Monday News Review

The world’s most wanted man is dead

Osama bin Laden, the criminal mastermind behind al-Qaida and the world’s most sought-after terrorist since the attacks of 11 September 2001, has been killed by a US operation, President Barack Obama has announced. In an address to the nation, President Obama said Bin Laden was killed in a “targeted operation” in Abbottabad, a highland town north of Islamabad, last night. The operation started with an intelligence lead last August, and culminated in an operation involving a “small team of Americans”. “After a firefight they killed bin Laden.” None of the Americans were killed. Pakistani cooperation “helped to lead us to him” he said. Osama’s body is in possession of the US, according to the first leaks of reporting from the US television networks. As the news spread, crowds gathered outside the gates of the White House in Washington DC, singing the national anthem and cheering. President Obama made the highly unusual Sunday night live statement to announce the news, around 11.30pm eastern time. – the Guardian

Barack Obama:

Today, at my direction, the United States carried out that operation… they killed Osama Bin Laden and took custody of his body. The death of Bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date against Al Qaeda. We must also reaffirm that United states is not and will never be at war against Islam. Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader, in fact, he slaughtered many Muslims.

George W. Bush:

This momentous achievement marks a victory for America, for people who seek peace around the world, and for all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001. The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done. – Al Jazeera

Speaking from the White House, President Obama said he authorised the operation. The body of the Al Qaida leader was now in US custody, he said. Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed the development in a statement issued by 10 Downing Street. “The news that Osama Bin Laden is dead will bring great relief to people across the world. Osama Bin Laden was responsible for the worst terrorist atrocities the world has seen – for 9/11 and for so many attacks, which have cost thousands of lives, many of them British. It is a great success that he has been found and will no longer be able to pursue his campaign of global terror. This is a time to remember all those murdered by Osama bin Laden, and all those who lost loved ones. It is also a time too to thank all those who work round the clock to keep us safe from terrorism. Their work will continue. I congratulate President Obama and those responsible for carrying out this operation.” – Daily Express

Scottish leaders in debate clash

The SNP’s Alex Salmond, Labour’s Iain Gray, Annabel Goldie of the Tories and Lib Dem Tavish Scott clashed just days before the 5 May Holyrood election. The BBC Scotland debate came on the day economists warned there could be thousands of job losses ahead. Each leader also spoke about a possible referendum on independence. The debate, at Perth Concert Hall, also saw the foursome square up on issues including the cost of university education, sectarianism and green energy. The programme came on the day of a report by the Centre for Public Policy for Regions (CPPR), attached to Glasgow University, which claimed planned 2%-a-year savings put forward in the SNP and Labour manifestos were likely to produce job cuts of 7%. – BBC News

Cameron’s spin doctor in hot water over AV battle

David Cameron’s spin doctor has risked tearing the coalition apart by blundering into the war over voting reform. Craig Oliver flouted a pact under which Government advisers promised not to get involved in the fierce mud-slinging between the Tories and Nick Clegg’s Lib Dems over the alternative vote referendum. He tried to use his influence as a former BBC editor when he called the corporation to moan about its reporting of the issue, insiders there have revealed. Mr Oliver, Downing Street’s director of communications, may have also broken strict rules on what politically-appointed special advisers can do, it emerged. They are only supposed to work on Government policy – which does not include the AV referendum because the coalition is divided. One senior Lib Dem source said yesterday it sounded like “a clear breach of the rules”. – Daily Mirror

Lansley is not listening

Health Secretary ­Andrew Lansley has just one ­practising nurse on the 50-strong “listening panel” set up to save his ­controversial reforms. And all five GPs serving on the panel – ­including Professor Steve Field, former President of the Royal College of GPs – are already supporters of Mr Lansley’s plan. The embattled Health Secretary set up his ­Futures Forum after nurses’ leaders gave him a ­humiliating no-confidence vote at their ­conference last month. But now Mr Lansley is facing angry criticism that he has shunned the views of ­frontline NHS workers by packing the forum with “yes men and ­women”. Mr Lansley and the PM David ­Cameron created the panel – largely made up of health service bureaucrats – after the public outcry over plans to give GPs more control of the budget of the NHS and open it up to more private firms. Dr John Lister, of pressure group Health Emergency, said: “This is all a stunt to convince the public that Lansley is listening.” – Daily Mail

Clegg admits to liking the trappings of power

Nick Clegg confessed that he has ‘grown to like’ his £15 million grace and favour residence, describing it as a ‘haven of freedom’. For decades, Chevening has been the official and exclusive country retreat of the Foreign Secretary. But William Hague had to agree to share the Kent mansion with the Deputy Prime Minister and his family when the Coalition was formed. Mr Clegg, who has three sons aged nine, six and two, said: ‘I’ve grown to like it. I was a little bit embarrassed by it when we first went down there. But from my purely selfish point of view, being able to walk through the woods and fields without having a protection team at my shoulder, and being able to let the kids run around totally unrestricted, that is absolutely lovely. It’s a sort of haven of freedom.’ Mr Clegg admitted he sneaks into the grounds to enjoy an occasional cigarette ‘out of sight, when the children are asleep’. – Daily Mail

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