A bomb blast that killed at least nine people at New Delhi’s High Court was a “terrorist attack,” according to Home Minister P Chidambaram.


“The government unequivocally condemns the terrorist attack that took place today,” he said in a statement to the lower house of parliament on Wednesday.

An explosion outside India’s High Court in New Delhi killed at least ten people, the BBC reported.

Indian investigators say they have received an email, purportedly from an Islamist militant group active in South Asia, claiming responsibility for the blast.

The director general of the National Investigation Agency, said the email claimed to be from the Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami (HUJI) which has been linked to previous attacks on Indian soil.

Police spokesman Mohamed Akhalaque said the blast took place soon after 10am on Wednesday.

The explosion shook the courthouse, sending lawyers and judges fleeing outside, said Sanjiv Narula, a lawyer who was in the building.

The court buildings were evacuated as police blocked off the entire area and emergency services rushed the injured, some of them in a serious condition, to hospital.

“It appears that the bomb was in a suitcase because we have the remains of that suitcase,” Home Secretary RK Singh told CNN-IBN television

Indian television showed images of ambulances taking the wounded from the scene. At least 45 people are believed to have been injured.

The blast happened mid-morning near a large crowd of people lined up in front of a reception counter near the entrance to the court building.

Rahul Gupta, a petitioner whose case was listed for a hearing Wednesday, told Agence France-Presse more than 100 people were in a queue at the reception when the blast happened.

“Then there was a huge explosion. I saw a lot of people lying around in a pool of blood,” he said.

People ran to the blast site to assist the injured, piling them into auto-rickshaws to take them to the hospital.

Ambulances and forensic teams rushed to the scene, along with sniffer dogs and a bomb disposal unit, apparently checking for any further explosives.

“There was smoke everywhere. People were running. People were shouting. There was blood everywhere. It was very, very scary,” said Sangeeta Sondhi, a lawyer who was parking her car near the gate when the bomb exploded.

It’s the second blast to hit the Indian High Court this year.

Home Ministry official UK Bansal said the blast appeared to have been caused by a medium intensity bomb possibly hidden in a briefcase.

Cyber-transparency activist Julian Assange says he’s launching a career in television, hosting what he’s billing as a new brand of talk show built around the theme of “the world tomorrow.


The show’s guests haven’t been disclosed, but Assange has promised to give viewers more of what he’s been supplying for years: controversy.

The WikiLeaks secret-spilling site said in a statement released late on Monday that “iconoclasts, visionaries and power insiders” would be brought in so that Assange could challenge them on their vision of world affairs and “their ideas on how to secure a brighter future.”

The world of television talk shows is a new one for the 40-year-old Australian, whose group has orchestrated the biggest mass-disclosures of secret documents in US history.

But the statement argued that Assange was uniquely qualified for the role given his past as “a pioneer for a more just world and a victim of political repression.”

Ellis Cashmore, an expert on celebrity culture at England’s Staffordshire University, wasn’t so sure. “Assange has got a good, deep voice and agreeable Aussie accent, but he’s a slow, deliberate talker and not especially televisual,” Cashmore said in an email.

“To be true to his image, he would have to make his proposed show subversive; and that might not appeal to many would-be guests.” WikiLeaks said that the show would begin airing in mid-March, although how the show will be produced and who will carry it are open questions.

It’s not even clear Assange will be free to host the show. He’s currently fighting extradition to Sweden, where he’s wanted over sex crimes allegations, and US officials are still weighing possible charges linked to his attention-grabbing leaks.

In its statement WikiLeaks referred queries about the series to the hitherto obscure Quick Roll Productions, whose website carried no indication of where the group was based or who was managing it.

An online records search indicated that Quick Roll’s site was created about two weeks ago.

Neither Quick Roll nor WikiLeaks returned emails seeking further details on their project.

The Prime Minister has denied that her security detail overreacted when dragging her from a heated protest in Canberra yesterday.


Photographs showed the Prime Minister almost falling to the ground as she and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott fled a Canberra restaurant which had become surrounded by protesters from the nearby Aboriginal tent embassy.

“The police did an amazing job”, Ms Gillard said.

Ms Gillard said she was ‘very angry’ at the disruption to an Australia Day event, however.

“Ive got absolutely no troubles at all with peaceful protest…what I utterly condemn is when the protests turn violent…as they did yesterday.”

Protesters have denied the use of violence, saying the police overreacted both in their treatment of activists, and in their heavy-handed treatment of the PM herself.

Spokesman Mark McMurtie told the ABC the police were to blame for the violence.

“The only violence you can see came from the police, don’t say it was a violent protest, it was a violent reaction to the protest.”

The PM also said she was unaware of claims on a Sydney radio claiming that a member of her staff tipped off protesters to the fact that Mr Abbott was in the nearby restaurant


Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, meanwhile, is standing by the comments that whipped protesters into a frenzy on Australia Day.

He’s also been backed by some senior indigenous leaders who’ve slammed protesters for reacting violently to “pretty timid” remarks.

Activists continue to blame Mr Abbott for inciting their protest after he suggested they “move on” from issues that gave birth to the Aboriginal tent embassy outside Old Parliament House this day 40 years ago.

Interpreted as a sign he wanted to tear down the makeshift settlement, an angry crowd of 200 people trapped the prime minister and Mr Abbott in a restaurant, prompting a chaotic escape in which Ms Gillard stumbled and lost a shoe.

Mr Abbott on Friday said some in the protest group had “verballed” him.

“As a result, it stirred people up,” he told Macquarie Radio.


He stood by his original comments, saying it wasn’t true that indigenous policy had been neglected or the government was indifferent to the plight of Aboriginal people.

“That might have been true 40 years ago. It certainly isn’t true today.”

Former ALP national president and indigenous leader Warren Mundine said the activists had over-reacted.

“The words were pretty timid,” he told ABC Radio, noting Mr Abbott hadn’t said anything about shutting down the embassy.

“He echoed words I would have echoed.”

Mr Mundine said the tent embassy was an appropriate symbol for the indigenous fight when it was set up in 1972 in an appeal for land rights.

“But quite frankly it is irrelevant to the mainstream of Aboriginal people today and it has been for the last 20 years,” he said.

Indigenous social justice commissioner Mick Gooda agreed.

“Back in 1970s we needed this sort of stuff to raise the issue, but the issue is fairly and squarely on the agenda.”

“Vent your frustrations and your anger, but do it in a peaceful way,” he said in a message to protesters.

“Do it in a way that befits Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”

But Mr McMurtrie insists Mr Abbott’s words incited the afternoon’s events.

“He made the comments in an inciteful and smug manner in Sydney and then flies several hundred kilometres to come down and sit 100 metres from us,” he said.

“It’s akin to us going to the cenotaph on Anzac Day and asking you to pull that down.”

Meanwhile, protesters have offered to return Ms Gillard’s right blue wedge heeled shoe as a gesture of friendship.

The Aboriginal Tent Embassy’s Facebook page originally posted the stolen shoe would be returned in exchange for stolen land.

“Julia will be eligible to make a shoe title claim which will take approximately 20 years,” it said.

“This will be dependant on Julia being able to show continuous connection with the shoe.”

Ms Gillard is in Melbourne on Friday to present some more national emergency medals.

Facebook is influencing what news gets read online as people use the internet’s most popular hangout to share and recommend content.


But Twitter has a lot less influence.

That’s one of the key findings from a study on the flow of traffic to the web’s 25 largest news destinations.

The study was released Monday by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.

Facebook was responsible for 3 per cent of traffic to the 21 news sites that allowed data to be tracked, according to the study’s co-author, Amy Mitchell.

Five of the sites studied got 6 per cent to 8 per cent of their readers from Facebook.

The referrals typically came from links posted by friends on Facebook’s social-networking site or from the ubiquitous “like” buttons, which Facebook encourages other websites to place alongside their content.

Meanwhile, major news sites are getting less than 1 per cent of their traffic from Twitter, even though it had about 175 million accounts last year.

Among those studied by Pew, only the Los Angeles Times’ website got more traffic from Twitter than Facebook.

The Facebook effect is small compared with Google’s clout. Google Inc.’s dominant search engine supplies about 30 per cent of traffic to the top news sites, according to Pew.

But Facebook and other sharing tools, such as Addthis南宁桑拿会所,, are empowering people to rely on their online social circles to point out interesting content.

By contrast, Google uses an automated formula to help people find news.

Facebook is at the forefront of this shift because it has more than 500 million worldwide users.

That’s far more than any other internet service built for socialising and sharing.

“If searching for the news was the most important development of the last decade, sharing the news may be among the most important of the next,” the Pew report said.

Twitter accounted for 3.5 per cent of the online traffic to the Los Angeles Times, compared with slightly more than 2 per cent from Facebook.

The Drudge Report, a site started during the 1990s, is a far more significant traffic source for news sites than Twitter, according to the Pew study.

The Pew report is based on an analysis of internet traffic data compiled by the research firm Nielsen Co. during the first nine months of last year.

Dock operator Patrick has warned its workers they will not be paid if they begin work slowdowns on Australia’s major docks on Wednesday.


Restrictions in Brisbane and Sydney are scheduled to begin Wednesday morning, with Fremantle to follow on Thursday.

According to ABC News, the industrial action is set to continue after last minute calls for negotations.

Patrick issued staff with the pay withholding warnings via text messages last night, but denies the measure amounts to a lockout.

“Patrick is allocating employees for shifts in all of our terminals as per normal, however due to the severity of the bans, which render our operations inoperative we will not pay employees

unless they are willing to work their full duties in accordance with the Fair Work Act,” Patrick director Paul Garaty said.

“The nature of these bans means that vessels cannot be serviced. So if Patrick were to pay it would be paying employees even though they are not working.

“This is fundamentally different to a lockout where an employer prevents employees from working.”

Workers in Sydney arrived at the dock at 6am (AEST) on Wednesday and are now meeting with management on site.

Patrick has also confirmed it extended a formal invitation to the Maritime Union of Australia to enter into last-minute voluntary conciliation and arbitration before the Fair Work Commission.

Patrick believes the restrictions could log-jam about half of Australia’s container trade.

The MUA wants three annual six per cent pay rises and an increase to superannuation from nine to 13 per cent.

Patrick says the union’s pay claim would add about $120 million to the company’s costs over the three years without productivity offsets.

More violent thunderstorms have roared across middle America, killing seven people in two states, with several tornadoes touching down in Oklahoma and high winds pounding rural Kansas.


The high-powered storms arrived as forecast on Tuesday, just two days after a massive tornado tore through the southwest Missouri town of Joplin and killed 122 people.

Several tornadoes struck Oklahoma’s capital, Oklahoma City, and its suburbs during rush hour, killing at least five people and injuring at least 60 others, including three children who were in critical condition, authorities said. Cherokee Ballard, a spokeswoman for the state medical examiner, said four people died west of Oklahoma City in Canadian County, where a weather-monitoring site in El Reno recorded 243 kilometre per hour winds.

She did not have any immediate details about the deaths. At Chickasha, 40 kilometres southwest of Oklahoma City, a 26-year-old woman died when a tornado hit a mobile home park where residents had been asked to evacuate their trailers, Assistant Police Chief Elip Moore said.

He said a dozen people were injured and that hundreds were displaced when the storm destroyed their homes. In Kansas, police said two people died when high winds threw a tree into their van near the small town of St John, about 160 kilometres west of Wichita.

The highway was shut down because of storm damage.

More severe weather occurred after nightfall as the storms continued east, but none with the power of the daytime storms. Their path included Joplin, which is still cleaning up from a massive storm on Sunday that was the nation’s eighth-deadliest twister among records dating to 1840.

“Unfortunately, this event will likely continue for some time,” Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin said.

“I am asking all Oklahomans to stay aware of the weather and to take proper precautions to keep themselves out of harm’s way.” The Storm Prediction Center had warned since the weeken

d that strong, long-tracking tornadoes could hit Oklahoma and adjacent parts of Kansas and Texas. The storm that killed four west of Oklahoma City on Tuesday later moved to the capital’s northern suburbs and on toward Stillwater – covering a distance of about 130 kilometres.

“We knew for the last two days that we had an opportunity for long-tracking tornadoes, and unfortunately that came true today,” said Michelann Ooten, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management.

Ooten said at least 60 people were injured in the Tuesday evening storms.

Three children suffered major injuries in Piedmont west of Oklahoma City, according to Lara O’Leary, a spokeswoman for the region’s Emergency Medical Service Authority.

The line of storms began about 3pm in Oklahoma and followed tracks greater than 65 kilometres into the state’s capital city before continuing on toward Tulsa.

Oklahoma state offices and many businesses let workers leave hours earlier to get out of harm’s way.

Travellers and staff at the two major North Texas airports were moved to safety as the threat of tornadoes and large hail moved into the area.

Also, fans were evacuated from the Rangers Ballpark concourse in Texas as a precaution against hail during a rain delay in Tuesday night’s baseball game between the Chicago White Sox and Texas Rangers.

The European Union is to look at fresh sanctions this week against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime as violence escalates in central Syria.


The Syrian army shelled residential areas in central Syria on Wednesday, a sharp escalation in the government’s attempts to crush a popular revolt against Assad’s rule, according to activists and witnesses.

Asked by members of the European Parliament to explain why Assad’s name was not on a list of 13 Syrian officials hit by EU sanctions, EU diplomacy chief Catherine Ashton said “we started with 13 people who were directly involved” in cracking down on protests.

“We’ll look at it again this week,” she added. “I assure you that my intention is to put the maximum political pressure that we can on Syria.” Shells and gunfire rocked the anti-regime city of Homs on Wednesday as the army hunted down more dissidents in the flashpoint town of Banias, activists said.

“Shelling and automatic gunfire could be heard early (on) Wednesday in the (Homs) neighbourhood of Bab Amr and in nearby villages Mashada, Jobar and Sultanya,” human rights activist Najati Tayara told AFP.

He said the villages, with a combined population of some 100,000 inhabitants – many of them Bedouins – have been the target of a security operation since Monday.

The Syrian army had swept the agricultural area searching for weapons and spreading fear among the population, he said.

“This operation terrified residents and security agents took part in looting,” Tayara said, adding that 50 tanks had rolled into the Sittin neighbourhood in Homs.

The Syrian army also kept up its security sweep of the flashpoint coastal city of Banias, scouting for “protest organisers yet to be arrested”, said Rami Abdul Rahman of the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

“A tank has been stationed since Tuesday night on the square where Banias demonstrations are held,” he said, adding that the northern port remained encircled by the army after weekend arrests put some 450 people behind bars.

In a bid to snuff out anti-regime protests, the Syrian army has deployed its tanks to several protest hubs and unleashed a wave of arrests focused on dissidents and protest organisers, local human rights activists said.

Syrian authorities are determined to crush the uprising, which began in the southern city of Daraa in mid-March and quickly spread nationwide.

The 27-state EU on Tuesday issued a range of sanctions including an arms embargo along with a travel ban and assets freeze targeting Assad’s brother, four of his cousins and others in his inner circle.

Ashton had warned the Syrian leader that he could be next.

She faced a barrage of hard questions from Euro-MPs in the parliament over why the EU had spared Assad.

“Who in Europe is against putting Assad on the list? Which are the countries opposed to the EU taking the only decision possible? Tell us!” said Greens leader Daniel Cohn-Bendit.

“There will be a solution in Syria only once Assad has quit office in Syria, so it’s clear that Assad and his entire family must be put on the list not tomorrow, but today,” he added.

Ashton said there had been “lots of debate” among the 27 states and that there were “lots of different views”, but that she could not give the MEPs a list of countries for or against including Assad on the sanctions.

Anti-gambling campaigners have rounded on the appointment of former ALP national secretary Karl Bitar to head up government relations for the Crown Casino group.


Bitar, one of the so-called ‘faceless men’ of the Labor party, left his ALP role last month. The new appointment comes as the Gillard government considers the findings of the Productivity Commission’s 2009 report into gambling.

The report proposed new ‘pre-commitment’ laws on setting gambling limits on poker machines, of which Crown has 2,500 at its Melbourne casino alone.

‘Crown are entitled to hire whoever they want’, Paul Bendat of PokieAct told SBS.

‘But Mr Bitar has a lot of work to do to restore Crown’s image, let alone the modest consumer protection reforms recommended by the Productivity Commission’, he said in relation to reports in late 2009 which included claims that hundreds of ambulances were called out to the casino in a two-year period, citing Freedom of Information documents.

Crown said Bitar will also be responsible for infrastructure devlopment, tourism and responsible gambling in an announcement to the ASX. CEO Rowen Craigie said everyone at Crown was looking forward to working with Mr Bitar.


But Independent MP Andrew Wilkie has said that if the government does not implement some of the measures, it can expect to lose his support.

When contacted, Wilkie’s office said the MP was refusing to comment on the matter.

But anti-pokies campaigner, Independent Senator Nick Xenophon was not so cautious in attacking Crown’s lobbying efforts.

‘This guy has inside information about the Government that Crown Casino effectively just bought. He has gone from running the party to lobbying the party,’ he told the ABC.

Xenophon said Bitar knows a lot of useful information which he’ll put to good use at James Packer’s casino group.

‘It’s just extraordinary that he would think it’s appropriate that he can take up this role to actually go head to head with all that inside information with the Government over poker machine reform,’ he said

Political lobbying reform should be considered in Australia, Mr Xenophon added.

The appointment comes in the middle of Gambling Awareness Week in Victoria.

A spokesperson told SBS that the week is ‘all about spreading the message that people should take a responsible approach to gambling…the week is supported by industry, which includes Crown.’

But Mr Bendat of PokieAct said the state government-backed initiative was a ‘crap PR exercise.’

‘Why don’t you urge the venues to conduct gambling responsibly, or the manufacturers of the machines so they are not the harmful machines that they are?’, he asked.

The Age reports that Crown could lose between $36 million and $145 million following the proposed new ‘pre-commitment’ laws on setting gambling limits, citing a Merrill Lynch report.

SBS is awaiting comment from Crown.

Reports say a bill which called for the hanging of people who have engaged in homosexual sex in Uganda has been amended to remove the clause.


The Los Angeles Times reports that proponents of the anti-gay bill are still expected to push ahead with the bill despite the removal of the clause.

The latest developments come after weeks of unrest and the violent suppression of protests over rising fuel and food prices.

Watch Dateline’s report on the bill from last year

Opposition Leader’s return blocked

Uganda on Wednesday blocked opposition leader Kizza Besigye’s return from neighbouring Kenya, where he had sought treatment after an assault by police who broke his protest against rising living costs, AFP reports.

The veteran opposition leader last month embarked on “walk to work” protests against soaring food and fuel prices which the opposition blames on bad governance, but the government says is due to global economic factors.

On April 28 Besigye was attacked by police who smashed the windows of his car, sprayed him with tear gas and arrested him over the demonstrations for the fourth time in a month.

He went to Nairobi the following day for specialist treatment.

“(Ugandan) state security told Kenya Airways that if Besigye was on board they would not be given landing rights” at Uganda’s Entebbe airport, Anne Mugisha, an official for Besigye’s Forum for Democratic Change party, told AFP.

Mugisha later said that Besigye had eventually been cleared to fly home and planned to return Thursday.

“The managing director of Kenya Airways communicated to staff at the airport that the Ugandan government has now cleared Besigye to fly,” Mugisha said. “He chose to fly on the same flight tomorrow morning.”

The airline confirmed denying Besigye boarding because it had received information that the “aircraft would not be allowed to land at the Entebbe International Airport if he was on board.”

“Besigye thus could not board the aircraft as Kenya Airways had to first ascertain this information without inconveniencing the other passengers destined for Entebbe,” a statement said.

The incident came on the eve of the swearing-in ceremony for President Yoweri Museveni, who won re-election after February polls in which Besigye mounted the strongest challenge yet to his 25-year rule.

Besigye, 55, won 37 percent of the vote, while Museveni, 62, took 59 percent according to official election results challenged by the opposition, which claimed widespread fraud.

Kenya ‘implicit’

A Kenyan lawmaker told parliament his country was complicit in blocking Besigye’s return.

“The Kenyan government has denied Dr Besigye his right to go back home, I want to understand under what law can our own government detain Dr Besigye to tell him you cannot go back to Uganda,” said the MP, Charles Kilonzo.

“If this government has joined Museveni to fight the opposition there which is fighting the rising cost of living, then do we expect the same government to deliver to its own people and curb the rising cost of living in Kenya?”

But Kenya government spokesman Alfred Mutua denied the claims, saying “Kenya is not involved in his (Besigye’s) travel plans.”

Several protest attempts by the opposition have been thwarted by the security forces, who on Tuesday arrested another opposition chief for trying to hold a meeting at a city square.

Museveni, a former guerrilla leader, told reporters Tuesday that he planned to introduce constitutional amendments that would see bail prohibited for certain charges, including rioting and economic sabotage.

Opposition leaders, including Besigye himself, have been released on bail after they were arrested for the recent protests.

At least nine people were shot dead by security forces during the demonstrations, according to Human Rights Watch, which called for a probe on the grounds that some were struck in the back and not even taking part.

However, Besigye, Museveni’s former personal doctor turned opponent, has vowed to press on with the demonstrations despite the police crackdown.

He had warned before the February 18 elections that inflation was choking the population and that Ugandans were ready for an Egypt-style revolt, but stopped short of calling for mass street protests to demand regime change.

Pakistan’s Taliban claimed their first major attack to avenge Osama Bin Laden’s death as 80 people were killed in a double suicide bombing on a paramilitary police training centre.


Around 140 people were wounded, 40 of them fighting for their lives, in the deadliest attack this year in the nuclear-armed country where the government is deep in crisis over the killing of the Al-Qaeda chief by US forces on May 2.

In the fallout over the unilateral raid and in another sign of damaged ties with wary ally Washington, an official said Pakistan’s senior military officer General Khalid Shameem Wynne had cancelled a visit to the United States.

Pakistan has vowed to review intelligence cooperation and one local security official denied a CNN report that US intelligence agents had interrogated three of bin Laden’s widows who were apprehended in the raid and taken into custody.

CNN said the women were interviewed as a group, despite Washington’s wishes to question them separately, and were openly “hostile” to the US officials.

Pakistan’s intelligence agency, which CNN said also attended the meeting, was not immediately available to comment on the report.

Friday’s explosions detonated in northwest Pakistan as newly trained paramilitary cadets, dressed in civilian clothes, were getting into buses for a 10-day leave, police said.

“This was the first revenge for Osama’s martyrdom. Wait for bigger attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan,” Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told AFP by telephone from an undisclosed location.

Under Hakimullah Mehsud, who replaced Baitullah Mehsud as leader of the group after he was killed by a US missile in 2009, the Pakistani Taliban has been seen as increasingly inspired by Al-Qaeda in waging mass-casualty attacks.

The bombers blew themselves up in Shabqadar town outside the biggest Frontier Constabulary training centre in the northwest, where Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked militants repeatedly attack security forces.

The town is close to Mohmand, which is in the lawless tribal belt that Washington has branded the headquarters of Al-Qaeda and where CIA drones carry out missile strikes on Taliban and other Islamist militant commanders.

Ahmad Ali, a wounded paramilitary policeman, recalled the horror when the explosions turned a festive Friday morning into a bloodbath.

“I was sitting in a van waiting for my colleagues. We were in plain clothes and we were happy we were going to see our families,” he told AFP by telephone from Shabqadar hospital.

“I heard someone shouting ‘Allah Akbar’ and then I heard a huge blast. I was hit by something in my back shoulder. In the meantime I heard another blast and I jumped out of the van. I felt that I was injured and bleeding.”

Bashir Ahmed Bilour, senior minister for Khyber Paktunkhwa province, said 80 people had been killed, including 69 FC men and 11 civilians, making it the deadliest attack in Pakistan since July 9, 2010 when bombers killed 105 people in Mohmand.

Doctors in Peshawar’s main Lady Reading hospital said they were struggling to save the lives of more than 40 critically wounded paramilitary policemen and had declared a state of emergency to cope with the scale of the casualties.

“Both attacks were suicide attacks. The first suicide bomber came on a motorcycle and detonated his vest among the Frontier Constabulary men,” said the police chief of the Charsadda district, Nisar Khan Marwat.

“When other FC people came to the rescue to help their colleagues, the second bomber came on another motorcycle and blew himself up.”

In August 2010, the then chief of Pakistan’s Frontier Constabulary, Sifwat Ghayoor, was killed in a suicide bombing in the northwestern city of Peshawar.

The Taliban last week threatened to attack security forces to avenge bin Laden’s killing in a US helicopter raid north of the capital Islamabad.

There has been little public protest in support of bin Laden in a country where more people have been killed in bomb attacks in the past four years than the nearly 3,000 who died in Al-Qaeda’s September 11, 2001 strikes on the US.

But under growing domestic pressure to punish Washington for the bin Laden raid, Pakistan’s civilian government said Thursday it would review counter-terrorism cooperation with the United States.

It was unclear if the move was intended as a threat, but it showed the extent of the task facing US Senator John Kerry as he prepares to embark on a mission to shore up badly strained ties with Washington’s fractious ally.

Washington did not inform Islamabad that an elite team of Navy SEALs had helicoptered into the garrison town of Abbottabad until the commandos had cleared Pakistani airspace, carrying with them Bin Laden’s corpse.

Pakistanis have been outraged at the perceived impunity of the US raid, while asking whether their military was too incompetent to know Bin Laden was living close to a major forces academy, or, worse, conspired to protect him.

Washington is pressing Islamabad to investigate how Bin Laden and several wives and children managed to live for five years under the noses of its military in Abbottabad, just 40 miles (65 kilometres) north of the capital.

New footage of the 40-minute raid on the high-walled compound has emerged according to CBS News, which said the SEALs had tiny helmet-mounted cameras.

US officials who saw the footage said commandos fired at Bin Laden when he appeared on a third floor landing, but missed and he retreated into a bedroom.

The first SEAL entered the room and pulled aside Bin Laden’s daughters, while a second commando was confronted by one of his wives who either rushed him or was pushed in his direction, said CBS.

According to the report, that second commando pushed the wife away and fired a round into Bin Laden’s chest, while a third shot Bin Laden in the head.

Oprah Winfrey has told her viewers how much they’ve meant to her during her show’s 25-year run.


For the final episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show, the talk show queen appeared alone on stage.

Fans leaving Tuesday’s taping at her Chicago stage said Winfrey had tears in her eyes as the television icon said a final thank you.

“She said, ‘This isn’t goodbye. This is until we meet again’,” said Amy Korin, 32, who was in the audience.

Winfrey then kissed and hugged her longtime partner, Stedman Graham, and made her way through the halls of Harpo Studios, saying goodbye to her staff, audience members said.

She kept saying, “We did it! We did it!,” Korin said, and giving employees high-fives.

There was a single chair on the stage, but Winfrey stood most of the time, audience members said.

“A lot of crying and hugs, crying and hugs,” Korin said. Audience members described a simply produced series finale filled with a sense of gratitude. The finale will air in the US on Wednesday and in Australia on Thursday.

“It was just her the whole time, a recap of what she believed in, what we’ve given her as viewers and what she hopes she has given us,” said Nancy Evankoe, 60, who went to the taping with her daughter.

Winfrey announced in November 2009 that she would end her popular talk show after 25 years.

Tuesday’s taping comes a week after Hollywood’s A-list and 13,000 fans bid Winfrey farewell during a double-episode extravaganza at Chicago’s United Center.

The shows that aired on Monday and Tuesday in the US, included Aretha Franklin, Tom Cruise, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jordan and Madonna, among other stars of television, music and movies.

The bare-bones final taping had its share of celebrities in the audience including Tyler Perry, Maria Shriver, Suze Orman and Cicely Tyson, but none of them joined Winfrey on stage.

There were 404 audience members, according to Harpo Productions.

Hundreds of giddy fans struck by their luck at getting tickets for the final show had gathered outside Winfrey’s television studio in Chicago on Tuesday morning.

Sarah Cranley, 32, of Chicago waited in line with her mother, who travelled in from Pittsburgh for the taping

. Cranley said she felt very lucky to snag tickets to the last show and the prospect of seeing Winfrey live didn’t yet feel real.

“You think about how many billions of people around the world watch her and want to be here,” Cranley said.

“What are the odds?” Cranley’s mother, Sally Mowrey, 59, said Winfrey was a constant in her life when her husband’s job transfers had her family move 17 times. “That was something I could count one, watching Oprah,” Mowrey said.

“That was one thing that didn’t change.”

Fans said they went through the normal ticketing process for the final taping by submitting their names online. Some said they wrote letters explaining why they were Winfrey fans.

Winfrey’s best friend Gayle King mixed with the waiting fans and interviewed several with a camera phone. For her, the show’s end is bittersweet. “I have such mixed feelings about it,” King told fans.

The finale of The Oprah Winfrey Show has remained a secret, even as Harpo Studios hyped it as a television event.

In a promotional video posted online on May 16, clips of famous television finales plays over a sad song with the lyrics “It’s hard to say goodbye”. It includes Mary Tyler Moore, Walter Cronkite, Johnny Carson, M.A.S.H, The Cosby Show, and Cheers.

The video asks viewers “Where were you?” and “Where will you be?” Another promotional video for the final three episodes prompts viewers to “Say farewell”.

When Winfrey announced her show would end she promised her viewers she would use the final season to “knock your socks off”. On her 25th and final season premiere she danced onstage with John Travolta and told everyone in the audience they were going to Australia.

Other season highlights included interviews with President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, former President George W Bush and Michael Jackson’s family.

Winfrey also revealed she found a sister who her mother gave up for adoption. Already a television journalist, Winfrey came to Chicago in 1984 to WLS-TV’s morning talk show, A.M. Chicago.

A month later the show was number one in the market. A year later it was renamed The Oprah Winfrey Show. Winfrey opened Harpo Studios on Chicago’s West Loop neighbourhood in 1990.

On January 1 of this year she launched the Oprah Winfrey Network, which is based in Los Angeles. * The Oprah Winfrey Show finale will air on Thursday, May 26 at 8.30pm on Ten.

European governments insisted on handing out bailouts to fight the debt crisis, when they signed off on 78 billion euros ($A104.


33 billion) in loans to Portugal and debated giving Greece a second rescue package to avoid a disastrous default.

Most of the terms for Portugal’s package had emerged over the past weeks, so ministers quickly moved to discussing whether to give Greece more help on top of last year’s 110 billion euros ($A147.13 billion) in loans as it struggles to regain market confidence.

The market pessimism over Greece’s financial future – most investors expect it will have to renege on its debt deals – shows how the region is still struggling to get a grip on the debt crisis that has dragged on for more than a year.

The approval of the aid for Portugal was a relatively small step along that way, but showed how so far the European Union is prepared to stick with its existing crisis strategy – namely providing rescue loans to highly indebted countries to give them time to cut government spending and overhaul their economies in the hope that they will start growing again.

For Portugal – as for Ireland, which was bailed out in November – one-third of the rescue loans will come from the International Monetary Fund, while the rest would be split equally among Europe’s two bailout funds – one backed by eurozone countries, the other by the EU budget.

A European official previously said the average maturity of the rescue loans will be 7 1/2 years – like the bailouts for Ireland and Greece – and come at an interest rate of around 5.7 percent.

That’s lower than the rate Ireland has to pay for its bailout. In their statement, ministers said Monday that the Portuguese authorities agreed to “encourage” private investors to maintain their exposure to the country “on a voluntary basis” and not pull out funds.

That was a key demand from Finland, which had a hard time getting approval for the rescue package from its parliament.

A European official familiar with the region’s rescue mechanism said that eurozone governments want a commitment from banks not to dump their Portuguese bonds – a request that was also made as part of the bailout of Greece.

The official couldn’t immediately say whether the request made for the Portuguese rescue went beyond what was asked from investors in Greece.

The official was speaking on condition of anonymity because he didn’t want to pre-empt a news conference scheduled for later Monday.

What was clear, however, was that seeking such a voluntary commitment to maintain exposure fell far short of a debt restructuring – a move that most economists say should be part of Europe’s crisis strategy, at the very least for Greece.

Restructuring a country’s debts means asking – or forcing – private creditors like banks or investment funds to give it more time to repay or forego some of the money they are owed.

EU officials have so far vehemently denied that a restructuring of Greece’s debt was on the table, but on Monday a European finance minister conceded for the first time that such a move was being discussed.

“Of course we discuss all kinds of topics, including restructuring,” Dutch Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager said as he arrived at the meeting.

“But in public, we are very reluctant about discussing and debating restructuring.”

De Jager did not say whether his country favored a restructuring, but he expressed his frustration with Greece’s dire situation.

“At the moment it seems that Greece is not on the right track and it should be first brought back on the right track” before deciding on any new support measures, he told journalists.

Greece has to adopt further economic reforms and austerity measures and properly roll out its promised privatization program, de Jager said.

Greece’s debt is expected to top 166 percent of economic output in 2013, and the country is struggling to get a grip on budget shortfalls.

Most investors and analysts believe the debt load is so big and the economy so weak that only a restructuring will help it back on its feet.

Athens was expected to start raising some money on international debt markets again next year to help pay its bills, but with interest rates for Greek 10-year bonds consistently above 15 percent, that prospect looks increasingly unlikely, leaving the government with a massive shortfall.

Several European officials have hinted over the past days that a second bailout for Greece may be necessary, but only if the government was willing to undertake further reforms.

Experts from the EU, the ECB and the IMF are currently in Athens to check on the implementation of the existing program and whether Greece will need any more funds.

Belgian’s Finance Minister Didier Reynders said that as long as Greece shows willingness to engage in further measures, it should be possible to review its existing program without getting into restructuring, which he said would be “very catastrophic … not only for Greece but for all the eurozone.”

Reynders also downplayed the impact of the arrest of IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn arrest on Europe’s crisis management.

He acknowledged Strauss-Kahn had “some influence on the evolution of the dossier,” but said ultimately all officials were working off the same reports by the experts of the ECB, EU and IMF.

He added that he hoped that Europe will nevertheless be able to appoint the head of the IMF in the future – as it has been since the fund’s formation after World War II – despite growing demands from emerging markets who want more influence.

Other ministers declined to comment in detail on the incident in New York, saying Strauss-Kahn should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Protesters throwing stones and bottles clashed with baton-wielding riot police on Sunday in

Belgrade after several thousand Serbian nationalist supporters of jailed war-crimes suspect Ratko Mladic rallied outside the parliament building to demand his release.


The protests took place as Mladic insisted via his son that he’s not responsible for the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.

According to his son Darko, he not only claims he had nothing to do with the mass killings of 8,000 Muslim men and boys, but that he saved lives.

Rioters overturned garbage containers, broke traffic lights and set off firecrackers as they rampaged through downtown. Cordons of riot police tried to block their advances, and skirmishes took place in several locations in the centre of the capital. There were no immediate reports of injuries or arrests.

The clashes began after a rally that drew at least 7000 demonstrators, many singing nationalist songs and carrying banners honouring Mladic, the former Bosnian Serb military commander. Some chanted right-wing slogans and a few gave Nazi salutes.

The demonstrators, who consider Mladic a hero, said Serbia should not hand him over to the UN war crimes court in The Hague, Netherlands.

“Cooperation with The Hague tribunal represents treason,” Serbian Radical Party official Lidija Vukicevic told the crowd.


“This is a protest against the shameful arrest of the Serbian hero.”

Demonstrators demanded the ouster of Serbia’s pro-Western President Boris Tadic, who ordered Mladic’s arrest.A sign on the stage read, “Tadic is not Serbia”.

More than 3000 riot police were deployed around government buildings and Western embassies, fearing that the demonstration could turn violent. Riot police tried to block small groups of extremists from reaching the rally.

Supporters of the extreme nationalist Radical Party were bused in to attend the rally. Right-wing extremists and also urged followers to appear in large numbers.

Nationalists are furious that the pro-Western government apprehended Mladic on Thursday after nearly 16 years on the run.

The 69-year-old former general was caught at a relative’s home in a northern Serbian village.

The UN tribunal charged Mladic with genocide in 1995, accusing him of orchestrating the massacre of 8000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica and other war crimes of Bosnia’s 1992-95 war. Mladic’s arrest is considered critical to Serbia’s efforts to join the European Union, and to reconciliation in the region after a series

of ethnic wars of the 1990s.

Some 3000 supporters arrived on Sunday by bus from other parts of Bosnia to a rally at Kalinovik, the area where Mladic grew up. Many wore black T-shirts with Mladic’s picture and the words

“Serbia in my heart”.


The crowd called Tadic a “betrayer” for ordering the arrest of “the Serb hero” and urged him to “kill himself”. Many said they would fight under Mladic again.

Many of the Kalinovik protesters headed afterward to the shack Mladic was born in at the end of a steep, muddy road in the village of Bozanici, turning the shabby house into a pilgrimage site.

Mladic’s aunt and cousins spoke to them, telling stories about Mladic’s childhood.

Mladic’s family and lawyers have been fighting his extradition, arguing that the former general is too ill to face charges. The family plans to appeal the extradition on Monday and to demand an

independent medical checkup – moves described by the authorities as a delaying tactics.