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B&E This Fortnight
 
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B&E This Fortnight

Issue Date - 26/05/2011
 
INTERNATIONAL
BUSINESS, ECONOMY & FINANCE
Osama Dead Bringing the 10 years worldwide efforts to hunt down Osama Bin Laden, the infamous leader of al-Qaeda, to an end, the US government in a covert military operation gunned down the most wanted fugitive on the planet. Osama’s hideout was a conspicuous, three-storied structure with high boundary walls in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad, just 61 Kms north of Islamabad. In an operation that according to the US officials was unknown to the Pakistan government, the Navy SEALS of the US military shot down Bin Laden after some resistance from him. Reportedly, Osama was hiding at the Abbottabad mansion for the last five years and the Pakistani army was unaware of his whereabouts even though Pakistan’s top military academy is within 800 yards. As the rest of the world celebrated the death of the father of terrorism, Islamic fundamental groups like the Hamas, Hezbollah and al-Tufayli have been mourning and honouring him in the Middle East where the reaction to his death has mostly been ambivalent and even indifferent. To prevent his dead body from becoming an object of deification by his supporters, he was buried in the sea. But his presence in Pakistan has obviously led to the speculation about possible connivance by Pakistani army officials regarding Bin Laden’s hideout all these years.

 
GM posts Q1 Profits
General Motors reported Q1 profits, which more than tripled from a year ago to $3.15 billion due to strong demand for fuel efficient vehicles. The results are all the more striking considering that GM had less than two years ago declared bankruptcy and had to be bailed out by the US federal government. This is the fifth consecutive profitable quarter for GM, which goes to show the impressive turnaround managed by the Detroit-based automaker. But, despite the company’s revenue rising to $36.2 billion from $31.2 billion last year, its shares have stalled around the $33 level due to investors’ concerns over rising gas prices and higher costs for launching and selling new cars. The company has also faced recent glitches over steering and transmission problems across its popular Chevrolet Cruze model and had to recall more than 154,000 Chevrolet Cruze cars from the huge North American market.

Sony CEO’s apology 
Sony Chief Executive Officer Howard Stringer apologised to users of its PlayStation Network and Qriocity as hackers had compromised the data of more than 100 million accounts used for accessing games and music over the Internet. In a letter posted on the PlayStation Blog, Stringer also said Sony has put in place a $1 million identity theft insurance policy to cover affected users. Stringer’s comments come after he faced criticism of his leadership since Sony revealed hackers had compromised the data of more than 100 million accounts.

Microsoft buys skype
Microsoft has bought web video conferencing service Skype for $8.5 billion, including debt in a deal which ranks as the biggest for the software company. Skype will become a new business division within Microsoft. Tony Bates, Skype chief executive, will become president of the Microsoft Skype division, reporting directly to Steve Ballmer, Microsoft chief executive. The video and voice chat service provider had been looking to raise about $1 billion from the market and had plans to float an IPO, which was subsequently deferred. Microsoft’s acquisition preempts moves by both Google and Facebook who were said to be in deal talks with the Luxembourg-based video-calling company about forming a joint venture..

          

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