Archive for ‘Middle East’

May 2, 2011

Bin Laden killed in shootout with U.S. forces in Pakistan [News Report]

by Avinash Saxena

WORLD  U.S. officials  said bin Laden was found in a million-dollar compound in the upscale town of Abbottabad, 60 km (35 miles) north of the Pakistani capital Islamabad. A source familiar with the operation said bin Laden was shot in the head.

“Justice has been done,” President Barack Obama declared in a hastily called, late-night White House speech announcing the death of the elusive head of the militant Islamic group behind a series of deadly bombings across the world.

Leaders worldwide praised the killing as a dramatic success in the war against al Qaeda, although many analysts cautioned it was too soon to say bin Laden’s death would mark a turning point in the battle against a highly fractured network of militants.

Jubilant, flag-waving celebrations erupted in Washington and New York after Obama’s announcement. It was the biggest national security victory for the president since he took office in early 2009 and could give him a political boost as he seeks re-election in 2012.

Obama may now also find it easier to wind down the nearly decade-old war in Afghanistan, begun after the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington that killed nearly 3,000.

But the operation could complicate relations with Pakistan, already frayed over U.S. drone strikes in the west of the country and the jailing of a CIA contractor accused of killing two Pakistani men.

A U.S. official said Pakistani authorities were told the details of the raid after it had taken place.

The revelation bin Laden was living in style in a mansion will also put Pakistani officials under pressure to explain how he could have been right under their noses. Residents in Abbottabad said a Pakistani military training academy is near the compound.

“For some time there will be a lot of tension between Washington and Islamabad because bin Laden seems to have been living here close to Islamabad,” said Imtiaz Gul, a Pakistani security analyst.

U.S. officials said American forces were led to the fortress-like three-story building in Abbottabad after more than four years tracking one of bin Laden’s most trusted couriers, whom U.S. officials said was identified by men captured after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

“Detainees also identified this man as one of the few al Qaeda couriers trusted by bin Laden. They indicated he might be living with or protected by bin Laden,” a senior administration official said in a briefing for reporters in Washington.

Bin Laden was finally found after authorities discovered in August 2010 that the courier lived with his brother and their families in an unusual and extremely high-security building in Pakistan, officials said.

“When we saw the compound where the brothers lived, we were shocked by what we saw: an extraordinarily unique compound,” a senior administration official said.

“The bottom line of our collection and our analysis was that we had high confidence that the compound harbored a high-value terrorist target. The experts who worked this issue for years assessed that there was a strong probability that the terrorist who was hiding there was Osama bin Laden,” another administration official said.

Bin Laden and three adult men, including a son of bin Laden, were killed along with a woman who was used as a shield by a male combatant, officials said.

The New York Times said bin Laden’s body was taken to Afghanistan and then buried at sea.


The operation took under 40 minutes. A U.S. helicopter was lost due to a mechanical problem and its crew and assault force safely evacuated, officials said. No Americans were harmed in the operation, Obama said.

“After midnight, a large number of commandos encircled the compound. Three helicopters were hovering overhead,” said Nasir Khan, a resident of the town.

“All of a sudden there was firing toward the helicopters from the ground. There was intense firing and then I saw one of the helicopters crash,” said Khan, who had watched the dramatic scene unfold from his rooftop.

Authorities said bin Laden’s hideaway, built in 2005, was about eight times larger than other homes in the area. It had security features including 12- to 18-foot walls topped with barbed wire, internal walls for extra privacy, and access controlled through two security gates.

It had no telephone or Internet connection.

“It is not a surprise that bin Laden was captured in an urban heartland,” said Sajjan Gohel of the Asia Pacific Foundation.

“Many of al-Qaeda’s senior leaders have been captured in Pakistani cities. It had become a myth that the al Qaeda leadership were hiding in caves in the tribal areas.”


Bin Laden’s death triggered a travel alert for Americans worldwide, the U.S. State Department said, warning of the potential for anti-American violence.

Thousands of people gathered outside the White House, waving American flags, cheering and chanting “USA, USA, USA.” Car drivers blew their horns in celebration and people streamed to Lafayette Park across from the street, as police vehicles with their lights flashing stood vigil.

“I’m down here to witness the history. My boyfriend is commissioning as a Marine next week. So I’m really proud of the troops,” Laura Vogler, a junior at American University in Washington, said outside the White House.

Similar celebrations erupted at New York’s Ground Zero, site of the World Trade Center twin towers felled by hijacked airplanes on September 11.

A market perception that the death of bin Laden reduced the security risks facing the United States lifted the dollar from a three-year low and raised stock index futures.

U.S. crude oil prices also fell. “Current oil prices are regarded by most analysts as carrying significant risk premium at current levels and good news on the geopolitical front has the potential to move prices back below $100,” said Ric Spooner, chief analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney.

However, some analysts said the market impact would be short lived.

Many Americans had given up hope of finding bin Laden after he vanished in the mountains of Afghanistan in late 2001.

Intelligence that originated last August provided the clues that eventually led to bin Laden’s trail, the president said. A U.S. official said Obama gave the final order to pursue the operation last Friday morning.

“The United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda and a terrorist who is responsible for the murder of thousands of men, women and children,” Obama said.


Former President George W. Bush, who vowed to bring bin Laden to justice “dead or alive” but never did, called the operation a “momentous achievement” after Obama called him with the news.

Martin Indyk, a former U.S. assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs, described bin Laden’s death as “a body blow” to al Qaeda at a time when its ideology was already being undercut by the popular revolutions in the Arab world.

Other experts were more cautious. “It changes little in terms of on-the-ground realities — by the time of his death bin Laden was not delivering operational or tactical orders to the numerous al Qaeda affiliates across the world,” said Rick Nelson of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

Statements of appreciation poured in from both sides of Washington’s political divide. Republican Senator John McCain declared, “I am overjoyed that we finally got the world’s top terrorist.”

India said the killing underlined its concern that “terrorists belonging to different organisations find sanctuary in Pakistan,” India’s home ministry said in New Delhi.

A U.S. official said that the retrieval of the body may help convince any doubters that bin Laden is really dead.

The United States is conducting DNA testing on bin Laden and used facial recognition techniques to help identify him, the official said.

The United States is ensuring that bin Laden’s body is being handled in accordance with Islamic practice and tradition, a U.S. official said.

Bin Laden had been the subject of a search since he eluded U.S. soldiers and Afghan militia forces in a large-scale assault on the Tora Bora mountains of Afghanistan in 2001.

The trail quickly went cold after he disappeared and many intelligence officials believed he had been hiding in Pakistan.

While in hiding, bin Laden had taunted the West and advocated his militant Islamist views in videotapes spirited from his hideaway.

Besides September 11, Washington has also linked bin Laden to a string of attacks — including the 1998 bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the 2000 bombing of the warship USS Cole in Yemen. (Additional reporting by Jeff MasonPatricia ZengerleArshad MohammedAlister BullMissy RyanMark HosenballRichard CowanKristin RobertsAndrew Quinn and Tabassum Zakaria, Joanne Allen in Washington and Chris Allbritton in Islamabad; Writing by Steve Holland; editing by David Storey and Dean Yates)

March 28, 2011

Buffett cautions social-networking investors

by Avinash Saxena
Warren Buffett is warning investors to be careful about which social networks they friend with their investment dollars.

Buffett, the chief executive of the Berkshire Hathaway investment empire, warned investors Friday at a conference in New Delhi to be wary of social networks such as Facebook and Twitter–a sector that has recently generated great interest and anticipation on Wall Street.

“Most of them will be overpriced,” Buffett said, according to a Bloomberg report. “It’s extremely difficult to value social-networking-site companies.”

“Some will be huge winners, which will make up for the rest,” he said, without specifying which companies he expects to be winners and which will be losers.

Buffett isn’t alone in his dire warnings of another bubble in the offing. IAC founder and former entertainment mogul Barry Diller recently called the multibillion-dollar valuations of social-networking companies with high user engagement but unproven long-term revenue “mathematically insane.”

Investor buzz for hot Silicon Valley companies that aren’t yet publicly traded–like Facebook, Twitter, and Zynga–has hit a fever pitch and reportedly captured the attention of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The commission is reportedly interested in companies that offer exchanges for privately traded stock and along the way offer a peek at the hypothetical valuations of these otherwise tight-lipped companies.

Facebook, with an estimated value of $50 billion, is expected to be one of those players testing the IPO waters this year. With a user base of 500 million, the social-networking giant is estimated to be recording revenue in excess of $1 billion on the back of its Social Ads program.

Of course, Facebook is still a private company and is under no obligation to reveal its financial details. However, should Facebook hit the threshold of 500 individual shareholders, it will be required to either start trading publicly or at least begin disclosing its financial information, according to rules set by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Twitter, another social-networking company rumored to be looking at a public offering later this year, will generate about $150 million in advertising revenue this year, up from the $45 million it made last year, according to market research firm eMarketer predictions. The microblogging site recently completed a $200 million funding round that gave the company a $3.7 billion valuation.

Two-year-old daily deals site Groupon, which reportedly turned down a $6 billion buyout offer from Google late last year in favor of a hoped-for $25 billion IPO, is estimated to be bringing in $103 million in revenue. LivingSocial, which thinks it could overtake Groupon this year, recently sealed a $175 million investment from Amazon that gave it a $1 billion valuation.

March 26, 2011

Amazon Planning to Launch Music,Videos Type services

by Avinash Saxena

Amazon has spoken with some of the major record companies and Hollywood film studios about creating a digital locker service for their film and music libraries and could announce the plans as early as next week, sources told in News.

Sources from both the film and music industries said Amazon is working on creating a cloud locker service that would enable users to store their existing music, film, and book collections, even content not purchased at Amazon, on the company’s servers.

The online merchant has yet to obtain all the necessary licenses, but Amazon managers told counterparts at the studios and labels that it could announce the service before all the negotiations are complete, the sources said.

An Amazon spokesperson wasn’t immediately available for comment.

Amazon is in a hurry to win the race to the cloud, according to the sources. It has been widely reported that both Apple and Google are busy preparing their own media locker services.


March 24, 2011

Could Obama be Impeached over Libya? Let’s ask Biden

by Avinash Saxena
March 24, 2011

Could Obama be Impeached over Libya? Let's ask Biden

by Avinash Saxena
March 23, 2011

Linked In Reached over 100 Million Users

by Avinash Saxena

According to the news of official linkedin blog.It is founded that linked in reaches over 100 million unique users.The following things written in linked blog by Jeff Weiner about there success of 100 million users .

Today, LinkedIn reached a major milestone: 100 million professionals worldwide.

We’re now growing at roughly one million new LinkedIn members every week, the equivalent of a professional joining the site at faster than one member per second.

So, what does all this growth really mean? We’re making great progress toward our ultimate goal: to connect all of the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.

To visualize how far we’ve come, both in user growth and user engagement, Scott Nicholson and Anita Lillie, two of the very talented members of our data sciences team, put together some key statistics in an infographic that captures how we got here. (Scroll down for infographic below – Ed.)

This isn’t just a big milestone for us — it’s also an important one for all of you, our members, who’ve helped build the LinkedIn network.  We’re most inspired that by connecting talent with opportunity at massive scale, we’re changing people’s lives in meaningful and sustainable ways.  Each of our 100 million members has a unique story — from finding a job, to recruiting talent, to sourcing new deals, and even starting a business.

For example, take Dutch tech consultant Henk Van Ess, who, after frustration with his 3G iPhone’s battery life, used LinkedIn Groups to find partners and start a global business selling iPhone batteries. There’s also, Barbara Lemaire who found key benefactors for her non-profit organization on LinkedIn, helping homeless women and children rebuild their lives. Then, there are the personal stories, like Alice Shapiro, who after losing her job and home, used a LinkedIn connection to help her become a published author.

We’re also rapidly growing our network globally — our site is currently used in over 200 countries and territories around the world, with more than half of our users coming from outside of the U.S. You can now connect just as readily with someone in Sao Paulo or Singapore as you can with your colleagues in San Francisco, London or New York.  You no longer have to live in the same city — or even the same country — to build and strengthen relationships that can help you succeed and grow professionally and fundamentally transform the trajectory of your career path.

We want to thank all of you, our 100 million members, for making this happen. Your experiences, connections, and shared knowledge are what make LinkedIn so powerful to each and every one of us.

Best of all, we’re just getting started.  Here’s to the next 100 million members.

January 29, 2011

Visualizing Egypt’s Internet Blackout

by Avinash Saxena

A scientist at the network security company Arbor Networks has used data from 80 Internet service providers around the world to create an image of the Internet block in Egypt.

The graphic, which was compiled using anonymous traffic engineeringstatistics, shows traffic to and from Egypt dropping sharply around 5:20 p.m. ET. As of about three hours ago, traffic has not picked back up.

Craig Labovitz, the creator of the graphic and chief scientist at Arbor Networks, says that he found no evidence of Internet disruption in Syria, debunking a report from Al Arabiya earlier Friday that suggested all service in Syria had been cut off.


January 28, 2011

Internet Access & SMS Blocked in Egypt as Protests Escalate

by Avinash Saxena
Reports are coming in that Egypt is now under an Internet and SMS blackout, just hours before a new series of major protests are planned against the regime of President Hosni Mubarak.
Sebone, a major Egyptian service provider based in Italy, is reporting that no Internet traffic is entering or exiting the country as of 12:30 AM Egyptian time. Reporters and citizens on-the-ground are also reporting that they are experiencing Internet and SMS outages.
Egypt has been enveloped in unrest over the presidency of Hosni Mubarak, who has been in power since 1981. The protests have been partly inspired by the successful revolution in Tunisia that forced President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali out of power after 23 years. Facebook, Twitter and social media were key communication tools used by protesters to organize rallies.
Just like Tunisia, Egyptian protesters have been utilizing social media to organize their own protests, using hashtags such as #Jan25 to communicate. In response to the protests, Egyptian authorities blocked Twitter and Facebook. Egyptian police have been cracking down on protesters using water cannons and tear gas.
“I suspect the internet cutoff is just a fraction of what the government has in store for Friday,” CNN’s Ben Wederman, who is on the ground in Egypt, said on Twitter earlier today.
January 27, 2011

First witness video moments after Moscow Domodedovo airport bombing

by Avinash Saxena
January 26, 2011

3 dead after thousands protest in rare Egypt outpouring

by Avinash Saxena

Click to play
ElBaradei: Egypt is not stable
  • NEW: Egypt’s official news agency reports 49 people were injured
  • Protest organizers say they hope to capture Tunisia’s regional momentum for change
  • Organizers chose January 25 — Police Day and a national holiday — to hold protests
  • International human rights groups ask security forces not to crack down on protesters

If you’re in Egypt, we want to hear your story. Share your iReport photos and video with CNN. Please don’t do anything that could put you at risk.

For the latest on this story in Arabic, see CNN Arabic.

Cairo, Egypt (CNN) — Thousands of protesters spilled into the streets of Egypt on Tuesday, an unprecedented display of anti-government rage inspired in part by the tumult in the nearby North African nation of Tunisia.

Three people died in the clashes between protesters and police, according to Egypt’s official MENA news agency. Two demonstrators died in the eastern city of Suez, and one policeman was killed in Cairo, it said. MENA reported that at least 49 people have been injured.

Earlier, Egypt’s Interior Ministry said that 36 police officers had been hurt during the protests.

Throngs in the sprawling capital city marched from the huge Tahrir Square toward the parliament building, according to CNN reporters on the scene.

Demonstrators threw rocks at police, and police hurled rocks back. Tear-gas canisters were shot at demonstrators, and the protesters threw them back.

Protest organizers said they hope to capture the regional momentum for political change set by Tunisians, who 10 days ago forced the collapse of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s 23-year rule.

Government: Keep protests in perspective
Egyptian protesters run from smoke
Protesters fill Egypt’s streets
Gallery: Protesters on streets in Cairo

The grievances were foreshadowed by several Egyptians who set themselves or tried to set themselves on fire this month, mirroring the self-immolation of a Tunisian man whose action spurred the uprising there.

The Tunisian uprising was the most successful revolt in the region since 1979, but it is anybody’s guess whether uprisings will spread to other Arabic-speaking lands.

Juan Cole, a Middle East historian at the University of Michigan, says Tunisia is different from other Arab nations. Tunisia, he said, is the “most secular country in the Arab world.” Its traditions have favored women’s rights, and its Islamist influence is negligible.

The United States and other governments are monitoring the demonstrations in Cairo and elsewhere closely. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged all people to “exercise restraint” and supported “the fundamental right of expression and assembly for all people.”

“But our assessment is that the Egyptian government is stable and is looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people,” she said.

To highlight the role of police corruption, the protest organizers in Egypt picked January 25 — Police Day and a national holiday — to hold protests.

The protests started off small, but they grew as people came to the center of the city from bridges over the Nile River.

Thousands protest corruption in Egypt
Could Tunisia’s unrest spread to Egypt?
Tear gas fired at Cairo protesters

Police were restrained and at times were seemingly outnumbered by the protesters, who sang the national anthem and inched forward to express their ire toward the government.

Witnesses said large groups of plainclothes police were heading to Tahrir Square.

Protesters had been expressing their anger over the rising cost of living, failed economic policies and corruption, but all those concerns were distilled into one overriding demand: the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak, in power for three decades.

The outpouring included young and old, Christians and Muslims, students, workers and businesspeople.

“We breathe corruption in the air,” said one demonstrator, who along with others said their children have no future.

At its peak there were perhaps 15,000 to 20,000 people in Tahrir Square, but that crowd later dwindled to about 5,000 to 8,000. The main road in front of parliament, Qasr Al-Aini, was closed to traffic. The square is two blocks from parliament.

“Egyptians have the right to express themselves,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki said of the protests.

The Interior Ministry called on demonstrators to follow the law and avoid threatening the safety of bystanders, the public and private property.

Social media have been all-important in mobilizing and organizing protests. But bloggers and others in Egypt reported problems with electronic communication later in the day. Activists can’t access their cell phones or text messages, and opposition websites can’t be accessed. Twitter was blocked in Egypt about 11 a.m. ET, the company said.

There were other demonstrations in Cairo suburbs of Heliopolis, Shubra Al-Khaima, Muhandasin and Dar Al-Salam.

One man said Egypt is not Tunisia, it’s Romania under Nicolae Ceausescu, a reference to the late and much-reviled communist leader.

The Front to Defend Egypt Protesters, an alliance of lawyers who helped organize the events, said that about 200 demonstrators were in the southern city of Aswan, 2,000 in the eastern city of Ismailiya and about 3,000 in the northern city of Mahallah.

The Egyptian government did not issue permits for Tuesday’s planned protests.

In an interview released Tuesday with state-run al-Ahram newspaper, Interior Minister Habib Adly warned that “the security agencies are able to stop any attempt to attend” the demonstrations and called the efforts of the “youth staging street protests ineffective.”

By early Tuesday morning, more than 90,000 people throughout the country had pledged to participate in the Facebook event “We Are All Khaled Said,” named after an Alexandria activist who was allegedly beaten to death by police.

The Facebook group demands raising the minimum wage, firing the interior minister, creating two-term presidential term limits and scrapping existing emergency laws that the group says “resulted in police control” over the people and the nation.

Amnesty International released a statement Monday “urging the Egyptian authorities not to crack down” on the planned nationwide demonstration.

The banned Muslim Brotherhood, the biggest organized opposition to Mubarak’s regime, had stated it would not have an official presence at Tuesday’s protests, but some of its members “have reportedly been summoned and threatened with arrest and detention” if they attend and protest, Amnesty International said.

Opposition leader and Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei posted statements supporting the protests on his Twitter account.

He also created a video statement addressing policemen that was released Monday on YouTube.

“I sympathize with you because sometimes you are asked to do things that you do not want to do,” ElBaradei said.

“One day, I hope that you will regain your role as the protectors of the people; rather than protectors of … fraud elections. I am sure that every one of you deep inside is looking forward to the day that his role will again be with the people and a part of them, rather than against them,” he said.

Public sentiment against state security forces has grown recently with alleged videos of police brutality shown on the internet. A recent report from Human Rights Watch said the problem is “epidemic,” and “in most cases, officials torture detainees to obtain information and coerce confessions, occasionally leading to death in custody.”

Some other human rights groups, such as the Arabic Network for Human Rights, have drawn a comparison between Egypt and Tunisia under Ben Ali, in terms of the level of government corruption and police brutality.

Adly, the Egyptian interior minister, dismissed any such comparisons, calling it “propaganda” that had been rejected by politicians as “intellectual immaturity.”

But one woman, identified only as Nahla, who planned to attend the Tuesday protests, disagreed. She wrote in an online post, “I hope the (Tunisia-style) revolution will be taught in history. And that Egyptians will learn in school later about the January 25th revolution.”


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