FYI May 02, 2018


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On This Day

2011 – Osama bin Laden, the suspected mastermind behind the September 11 attacks and the FBI’s most wanted man, is killed by the United States special forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
Usama ibn Mohammed ibn Awad ibn Ladin (Arabic: أسامة بن محمد بن عوض بن لادن‎, usāmah ibn muḥammad ibn ‘awaḍ ibn lādin), often anglicized as Osama bin Laden (/oʊˈsɑːmə bɪn ˈlɑːdən/; March 10, 1957 – May 2, 2011),[7] was a founder of al-Qaeda, the organization responsible for the September 11 attacks in the United States and many other mass-casualty attacks worldwide.[8][9][10] He was a Saudi Arabian until 1994 (stateless thereafter), a member of the wealthy bin Laden family, and an ethnic Yemeni Kindite.[11]

Bin Laden’s father was Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden, a Saudi billionaire from Hadhramaut, Yemen.[12] His mother, Alia Ghanem, was from a secular middle-class family based in Latakia, Syria.[13] He was born in Saudi Arabia and studied at university in the country until 1979, when he joined Mujahideen forces in Pakistan fighting against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. He helped to fund the Mujahideen by funneling arms, money and fighters from the Arab world into Afghanistan, and gained popularity among many Arabs.[14] In 1988, he formed al-Qaeda.[15] He was banished from Saudi Arabia in 1992, and shifted his base to Sudan, until U.S. pressure forced him to leave Sudan in 1996. After establishing a new base in Afghanistan, he declared a war against the United States, initiating a series of bombings and related attacks.[16] Bin Laden was on the American Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) lists of Ten Most Wanted Fugitives and Most Wanted Terrorists for his involvement in the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings.[17][18][19]

From 2001 to 2011, bin Laden was a major target of the United States, as the FBI offered a $25 million bounty in their search for him.[20] On May 2, 2011, bin Laden was shot and killed[21] inside a private residential compound in Abbottabad, where he lived with a local family from Waziristan, during a covert operation conducted by members of the United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group and Central Intelligence Agency SAD/SOG operators on the orders of U.S. President Barack Obama.[22]

Born On This Day

1828 – Désiré Charnay, French archaeologist and photographer (d. 1915)
Claude-Joseph Désiré Charnay (2 May 1828 – 24 October 1915) was a French traveller and archaeologist notable both for his explorations of Mexico and Central America, and for the pioneering use of photography to document his discoveries.
He was born in Fleurie, and studied at the Lycée Charlemagne. In 1850, he became a teacher in New Orleans, Louisiana, a partly French-speaking community, and there became acquainted with John Lloyd Stephens’s books of travel in Yucatan. He travelled in Mexico, by commission from the French ministry of education, during 1857–1861; in Madagascar during 1863; back to Mexico in 1864, with the French troops of Emperor Maximilian,[1] in South America, particularly Chile and Argentina, in 1875; and in Java and Australia during 1878. During 1880–1883, he again visited the ruined cities of Mexico. Pierre Lorillard IV of New York City contributed to defray the expense of this expedition, and Charnay named a great ruined city near the Guatemalan boundary line “Ville Lorillard” in his honor; the name did not become popular and the site is more commonly known as Yaxchilan. Charnay went to Yucatan in 1886.[2]

Charnay was aware of new legislation in Mexico that attempted to protect its archeological sites and treasures, and obtained a license from the government in July 1880. By its terms, he could explore widely and remove artifacts but they had to be sent to the National Museum first. The museum could keep the majority, but the rest could be sent to France. Despite the contract, members of the Mexican Congress objected, and there were impassioned speeches by Vicente Riva Palacio, liberal general who had fought the French, and liberal intellectual Guillermo Prieto. Justo Sierra, later a major official during the regime of Porfirio Díaz, was in favor of the contract. In the end the Charnay contract was rejected 114-6. He had, however, already violated the terms of the contract, hiding smaller artifacts from Mexican officials and only submitting to inspection those that were too big to hide.[3]

The more important of his publications are Le Mexique, souvenirs et impressions de voyage (1863), being his personal report on the expedition of 1857-1861, of which the official report is to be found in Viollet-le-Duc’s Cités et ruines américaines: Mitla, Palenqué, Izamal, Chichén-Itzá, Uxmal (1863), vol. 19 of Recueil des voyages et des documents; Les Anciennes villes du Nouveau Monde (1885; English translation, The Ancient Cities of the New World, 1887, by Mmes. Gonino and Conant); a romance, Une Princesse indienne avant la conquête (1888); À travers les forêts vierges (1890); and Manuscrit Ramirez: Histoire de l’origine des Indiens qui habitent la Nouvelle Espagne selon leurs traditions (1903).[2]

He translated Hernán Cortés’s letters into French, with the title Lettres de Fernand Cortès à Charles Quint sur la découverte et la conquête du Mexique (1896). He elaborated a theory of Toltec migrations and considered the prehistoric Mexican to be of Asiatic origin, because of supposed observed similarities to Japanese architecture, Chinese decoration, Malaysian language and Cambodian dress, and so on.[2]


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