Washington, Sep 14 (AP/UNB) — The White House announced Saturday that Hamza bin Laden , the son of the late al-Qaida leader who had become an increasingly prominent figure in the terrorist organization, was killed in a U.S. counterterrorism operation in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.
A statement issued in President Donald Trump's name gave no further details, such as when Hamza bin Laden was killed or how the United States had confirmed his death. Administration officials would provide no more information beyond the three-sentence statement from the White House. American officials have said there are indications that the CIA, not the U.S. military, conducted the strike.
The White House statement said Hamza bin Laden's death "not only deprives al-Qaida of important leadership skills and the symbolic connection to his father, but undermines important operational activities of the group." It said Osama bin Laden's son "was responsible for planning and dealing with various terrorist groups."
The U.S. officials had suspected this summer that Hamza bin Laden was dead, based on intelligence reports and the fact that he had not been heard from in some time. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters. Defense Secretary Mark Esper told Fox News Channel in a late August interview that it was "my understanding" that Hamza bin Laden was dead.
The younger bin Laden had been viewed as an eventual heir to the leadership of al-Qaida, and the group's leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, had praised him in a 2015 video that appeared on jihadi websites, calling him a "lion from the den of al-Qaida."
The U.S. government in February said it was offering $1 million for help tracking down Hamza bin Laden as part of the State Department's Rewards for Justice program. The department's notice said he was married to a daughter of Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, an al-Qaida leader and Egyptian charged for his role in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in East Africa. They were said to have two children, Osama and Khairiah, named after his parents.
He was named a "specially designated global terrorist" in January 2017, and he had released audio and video messages calling for attacks against the U.S. and its allies. To mark one 9/11 anniversary, al-Qaida superimposed a childhood photo of him over a photo of the World Trade Center.
Video released by the CIA in 2017 that was seized during the 2011 U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden showed Hamza bin Laden with a trimmed mustache but no beard at his wedding. Previous images have only shown him as a child.
Hamza bin Laden is believed to have been born in 1989, the year of the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, where his father became known among the mujahedeen fighters. His father returned to Saudi Arabia and later fled to Sudan after criticizing the kingdom for allowing U.S. troops to deploy in the country during the 1991 Gulf War. He later fled Sudan for Afghanistan in 1996, where he declared war against the U.S.
As al-Qaida's leader, Osama bin Laden oversaw attacks that included the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, as well as the bombing of the USS Cole off Yemen. He and others plotted and executed the 2001 attacks against the United States that led to the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. U.S. Navy SEALs killed the elder bin Laden in a raid on a house in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in 2011.
This past March, Saudi Arabia announced that it had revoked the citizenship of Hamza bin Laden. The kingdom stripped Osama bin Laden's citizenship in 1994 while he was living in exile in Sudan when Hamza bin Laden was just a child. It was unclear where Hamza bin Laden was at the time of the Saudi action.
Hamza bin Laden began appearing in militant videos and recordings in 2015 as an al-Qaida spokesman.
"If you think that your sinful crime that you committed in Abbottabad has passed without punishment, then you thought wrong," he said in his first audio recording.
After the Sept. 11 attacks, a U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan sought to topple the Taliban, an ally of al-Qaida, and seize the elder bin Laden. He escaped and split from his family as he crossed into Pakistan. Hamza was 12 when he saw his father for the last time — receiving a parting gift of prayer beads.
"It was as if we pulled out our livers and left them there," he wrote of the separation.
Hamza and his mother followed other al-Qaida members into Pakistan and then Iran, where other al-Qaida leaders hid them, according to experts and analysis of documents seized after U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Iran later put the al-Qaida members on its soil into custody. During this time, Hamza married.
In March 2010, Hamza and others left Iranian custody. He went to Pakistan's Waziristan province, where he asked for weapons training, according to a letter to the elder bin Laden. His mother left for Abbottabad, joining her husband in his hideout. On May 2, 2011, the Navy SEAL team raided Abbottabad, killing Osama bin Laden and his son Khalid, as well as others. Saber and other wives living in the house were imprisoned. Hamza again disappeared.
In August 2015, a video emerged on jihadi websites of al-Zawahri introducing "a lion from the den of al-Qaida" — Hamza bin Laden. Since then, Hamza had been featured in al-Qaida messages, delivering speeches on everything from the war in Syria to Donald Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia on his first foreign trip as president.
But he hadn't been heard from since a message in March 2018, in which he threatened the rulers of Saudi Arabia.
New York, Sept 14, (CNN/UNB)- President Donald Trump on Thursday evening claimed that energy efficient light bulbs make him look orange, one in a series of bizarre claims about green energy and climate conservation in remarks to Republican House members in Baltimore, reports CNN.
"What's with the lightbulb?" Trump asked introducing one of several environmentally related rants in his more than hour-long remarks. He described energy efficient light bulbs as "many times more expensive than that old, incandescent bulb that worked very well" and "the lights no good."
"The bulb that we're being forced to use, number one, to me, most importantly, I always look orange," he said, to laughs from the audience.
Light bulbs have been a common target for the President who has used them as a symbol to criticize energy and environmental restrictions.
Federal regulators in the Trump administration lifted energy efficiency regulations earlier this month for several common types of light bulbs, which critics believe is the administration's latest assault on efforts to combat climate change and energy use. The administration said the overturned rules, crafted in the final days of the Obama administration and which were set to take effect in January, would cause prices for light bulbs to skyrocket to untenable levels.
Trump also railed against the Paris Climate Accords, which he decided the US would pull out of early in his administration.
"How's that working out for Paris?" Trump asked, pointing to Yellow Vest protesters in France. Trump said the protesters "didn't like all of that money being sent to people that they'd never heard of the country which they came." But specifically, the Yellow Vest demonstrators have protested rising fuel taxes in France and have called for an increase to the minimum wage.
Speaking about the Paris agreement, Trump said, "They were going to take away our wealth. They were going to say we can't do certain businesses. We can't take the oil and gas. We can't do anything. This would have been one of the great travesties."
Trump also said the agreement "would do nothing to improve our environment" but would instead "punish" the United States "while foreign polluters operate with impunity."
As part of the agreement, the Obama administration pledged to slash carbon emissions by 26%-28% below 2005 levels by 2025. Trump announced the US would be pulling out of the agreement in June 2017.
Trump claimed during his speech the Clean Waters Act "didn't give clean waters" -- the same day the Environmental Protection Agency announced the repeal of an Obama-era rule that extended federal authority and protections to streams and wetlands. The regulation defined what bodies of water are protected under the federal Clean Water Act but was a favorite punching bag of Republicans, who ridicule it as government overreach. Democrats defended it as necessary to ensure waterways remained pollution-free.
Trump, in his Baltimore speech, bolstered his campaign pillar of "energy dominance" in the United States, also praising the quality of American air and water. He said "today we have the cleanest air. We have the cleanest water that we've ever had ... in the history of our country for the last 25 years."
As it relates to drinking water, specifically, the US is tied for first among nine other countries for the best in the world, as CNN has previously reported on this claim by the Trump administration. But it's incorrect to categorically assert the US has the cleanest air and water in the world.
Trump later said that for "a virtually insignificant amount of energy" the US would soon be producing cars that are "substantially" less expensive and "much safer" because they will be made of denser materials. He appeared to be referencing new auto industry standards he said would soon be released by the Trump administration.
Trump took to criticizing Democrats' stance on several environmental issues, becoming frustrated with recent efforts to reduce plastic and reiterating his repeated claims about the Green New Deal.
"Then they talk about plastic straws. I said, 'What about the plate? What about the wrapper that's made up of a tougher plastic? What about all the other plastic?'," Trump said, adding that straws are "the only thing we're worried about" now.
He later told Republicans, "We won't let Democrats obliterate the plastic industry and cripple working class families with sky-high energy prices."
He also claimed that the Green New Deal would mean "no more cows. No more planes and I guess no more people, right?"
The resolution looks to overhaul transportation in the US by removing "pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector as much as is technologically feasible." When it comes to cows and farming the language is similar, looking to "remove pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector as much as is technologically feasible."
Trump didn't spare criticism for his former Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, who wanted the country to invest in wind energy and solar energy as part of her 2016 platform.
"Solar is fine, you know, small potatoes compared to what we're talking about. Doesn't have the power, what you need," Trump said.
"The wind is very expensive," he continued, adding that windmills are imported from Germany and China.
He reiterated his previous claims that windmills devalue real estate, kill birds, are noisy and provide intermittent energy, adding, "Think of the pollutants that go in the air when they make in these massive steel things."
Several major academic studies have found no statistically significant decrease in the average property value due to wind turbines in the US.
And while the Department of Energy has said that wind turbines can be noisy and impact wildlife in their path, it has also described the energy source as "cost effective" and "sustainable." A 2018 report from DOE also indicates that the US is a net importer of wind turbine equipment and Germany and China lead the number of wind-specific imports to the US.
Toledo, Sep 11 (AP/UNB) — Authorities say two people are dead after a cargo plane approaching an Ohio airport crashed and burst into flames as it hit several unoccupied vehicles.
No other injuries were reported from the crash early Wednesday at an auto repair shop just east of the Toledo Express Airport.
Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority spokeswoman Kayla Lewandowski says the two people who died were aboard the Convair 440.
The port authority's manager of airline affairs, Joe Rotterdam, says officials can't yet confirm whether any distress call was made from the aircraft.
Rotterdam says officials believe the plane had traveled from Laredo, Texas, and stopped outside Memphis, Tennessee, on Tuesday before heading to Ohio.
They said no further details were immediately available about the people who died or the plane's owner.
Bedminster, Sep 11(AP/UNB) — The man charged with breaking into singer Taylor Swift's Rhode Island mansion is accused of causing more than $20,000 damage to President Donald Trump's New Jersey golf course.
The Somerset County prosecutor says an employee at Trump National Golf Course in Bedminster observed a spinning vehicle "doing donuts" on the 11th hole on Sept. 3. A vehicle was spotted again on Sept. 8 making circular patterns on the 13th hole.
A partial license plate number led police Tuesday to charge 26-year-old Richard McEwan of Milford with criminal mischief.
McEwan was not wearing shoes when he was arrested in Swift's beachfront mansion last month.
Police said he told them he was taught to take his shoes off when entering someone's home to be polite.
A phone number listed for him has been disconnected.
New York, Sept 11 (AP/UNB) — Americans are commemorating 9/11 with mournful ceremonies, volunteering, appeals to "never forget" and rising attention to the terror attacks' extended toll on responders.
A crowd of victims' relatives is expected at ground zero Wednesday, while President Donald Trump is scheduled to join an observance at the Pentagon. Vice President Mike Pence is to speak at the third attack site, near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Former President George W. Bush, the commander-in-chief at the time of the 2001 attacks, is due at an afternoon wreath-laying at the Pentagon.
Eighteen years after the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil, the nation is still grappling with the aftermath at ground zero, in Congress and beyond. The attacks' aftermath is visible from airport security checkpoints to Afghanistan. A rocket exploded at the U.S. embassy as the anniversary began in Afghanistan, where a post-9/11 invasion has become America's longest war.
"People say, 'Why do you stand here, year after year?'" Chundera Epps, a sister of Sept. 11 victim Christopher Epps, said at last year's ceremony at the World Trade Center. "Because soldiers are still dying for our freedom. First responders are still dying and being ill."
"We can't forget. Life won't let us forget," she added.
The anniversary ceremonies center on remembering the nearly 3,000 people killed when hijacked planes rammed into the trade center, the Pentagon and a field near Shanksville on Sept. 11, 2001. All those victims' names are read aloud at the ground zero ceremony, where moments of silence and tolling bells mark the moments when the aircraft crashed and the trade center's twin towers fell.
But there has been growing awareness in recent years of the suffering of another group of people tied to the tragedy: firefighters, police and others who died or fell ill after exposure to the wreckage and the toxins unleashed in it.
While research continues into whether those illnesses are tied to 9/11 toxins, a victims compensation fund for people with potentially Sept. 11-related health problems has awarded more than $5.5 billion so far. Over 51,000 people have applied.
After years of legislative gridlock, dwindling money in the fund and fervent activism by ailing first responders and their advocates, Congress this summer made sure the fund won't run dry . Trump, a Republican and a New Yorker who was in the city on 9/11, signed the measure in July.
The sick gained new recognition this year at the memorial plaza at ground zero, where the new 9/11 Memorial Glade was dedicated this spring.
The tribute features six large stacks of granite inlaid with salvaged trade center steel, with a dedication "to those whose actions in our time of need led to their injury, sickness, and death." No one is named specifically.
Some 9/11 memorials elsewhere already included sickened rescue, recovery and cleanup workers, and there is a remembrance wall entirely focused on them in Nesconset, on Long Island. But those who fell ill or were injured, and their families, say having a tribute at ground zero carries special significance.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon announced Monday that its 9/11 memorial will close next week for electrical and lighting work. The project, expected to take until late May, includes repairs to lighting glitches in the shallow reflecting pools under the memorial benches.
Sept. 11 is known not only as a day for remembrance and patriotism, but also as a day of service. People around the country continue to volunteer at food banks, schools, home-building projects, park cleanups and other charitable endeavors on and near the anniversary.