convert and control others.
[Full story>>msnbc.msn.com; See related commentary,

Maravot News, "The Allah Controversy,"
which reviews misunderstandings on the Koran: The document attempts to reconcile the faiths and begins with an ongoing controversy in Malaysia that involves assumptions by Malaysian scholars and government officials that assume that the god of the Koran is not the same God as that of the Bible. The Catholic church and Sikh leaders filed lawsuits against the government arguing for the right to use the word "Allah" in their books as a term for God.

5.13.11 US official: US Mideast envoy Mitchell set to resign

WASHINGTON, May 13 - White House will reportedly make official announcement later in the day; Obama sets a date for his speech outlining new Mideast policy. US Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell, who has led the Obama administration's failed effort to restart direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, plans to resign on Friday, a US official said. Mitchell's departure comes ahead of US President Barack Obama's expected speech laying out his new Middle East strategy and a visit to the White House by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on May 20. The White House of Friday said that Obama would deliver the speech on Thursday. Obama, who has enjoyed a boost in his standing at home and abroad with the death of the al-Qaeda chief last week, is also expected to use his address to talk about US hopes for advancing long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Mitchell's resignation would be announced by the White House later on Friday. [More>>jpost.com]

5.13.11 Libyan government claims 18 civilians killed in NATO attack in Libyan town of Brega

May 13 - Mussa Ibrahim, a spokesman for the government of Colonel Gaddafi told Sky News that religious leaders were among the dead. "This is the most horrendous, terrible attack so far," he said. "Last night Libyan TV were broadcasting live from a religious gathering of over 100 people in Brega town. After the gathering the religious leaders and civilians left and stayed in a guest house in Brega. NATO attacked the guest house at dawn today." "We are still counting and identifying the bodies but the dead are in the dozens." At a Libyan government press conference, an imam called for a thousand lives for every life taken and said all Muslims should rise up. Government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said 11 imams had been killed, a further five were in intensive care and 45 other people were injured. He also fiercely denied earlier claims from the Italian foreign minister, Franco Frattini, who earlier claimed Colonel Gaddafi had been wounded in airstrikes and had left Tripoli. Mr. Ibrahim said: "The leader is good health, high morale, high spirit. He is in Tripoli. He is leading the country day by day... the timing of the statement is a cover for the horrendous crime they made this morning against the imams." [More>>news.sky.com]

5.13.11 Soldiers killed in suspected al-Qaeda ambush

(AFP) May 13 - At least five soldiers were killed Friday in an ambush near the Yemeni town of Marib, east of the capital Sanaa, after suspected al-Qaeda rebels launched a rocket-propelled grenade at the soldiers' vehicle. Suspected al-Qaeda rebels ambushed an army vehicle and killed five soldiers near the Yemeni town of Marib, east of the capital Sanaa, on Friday, a security official told AFP. "The vehicle was ambushed with an RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) and all five soldiers inside died," the official said. "Al-Qaeda is suspected of carrying out this attack." The Saudi and Yemeni al-Qaeda branches merged in January 2009 to form the Yemen-based al-Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Four days after US forces killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in a commando raid on his hideout in Pakistan, a US drone targeted US-Yemeni cleric and terror suspect Anwar al-Awlaqi who narrowly escaped in southern Yemen. Yemen has come under intense pressure to crack down on jihadists' local franchise since a Christmas 2009 attempt to blow up a US airliner that was claimed by AQAP. Washington has expressed fears that al-Qaeda could take advantage of a prolonged political crisis in Yemen, bin Laden's ancestral homeland, where President Ali Abdullah Saleh has faced mass protests since late January calling for him to step down. Saleh, who is clinging to power, has been a close US ally in Washington's fight against al-Qaeda. [More>>france24.com]

5.12.11 US Congress members to Turkey's Erdogan: Stop Gaza flotilla

May 12 - 36 members of the US House sign letter addressed to Turkish PM urging him to stop another attempt "to provoke a confrontation with Israel." Members of the US Congress issued a letter to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday in which they urge Turkey's premier to stop the departure of another flotilla to the Gaza Strip. "We write today to express our serious concern over reports that the so-called Free Gaza Movement and the IHH are planning to send another flotilla to Gaza in the coming weeks to provoke a confrontation with Israel," read a signed letter by 36 members of Congress initiated by Rep. Steve Israel. "As members of the United States House of Representatives we ask you to help discourage these efforts and work with the Israeli government in a productive way as it continues to allow legitimate aid, but not weapons, to enter Gaza." The letter further stressed that the Israeli government has "a right and responsibility" to protect its people, emphasizing that the "threat facing Israel by weapons smuggled into Gaza is real." Congress members urged Erdogan to stop the flotilla from departing in order to prevent another confrontation such as last May's from happening again. [More>>haaretz.com]

5.12.11 Facebook's Google smear campaign outed

May 12 - Facebook, working hard to shore up its own reputation as a company that plays loose with users' privacy, admits to using a PR firm to spread malicious information about Google's privacy practices to the media. The social networking giant has been trying to get newspapers and websites to run stories saying that the search giant is invading users' privacy. Dan Lyons, of The Daily Beast, said that when "confronted with evidence, a Facebook spokesman last night confirmed" that the company hired PR giant Burson-Marsteller to do the dirty work, "First, because it believes Google is doing some things in social networking that raise privacy concerns; second, and perhaps more important, because Facebook resents Google's attempts to use Facebook data in its own social-networking service," Lyons wrote: [More>>msnbc.msn.com]

5.12.11 Yemen crackdown kills 19, US ups pressure

(AFP) May 12 - Gunmen killed three protesters tearing up posters of Ali Abdullah Saleh on Thursday, taking to 19 the death toll in 24 hours of repression. Meanwhile, Washington urged the embattled president to agree "now" to a transfer of power. Pro-Saleh gunmen on the roof of the ruling party's headquarters in Al-Bayda, 210 kilometers (130 miles) southeast of Sanaa, opened fire at demonstrators tearing-up posters of Saleh, witnesses and protest organizers said. Seven protesters were also wounded. In central Taez, Yemen's second-largest city, central security forces and units from the Republican Guard opened fire to disperse the latest protest in Jamal Street. Dozens of protesters were wounded, said a medic at a field hospital in Freedom Square, the focal point of protests in Taez. Thursday's crackdown came after a day of deadly protests. In Sanaa, 12 people were killed and 340 wounded Wednesday as security forces and plain-clothes gunmen fired at protesters marching from University Square towards the government headquarters, medics and witnesses said. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]

5.12.11 US drone attack kills seven in North Waziristan

MIRANSHAH, Pakistan, May 12 - A US drone fired two missiles into a vehicle in North Waziristan on Thursday, killing five suspected militants, local security officials said. It was the third such attack reported since US commandos killed Osama bin Laden. "A US drone fired two missiles on a militants' vehicle in the Datta Khel area of North Waziristan," one security official told on condition of anonymity. "Seven militants were killed," the official added. Another local official confirmed the strike and the toll, saying: "The target was a pick-up van." [>thenews.com.pk; See other details,

foxnews.com, May 12, "Pakistan: US drone strikes kill 8 militants along Afghan border"
: ..."At least four drones are still flying over the area," one official told Reuters. The strike is evidence that the US is not letting up on cross-border drone strikes into Pakistan despite Pakistani officials' complaints that the United States violated its sovereignty by killing bin Laden on their soil. Even before bin Laden's death, the drone attacks were a source of increasing tension in the now severely strained US-Pakistan relationship. In Abbottabad, a garrison town in northwest Pakistan where the May 2 raid by US Navy SEALs killed the leader of the al-Qaeda terror network, about 300 members of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's party rallied Thursday in the main bazaar, denouncing both the American government for approving the raid and Pakistani leaders.

In the aftermath of the raid on bin Laden, Pakistan's ruling party has defended the country's powerful army, allowing it to investigate its own intelligence fiasco in the case. Sharif, the main opposition leader and former premier, on Wednesday called for the judiciary — not the army — to investigate the events surrounding bin Laden's death, but it's unclear if his proposal will gain any traction. The demonstrators in Abbottabad, mostly from Sharif's Muslim League-N party, chanted: "Go, America, go!" The crowd carried a banner that read "American terrorism is not acceptable," and also shouted slogans of appreciation for bin Laden. Murtaza Javed Abbasi, an activist, demanded accountability from Pakistan officials who claim they did not know that bin Laden was hiding in Abbottabad. He noted that the Pakistani people were footing the bill for a huge military budget...

5.12.11 US senator describes 'gruesome' Osama bin Laden photos

WASHINGTON, May 12 - A Republican who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee viewed the death photos of Osama bin Laden on Wednesday and said the pictures — some gruesome — leave no doubt the al-Qaeda leader is dead. "Absolutely no question about it. A lot of people out there say 'I want to see the pictures' but I've already seen them. That was him. He's gone. He's history," James Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican, said on CNN. Inhofe said he saw 15 photographs, nine taken at the scene of the May 2 raid on a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan; three from the USS Vinson, where bin Laden's body was prepared for burial at sea; and three older photographs to compare for positive identification. "They're gruesome, of course, because it was taken right after the incident," Inhofe said in a separate interview on Fox News. Inhofe described some photos that showed brain matter protruding from an eye socket. But the senator, a proponent of releasing the pictures, said he had not changed his mind after viewing them. Inhofe said he thinks at least two photos from the USS Vinson showing the body being cleaned should be released because they depict an easily identifiable bin Laden. [More>>timesofindia.indiatimes.com]

5.11.11 Hedge fund chief Rajaratnam found guilty on all counts

NEW YORK (AP) May 11 - Prosecutors said Sri Lankan-born Galleon founder made millions from inside tips. A former Wall Street titan was convicted Wednesday of making a fortune by coaxing a crew of corporate tipsters into giving him an illegal edge on blockbuster trades in technology and other stocks — what prosecutors called the largest insider trading case ever involving hedge funds. Sri Lanka-born Raj Rajaratnam was convicted of five conspiracy counts and nine securities fraud charges at the closely watched trial in federal court in Manhattan. The jury had deliberated since April 25, and at one point was forced to start over again when one juror dropped out due to illness.

Prosecutors had alleged the 53-year-old Rajaratnam made profits and avoided losses totaling more than $60 million from illegal tips. His Galleon Group funds, they said, became a multibillion-dollar success at the expense of ordinary stock investors who didn't have advance notice of the earnings of public companies and of mergers and acquisitions. On Wednesday, Rajaratnam sat at the defense table, a rarity for him at the trial, and stayed motionless as the verdict was read. He will remain free on bail, though now with electronic monitoring, at least until his July 29 sentencing. Prosecutors said Rajaratnam faces a maximum term of more than 19 years in prison.

5.11.11 Libya rebels 'capture Misrata airport'

May 11 - Libyan rebels have captured Misrata airport, driving back troops loyal to Col Muammar Gaddafi, reports say. Hundreds of rebels were celebrating in the streets after pro-Gaddafi forces fled, leaving behind tanks that were set on fire, witnesses said. Government forces have been pounding the western city, which remains largely under rebel control, for weeks. Its port has become a lifeline for supplying civilians and for evacuating wounded people fleeing the fighting. Meanwhile, explosions were reported in the capital Tripoli on Wednesday, after NATO said its planes had carried out 6,000 missions over Libya since it assumed command of military operations there at the end of March. The air strikes have helped secure rebels in their strongholds in eastern Libya, but observers say it remains unclear to what extent they have loosened Col. Gaddafi's grip on western Libya. [More>>bbc.co.uk]

5.11.11 Nearly 20 dead as crackdown escalates in Syria

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) May 11 - A Syrian human rights group says security forces have killed 18 people, including an 8-year-old boy. Ammar Qurabi heads the National Organization for Human Rights in Syria. He said 13 people were killed in tank shelling on a village outside Daraa, the southern city where the Syrian uprising began in mid-March. Five others were killed in the central city of Homs. More than 750 people have been killed in a crackdown on the unrest and thousands of Syrians have been detained, with about 9,000 still in custody, said Ammar Qurabi, who heads the National Organization for Human Rights in Syria. Witnesses have reported the shelling of neighborhoods in recent weeks, but the four-hour long siege was the most intense and signaled the government was stepping up its efforts to intimidate the population. The practice of shelling residential areas is not unprecedented in Syria. In 1982, Assad's father, Hafez, crushed a Sunni uprising by shelling the town of Hama, killing 10,000 to 25,000 people according to Amnesty International estimates. [More>>foxnews.com]

5.11.11 Yemeni security forces fire on protesters; 3 dead

(AP) May 11 - Security forces fired on anti-government protesters on Wednesday in southern Yemen, killing three people, and demonstrators took over an Oil Ministry building. Nouh al-Wafi said two protesters were killed and four wounded in the volatile city of Taiz, and another protester was killed in the city of Damar after demonstrators calling for the ouster of longtime President Ali Abdullah Saleh clashed with police. After the second protester was killed in Taiz, demonstrators stormed the police station where the gunfire came from, seized a policeman whom they accused of shooting, and handed him over to the prosecutor's office, said another activist, Ghazi al-Samai. He also said protesters were setting fire to tires in several streets in Taiz and took control of three government buildings, including the Oil Ministry. In Sanaa, the capital, protesters started a second sit-in on one of the city's main streets, adding to the already large permanent sit-in on Change Square near Sanaa University, al-Wafi said. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]

5.11.11 Bombs kill two north of Baghdad

TIKRIT, Iraq (AFP) May 11 - Two bombs exploded as a police patrol passed through the centre of Tikrit, north of Baghdad, on Tuesday, killing two policemen, police and medical officials said. Another policeman was wounded in the attack, which struck at around 9:15pm (1815 GMT) in the city, hometown of now executed dictator Saddam Hussein, Salaheddin provincial police said in a statement issued to journalists. A doctor at Tikrit's main hospital confirmed that two policemen were killed and one was wounded. No group claimed responsibility for the attack in its immediate aftermath. [>thenews.com.pk]

5.11.11 Al-Qaeda leader vows revenge so fierce that US will miss Osama bin Laden

May 11 - A leader of the al-Qaeda offshoot that US officials have called the greatest threat to the US vowed in a message posted on Islamist websites Wednesday to take revenge against the US for the death of Osama bin Laden, saying that jihad would only intensify and that Americans would come to "wish for the days of Osama." "Do not dismiss this battle so easily, and give your people false hope that if you kill Osama that it is over," promised Nasir al-Wahishi, a leader of the Yemen-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). "What is waiting for you is far greater and more dangerous, and you will then count your regrets, wishing for the days of Osama." [More>>abcnews.go.com]

5.10.11 Dismantle terror groups, UK tells Pakistan

LONDON, May 10 - Britain has asked Pakistan to "dismantle" all terror groups operating on its soil and posing a threat to it as well as to the region and beyond. In a response to the Foreign Affairs Committee's March report on Afghanistan and Pakistan, Foreign Secretary William Hague noted that Pakistan has suffered more casualties from terrorism than any country since September 11, but nonetheless called upon the beleaguered country to do all it can to "dismantle all militant and terrorist groups operating on, and from, its soil." Hague's response to the parliamentary committee report was submitted within hours of US action in Abbottabad last week to eliminate Osama bin Laden, nailing years of denial by Pakistan that he was not in Pakistan. Ever since the raid that killed Osama, Pakistan has been facing questions over its role in the al-Qaeda chief's stay in the country and over whether and what kind of local support network existed for him. [More>>indianexpress.com]

5.10.11 Pakistanis disclose name of CIA operative

ISLAMABAD, May 9 - The public outing of the CIA station chief here threatened on Monday to deepen the rift between the United States and Pakistan, with US officials saying they believed the disclosure had been made deliberately by Pakistan's main spy agency. If true, the leak would be a sign that Pakistan's powerful security establishment, far from feeling chastened by the killing of terrorist leader Osama bin Laden in a Pakistani garrison city last week, is seeking to demonstrate its leverage over Washington and retaliate for the unilateral US operation. Less than six months ago, the identity of the previous CIA station chief in Islamabad was also disclosed in an act that US officials blamed on their counterparts in Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency, or ISI. The new station chief, who runs one of the largest US intelligence-gathering operations in the world, played an instrumental role in overseeing efforts to confirm bin Laden’s location before last week's raid.

The discovery of bin Laden’s presence in a Pakistani city was considered a huge embarrassment for Pakistan's military. The United States viewed it as an opportunity to press Pakistan, the recipient of billions of dollars in annual American aid, to crack down harder on militants. Outrage among Pakistanis over the operation was also seen as a rare chance for the weak civilian government in Islamabad to stake its claim in foreign and security policy, long the domain of the army. But the nation's security establishment has reacted with furor, not humility, people familiar with top Pakistani generals’ thinking said Monday.

Their response has been two-pronged: to shift blame for the bin Laden episode to the government of President Asif Ali Zardari and, according to American officials, to strike back against US allegations that Pakistani spies were either complicit in sheltering bin Laden or incompetent. The CIA station chief's name was first aired by a private Pakistani television station on Friday, and a misspelled version of the name was published the next day in the Nation newspaper, which is considered close to the security establishment.

5.10.11 Boehner to Pakistan: 'Are we real allies?'

May 10 - House Speaker John Boehner said on Tuesday that the US and Pakistan needed to figure out once and for all the nature of what has been oft-described a "complicated" relationship, noting that "I see an ally" but "I think it's a moment when we need to look each other in the eye and decide, are we real allies?" Speaking in an interview on NBC's "Today Show," Boehner emphasized Pakistan's crucial role in the US war on terror, but said that "I don't think we ought to have questions" about whether or not the country was truly working with the America to achieve its goals. "I see an ally [in Pakistan]," Boehner told NBC's Matt Lauer. "But clearly there are questions that remain about what they knew or didn't know about bin Laden being in their country. There are certainly questions about their willingness to pursue some terrorists but maybe not others." [More>>cbsnews.com]

5.10.11 Pakistan premier defends his country, army, contends that administration 'not in cahoots with al-Qaeda'

May 10 - Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani of Pakistan has rejected claims that his country's agencies were complicit in hiding al-Qaeda founder Osama Bin Laden or incompetent in finding him. "Allegations of complicity or incompetence are absurd," Mr. Gilani said, adding that it was disingenuous for anyone to accuse Pakistan, including its spy agency, of "being in cahoots" with al-Qaeda, Mr. Gilani told parliamentarians a week after US Navy SEALs conducted a raid in Abbottabad that killed Bin Laden. He said actions like the one conducted by the US Special Forces "run the risk of serious consequences" but added that Pakistan was committed to its relationship with Washington.

The relationship between his country and the United States, always fraught, appears to have deteriorated significantly after the raid on Bin laden's compound in Abbottabad, barely 35 miles from the Pakistani capital of Islamabad. On Monday, a leak identified the Islamabad station chief of the Central Intelligence Agency. Pakistani officials are further miffed by President Obama's statements that the US commandos were authorized to engage local Pakistani troops in combat if the latter proved hostile...Prime Minister Gilani said that the army would investigate Bin Laden's killing, and assured Parliament that the military and intelligence community had his government's confidence. But Pakistan's main opposition party, Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) stepped up its calls for the resignations of the prime minister and president over the breach of sovereignty.
[Full story>>alarabiya.net]

5.10.11 Condolences expressed for Osama bin Laden in Pakistan parliament

ISLAMABAD, May 10 - Pakistan's main rightist party Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), which has so far avoided public rallies and protests over the death of Osama bin Laden, broke its silence in the parliament when one of its legislators expressed condolences on behalf of his party for the soul of the slain al-Qaeda chief on Tuesday. During the parliamentary session, Maulvi Asmatullah of the JUI-F, a Deobandi organization, stood from his seat and started offering prayers for the departed soul of bin Laden. He was subsequently joined by other legislators from his party as well as the opposition benches. "God bless Osama bin Laden and rest his soul in peace," the parliamentarians said in one voice. The ruling PPP did not join them which provided a good opportunity for the clerics to question their Islamic credentials before journalists outside the parliament. Faisal Karim Kundi, deputy speaker of the National Assembly, tried his best to stop the legislators from this move but in vain. Expressing his resentment, Kundi said that it was against the decorum of the house that they offered prayers without his permission. On this, Asmatullah said that Osama bin Laden was a Muslim and even the US accepted this reality. "His funeral was offered at the USS Carl Vinson before his body was buried at the sea," Asmatullah said. Pakistan's other rightist parties, particularly the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), offered funeral prayers in absentia for bin Laden across the country. [>timesofindia.indiatimes.com]

5.10.11 US drone attack kills four in South Waziristan

PESHAWAR (AFP) May 10 - A US drone strike targeting a vehicle killed four people in South Waziristan belt on Tuesday, local officials said, the second such operation since the killing of Osama bin Laden. A security official said the drones fired two missiles into South Waziristan, near the Afghan border. Another official said the missiles fell near Angoor Adda village. [>thenews.com.pk]

5.10.11 Seven suspected Islamists arrested in raids near Paris

PARIS (AFP) May 10 - French security forces arrested seven suspected Islamists during a series of raids in the Paris region on Tuesday, police sources said. The arrests were made in the capital and two towns to the north: Stains, where house-to-house searches were continuing, and in Garges-les-Gonesse, they said, without stating the reason for the operation. French security forces arrested seven suspected Islamists during a series of raids in the Paris region on Tuesday, police sources said. The arrests were made in the capital and two towns to the north: Stains, where house-to-house searches were continuing, and in Garges-les-Gonesse, they said, without stating the reason for the operation. [>france24.com]

5.10.11 EU imposes arms embargo on 13 Syrian officials

(Reuters) May 10 - Asset freezes, travel bans are part of package of sanctions imposed on Assad's brother, cousin; EU gov'ts decide not to target president. The European Union listed 13 Syrian officials on the bloc's sanctions list on Tuesday, including a brother and a wealthy and influential cousin of President Bashar Assad, and intelligence chiefs. The measures, asset freezes and travel bans, are part of a package of sanctions, including an arms embargo which went into effect on Tuesday, as part of EU efforts to try to force Syria to end violence against anti-government protesters. EU governments decided not to target the president for now, in what diplomats said was a bid to introduce punitive measures gradually. But Assad, grappling with the most serious challenge to his 11-year rule, could face EU sanctions soon, they said.

Failure to put Assad himself on the list underlines splits in the EU over the effectiveness of an embargo in restraining his government's actions. Sources said Germany and Spain opposed adding the president, over-riding strong backing for such a move from France and others. Included was Rami Makhlouf, a cousin of Assad, who owns Syria's largest mobile phone company, Syriatel, and several large firms in the construction and oil sectors. The EU said in its official journal that he "bankrolls (Assad's) regime, allowing violence against demonstrators." In 2008, the United States imposed sanctions against him because of corruption allegations. The list also includes the president's brother, Maher al-Assad, who commands Syria's Republican Guard and is the second most powerful man in Syria.

Also affected is Ali Mamlouk, head of the General Intelligence Service, and Adulfattah Qudsiyeh, who runs military intelligence. Syria's upheaval began on March 18 when protesters, inspired by revolts across the Arab world, marched in the southern city of Deraa. Assad initially responded with vague promises of reform, and last month lifted a 48-year-old state of emergency. But when the demonstrations persisted he sent the army to crush dissent.

5.10.11 10,000 back Independent circus animals petition

May 10 - Four days after its launch more than 10,000 people have signed the Independent's petition calling on the Government to ban circuses from using wild animals. [The petition has been so successful that we have decided to double the petition target to 20,000 signatories. Please help by sharing this article and links to the petition at independent.co.uk/circusanimals.] More than 10,000 supporters have so far lent their names to the campaign, while hundreds of Twitterers have tweeted their backing and urged followers to sign the online petition. As The Independent disclosed last week, the Government is expected within days to announce its decision on whether to ban wild animals from performing in the big top. While ministers in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) say they are "minded" to support a ban, Downing Street is understood to have blocked one because of concerns about increasing "red tape." Around 20 wild animals including tigers, zebras and pythons currently perform tricks in three UK circuses. The Great British Circus is breeding lions for performance in coming years. The circuses say their wild animals are well-cared for, are not forced to perform tricks and have large enough enclosures. Animal welfare experts at the RSPCA and the British Veterinary Association say that circus life is unsuitable for wild animals because of the constant travel, loud crowds, and enclosures that are smaller than the minimum sizes recommended for zoos. [More>>independent.co.uk]

5.09.11 Millionaires who owe no federal income tax

NEW YORK, May 9 - 45/% of households will pay no federal income taxes in 2010. When it comes to taxes, do the rich pay their fair share? The answer, of course, is subjective since "fair" is not an absolute concept and tax data, depending how it's sliced, can tell different stories. Those who say the rich pay their fair share point to the fact that the top 1% of taxpayers end up paying almost as much in federal income tax (and some years even more) as the bottom 95% combined. Still, it's unlikely that even the most anti-tax, pro-wealth advocates would find this particularly fair: A very small number of millionaires end up owing no federal income tax at all. They're in good company, of course. Nearly half of all US households, or 69 million, are estimated to have owed no federal income taxes for 2010. The vast majority of them, however, are low income. But 18,000 were households taking in more than $500,000 and of those, 4,000 made more than $1 million. [More>>cnn.com]

5.09.11 No end in sight to foreclosure quagmire

May 9 - Four years after a wave of rogue mortgage lending sent the US housing market into the worst collapse since the Great Depression, the devastating flood of resulting foreclosures shows no sign of abating. In some ways, the problem is getting worse. House prices are falling again, forcing more homeowners "underwater" — owing more than their house is worth. Lenders’ shoddy document practices have brought widespread court challenges, slowing the process and leaving millions of homeowners in limbo. And the foreclosure crisis continues to weigh heavily on the fragile economy. "Right now, it's the second-biggest drag on the economy after the surge in oil prices," said Moody's Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi. Already some 5 million homes have been lost to foreclosure; estimates of future foreclosures range widely. Zandi, who has followed the mortgage mess since the housing market began to crack in 2006, figures foreclosures will strike another three million homes in the next three or four years. [More>>msnbc.msn.com]

5.09.11 Quake shifted Japan; towns now flood at high tide

ISHINOMAKI, Japan (AP) May 9 - When water begins to trickle down the streets of her coastal neighborhood, Yoshiko Takahashi knows it is time to hurry home. Twice a day, the flow steadily increases until it is knee-deep, carrying fish and debris by her front door and trapping people in their homes. Those still on the streets slosh through the sea water in rubber boots or on bicycle. "I look out the window, and it's like our houses are in the middle of the ocean," says Takahashi, who moved in three years ago. The March 11 earthquake that hit eastern Japan was so powerful it pulled the entire country out and down into the sea. The mostly devastated coastal communities now face regular flooding, because of their lower elevation and damage to sea walls from the massive tsunamis triggered by the quake. In port cities such as Onagawa and Kesennuma, the tide flows in and out among crumpled homes and warehouses along now uninhabited streets. A cluster of neighborhoods in Ishinomaki city is rare in that it escaped tsunami damage through fortuitous geography. So, many residents still live in their homes, and they now face a daily trial: The area floods at high tide, and the normally sleepy streets turn frantic as residents rush home before the water rises too high. [More>>foxnews.com]

5.09.11 NATO planes pound Libyan government weapons depot

TRIPOLI (Reuters) May 9 - NATO planes pounded Libyan government weapons depots southeast of the town of Zintan on Monday, in a sign of widening conflict in the Western Mountains region as rebels battle to unseat Muammar Gaddafi. "The air strikes occurred around 1100 (0900 GMT). We saw big plumes of smoke and heard explosions," said a rebel spokesman in Zintan who gave his name as Abdulrahman. There was no immediate comment from NATO or from Tripoli. Two months into a conflict linked to this year's uprisings in other Arab countries, rebels hold Benghazi and towns in the east while the government is firmly in control of the capital and other major cities. Tripoli says most Libyans support Gaddafi, the rebels are armed criminals and al-Qaeda militants, and NATO's intervention is an act of colonial aggression by Western powers seeking to steal the country's oil. [More>>thestar.com.my; See related stories,

news.sky.com, May 9, "' Supplies running out' for Misratah rebels"
: Libyan regime forces laying siege to Misratah have intensified their assault on the lifeline port, as rebels warned they were running low on critical food and fuel supplies. Fighting broke out in the resort area of Burgueya, west of the city in the conflict, lying about 125 miles east of the capital. A thick plume of smoke spread over Misratah, the main source of supplies to rebels fighting to oust Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in western Libya, from blazing fuel depots bombed a day earlier. Long queues formed at fuel stations amid fears of shortages. Forces loyal to the dictator "destroyed the only tanks that were full," said Ahmad Monthasser, a rebel from Misratah. Rebels warned that residents of Misratah could run out of food and water within a month if they are not provided with "game-changing" weapons to defeat Col Gaddafi's forces...

washingtonpost.com (AP) May 9, "UNHCR: Witness report ship with 600 migrants sunk off Libyan coast"
: MILAN - A ship carrying up to 600 migrants trying to flee Libya has sunk just off the coast of the North African country, the UN Refugee Agency said Monday, citing witness accounts. The agency is trying to confirm what happened to the passengers when the vessel broke apart at sea shortly after leaving a port near Libya's capital Tripoli on Friday, spokeswoman Laura Boldrini said. There was no information on how many people might have died, and the uprising in Libya makes any official accounting unlikely. Witnesses who departed on another boat shortly after reported seeing the ship broken apart and bodies floating in the sea, Boldrini said. The second boat with witnesses aboard arrived later in Italy, she said. The number of migrants fleeing North Africa's shores have increased since the region has been engulfed in a series of uprisings. At least three other boats that departed Libya in late March have disappeared, with hundreds feared dead, Boldrini said...

5.09.11 Prime minister is defiant as Pakistan outs C.I.A. officer

ISLAMABAD, May 9 - In an address to Parliament, Prime Minister Yousaf Gilani on Monday defended Pakistan's spy agency and indirectly criticized the United States for Osama Bin Laden's presence in Pakistan. The prime minister's statement was expected to give an accounting of what Pakistan knew about the Qaeda leader's presence in Pakistan, but instead centered on how the raid by the United States was a breach of Pakistani sovereignty. He warned that a repeat of such a raid to capture other high profile terrorists could be met with "full force." Mr. Gilani repeated his assertion that Bin Laden's presence in Pakistan was an intelligence failure of the "whole world," and said a senior army general would conduct an inquiry into the Bin Laden raid, but he gave no timeline of when that inquiry would be completed or who would participate in it. [More>>nytimes.com; See related story,

cbsnews.com, May 9, Pakistan denying US access to bin Laden wives"
: ISLAMABAD - The United States wants access to Osama bin Laden's three widows and any intelligence material its commandos left behind at the al-Qaeda leader's compound, a top American official said in comments that could add a fresh sticking point in already frayed ties with Pakistan. Information from the women, who remained in the house after the commandos killed bin Laden, might answer questions about whether Pakistan harbored the al-Qaeda chief as many American officials are speculating. It could also reveal details about the day-to-day life of bin Laden, his actions since the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and the inner workings of al-Qaeda. CBS News homeland security correspondent Bob Orr reports that, for the moment at least, for some unknown reason, Pakistan is denying the US access to the three women...

5.09.11 Al-Qaeda terrorist's widow to be hanged

May 9 - Hasna Ali Yehye Hussein, whose husband Abu Ayyub al-Masri led al-Qaeda in Iraq, claims she did not know about his actions. The widow of the former leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq is to be hanged on Wednesday after a court found her guilty of links to the terrorist mastermind. Hasna Ali Yehye Hussein was condemned to death despite not being found to have any operational role in a four-year terror campaign directed by her husband, Abu Ayyub al-Masri, who was killed during a joint raid by US and Iraqi forces in April 2010. Her fate appears in contrast to the treatment of the wives of Osama bin Laden. Pakistani authorities say they are likely to be sent back to their respective countries after the death of the al-Qaeda leader, who was killed just over a week ago in northern Pakistan. [More>>guardian.co.uk]

5.09.11 Cairo tense after religious clashes

May 9 - Troops patrol streets as Copts camp out in Egypt's capital, calling for justice after 12 killed in weekend clashes. Egyptian troops are out in force in central Cairo after weekend riots left 12 people dead and more than 200 injured. Clashes between Muslims and Copts have raised fears that more sectarian strife could erupt in the country which remains under military rule three months after former president Hosni Mubarak was ousted from power. Al Jazeera's Jamal El-Shayyal, reporting from the Egyptian capital, said the situation on the ground remained calm but very tense on Monday. "About 200 Egyptian Christians remain camped outside the state-owned television in what they say is an open-ended sit-in," he said. "Some are demanding the resignation of chief military ruler Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, others are just calling for justice to be handed to those who were behind the attacks on the churches in Imbaba."

Egypt's government has announced a series of security measures to curb religious violence, while the army pledged on Sunday that 190 people would be tried in military courts over Saturday's violence. The bloodshed began on Saturday evening when word spread around the Imbaba neighborhood that a Christian woman who had converted to Islam had been abducted and was being kept in the Virgin Mary Church against her will. About 500 ultraconservative Salafi Muslims gathered at the church, calling on Christians to hand over the woman. Both sides traded gunfire, firebombs and stones, witnesses said.

5.09.11 Report: Christians plan to introduce another official religion in Malaysia angers Muslims

May 9 - Malaysia's government was seeking ways on Monday to defuse religious tensions following reports that church leaders were working toward making Christianity an official religion, reports The Associated Press. Muslim activists have filed police complaints demanding an investigation into what they believe is a threat to Islam in this Muslim-majority country. Christian leaders deny the allegations saying these accusations are intended to create suspicions and divisions between Malay Muslims and religious monitories. The allegation surfaced on the Internet in a post by two anonymous political bloggers and went largely unnoticed until on Saturday, when the Utusan Malaysia newspaper reported it on its front page under the headline "Malaysia a Christian nation?" The story said that at a recent meeting dozens of pastors reportedly pledged to make Christianity an official religion and ensure that the prime minister is Christian. Christians comprise 10 percent of Malaysia’s 28 million population. [More>>alarabiya.net]

5.09.11 Yemeni security forces fire on protsters; 3 dead

SANAA, Yemen (AP) May 9 - Yemeni security forces opened fire on demonstrators and launched rocket-propelled grenades at an office building Monday as they cracked down on a protest in the flashpoint city of Taiz in the country's south. Three people were killed, witnesses and medics said. The attacks came a day after protesters began a new sit-in on one of the city's main streets, and as tensions escalate across the country between embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh and protesters seeking his ouster. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]

5.09.11 Five civilians killed in Afghan bombing

May 9 - Five civilians including two children have died in a suicide bombing near a government office in Afghanistan as security forces elsewhere finally ended a 36-hour Taliban stand-off in a major city. The deaths came in Laghman province, east of the capital Kabul, when a suicide bomber targeted NATO and Afghan troops as they returned from meeting local leaders. The Taliban claimed responsibility for today's attack which did not kill any soldiers. In the city of Kandahar, life was returning to normal after troops late yesterday killed the final member of a heavily-armed 28-man Taliban cell which launched a wave of attacks on government targets over the weekend. President Hamid Karzai issued a condemnation of all recent attacks, saying they showed the "desperation" of the Taliban, who he accused of "trying to hide their defeats by killing innocent people." [More>>news.com.au; See related stories,

france24.com (AFP) May 9, "Afghan forces crush Taliban raid in Kandahar"
: Afghan security forces have ended a nearly 36-hour-long siege on the city of Kandahar, after eliminating a Taliban squad that had carried out a string of attacks in the southern city. Afghan security forces overnight killed the final fighter of a Taliban squad that launched a string of attacks in the city of Kandahar, ending a near 36-hour siege, officials said Monday. Life in Kandahar, the biggest city in the south and the Taliban's birthplace, was normal on Monday with people and traffic back on the streets after a major lockdown following the attacks, an AFP reporter said. The standoff began at around 1:00pm (0830 GMT) Saturday when a squad of Taliban armed with suicide vests, guns and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) attacked the governor's office from nearby building. Officials said at least 10 blasts, including seven suicide attacks, rocked the city as assaults spread to other sites including police stations and the office of the National Directorate of Security (NDS). Although the violence subsequently died down, several Taliban remained holed up in a traffic police building near the NDS on Sunday...

xinhuanet.com, May 9, "Taliban assassinate ex-commander in N. Afghanistan" : KUNDUZ, Afghanistan -
Taliban militants have targeted and killed a former commander along with four others in Kunduz province, 250 km north of capital city Kabul, a local official said Monday. "Taliban rebels raided the house of Mullah Mohammad Nabi a former Taliban commander in Imam Sahib district and killed him along with four others Sunday night," Governor of Imam Sahib district Mohammad Ayub Hakmal told Xinhua. Mullah Nabi had switched side and joined government couple of months ago, the official further said. Meantime, Zabihullah Mujahid who claims to speak for the Taliban outfit in talks with media via telephone from unknown location claimed of responsibility, saying the Taliban fighters have punished Mullah Nabi for quitting Taliban rank. [end]

5.06.11 Ahmadinejad row with Khamenei intensifies

May 6 - Iranian president said to be considering resignation after intelligence chief he fired was reinstated by supreme leader. A political dispute between Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country's supreme leader is reported to have intensified. Ahmadinejad is said to be contemplating resigning after Heidar Moslehi, the intelligence minister he had sacked, was reinstated by Khamenei. The president is understood to have shirked some of his duties and skipped cabinet meetings for the past ten days in anger over the decision. Mehrdad Khonsari, an analyst with the Centre for Arab and Iranian Studies in London, told Al Jazeera on Friday that the dispute, which began last month, had become "serious."

"It shows the level of disunity at the very top of the Iranian [political] hierachy [with] Ahmadinejad having already polarized the internal political scene as a result of fraudulent election results that were announced more than 20 months ago," Khonsari said. "He is now beginning to encroach on the powers and privileges vested in the supreme leader, and he and his constituency
mainly among the Revolutionary Guards have tried to do this. And, of course, the supreme leader has tried to make a stand and in this stand he has been joined by many people from the ruling establishment who have been cast aside by Ahmadinejad." Khonsari said that since the president came to power "powerful people like [Akbar Hashemi] Rasfanjani and ... [Mohammed] Khatami and many of the key reformers as well as the president of the current Council of Experts" have been sidelined.

"This is quite a standoff," he said. "Ahmadinejad, I think, at this particular time, has bitten more than he can chew and has been forced to essentially step back, but the fact [remains] that both he and the supreme leader are damaged as a result of this conflict." Although speculation continues that Ahmadinejad may resign, Khonsari stopped short of hinting at the possibility of him quitting and instead said the dispute would lead to "further polarization; further disunity [and] rivalry ... within a state structure that's already fractured."
[More>>aljazeera.net; See related story,

jpost.com, May 6, "Ahmadinejead allies arrested on suspicion of sorcery"
: Arrests come after Iranian president's strained relationship with Ayatollah leads him to boycott cabinet meeting. Allies of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad were arrested this week for being "magicians" and invoking spirits, Iranian website reported on Wednesday. Ahmadinejad's chief of staff Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei as well as other people close to the Iranian president were accused of invoking djinns. One of the arrested men, Abbas Ghaffari, was called "a man with special skills in metaphysics and connections with the unknown worlds," Iranian news site Ayandeh reported. Ahmadinejad has many critics on the right who accuse him of seeking more power for himself at the expense of other state bodies such as parliament.

Many conservative clerics have also criticized Rahim-Mashaie, his closest aide, for promoting an "Iranian school" of Islam, which they consider a dangerous nationalistic stance. Ahmadinejad's close relationship with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
the senior cleric who has the last word in the Islamic Republic's affairs was strained two weeks ago, according to some analysts, over the president's attempt to sack his intelligence minister, a move vetoed by the supreme leader. Since then Ahmadinejad has missed two cabinet meetings something some foreign analysts said was akin to a boycott...

5.06.11 France expels Libyan diplomats loyal to Gaddafi

(AP) May 6 - France has expelled 14 "former diplomats" who served under Colonel Muammar Gaddafi at the Libyan embassy in Paris, giving them up to 48 hours to leave the country. France's foreign ministry says the government has ordered 14 diplomats loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to leave the country within 48 hours. A foreign ministry spokesman says the fourteen "ex-diplomats" worked for Libya's embassy before it was shut about a month ago. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with the official protocol. The foreign ministry said in a statement Friday that the 14 have been deemed "persona non grata," and that they have between 24 to 48 hours to leave France. France has recognized Libya's opposition movement and has been a major backer of a NATO-led military mission aimed to protect civilians from an onslaught by Gadhafi's forces. [>france24.com]

5.06.11 At least 21 Syrian protesters killed, as West urges Assad to end crackdown

May 6 - At least 21 Syrian protesters were killed on Friday, most of them in the central city of Homs, rights activist Ammar Qurabi said, while Security forces of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria fired live ammunition at pro-democracy protesters in Tel, a community just north of the capital city of Damascus. "Six confirmed dead in Hama and 15 in Homs so far," Mr. Qurabi, head of the National Organization for Human Rights in Syria, told Reuters by telephone from Egypt. He also said residents in the coastal city of Banias feared the army, which they said was posted 4 kilometers (2 miles) away, might storm the city. Mr. Assad's troops moved into central Syria and coastal areas in a test of will for demonstrators determined to maintain protests against the autocratic rule of President Assad. Thousands of people joined protests on Friday after prayers in cities all across Syria. [More>>alarabiya.net]

5.06.11 Iraq suicide car bomb killed 24 police

Hilla, Iraq (AFP) May 6 - A suicide bomber who drove his bomb-filled car into a police station south of Baghdad killed 24 policemen and wounded 72 others, according to an updated toll from a medical official on Friday. Thursday morninq's attack in Hilla, 95 kilometers (60 miles) south of the capital, was the deadliest to hit Iraq in more than a month as security chiefs braced for revenge attacks by al-Qaeda following the death of Osama bin Laden in a US special forces raid in Pakistan on Sunday...Violence is down dramatically in Iraq from its peak, but attacks remain common. A total of 211 Iraqis were killed in violence in April, according to official figures. [Full story>>khaleejtimes.com]

5.06.11 Al-Qaeda data yields details of planned plots

May 6 - Documents seized in the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound have yielded a bonanza of new intelligence, from names and locations of terrorist suspects to chilling details of al-Qaeda plots to attack targets in the United States and beyond, US officials said Thursday. Among the files recovered from captured computers and flash drives were documents detailing a previously unknown plan to attack the US commuter rail network, intelligence officials confirmed. The plan, which described a sabotage attack to occur on this year's 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, was being actively considered as recently as February 2010, Obama administration officials said. There was no evidence that the plot ever advanced beyond the conceptual stage, the officials stressed. Other gleanings from the roughly 100 pieces of computer gear seized Sunday included possible leads on the whereabouts of other senior al-Qaeda leaders.

While intelligence officials declined to comment on specific tips, a key congressional leader briefed on the findings suggested that the search for al-Qaeda's No. 2 leader was in a newly active phase. "We have lots of information on him," said Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), chairman of the House intelligence committee. "I can't say it's imminent, but I do believe we’re hot on the trail." Rogers predicted that the intelligence leads from the bin Laden raid are "going to be a good for the global war on terrorism in the months ahead."...The task of identifying and exploiting intelligence tips has been assigned extraordinary urgency, since the raid likely alerted top al-Qaeda figures that their safe houses and plans may have been compromised, said a US official familiar with the CIA's scouring of the bin Laden trove. "Other leaders of al-Qaeda should be concerned," said the official, who agreed to discuss the ongoing operation on the condition of anonymity. "The US government is on to many of them."
[Full story>>washingtonpost.com]

5.06.11 Pakistan arrests dozens in Abbottabad

May 6 - Pakistani security forces arrested dozens of people yesterday, following Sunday's US raid on Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbtotabad. According to a report from the Open Source Center, several Pakistani agencies conducted a joint operation in Abbottabad, arresting 40 people on suspicion of links to bin Laden. Participating were the Inter-Services Intelligence Agency, Military Intelligence, the Intelligence Bureau, and the Abbottabad Police. Official Pakistani sources were quoted as having referred to the arrests as the "second phase" of the operation that killed the al-Qaeda leader. [>cbsnews.com]

5.06.11 US hits Pakistan with another drone strike as sights shift to Mullah Omar

WASHINGTON, May 6 - The United States answered Pakistan's belligerent threat of ''dire consequence'' for America in the event of another violation of its sovereignty with another punitive Drone strike on Friday, as Washington's focus shifted to Mullah Omar, Al Zawahiri and other terrorists it believes are hiding in that country. In a severe response to the Pakistani military's effort to draw a line in the sand, including warning that it would stop cooperating with US, Washington continued its pattern of bombing terrorist targets each time Islamabad voiced such defiance. Friday's strike in the Datta Khel region, which reportedly killed 12 militants, came as US lawmakers and the administration grappled with how to bring its dodgy and confrontational ally to heel. The big development over the past few weeks is that the American military-intelligence establishment, for long a patron of Pakistan, has turned against its charge, while it is the civilian side that is trying to save Islamabad's hide.

The Pentagon and CIA seem convinced of Pakistan's double game and hell-bent on exposing it and punishing it despite tactical dependence on its "ally" for the war effort in Afghanistan. Sections of the State Department and the Hill are inclined to give it the benefit of doubt because of what some believe is the country's strategic importance. The Raymond Davis saga was being invoked again on Friday when it emerged that the CIA, with human assets on the ground, monitored for several weeks the Abbottabad compound where bin Laden was staying without informing the Pakistanis — because they did not trust them. The surveillance, from a rented house nearby, involved evading Pakistani intelligence which has been trying to disrupt CIA efforts to nail terrorists — a spy vs spy drama that led to the Raymond Davis episode.

While Pakistan's military-intelligence establishment is demanding the US cut down its footprint and personnel inside Pakistan (fearing its ties to terrorists would be exposed, according to some analysts), it transpires that the intelligence assets CIA created on the ground — since withdrawn after the job was done — is what helped zero in on bin Laden. Operating from of a safehouse, the surveillance team assembled a ''pattern of life'' portrait of the compound using a variety of techniques and technologies to zero in on a tall man they ended up calling the "pacer" because of the hour long walks he took in the compound. They could never determine with 100 per cent certainty if it was bin Laden, but gathered enough for US President Obama to order a commando operation to identify him with certainty and eliminate him. There is now pressure on the administration to go after other key terror operators sheltered by Pakistan.

"That Bin Laden was hiding in plain sight demonstrates the complicity of the Pakistan government. Now that he has been eliminated, the question should be: Who is next?" posed Bing West, a former assistant secretary of defence, answering, "This is not the time for the White House to take a bow and lower the curtain on the stage. Instead, Omar should be the next to be struck down." Others are demanding US intensify the hunt for Ayman al Zawahiri and other terrorists. Washington is convinced that Pakistan is sheltering Mullah Omar and his so-called Quetta Shura, not to speak of the Haqqani group, which Pakistan's army chief Ashfaq Kayani has been heard describing as a "strategic asset." The big question is how much time the Americans have to zero in on them in the face of Pakistani demands that they withdraw their assets asap.
[>timesofindia.indiatimes.com; See related stories,

Maravot News 5.06.11 :
5.03.11 Pakistan proved hunting point for top 8 al-Qaeda leaders since 9/11
5.03.11 Al-Qaeda's 12 most-wanted men on the run in Pakistan

khaleejtimes.com (Reuters) May 6, "US drones kill 17 bin Laden protesters in NW Pakistan" : ISLAMABAD - US drone aircraft fired missiles into a house in Pakistan's North Waziristan region on Friday, killing at least 17 suspected militants as they protested against the killing of Osama bin Laden. Four drones took part in the first such attack since US special forces killed the al-Qaeda leader on Monday not far from Islamabad, further straining ties between the strategic allies whose cooperation is needed to stabilise neighboring Afghanistan. Facing relentless suicide bombings by Islamic militants and struggling with a stagnant economy, Pakistan's leaders now face criticism from all sides on bin Laden...

5.06.11 Pakistan government 'high levels' knew whereabouts of bin Laden: Carl Levin

WASHINGTON, May 6 - Sen. Carl Levin said "high levels" of the Pakistani government knew where Osama bin Laden was hiding, must know where Mullah Omar is too. The Senate Armed Services Committee, Levin said, has already started a preliminary investigation into Pakistan's involvement and, depending on the results of that investigation, will decide whether to hold public hearings to investigate further. "We need these questions answered about whether or not the top level of the Pakistan government knew or was told by the ISI, their intelligence service, about anything, about this suspicious activity for five years in a very, very centralized place," Levin said.

Beyond his suspicions about Pakistan's role in harboring bin Laden, Levin said he has "no doubt" that the highest levels of the Pakistani government are protecting other terrorist targets
such as Taliban leader Mullah Omar and the leaders of the Haqqani terror network who have been responsible for the deaths of American troops in Afghanistan. "These people are killing us. Killing our Afghan allies. Killing our coalition partners by crossing the border," Levin said. "They're being given a safe haven in Pakistan. So the government of Pakistan is going to continue to say they didn't know bin Laden was there. It's kind of hard to believe that higher-level people didn't know, but they'll continue to say that. But what they won't say is that they don't know where the Haqqani terrorists are because they do know, and they've told us they know." [>thenews.com.pk]

5.06.11 Hindus, Sikhs living in 'insecurity' in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, May 6 - Hindus and Sikhs in Pakistan have demanded protection for the minorities, which was living in "insecurity" across the country, as they took to the streets over the killing of a shopkeeper from the community in Punjab province's Hassanabdal town. Hindus and Sikhs of Hassanabdal town blocked the G T Road with the body of Kanhaiya Lal, a 70-year-old shopkeeper who was shot dead on Wednesday evening while he was returning home from his shop. Hindus and Sikhs had protested outside the hospital where his body was taken for autopsy. The members of the two communities expressed resentment at the insecurity of minorities across Pakistan during the protest. On Thursday morning, the body was handed over to the shopkeeper's relatives for cremation. As a large number of Hindus and the Sikhs led by PML-N parliamentarian Araish Kumar were taking the body to the Indus river for cremation, some people placed the body in the middle of the G T Road and blocked the traffic. [More>>indianexpress.com]

5.06.11 Al-Qaeda confirms bin Laden death, vows revenge

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) May 6 - Al-Qaeda confirmed Osama bin Laden was dead on Friday, dispelling some of the fog around the killing of the "holy warrior," and vowed to mount more attacks on the West. The announcement by the Islamist network, which promised to publish a taped message from bin Laden soon, appeared likely to silence doubts expressed by some that he had died at all. In a statement online, it said bin Laden's blood "is more precious to us and to every Muslim than to be wasted in vain." "It will remain, with permission from Allah the Almighty, a curse that hunts the Americans and their collaborators and chases them inside and outside their country." Al-Qaeda urged Pakistanis to rise up against their government to "cleanse" the country of what it called the shame brought on it by bin Laden's shooting and of the "filth of the Americans who spread corruption in it." "Before the sheikh passed from this world and before he could share with the Islamic nation in its joys over its revolutions in the face of the oppressors, he recorded a voice recording of congratulations and advice which we will publish soon, God willing," the militant group said. [More>>thestar.com.my]


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