New York Could be Iran's Next Target, NYPD Warns

As the national news media continues to ramp up a crusade against Iran, NYPD officials are now insisting that New York could be the next target of an Iranian attack.

NYPD's director of intelligence analysis, Mitchell Silber, spoke to the NY Daily News about the topic:

"Iran is the subject of the vast majority of our discussions right now. This, right now, is a front-burner issue. I hesitate to say it's No. 1, because we don't want to ignore the other threats, but right now, it's essentially No. 1."
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Syrian President Bashar Assad's E-mail Hacked by Anonymous, Hilarity Ensues

Our favorite hacker group of questionable motivations, Anonymous, has set its sights on its next target: Syrian president Bashar Assad. Late on Sunday night, Anonymous gained access to 78 different e-mail accounts at the Syrian Ministry of Presidential Affairs, including that of the Minister of Presidential Affairs, Mansour Fadlallah Azzam, and Assad's media adviser, Bouthaina Shaaban.

The Israeli news organization Haaretz was able to obtain some of the e-mails, and posted them online for all to read.

Sadly, it's clear that no one bothered to give Assad's office a lesson in basic computer security, because several of the accounts apparently had the password 12345. C'mon, guys, your password should never be sequential or easy to guess! We learned not to do that in the fifth grade!

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Snowstorm Pounds Northeast; White House Plans for Troop Presence in Middle East; 30 OWS Arrests in Oregon

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Millions of people lost power and at least three deaths were reported as a result of yesterday's snowstorm along the east coast. States in the Northeast were hit the hardest and CNN reports parts of New Jersey were buried in as much as 15.5 inches of snow. Airline cancellations stranded passengers as "all domestic flights out of New Jersey's Newark International Airport were canceled in the late afternoon." The storm was the biggest October snowstorm in the region for years, but "forecasters predict the precipitation will end by late Sunday." [CNN]

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Al Qaeda Stockpiling Toxin; Warren Weinstein Kidnapped in Pakistan; Health Care Bill Hiccup

Castor bean flower, via Wikipedia
The New York Times says Al Qaeda's branch in Yemen is stockpiling castor beans in an attempt to manufacture ricin, a harmful toxin, to use in America. According to the report, the terrorist cell wants to "secretly concoct batches of the poison, pack them around small explosives, and then try to explode them in contained spaces, like a shopping mall, an airport or a subway station." Sources say that Al Qaeda's attempts have been partially foiled by Yemen's hot climate, not ideal for processing ricin. [NYT]

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Manal al-Sharif, Latest Saudi Woman Arrested for Driving, Sparks Protest Fury

Last week, a Saudi Arabian woman named Najla al-Hariri drove for four straight days "to defend her belief that Saudi women should be allowed to drive," but was eventually arrested anyway. "I don't fear being arrested because I am setting an example that my daughter and her friends are proud of,'' she said. This week, Manal al-Sharif did the same, filming her efforts (above) and plotting a June 17 "drive-in" protest. On Sunday, al-Sharif was arrested, too, thus mobilizing the protest movement even more.

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Saudi Woman Flouts Driving Ban

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A Saudi Arabian woman told AFP she defied the country's ban on women driving, taking the wheel for four straight days before she was stopped. 30-something wife and mother Najla al-Hariri drove "to defend her belief that Saudi women should be allowed to drive.''

"I don't fear being arrested because I am setting an example that my daughter and her friends are proud of,'' she said. She will also be offering driving lessons, thank you very much. Nayla al-Hariri is ruling pretty hard right now.

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New World's Tallest Building Will Be Very Tall [UPDATE]

via Gulf News
Saudi Arabia will soon be home to a mile-high building, dubbed "The Kingdom Tower." Gulf News reports that it will be erected (you can say that about a building in Saudi Arabia, right?) in the Obhur Gulf, just outside of the port city Jeddah. Kingdom Holding Company is funding the structure, which will be surrounded by a new 80,000-person city. An end date has not been announced, but the plan -- initiated in mid-2008 -- has been given the green light.

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Qatar Ripping Off Old Simpsons Episodes?

The Simpsons is a very influential cartoon. Influential enough that Qatar may have gotten the idea for an "artificial cloud" from a 1995 episode. In "Who Shot Mr. Burns?", Mr. Burns came up with the diabolical plan of a huge shield that would prevent sunlight from reaching Springfield. Now, for the 2022 World Cup, Qatar University is developing a cloud thing to create shade and to keep the stadiums from being unbearably hot. Which...means they ripped off that idea from Mr. Burns? Um, okay. Sure.

[via Yahoo! Sports]


Libyan Journalist Mohammed Nabbous Killed in Benghazi Fighting

The harrowing recording above is independent Libyan journalist Mohammed "Mo" Nabbous' last report for Libya al-Hurra, the Livestream channel where he broadcast widely viewed footage and commentary from Benghazi. He was killed in fighting between rebels and Qaddafi forces in Libya today. Awful stuff.


Al Jazeera English to Introduce Twitter-Heavy News Show

Al Jazeera English is launching a new show in May called "The Stream" based around input from various social media -- instead of a traditional news program format, The Stream will rely on tweets, Facebook activity, and YouTube videos from people watching and Internet in general. Producers will still control what's covered on the show, but the idea is to pull the content from social networking. In light of the recent popular uprisings across the Middle East and their much-hyped relationship to social media, the idea seems pretty shrewd at first glance.

This could risk being like the current iteration of CNN, which, as Jon Stewart pointed out, has become basically a lawless AOL chatroom. Or it could be cool. The teaser is certainly flashy:

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