Osama Bin Laden killed by US government

A small team of U.S. operatives launched a targeted assault’ on a compound in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad where months of intelligence work had established that Mr. Bin Laden was living. Mr. Bin Laden was killed after a firefight, and the troops took custody of his body. The president of America had authorized the attack on bin Laden’s compound after he determined last week there was enough intelligence to take action. The location of the Pakistani compound where Bin Laden was hiding was confirmed last week, and he gave to order to proceed with the military operation against Bin Laden on Sunday morning.

Born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on March 10, 1957, Osama bin-Laden was member of a wealthy family with close ties to the Saudi royal family. His parents divorced a year after he was born and he lived with his mother who had married another rich businessman Muhammad al-Attas. He had three half-brothers and one half-sister. His father Muhammed bin Laden was killed in 1967 in an aircraft crash. He attended an elite secular school till 1976 and studied economics and business administration at King Abdulaziz university in Saudi Arabia. Some reports said he dropped out of the university and pursued his interest in religion which turned him into his crusade for Jihad or religious war.
He had married four women as of 2002 and had more than 20 children. He participated in the Jihadi struggle against soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Later he established Al Qaeda, a militant underground organization to protect Islamic culture from the non-Islamic influences and to dominate the world with Islamic rule. He planned and executed 9/11 attacks on America and immediately after that went into to hiding to evade the arrest. Still he helped shape Al Qaeda’s strategy and was threatened with more attacks on US interests.

Abbottabad is situated about 60 kilometres north-east of the capital Islamabad adjacent to Pakistan military academy. He was hiding in a big house custom built to protect a high valued target. The operation started just after midnight and continued for an hour. It was conducted by U.S. special forces . Three helicopters dropped US navy Seals on the house where Osama was hiding. Two planes were flying overhead providing protection and communication support. Security men, specially trained for counter terrorism operations, forcibly entered the house. Osama Bin Laden was traced and shot in the chest and later in the head. Along with Osama, his Son, three other persons including a woman were killed in the operation. Wife of Osama was shot in the leg. No civilians or American soldiers were injured during the mission. US special operations forces took custody of Bin Laden’s body and DNA testing has confirmed his identity. Then the body was taken out of the Pakistan border by helicopters to a war ship. Body was washed and final rites were conducted in accordance with the Islamic traditions and was buried in the sea. Highly sophisticated weapons, vehicles, tools and techniques were deployed by the US in this operation.

A trusted courier of Osama Bin Laden, whom American spies had been hunting for years, was finally located in a sprawling mansion in Abottabad. The compound was so secure, so large, that American officials guessed it was built to hide someone far more important than a mere courier. Americans initiated an intelligence work that continued for eight months before confirming the presence of Osama in the building. US president Barak Obama relied on the intelligence and signed a presidential order to kill Osama in a foreign land. US army initiated a secret mission, even without the knowledge of Pakistan government establishment to eliminate Osama Bin Laden.

John Paul II beatification: Politics of saint-making

John Paul’s beatification comes just six years and one month after his death in 2005. The perception of haste has puzzled some faithful observers, especially those inclined to question the late pope’s record on combating the scourge of clerical sexual abuse. But, for Christian Church, with a fixation on proselytization, it is a continued exercise of positioning to dominate the world.

A miracle, a prerequisite for beatification, has been documented as resulting from his intervention.
The miracle involves the healing of a 49-year-old French nun from Parkinson’s disease, the same affliction from which the late pope suffered. Even without questioning the rationality of the miracle, it is probably fair to say that institutional dynamics and even a degree of politics also help explain the rapid result.

John Paul reformed the sainthood process in 1983, making it faster, simpler, and cheaper. The office of “Devil’s advocate” – an official whose job was to try to knock down the case for sainthood – was eliminated, and the required number of miracles was dropped. The idea was to lift up contemporary role models of holiness in order to convince a jaded secular world that sanctity is alive in the here and now. The results are well known: John Paul II beatified and canonised more people than all previous popes combined. Since the reforms took effect, at least 20 cases qualify as “fast track” beatifications, meaning the candidate was beatified within 30 years of death. Taking a careful look at that list, aside from lives of holiness and miracle reports, at least five factors appear to influence who makes the cut.

First, successful candidates have an organisation behind them with both the resources and the political savvy to move the ball. The Catholic movement Opus Dei (of Da Vinci Code fame), for instance, boasts a roster of skilled canon lawyers, and they invested significant resources in their founder’s cause. St Josemaria Escriva was canonised in 2002.

Second, several fast-track cases involve a “first”, usually to recognise either a geographical region or an under-represented constituency. Italian lay woman Maria Corsini was beatified in 2001, just 35 years after her death, along with her husband Luigi Beltrame Quattrocchi. They were the first married couple to be declared “blessed”. Nicaraguan Sr Maria Romero Meneses was beatified in 2002, 25 years after her death, as the first blessed from Central America. It is also striking that 12 of these fact-track beatifications have been women. That is arguably related to an effort to counter perceptions that the Church is hostile to women.

Third, there is sometimes a political or cultural issue attached to the cause. For instance, Italian lay woman Gianna Beretta Molla was beatified in 1994, 32 years after she died in 1962. (Molla was canonised in 2004). She is famous for having refused both an abortion and a hysterectomy in order to save her unborn child. In other cases, the perceived issue is internal to the Church.

Fourth, Church officials may feel a personal investment in a cause. Fifth, fast-track cases generally enjoy overwhelming hierarchical support, both from the bishops of the region and in Rome.

All five factors are clearly in place with John Paul II. He has got powerful institutional backing both in Poland and in Rome, and virtually all of the officials making sainthood decisions today are John Paul II proteges. There is also a push to canonise not just John Paul the person, but also his papacy, especially its emphasis on recovering Catholicism’s missionary muscle.

After 1 May, Catholics in Poland and in Rome will celebrate a feast in honour of “Blessed John Paul II” every year on 22 October. In a special decree issued in April, the Vatican has also given Catholics all over the world one year to celebrate Masses in thanksgiving for the beatification of John Paul.

What is Beatification?
• Beatification, the final step before sainthood, arose as a way of authorising veneration to a candidate in the local area where she or he lived. It entitles the candidate to be called “Blessed”.
• Canonisation is the formal act of declaring someone a saint in the Catholic Church

Steps to sainthood
The process, which cannot begin until at least five years after the candidate’s death unless the pope waives that waiting period, involves scrutinising evidence of their holiness, work and signs that people are drawn to prayer through their example:
• First stage: individual is declared a ‘servant of God’
• Second stage: individual is called ‘venerable’
• Third stage (requires a miracle attributed to candidate’s intercession): beatification, when individual is declared blessed
• Fourth stage (requires a further authenticated miracle): candidate is canonised as a saint for veneration by Church

India rejects US tenders on military aircraft

Indian Air Force (IAF) has rejected Lockheed Martin’s F-16 and Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet to acquire 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft at a cost of between $11 billion and $12 billion. The US embassy in New Delhi was formally notified about this rejection on Wednesday, 28th April 2011. US ambassador Timothy Roemer resigned on Thursday. He made his continuation in office untenable by publicly pitching so hard for the Indian order for the biggest military aviation deal in history that he became identified with the success or otherwise of the American bids. France’s Dassault Aviation and a four-nation European consortium, the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS), had been chosen for the final round in the extended selection process.

In March, in a long-shot diplomatic bid to win the contract, the Pentagon bent over backwards during the 11th meeting of the Indo-US Defence Policy Group (DPG) here and told defence secretary Pradeep Kumar that the US was climbing down from its contentious demand that India sign three foundational agreements for bilateral defence sales to proceed. The three agreements, which defence minister A.K. Antony has resisted, are Logistics Support Agreement, Communication Interoperability and a Security Memorandum Agreement and a Basic Exchange and Co-operation Agreement for Geo-Spatial Co-operation. A row over an End-User Verification Agreement was resolved in 2009 with both sides going halfway to meet each other’s positions for or against signing the agreement.

In separate statements issued today, Roemer announced his resignation and said he was deeply disappointed that two aircraft offered by the US government… were not selected for procurement by the Indian ministry of defence although they would have provided the IAF an unbeatable platform with proven technologies at a competitive price.

Overtly, there is no link between the ambassador’s resignation and the defence ministry’s decision, but US embassy officials made no effort today to dispel the impression that the rejection of the bids from Boeing and Lockheed Martin triggered Roemer’s departure.

In addition to President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron, France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy and Russian head of state Dmitry Medvedev have all pitched for their respective bids during visits to New Delhi last year.

The abruptness of Roemer’s unwillingness to carry on in India because of the perception in Chanakyapuri and on Pennsylvania Avenue that he is obviously diminished by the failure of the ambassador’s laser-sharp drive to sell US fighter planes to India.