Monday, May 2, 2011

Maternal obesity 'could affect child's brain growth'

Washington: Moms-to-be, please try to shed the flab before giving birth, for a new study says that babies born to obese women are at risk for iron deficiency which may, in turn, affect infant's brain development.

In non-pregnant adults, obesity-related inflammation hinders the transport of iron through the intestine, raising the risk of iron deficiency anaemia.

But, when a woman is pregnant, iron is transferred through the intestine to the placenta, but it is not known how maternal obesity affects newborn iron status. Foetal iron status is important as 50 per cent of the iron needed for infant growth is obtained before birth.

In their study, researchers University of Wisconsin- Madison. analysed 281 newborn babies and their mothers. The women's body mass index was calculated before delivery, and a score of 30 or above was defined as obese. They determined infants' iron level by analysing umbilical cord blood.

The results showed evidence of impaired iron status in newborns of women who were obese.

"These findings are important because iron deficiency in infancy is associated with impaired brain development, and we should understand all risk factors for iron deficiency in infancy," said lead researcher Pamela J Kling.

The researchers are investigating why obesity during pregnancy is a risk factor for poorer iron status at birth.

"In non-pregnant adults, obesity has been linked to poorer dietary iron absorption and to diabetes, so both factors may contribute. Additionally, the link may be due to larger foetuses, because obesity during pregnancy results in larger foetuses, and iron needs are proportional to foetal size," she said.


Medical interns begin hunger strike

The interns began their indefinite hunger strike near KEM hospital in Mumbai.
There are around 2,060 interns in medical colleges across the state.
Around 500 interns have undertaken relay fasting while the rest would be on hunger strike indefinitely till the demands are fulfilled, their representative Guru Raj said.
"We are demanding stipend not less than Rs 13,000 per month and an annual increment of Rs 1,000," he said.
According to doctors at the government-run KEM hospital, services would not be affected because of the strike.

Deepika Padukone can’t stop thanking her stars to have landed ‘Rana’

Mumbai: DP got the opportunity of her career by being offered to play superstar Rajnikanth’s leading lady in upcoming flick ‘Rana’. It is the first time the dusky actress will be working in a Tamil film.
She revealed her happiness at a press conference by saying, "I will not even call this a dream come true because it seemed so impossible that I did not even dream that this would happen one day.”

She is currently busy shooting a song sequence at a studio in Mumbai. She said to a daily, "Friday was my first day of shoot. We are shooting a song sequence to a number tuned by A R Rahman, the composer of the film."

Deepika has a lot of respect for Rajnikanth and considers him to be one of the legendary actors in the country. "It can`t get bigger and better than this. I`m south Indian myself and have long wanted to debut in Kollywood with a big film. Though I`ve been listening to scripts, it was when ‘Rana’ came along that I decided that this is the one for me. I think it`s destiny." Has she seen any of the Superstar`s films? "I`ve only seen ‘Robot’ till now."

So after green-eyed actress Aishwarya Rai played the leading lady to the epic star it’s now time for Deepika to get the limelight. Well we can’t agree less it is one of those big opportunities she has got in her career. And we wish the tall beauty all the very best for her dream venture.

Meet Kalki Kashyap

From the start of the ceremony right till the end, both of them seemed mesmerised by each other,” laughed Ishika Mohan Motwane. Director Vikramaditya Motwane’s photographer wife was one of the few guests at actor

Kalki Koechlin and filmmaker Anurag Kashyap’s wedding. The ceremony took place on April 30, in Ooty, the hill town where the bride’s French parents have now been living for 30 years.

No fairytale affair, the preparations were kept elegant yet simple. The ceremony began at 10.30 am, in accordance with the mahurat. A small baarat party, comprising Kashyap’s family and a few friends like the Motwanes, writer Piyush Mishra and UTV Spotboy’s ex-COO Vikas Bahl.

The ceremony was followed by a traditional vegetarian South Indian lunch. But what Kashyap was most looking forward to was the barbecue evening.“We have been relishing pure vegetarian food for two days and now the drinks and the meat will follow.”

Bollywood cheers Osama's death

The world's most wanted terrorist Osama bin Laden is dead. As US President Barack Obama confirmed the news, Bollywood stars tweeted furiously about it.

Minissha Lamba tweeted: 'Osama is Dead. 2nd term guaranteed 4 #obama. Trust American's to steal d world's attn away from d #RoyalWedding. Interesting timing.'

Ranvir Shorey advised the government of India: 'America leads by example again. Pakistan lies through its teeth again. India clueless again. Dear Govt. of India, in the middle of your bickering with Pakistan, I have two words for you: DAWOOD IBRAHIM.'

Shekhar Kapur agreed with him. 'Osama became the mythical dark force that the US rallied against. It no longer matters tht he is/was dead or alive. Surely US would have wanted Osama alive not dead. Something wrong. Hope Indian Govt gets Dawood alive. If they have nothing 2 hide,' he wrote.

Punit Malhotra, on the other hand, wanted the Indian government to hang Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab. 'So they finally kill Osama 90kms from Islamabad. You really think the ISI wasn't hiding him??? He stayed near a military base!!! Anyway, cheers to the US. They finally managed to do what everyone had given up on... perhaps a lesson for India? They go to Osama & kill him. We on the other hand have made Afzal and Kasab our guests. Wonder when we will hang them??? Will we ever be able to go in and kill the 26/11 planners??? Feels strangely good to see a dead Osama but feel the war isn't over,' he wrote.

Rahul Bose tweeted: 'Am hoping a sense of balance is maintained in the US at the osama news. Closure is good, revenge isn't.'

Ameesha Patel couldn't believe the news. 'Hope the news is true about osama being dead. N it isn't an impostor that monster capable of anything,' she wrote.

Ram Gopal Varma cheered the US. 'Whatever the future of terrorism is after the death of osama I am right now so very very very happy fr America..3000 CHEERS!!!'

Dino Morea felt Osama is still alive. 'Hello Tweeps, strange feeling Osama still lurking somewhere, and planning something bigger,' he updated.

Madhur Bhandarkar felt that the world could finally rest in peace. 'Since Osama Bin Laden is dead, now may the World Rest in Peace (R.I.P),' he updated.

Mahesh Bhatt wanted Geroge Bush to be hanged. 'While you 'rightfully' celebrate the killing of Osama Bin Laden. Who will hang the other terrorist GEORGE 'BUTCHER' BUSH,' he tweeted.

RIM announces new BlackBerry Bold

T-Mobile USA said it will carry the BlackBerry Bold 9900 later this year.

Research in Motion is under pressure to update its high-end phones as it's losing out to iPhones and phones running Google Inc.'s Android software. Last week, the company cut its earnings and sales forecasts for the current quarter, saying it's selling fewer and cheaper phones than expected. Its stock plummeted. The fall continued Monday, with the shares losing 55 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $48.10.

Like the original Bold, launched in 2008, the 9900 has a keyboard under a 2.8-inch-screen in landscape orientation. It's thinner than before, at just 10.5 millimeters, making it the thinnest BlackBerry yet.

RIM calls the new software BlackBerry 7 OS and says it provides an easier and faster user experience, with an updated Web browser.

The new phone will come in two versions: one for the type of network used by T-Mobile USA and AT&T, and the other for the type used by Sprint Nextel Corp. and Verizon Wireless. T-Mobile USA is the only carrier to announce that it will carry the phone, so far.

RIM demonstrated the phone on the first day of its BlackBerry World conference in Orlando, Fla.

ISRO develops India's fastest supercomputer

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has built India's fastest supercomputer in terms of theoretical peak performance —220 trillion floating point operations per second (FLOPS).

K. Radhakrishnan, ISRO Chairman, inaugurated the supercomputer, SAGA-220, at the newly established supercomputing facility, named after Satish Dhawan, of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre here on Monday.

Space scientists are using SAGA-220 (Supercomputer for Aerospace with GPU Architecture-220 TeraFLOPS) for solving complex aerospace problems.

The supercomputer was fully designed and built by the space centre using commercially available hardware and open-source software components. The system uses as many as 400 NVIDIA Tesla 2070 graphic processing units (GPUs) and an equal number of Intel Quad Core Xeon central processing units (CPUs), supplied by WIPRO, with a high-speed interconnect.

With each GPU and CPU providing a performance of 500 GigaFLOPS and 50 GigaFLOPS, respectively, the theoretical peak performance of the system amounts to 220 TeraFLOPS. The GPU-based system offers significant advantage over the conventional CPU-based system in terms of cost, power, and space requirements.

An official release said the supercomputer cost about Rs.14 crore. The system was environmentally green and consumed only 150 kW of power. This system could be easily scaled to many PetaFLOPS (1,000 TeraFLOPS), it added.

India asks Reliance to boost gas output with more wells

Gas production from a key block off the east coast operated by Reliance Industries has fallen further, the upstream regulator said on Monday, adding the company has been asked to drill 11 new wells by April 1, 2012, to boost output.

Reliance is pumping less gas than it should from the D6 block of Krishna-Godavari basin, the second biggest gas producer in India after Mumbai High. It was supposed to drill nine wells in this fiscal year.

Upstream Regulator SK Srivastava said Reliance has now been asked to drill two extra wells that it failed to drill in 2010/11.

Srivastva said Reliance was currently producing 48 Mmscmd gas from the D6 block, adding it would meet Reliance officials later this month to discuss the fall in gas output.

"In a week or two we will be meeting again and the operator has been asked to come up with the proposal to drill wells as per the plan," Srivastava told reporters after a meeting with Reliance executives.

On April 21, Srivastava said Reliance was producing 50 Mmscmd from the block.

"From the government's perspective gas production was the main issue. We deliberated with the operator about drilling more wells and bringing up the production," he said.

Reliance offered no comments, saying they were not aware of the details of Monday's meeting with the regulator.

The company, which has agreed a broad parternship with multinational BP on field development in a deal worth USD 7.2 billion, said in March it wanted to work to overcome "the technical challenge involved in these complex reservoirs."

Srivastava said last month Reliance had not given a satisfactory reason for the shortfall. Reliance has drilled 20 of the 22 wells it was supposed to in FY11.

The concerns over Reliance's gas production have for months dampened growth outlook for the Indian energy giant and kept its shares under pressure.

India may have to step up imports of costlier Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to meet the shortfall.

Meanwhile, Srivastava said to CNBC-TV18, "We have deliberated at length with the operator about drilling the wells and bringing up the production. in this meeting opeartor has said that he'll be coming up with the proposal for drilling the well shortly and we will be having another meeting in maybe a week or 2 weeks't ime with the operator."

Osama’s wife was human shield against raiders

One of Osama bin Laden’s wives stood between him and U.S. Navy SEALs as the world’s most-wanted terrorist was gunned down in an airborne assault on the al-Qaeda leader’s safe house deep in Pakistan. He was holed up less than a mile (1.6 kilometres) from the country’s military academy and not far from the capital of Islamabad.

Details emerged Monday of the life and dramatic death of bin Laden, the day after President Barack Obama made the stunning near-midnight announcement that the al-Qaeda leader had been killed.

Mr. Obama, while assured bin Laden probably was in the compound, did not know with certainty that the 10-year hunt for the notorious son of a Saudi Arabian construction magnate was at an end until his body was carried to one of four U.S. Special Operations helicopters that had ferried in the American force deep inside Pakistan. One of the craft was damaged on landing and blown up before the return journey to Afghanistan.

On Monday the President said the terrorist mastermind’s death was “a good day for America.”

The administration said DNA testing administered on the body before it was buried at sea from the deck of the USS Carl in the North Arabian Sea confirmed the man killed was indeed bin Laden.

Photo analysis by the CIA, confirmation by a woman believed to be one of bin Laden’s wives on site, and matching physical features like bin Laden’s height all helped confirmed the identification. White House officials were deciding the merits and appropriateness of releasing a photo of bin Laden’s body. He was shot above his left eye, blowing away part of his skull.

“The world is safer. It is a better place because of the death of Osama bin Laden,” Mr. Obama said, although security officials in the U.S. and around the globe warned against retaliatory al-Qaeda attacks.

Mr. Obama hailed the pride of those who broke joined overnight celebrations as the stunning news spread around the globe. Crowds celebrated throughout the night outside the White House and at ground zero in Lower Manhattan where the Twin Towers once stood. Mr. Obama was planning to visit there on Thursday and meet with the families of those killed nearly 10 years ago, an administration official said.

Both Mr. Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said cooperation from the Pakistani government had helped lead U.S. forces to the compound where he died. But a cloud of suspicion hangs over Pakistan, where authorities have routinely denied bin Laden was in the country. U.S. officials, however, said the sprawling bin Laden compound, with its elaborate security and 18-foot (5.5-meter) walls, was built in 2005, apparently to served as the terrorist leader’s safe house.

Unanswered is the obvious question of how bin Laden could have gone unnoticed just down the road from the country’s equivalent of the U.S. military academy at West Point, New York, in a town swarming with military and intelligence personnel.

“People have been referring to this as hiding in plain sight,” Mr. Obama’s counterterrorism chief John Brennan told reporters Monday. “Clearly, this was something that was considered as a possibility. Pakistan is a large country. We are looking right now at how he was able to hold out there for so long and whether or not there was any type of support system within Pakistan that allowed him to stay there.”

Others were more blunt.

Sen. Carl Levin, Democratic chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the Pakistani Army and intelligence agency “have a lot of questions to answer, given the location, the length of time and the apparent fact that this was actually -- this facility was actually built for bin Laden, and its closeness to the central location of the Pakistani army.”

In addition to bin Laden, one of his sons, Khalid, was killed in the raid, Brennan said. Bin Laden’s wife was shot in the calf but survived, a U.S. official said. Also killed were two of bin Laden’s al-Qaeda facilitators, including the one who was apparently listed as the owner of the residence, Brennan said.

Mr. Obama gave preliminary orders for the attack on Friday shortly before flying to Alabama to inspect tornado damage, and aides set to work on the details. He gave the final directive Sunday. Brennan called it one of the “gutsiest calls of any president in recent memory.”

MR. Brennan said the president and his national security team monitored the raid from the White House Situation Room and expressed relief that elite forces had finally gotten bin Laden without losing any more American lives.

“It was probably one of the most anxiety-filled periods of time in the lives of the people who were assembled here,” Brennan said. “The minutes passed like days.”

Brennan strongly suggested a live video feed had been available -- SEALs customarily have video cameras attached to their helmets -- and the White House released a photo showing the commander in chief, Vice President Joe Biden and top aides staring intently at something outside the picture. The White House did not say what they were looking at.

Mr. Obama on Monday reaped accolades from world leaders he’d kept in the dark about the operation as well as plaudits from political opponents at home. Republican and Democratic congressional leaders alike gave him a standing ovation at an evening meeting that was planned before the assault but became a celebration of its success.

The dramatic developments came just months ahead of the 10-year anniversary of the hijacked-airliner assaults on the United States. Those attacks took nearly 3,000 lives, led the U.S. into war in Afghanistan and Iraq and forever pierced the notion that the most powerful country on earth could not be hit on such a ferocious scale.

Officials say CIA interrogators in secret overseas prisons in Eastern Europe developed the first strands of information that ultimately led to the killing of bin Laden. Intelligence officials have long known that bin Laden trusted one al-Qaeda courier in particular, and they believed he might be living with him in hiding. Four years ago, the United States learned the man’s identity, which officials did not disclose, and then about two years later, they identified areas of Pakistan where he operated. Last August, the man’s residence was found, officials said.

By mid-February, intelligence from multiple sources was clear enough that Mr. Obama wanted to pursue action, a senior administration official said. Over the next two and a half months, the president led five meetings of the National Security Council focused solely on whether bin Laden was in that compound and, if so, how to get him, the official said.

Once under way, four helicopters ferried the U.S. forces to the Abbottabad compound, lowered the SEALS behind the walls and began descending toward a landing. No shots were fired, but shortly after the team hit the ground, one of the helicopters came crashing down and rolled onto its side for reasons the government has yet to explain. None of the SEALs was injured, however, and the mission continued uninterrupted. The crippled aircraft was destroyed before the raiding party flew out in the three remaining helicopters.

U.S. officials have not explained how they managed to secretly fly four helicopters across the Pakistan border to near the capital and into a military garrison city that was home to the country’s military academy. What’s more, it remained unclear how the SEAL team was able to conduct what was described as a 40-minute mission, including a fire fight and the explosives destruction of a helicopter, without the Pakistan military or police intervening.

Bin Laden’s death came 15 years after he declared war on the United States. Al-Qaeda was also blamed for the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa that killed 224 people and the 2000 attack on the USS Cole that killed 17 American sailors in Yemen, as well as countless other plots, some successful and some foiled.

The greatest terrorist threat to the U.S. is now considered to be the al-Qaeda franchise in Yemen, far from al-Qaeda’s core in Pakistan. The Yemen branch almost took down a U.S.-bound airliner on Christmas 2009 and nearly detonated explosives aboard two U.S. cargo planes last fall. Those operations were carried out without any direct involvement from bin Laden.

Retaliatory attacks against the U.S. and Western targets could come from members of al-Qaeda’s core branch in the tribal areas of Pakistan, al-Qaeda franchises in other countries or radicalized individuals in the U.S. with al-Qaeda sympathies, according to a Homeland Security Department intelligence alert issued Sunday and obtained by The Associated Press.

A prominent al-Qaeda commentator vowed revenge for bin Laden’s death. “Woe to his enemies. By God, we will avenge the killing of the Sheik of Islam,” he wrote under his online name Assad al-Jihad2. “Those who wish that jihad has ended or weakened, I tell them- Let us wait a little bit.”

As quickly as bin Laden’s supporters vowed to avenge his death, administration officials worked to undermine his reputation.

“Here is bin Laden, who has been calling for these (terror) attacks, living in this million-dollar-plus compound, living in an area that is far removed from the front, hiding behind women who were put in front of him as a shield. I think it really just speaks to just how false his narrative has been over the years,” Brennan said.

India set for ninth rate hike to cool inflation

AFP - India, which has the highest inflation of any large Asian economy, looked set on Tuesday to hike interest rates for a ninth time as it struggles to clamp down on inflation.

The central bank, which warned Monday of the "risk to growth from sustained high inflation," has raised rates eight times since March 2010, albeit in gradual, quarter-point steps to minimise the impact on economic growth.

But inflation has remained high and some economists expect Reserve Bank of India (RBI) policymakers to move more aggressively when they meet Tuesday.

"A 50-basis-point rate rise wouldn't surprise me -- inflation is proving stubbornly difficult to reduce," Deepak Lalwani, head of London-based India investment consultancy Lalcap, told AFP.

"It's time to step it up," agreed HSBC chief India economist Leif Eskesen.

Others bet the bank will stick to its "slowly, slowly approach" and only hike by a quarter point as it seeks to balance growth and inflation concerns.

The RBI meeting comes after data in April showed inflation had surged to nearly nine percent.

The central bank said in a report on the economy released Monday that it was important for monetary policy "to ensure a low inflation environment as a pre-condition for sustained high growth," stoking expectations of a rate hike.

It also warned that rising global energy and commodity prices may fuel inflationary pressures "and constitute significant medium-term risk."

The Asian Development Bank has said controlling inflation must be the Asian region's top priority as strong growth, turmoil in the Middle East and Japan's nuclear crisis drive up food and oil prices.

Asian economies from South Korea, Indonesia, Taiwan to China are all battling inflationary pressures.

But some economists are concerned that India's central bank may push too hard on the brakes.

The benchmark repurchase, or repo rate, at which the bank lends to commercial banks, is 6.75 percent while the reverse repo, paid to banks for deposits, is 5.75 percent.

"The bottom line is the central bank needs to act but it should not go overboard," said CLSA economist Rajeev Malik. "It must avoid a repeat of the mid-1990s outcome of killing inflation by crippling growth."

The government has said it expects the economy to expand by nine percent in the current fiscal year, returning to levels it reached before the global financial crisis.

But there are already fears that Asia's third-largest economy will undershoot the target because of interest rate increases.

Investment house Goldman Sachs has slashed its growth forecast for the year to March 2012 to 7.8 percent from 8.7 percent. Credit Suisse has trimmed its expansion forecast to 7.5 percent.

Jihadists: bin Laden death will not mute Jihad call

(Reuters) - Members of Jihadist forums said they prayed the news of Osama bin Laden's death was not true, and hinted at retaliation if it was, in some of the first Islamist reaction to the al Qaeda leader's death.

"Oh God, please make this news not true...God curse you Obama," said one message on an Arabic language forum. "Oh Americans ... it is still legal for us to cut your necks."

"Osama may be killed but his message of Jihad will never die. Brothers and sisters, wait and see, his death will be a blessing in disguise," said a poster on another Islamist forum.

Residents of upscale suburb incredulous wanted terrorist was in their midst

No one in the affluent Bilal Town suburb where Osama bin Laden seemed to suspect his presence here. Nor did they see the possibility that a wanted terrorist, let alone the most hunted man in the world, could live so close to one of its famed military institutions.

A suburb with large, sometimes garish houses, Bilal Town is one of the most upscale neighbourhoods of Abbottabad, a vacation spot set in the Himalayan foothills and a two-hour drive from the capital, Islamabad, Unlike most north-west cities, the population of Abbottabad, which was founded by a British colonial administrator in 1853, are ethnic Hazaras, not Pashtuns.

Osama bin Laden’s last stand was in a large house less than a mile from the Pakistan Military Academy, where the country’s top brass trains, including former president Pervez Musharraf.

On the streets of Abbottabad, there was no visible reaction to events. Shops remained open. Residents went about their usual business. Fareed Alam, a 39-year-old employee of a non-governmental organization, said that if people believed that bin Laden was really dead, “You’d see the fire on the streets.”

Though Bin Laden’s white, roomy three-storey house has an unusually high boundary wall, outside its fences it did not stand out in a neighbourhood of oversized houses built to accommodate extended families that tend to live together in Pakistan.

But there was a little mystery. Neighbours said that two men, ethnic Pashtuns, would emerge from the house but did not mingle with locals. Some suggested that they were brothers and had lived there for five years or more. But they were many other Pashtuns in Abbottabad, so they wouldn’t have stood out.

Nor would they guess the duo could be connected to Mr. bin Laden. “This is such a sensitive place, with the military academy just across the road. Also the (intelligence) agencies are all over here,” said Azhar Khan, 32, who works for a non-governmental organization.

Mr. Khan said that he believed that bin Laden was “created by America” and he was probably actually killed long ago.

Other residents were angry that a burial at sea – bin Laden’s body was reportedly dumped in the ocean – was not in accordance with an Islamic burial; others demanded proof that the dead man was the al-Qaeda leader.

The bin Laden house did not look damaged from the outside. A cloth screen had been put up on one side of the compound Monday morning by the military, obscuring the view where the helicopter was said to be destroyed.

Pakistani soldiers and police stood guard around the area and stopped anyone from approaching the house.

America's Most Wanted: Osama Bin Laden Killed After 13-Year Hunt

The United States had been trying to kill Osama bin Laden for 13 years, since the administration of President Bill Clinton.

"Bin Laden has been our national enemy self declared for far longer than any one person in our history," said Richard Clarke, an ABC News contributor who served as a counterterrorism advisor to Clinton and both presidents Bush.

For years the trail had gone cold, some thought he had left the region and Pakistani officials even claimed bin Laden must be dead. In the end he was found in a house where he may have been living for as many as six years, almost next door to Pakistani military installations and less than 100 miles from the Pakistani capital of Islamabad.

The son of a prominent and wealthy Saudi family, bin Laden first went to Afghanistan to fight the Russians but then turned on the United States.

On his orders thousands died, in the 1998 attacks on two U.S. embassies in Africa, in the attack on the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000, and the 9/11 attacks of which he seemed so proud. Bin Laden boasted on tape that "We calculated in advance the number of casualties."

The discovery of bin Laden's hiding place in a million-dollar mansion in Pakistan was the result of a masterful CIA intelligence operation that focused on the courier who was his connection to the outside world.

"We had to piece it together," explained John Brennan, counterterrorism advisor to President Obama, "get [the courier's] nom de guerre, associate it with a real name and track it until we got to the compound."

Every video or audio message recorded by bin Laden went by courier, so each new message became an opportunity for the CIA to find him.

"That was his Achilles heel," said John Nagl, president of the Center for a New American Security and former lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army. "We were able to use the information provided by tracking his couriers to hunt him down and bring him to justice."

U.S. officials say detainees held at Guantanamo helped lead them to the courier.

In one early clue, according to a secret Pentagon cable made public by Wikileaks, senior Al Qaeda commander Abu al Libi told interrogators he became "the official messenger" for bin Laden and for a year in 2003 "moved his family to Abbottabad, Pakistan" -- the city near Islamabad where bin Laden was killed Sunday.

By August of last year, the CIA had a sharp focus on a newly built compound in the Abbottabad, suspicious of its large size and extensive security features, including a seven-foot wall on the terrace so the very tall bin Laden could be outside without being seen.

A family of the same size as bin Laden's was seen here, although bin Laden himself was never actually spotted.

But since August he had sent out, at least two new taped messages. One of them, remarkably, last October, focused on the severe flooding that had just occurred in the Abbottabad region.

Bin Laden had long been said to be in the mountainous region along the Afghanistan, Pakistan border, hiding in a cave as the U.S. sought to kill him with drone strikes from above. Instead, he was in a house with many peculiar features that brought it to the attention of U.S. authorities.

After locating the Al Qaeda courier in 2009 and then tracking him to the structure in 2010, the CIA noted that the house, built in 2005, had high exterior walls topped with barbed wire, high windows and few points of access. Residents burned their trash instead of putting it out. U.S. officials wondered if the extra seven-foot-high wall on a third-floor terrace was built to shield a man as tall as bin Laden, whose height was estimated at between 6'4" and 6'6".

The CIA began to believe that a high-value target was in the house. A CIA "red team" assigned to assess the house decided that it could well be sheltering bin Laden, even though he'd never been seen in the compound.

The CIA was responsible for "finding" and "fixing" the target, said a U.S. official, and the military "finished" the job.

According to U.S. officials, the Navy's SEAL Team Six practiced the assault in a replica of the compound built inside the United States.

Late Sunday night local time, two U.S. helicopters from Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) and carrying Team Six SEALs flew in low from Afghanistan and swept into the compound. As CIA director Leon Panetta listened in, the Navy SEALs stormed the compound and engaged bin Laden and his men in a firefight, killing bin Laden and all those with him.

Two Bin Laden couriers were killed, as was Osama Bin Laden's son Khalid and a woman. Two women were injured. Children were present in the compound but were not harmed. U.S. officials said that bin Laden was asked to surrender but did not. He was shot in the head and then shot again to make sure he was dead.

The raid began on the smaller of two buildings in the compound, where the couriers were believed to live. The raid then moved to the larger three-story building. The couriers were killed downstairs, while bin Laden was upstairs.

After the raid, blood covered the floor of one room to the right inside the sprawling larger structure. In another room to the left that held a small kitchenette, broken computers could be seen, minus their hard drives. The SEALs also recovered papers, CDs, laptops, which were taken away for analysis.

One of the U.S. Blackhawk helicopters was damaged but not destroyed during the operation, and U.S. forces elected to destroy it themselves with explosives. At least a dozen individuals who were present in the compound were left flex cuffed by the side of the road by the SEALs when they departed, according to a senior administration official.

The Americans took bin Laden's body into custody after the firefight, taking it back to Afghanistan by helicopter, and confirmed his identity. His DNA matched DNA taken from multiple bin Laden relatives with almost 100 percent certainty, and his body was found to be more than 6'4". He was also identified by two women at the compound after he was killed, and via facial recognition analysis from photos sent back to CIA headquarters.

A U.S. official said bin Laden was later buried at sea in accordance with Islamic practice at 2 a.m. Washington time. Bin Laden's body was taken to the U.S.S. Carl Vinson, a U.S. aircraft carrier in the North Arabian Sea, according to officials. His body was washed and wrapped in the prescribed way. A military officer read religious remarks that were translated by a native Arabic speaker before bin Laden's remains were sent into the deep.

Remarkably, bin Laden was hiding almost under the nose of the Pakistani military, which has a major garrison in Abbottabad and the Pakistani version of West Point. A senior U.S. official says the U.S. government believes that bin Laden may have been living in the house ever since it was built in 2005.

Panel proposes ‘principles and objects' for Lokpal Bill

New Delhi, May 2:  Civil society members on the Lokpal Bill joint drafting committee have submitted two documents outlining “principles and objects” for the proposed law.

“The civil society members submitted a document with respect to the objects of the Bill as well as one that enunciated the general principles underlying the Bill,” the Human Resource Development Minister, Mr Kapil Sibal, told newspersons after the second meeting here on Monday.

Both sides agreed to reflect on the documents.

Mr Sibal said it was decided to fast-track the drafting process ahead of the June 30 deadline and the committee had agreed to meet again on May 7, 23 and 30. The committee may even meet daily in June to keep with the deadline and help the Government introduce the Bill in the Monsoon session, a panel member said.

“The meeting was very good, very cooperative. There was no difference of opinion,” Mr Sibal said.

Mr Prashant Bhushan, civil society member and lawyer, said: “The discussion was on essential features, objects and reasons of the Bill which has been prepared according to the main provisions of the UN Convention against Corruption.”

He said all signatories of the UN Convention against Corruption have to pass this kind of a law.

India signed the UN convention in 2005, but is yet to ratify it.

Back to 9/11, with forgiveness & fear Indian families sigh, don’t celebrate

May 2: For the Yambem family of Imphal, the news of Osama bin Laden’s death brought a sense of calm satisfaction. In faraway Hyderabad, the relatives of Deepika Kumar Sattaluri expressed similar sentiments.

The families of some of the NRIs who died in 9/11 were largely restrained in their reactions to the killing of the attack’s mastermind, their relief tempered by fears of reprisals.

“This is the greatest day for the family and all those against terrorism. Now that the symbol of terrorism is dead, my brother Jupiter’s soul can rest in peace,” Laba Yambem, Jupiter’s elder brother, said in Imphal.

Jupiter, then 41, was supervising breakfast at the Windows on the World, a restaurant in the North Tower of the World Trade Center, when the building was attacked. Jupiter, the manager of the eatery, died, leaving behind his American wife Nancy McCardle Yambem and their five-year-old son Shanti.

Manipur’s capital had long power cuts this morning, which meant the Yambems had not caught the news on TV. It was around 10am that a cellphone message from a friend in Delhi beeped on Laba’s cellphone.

He let out a sigh of suppressed happiness as he read the SMS: the man responsible for the death of his brother and thousands of others was finally dead.

“My first reaction was that Allah had been merciful to my brother’s soul. We can only wonder what heights Jupiter would have scaled if he were alive today,” Laba said.

Jupiter left India after he was selected as a co-ordinator at Camp America, a youth exchange programme, in 1981. He stayed back in America and married Nancy, a music therapist, and they settled in New York.

“I have mixed feelings,” Nancy said over the phone from the US this evening. “It’s a great end to a chapter, a justice that everybody in the US had been waiting for a long, long time.”

She added: “The families weren’t sure if they would ever hear this. But at the same time, it brings back memories and a lot of negativity. I just visited my son in school to see if he was feeling fine.”

So is it time for celebration for the Yambems in Imphal and New York?

“I am not very comfortable with the idea of celebrating this. My husband was murdered and killed. I know what it feels like. Although Osama needed to be brought to justice, and death was probably the only way to do it, I don’t feel comfortable with the idea of celebrating a killing,” said Nancy, who comes to Manipur every two years.

“I would not be able to live in my shoes had I not been able to forgive Osama.”

The show of emotion was restrained in Hyderabad too. Deepika’s cousin Malleshwari Deverakonda recalled her agony during the months it had taken to receive final confirmation that the 28-year-old IT professional had died in the attack while at work in her office at the World Trade Center.

“A complete list was never given and we came to know about her death only after months,” she said.

Malleshwari’s brother Gopalakrishna wasn’t sure if this was the end of terror. “I don’t know whether I should be celebrating the news of Osama’s death. Can we hope there won’t be retaliation?” Gopalakrishna, who works for an international airline, said over the phone from his home in Chicago.

Among the 41 Indians said to have died in the attack, around seven to eight traced their roots to Andhra Pradesh. Most of the state’s residents in the US are doctors and engineers.

“I am relieved at a world without Osama,” said J.A. Chowdhary, convener of the IT committee of business chamber CII’s Andhra chapter. Chowdhary said he knew “at least a dozen-odd” IT professionals working in the US at the time of 9/11.

EC stepped up security in East Midnapore after CPI(M) complaint

Ahead of the fourth phase of Assembly election in West Bengal on May 3, the Election Commission today further strengthened the security arrangement following complaints of threat and terror by the ruling Left Front.

“Security arrangement has been revamped further in East Midnapore district following complaint by the LF. There will not be any problem for any voter to exercise franchise in the presence of a huge contingent of central force and State security personnel in the districts going to poll on May 3”, West Bengal CEO Sunil Kumar Gupta said here today.

Mr. Gupta said a LF delegation led by CPI(M) leaders, Rabin Deb and Sukhendu Panigrahi, today called on him and submitted a letter, alleging “their supporters are under threat of terror by the Trinamool Congress and are not allowed to enter several areas under East Midnapore district.”

Demanding measures from the EC for the protection of the Front supporters and workers, CPI(M) leader Rabin Deb said that “without any concrete step by the EC against growing evidences of the campaign of terror and violence in East Midnapore, it is very difficult for our supporters to exercise franchise in the areas under Nandigram, Khejuri, Patashpur, Bhagabanpur, Chandipur, Contai and Moyna.”

Responding to the complaint, the CEO said that he had already ordered the district administration to act immediately to ensure safety and security of all voters irrespective of the political parties they belonged to.

“Strong security arrangement has been made in all these areas with the central force engaged in area domination, route march and flag march on the basis of vulnerability mapping”, Mr. Gupta said.

Mr. Gupta said 1.26 crore electorate will decide the fate of 366 candidates, comprising 327 male and 39 female contestants, for 63 seats under Howrah, Hooghly, East Midnapore and part of Burdwan districts during the fourth phase.

20,000 EVMs will be used in 15,711 polling stations, he said.

While maximum number of 13 candidates were at Bally in Howrah district in this phase, lowest number of three contestants were in six seats at Singur, Pursurah, Arambagh, Goghat, Khanakul and Bhagabanpur, the CEO said.

Chinsurah Assembly seat under Hooghly district had 327 polling stations, the largest in this phase, with the highest number of electorate at 2.63 lakh, while Bally seat in Howrah district had the lowest number of electorate at 1.42 lakh, Mr. Gupta said.

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