Search for al Qaeda leader is chasing shadows, raising local tensions.
The al Qaeda terror camps are gone from Afghanistan, but the enigma of Osama bin Laden still hangs over these lawless borderlands where tens of thousands of American and Pakistani troops have spent nearly five years searching for him. Villagers say the CIA missed by only a few miles when it targeted bin Laden’s top deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, with a missile strike in January. Then in May, U.S. Special Forces arrested one of Zawahri’s closest aides, suggesting that the trail has not gone entirely cold.
The market remains a source of riches
Contrary to the promises from technologists that began almost immediately after the attacks, these five years have seen few dramatic security improvements. But the market remains a source of riches — real for some companies, still largely dreamed-of for others — primed with billions of dollars from the U.S. and international governments. Spending on domestic security across all U.S. federal agencies is expected to reach $58 billion in fiscal 2007 — up from $16.8 billion in 2001, according to the Office of Management and Budget. States and cities are annually contributing $20 billion to $30 billion more, Gartner Inc. Vice President T. Jeff Vining estimates. Much of it lands with large defense contractors and systems integrators with long government ties and the heft to tackle huge projects. For example, Unisys Corp. got a $1 billion contract to set up computers, cell phones, Web sites and other network technology for airport security staff. BearingPoint Inc. won a $104 million deal in August to provide secure identification cards to federal employees and contractors.
“Buster” Martin — Britain’s oldest worker — has enjoyed a day off to celebrate his 100th birthday but explained he would become a “miserable sod” if he ever had to retire for good.(Pimlico Plumbers/Rob Clayton)
“I wake up every morning and am happy in what I do.”
Britain’s oldest worker has enjoyed a day off to celebrate his 100th birthday but explained he would become a “miserable sod” if he ever had to retire for good. “Buster” Martin, a mechanic for a south London plumbing firm who has 17 children and 70 grandchildren and great grandchildren, tried giving up work at the age of 97 but couldn’t face the boredom. “Boredom is a big killer of men,” he told the Daily Telegraph. “I went back to work because I like to keep active,” adding that if he ever retired he would become “the most miserable sod you have come across.” The centenarian, who grew up in an orphanage and first married when he was 14, joined the Grenadier Guards and served in World War II before switching to the Navy. In more recent years he worked on London market stalls. He now lives in south London, where one of his few concessions to modern technology is a television. “I have never in my life owned a phone — they are a bloody nuisance,” he said. “You can be sitting peacefully indoors and they start ringing. I hate them.” Neither is he too keen on foreign holidays. “You are only going to spend a lot of money to go over and do the same things you would do here,” he told the daily. “I am living a holiday here. I wake up every morning and am happy in what I do.”
9/11 powerful marketing tool
Experts examine how tragedy becomes tool to push products
Since Sept. 11, 2001, the stories have gone, Americans have been buying up real estate, swathing themselves in cashmere and furnishing their homes with luxuries. The nation indulged in comfort foods like never before, visited psychologists and ingested anti-anxiety pills in new numbers. As the nation supposedly sought comfort from the scary new world, there were anecdotal upticks in the viewership of classic, 1960s-era TV shows, the installation of cozy fireplaces, the purchase of custom motor homes and RVs, even instances of outpatient cosmetic surgery. They were all reported in the media, all pegged by their industry leaders to Sept. 11. Can it be a coincidence that each of these hypothesized social trends is tied to spending? Is this the marketing of Sept. 11? “9/11 is a very powerful marketing tool,” says branding expert Rob Frankel, author of “The Revenge of Brand X: How To Build a Big Time Brand on the Web or Anywhere Else.” “It’s a touchstone to get closer to the buying public — everyone connects to it on an emotional level. Mention 9/11, and I’m that much closer to making a sale.”