The Envoy
  • Top Al Qaeda ops chief killed in Pakistan, US says

    Atiya Abd al-Rahman (State Department)A senior al Qaeda operations commander, Atiyah abd al-Rahman, has been killed in Pakistan, the Obama administration said Saturday.

    "It's been confirmed that al Qaeda's number two, Atiyah abd al-Rahman, was killed earlier this week in Waziristan, Pakistan," a senior U.S. official told the Envoy Saturday by email, describing Atiyah's death as "a tremendous loss for al Qaeda, because [Osama bin Laden's successor Ayman al-] Zawahiri was relying heavily on him to help guide and run the organization, especially since Bin Laden's death."

    According to the senior U.S. official, Atiya, who was born in Misrata, Libya in 1970, was killed on Aug. 22. The Associated Press reported that Atiyah was killed in a U.S. drone strike that occurred in Waziristan on Aug. 22, although U.S. officials would not confirm how he was killed.

    American officials described Atiyah Saturday as the "number 2" official in al Qaeda after the killing of Osama bin Laden by U.S. Navy Seals in Pakistan in May.

    However, Washington Post intelligence columnist David Ignatius, writing in a column Aug. 23--one day after the Aug. 22 strike that killed Atiyah, but several days before U.S. officials confirmed the news--said that U.S. officials believe, based on documents seized at bin Laden's compound, that Atiyah may effectively be more important than Zawahiri. "Indeed, because the Libyan-born Atiyah . . . was the boss's key link with the outside, officials see him as more important than bin Laden's nominal successor," Ignatius wrote.

    Read More »from Top Al Qaeda ops chief killed in Pakistan, US says
  • If they find Gadhafi, what will they do with him?

    (AP)As the Libyan rebels continue their hunt for Moammar Gadhafi, the United States has moved to distance itself from the search for Libya's four-decade-long ruler.

    "Neither the United States nor NATO is involved in this manhunt," Victoria Nuland, a State Department spokeswoman, told journalists at a press conference Thursday, Reuters reported.

    "If attacks on civilians stopped, regardless of any individual, you know, it's those military missions that NATO is undertaking," Pentagon spokesman Col. Dave Lapan told journalists Thursday. "Do you expect that every attack has been personally directed by him?"

    But if and when Gadhafi is found, what are the options for dealing with him? And who gets to decide? Presumably, there are four scenarios: send him to face international war crimes charges in the Hague, try him in Libya, let him slink off to exile behind fortified walls in some country that would have him; or, finally, that he is killed in battle. (Gadhafi for his part vowed in an audio interview this week, as he has in the past, to fight "until victory or martyrdom.")

    Read More »from If they find Gadhafi, what will they do with him?
  • • A car bomb at the UN headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria (video above) killed at least 16 people Friday. (Associated Press)

    • Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan resigned Friday amid public dissatisfaction with government response to March 11 tsuanami, Fukushima nuclear crisis. (Washington Post)

    • U.S. condemns attack on Syrian cartoonist. (State Department)

    • Iran begins moving centrifuges to underground bunker Fordow facility, near Qom. (Reuters; ISIS)

    • India anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare agrees to end his fast. (Time)

    • CIA demands cuts in FBI agent's memoir of post-9/11 terror fight. (New York Times)

    Read More »from Daily Planet: Car bomb strikes UN in Nigeria; Japan PM Kan resigns


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  • 10 Things to Know for Today
    10 Things to Know for Today

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:

  • China July HSBC flash PMI at 18-month high as stimulus revs up economy

    China's factory activity expanded at its fastest pace in 18 months in July as new orders surged, a preliminary HSBC survey showed on Thursday, the latest indication that the economy is picking up as government stimulus measures kick in. "Economic activity continues to improve in July, suggesting that the cumulative impact of mini-stimulus measures introduced earlier is still filtering through," said Qu Hongbin, chief economist for China at HSBC. "We expect policy makers to maintain their accommodative stance over the next few months to consolidate the recovery." Mainland China stocks jumped after the PMI report while shares in the rest of Asia edged higher. The Australian dollar hit a three-week high on prospects of stronger exports to China.

  • How Science and Technology Can Help Make You Happier
    How Science and Technology Can Help Make You Happier

    Can you really click your way to happiness? You've heard of Fitbit and FuelBand — high-tech ways to get physically fit. Now there are apps for "emotional fitness" and Happify is one of them. Happify is a digital tool that offers science-based games and activities to boost your level of happiness.

  • France tells UK look to London oligarchs before damning Mistral

    France's foreign minister hit back at Britain on Tuesday, telling Prime Minister David Cameron he should do something about UK-based Russian oligarchs before questioning France's plan to sell Mistral helicopter carriers to Moscow. Cameron on Monday said Paris's plan to press ahead with the 1.2 billion-euro ($1.7 billion) order after the downing of the Malaysian Airlines plane in Ukraine would be "unthinkable" in Britain. "The English in particular were very pleasant so to speak saying we would never do that, but I told my dear British friends let's talk about the financial sector," Laurent Fabius told TF1 television after returning from a European foreign ministers meeting in Brussels.

  • Rockets found at UN Gaza school went missing
    Rockets found at UN Gaza school went missing

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. secretary-general on Wednesday said he was "alarmed" to hear that rockets were placed in a U.N.-run school in Gaza and now "have gone missing," and he demanded a full review of such incidents.

  • Survival of the Flight Test: Airplanes Evolve, Too
    Survival of the Flight Test: Airplanes Evolve, Too

    Adrian Bejan, a mechanical engineer at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and his colleagues analyzed aircraft designs from the earliest days of manned flight. They foresee the creation of more larger aircraft, with engine sizes and wingspans remaining proportional to fuselage sizes.

  • Montana US senator's thesis appears to plagiarize
    Montana US senator's thesis appears to plagiarize

    Montana Sen. John Walsh's thesis written to earn a master's degree from the U.S. Army War College contains unattributed passages taken word-for-word from previously published papers.

  • Wyoming cave with fossil secrets to be excavated
    Wyoming cave with fossil secrets to be excavated

    CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — For the first time in more than 30 years, paleontologists are about to revisit one of North America's most remarkable troves of late Pleistocene fossils: The bones of tens of thousands of animals piled at least 30 feet deep at the bottom of a sinkhole-type cave.

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