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  • Switched On: Honeycomb or the highway

Gunners pound rebels, embassies sacked after Gadhafi’s son said killed

Posted: May 2nd, 2011 | Author: newsrazr_admin | Filed under: World News | Comments Off

Tripoli, Libya (CNN) — Government forces pounded rebel-held cities and crowds ransacked empty embassies in Tripoli on Sunday after Libyan authorities reported a NATO airstrike killed one of longtime strongman Moammar Gadhafi’s sons and three of his grandchildren.

The U.S. Embassy was attacked by what one U.S. official called an “organized mob,” along with the British, French, Italian and Qatari embassies, British and Italian officials told CNN. Meanwhile, pro-Gadhafi forces stepped up their shelling of rebel positions in Misrata after Libya’s government reported the deaths.

“It’s going to be like revenge,” one eyewitness in the embattled coastal city of Misrata said.

The eyewitness reported significant damage and some casualties in Misrata, the country’s third-largest city. The city remains in rebel hands, with no forces aligned with Gadhafi remaining in the city itself, he said.

Another witness, who agreed to be identified only as Mohammed, said “very heavy shelling” targeted the coastal city’s port.
Gadhafi’s son killed?
Celebrations in Benghazi
Gadhafi: ‘I’m not leaving’

* Libya
* Misrata
* Benghazi
* Moammar Gadhafi

“I have been here during all days of the conflict,” he told CNN. “Last night was the worst.”

And a third man, who wanted to be identified only as Abdsalam, said the port was heavily bombarded. Electricity is out in nearly the entire city, and food and fresh water are running scarce, he said.

“They are using every every possible type of weapon,” he said.

The Libyan government said Sunday that Gadhafi’s son, Saif al-Arab Gadhafi, and three grandchildren died in the strike that destroyed the son’s home in Tripoli. The Libyan government identified the children as Saif al-Arab’s sons Gartaj Hannibal Muammar al-Gadhafi, age 3, and 2-year-old Saif Mohammad al-Gadhafi, as well as Mastoura Hamid Abuzitaia, the daughter of the leader’s daughter Aysha.

State TV aired video of two bodies, wrapped in white shrouds and draped with flags, one of which was reported to be the body of Gadhafi’s son. A funeral procession and burial for the fallen “martyrs” will be held on Monday, state TV said.

The Libyan leader and his wife were in the house when it was targeted, but they are in good health, government spokesman Musa Ibrahim told journalists.

The building was in a residential area of Tripoli that houses several embassies. Ibrahim called the bombing a “war crime.” The strike destroyed the two-bedroom, single-story house, leaving a massive crater in its place.

CNN could not independently confirm the reports, and NATO said in a statement Sunday that the alliance was “aware of unconfirmed media reports that some of Gadhafi’s family members may have been killed.”

“We regret all loss of life, especially the innocent civilians being harmed as a result of this ongoing conflict,” said Lt. Gen. Charles Bouchard, commander of NATO’s military operations. However, Bouchard said, all targets “are military in nature and have been clearly linked to the Gadhafi regime’s systemic attacks on the Libyan population … We do not target individuals.”

But U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, a leading supporter of the Libya campaign, called the elder Gadhafi a “murderer” and “a legitimate military target.”

“He’s not the legitimate leader of Libya, and the way to get this to end is to go after the people around him and his support system,” Graham told “Fox News Sunday.” The South Carolina Republican is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

In Benghazi, a hub for rebel forces and their transitional government, the news triggered celebratory gunfire even as a rebel spokesman dismissed the reported death as “a desperate attempt to get sympathy.”

“In all honesty, we never heard of Saif al-Arab until the start of the uprising,” said Hafiz Ghoga, deputy chairman of the Transitional National Council in Benghazi, on Sunday.

“We don’t believe this is true … This regime constantly lies and keeps lying,” he added.

Opposition members, citing witness reports, also warned that pro-Gadhafi troops in the town of Zintan, 50 kilometers (31 miles) west of Misrata, and other nearby areas have been equipped with gas masks. The opposition figures say that suggests the government forces are preparing to use chemical weapons against rebel forces — but the accounts lacked detail, and CNN could not independently confirm the reports.

Ibrahim dismissed the allegations as “all lies.”

“Every time they come with a lie, they jump out to the next lie,” he said. “The media cannot report from one side of reports. It is the same lie when they said we are using cluster bombs.”

Human Rights Watch reported in mid-April that pro-Gadhafi troops were firing cluster munitions into Misrata and displayed a portion of a Spanish-made mortar shell that releases 21 smaller bombs across a wide area. The Libyan government denies the allegation.

Fighting also intensified Sunday near the rebel-held Djerba border crossing into Tunisia, witnesses and Tunisia’s state news agency reported. The TAP news agency said the flow of refugees out of Libya had slowed, possibly as a result.

NATO began bombarding Libya on March 19, after the U.N. Security Council approved a resolution authorizing any means necessary to protect civilians demanding the end of Gadhafi’s nearly 42-year rule. The alliance said it targeted a “command-and-control building” in Tripoli on Saturday, as well as hit seven ammunition depots around the capital.

According to a NATO military official, the airstrike that Libya says killed Gadhafi’s son involved four precision-targeted bombs, one of which failed to detonate. The official, who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter, said the alliance was certain the target was a command-and-control facility and said the building hit, although above ground, had reinforced portions.

The official said NATO had “no evidence” that Gadhafi’s relatives had been killed.

A photograph of the site showed the unexploded bomb, a 2,000-pound weapon designed to penetrate reinforced concrete, but NATO would not confirm what other types of ordnance may have been dropped. Nor would it disclose which nation’s aircraft carried out the strike, or what type of aircraft were used.

Libyan officials attacked the U.S. Embassy compound in Tripoli Sunday, as well as the British, French and Italian missions, according to a senior U.S. official in Washington. All four NATO nations are taking part in the airstrikes.

Mark Toner, a U.S. State Department spokesman, said he had seen reports of violence against the diplomatic facilities and that if true, “we condemn these attacks in the strongest possible terms.”

Italian officials told CNN that the embassy of Qatar, a Gulf Arab state that supports the campaign and is supplying arms to the rebels, was also targeted.

The senior U.S. official said Turkey, the protecting power for U.S. interests in Libya, is trying to keep an eye on the American compound — but “there isn’t much they can do when you have an organized mob, as this appeared to be.”

In London, British Foreign Secretary William Hague expelled Libya’s ambassador to the United Kingdom after the attacks. Hague said the Tripoli government is breaching its international obligation to protect diplomatic missions by allowing the vandalism.

“The attacks against diplomatic missions will not weaken our resolve to protect the civilian population in Libya,” Hague said.

Ibrahim told CNN the attacks happened because “the people were upset” and that Libyan security forces stopped the attacks and prevented the embassies from being destroyed.

“There are embassies that have not been touched,” he said.

Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim said later the government deeply regrets the looting and violence at the embassies. Angry crowds simply overwhelmed police, he said.

In addition, 12 U.N. international staffers left Tripoli because of the unrest and are in Tunisia, the world body said Sunday. Spokeswoman Eri Kaneko said the United Nations would not identify the staffers or their agencies for safety reasons. U.N. national staffers are still in the country and international staffers remain in Benghazi.

Confirm: Osama Bin Ladend Dead

Posted: May 2nd, 2011 | Author: Mark Shields | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off

(CNN) — Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the worst terrorist attacks on American soil, is dead, officials said — almost 10 years after the attacks that killed about 3,000 people.

The founder and leader of al Qaeda was killed by U.S. forces Sunday in a mansion in Abbottabad, north of the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, along with other family members, a senior U.S. official told CNN.

In an address to the nation Sunday night, U.S. President Barack Obama called bin Laden’s death “the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al Qaeda.”

Up-to-the-minute updates on bin Laden | President’s statement

“Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan,” Obama said. “A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.”

How U.S. forces conducted the mission | Video Video

A congressional source familiar with the operation confirmed that bin Laden was shot in the head.

A U.S. official told CNN that bin Laden was buried at sea. The official said his body was handled in the Islamic tradition, but did not elaborate.

Half a world away, the scene outside the White House was one of pure jubilation.
Where bin Laden was killed
Mansion where bin Laden died on fire
Obama: Osama bin Laden killed
New Yorkers celebrate bin Laden death

Hundreds reveled through the night, chanting “USA! USA!” Others chanted “Hey, hey, hey, goodbye!” in reference to the demise of bin Laden. Many also spontaneously sang the national anthem.

Americans hit streets to celebrate | Video Video

In New York, a cheering crowd gathered at ground zero — the site where the twin towers of the World Trade Center once stood. Strains of “God Bless America” could be heard intermittently trickling through the crowd.

One former New York firefighter — forced to retire due to lung ailments suffered as a result of the dust from ground zero — said he was there to let the 343 firefighters who died in the attacks know “they didn’t die in vain.”

“It’s a war that I feel we just won,” he said. “I’m down here to let them know that justice has been served.”

Bob Gibson, a retired New York police officer, said the news of bin Laden’s death gave him a sense of “closure.”

Osama bin Laden, the face of terror

“I never thought this night would come, that we would capture or kill bin Laden,” he said. “And thank the Lord he has been eliminated.”

The news also brought some relief to family members of those killed on 9/11.

“This is important news for us, and for the world,” Gordon Felt, president of Families of Flight 93, said in a statement. “It cannot ease our pain, or bring back our loved ones. It does bring a measure of comfort that the mastermind of the September 11th tragedy and the face of global terror can no longer spread his evil.”

Bin Laden had been “hiding in plain sight”

Bin Laden eluded capture for years, once reportedly slipping out of a training camp in Afghanistan just hours before a barrage of U.S. cruise missiles destroyed it.

He had been implicated in a series of deadly, high-profile attacks that had grown in their intensity and success during the 1990s. They included a deadly firefight with U.S. soldiers in Somalia in October 1993, the bombings of two U.S. embassies in East Africa that killed 224 in August 1998, and an attack on the USS Cole that killed 17 sailors in October 2000.

In his speech, Obama reiterated that the United States is not fighting Islam.

iReport: Send us your reactions

“I’ve made clear, just as President Bush did shortly after 9/11, that our war is not against Islam. Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader; he was a mass murderer of Muslims,” Obama said.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, released a statement Monday morning welcoming the death of bin Laden.
What was Pakistan’s part?
Bin Laden death ‘a victory for U.S.’
9/11 responder: Justice was served
Chants of ‘U.S.A’ at Mets-Phillies game

* Osama bin Laden
* Terrorism
* Al Qaeda

“As we have stated repeatedly since the 9/11 terror attacks, bin Laden never represented Muslims or Islam. In fact, in addition to the killing of thousands of Americans, he and al Qaeda caused the deaths of countless Muslims worldwide,” the statement said.

While the death of bin Laden “is a significant victory,” the war on terrorism is not over, said Frances Fragos Townsend, former Homeland Security advisor to President George W. Bush.

U.S. leaders react to the news

“We’ve been fighting these fractured cells. We’ve seen the U.S. government, military and intelligence officials deployed around the world,” Townsend said. “By no means are these other cells nearly as dangerous as he is, but we will continue to have to fight in chaotic places.”

U.S. diplomatic facilities around the world were placed on high alert following the announcement of bin Laden’s death, a senior U.S. official said, and the U.S. State Department issued a “worldwide caution” for Americans.

U.S. issues travel warnings

The travel alert warned of the “enhanced potential for anti-American violence given recent counter-terrorism activity in Pakistan.” Some fear al Qaeda supporters may try to retaliate against U.S. citizens or U.S. institutions.

But for now, many Americans were soaking up the historic moment.

“It’s what the world needed,” said Dustin Swensson, who recently served in Iraq and joined the revelers outside the White House. “(I’ll) always remember where I was when the towers went down, and I’m always going to remember where I am now.”

Switched On: Honeycomb or the highway

Posted: May 2nd, 2011 | Author: Mark Shields | Filed under: Gadgets | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

During the holiday season of 2009 when netbooks were the hot commodity, Apple lost share in the PC market. It had nothing to compete with the sunken prices and shrunken sizes of those miniature laptops. PC vendors such as ASUS and Acer, on the other hand, did well in the netbook segment, as they could call on their expertise in building inexpensive Windows notebooks.

After the iPad’s introduction, though, the tablets were turned. While many PC vendors loathed the low profitability of netbooks, they were now faced with competing with their own products. With the exception of HP, which shelled out billions of dollars for webOS, the iPad set PC vendors scrambling to choose which operating system might best compete. Is it Windows, the devil they know, or Android, where they have far less experience than competitors from the smartphone market?

Switched On has already taken on the role that Windows might play in future tablets, but what about Honeycomb? In contrast to the original version of Android, which was in the works prior to the introduction of the iPhone, Honeycomb arrived a year after the iPad. Android licensees, particularly smartphone vendors, surely beseeched Google for a tablet-optimized version of their preferred mobile OS. But Google may also be a victim of the iPad’s jujitsu.

For while entering the tablet market helps the viability of Android and keeps competitive pressure on Apple, Google itself has relatively little to gain from a strong presence in the tablet market even if it can gain such a foothold. It’s becoming clear that much of tablet usage is in the home and growth is coming at the expense of notebooks, where Google already has dominant market share in search. Unlike in smartphones, where Android was able to ride the wave of carrier preference to become a force to be reckoned with in the U.S., there’s a far more tenuous tie between the tablet and cellular service. And while we are starting to see more big names such as Acer, Sony and Samsung follow Motorola down the Honeycomb path, we’re also seeing companies opt out in order to hit price points that are farther afield from where Apple is playing.

Of course, there is the argument that Android tablets also cause competitive pain for Google’s search competitor Microsoft. But Microsoft is well on its way to an expanded presence in another computing setting that represents a better opportunity for Android: the automobile. More than a decade after the disappointing debut of the AutoPC, Microsoft has created a winning partnership with Ford on Sync. And at the IFA Press Conference in Alicante, Ford announced that it is expanding Sync to Europe. Clearly that opens a driver’s side door for Android to power competitive systems. And if Android won’t step in, car companies have another option in MeeGo, which is being developed in a dashboard-centric version.

Car companies are notoriously slow in integrating new technologies, but the vehicle is a platform where Apple has chosen to go with behind the curve with third-party connections rather than address the opportunity head-on, so Google can play to the kind of distribution that made Android a smartphone powerhouse. More importantly, cars are probably the second-most powerful devices behind the smartphone for connecting sellers to buyers in the physical world.

And that is simply core to Google’s revenue stream. The company has demonstrated that it realizes this with its work on driving directions in its navigation app and has tried to seed the market with car docks for products like Nexus One and Droid smartphones. Like Microsoft, Google is doing some great work in voice recognition that is showing up on Android handsets. Sync has shown, though, how intelligent in-vehicle multimedia control can nicely complement smartphones. For Google, an integrated offering for the imminently connected car is a more important long-term priority than the relative homebody that is the slate.