For Most Important Features in the Worlds

Saturday, May 7, 2011

World Trade Center

A Dream Is Born
The 1939 New York Worlds Fair included an exhibit called the World Trade Center that was dedicated to the concept of "world peace through trade." Seven years later, one of the exhibit's organizers, Winthrop W. Aldrich, headed a new state agency whose proposed goal was a permanent trade exposition based in New York. Market research indicated that the city would benefit more by modernizing its ports, however, and the plan was soon scrapped.
Aldrich's nephew, David Rockefeller, didn't forget the idea. The grandson of Standard Oil founder John D. Rockefeller, David decided to revive the World Trade Center concept as the core of a revitalized lower Manhattan. In May 1959, Rockefeller formed the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association, which planned a $250 million complex near the Fulton Fish Market on the East River, including a single 70-story office tower and several smaller buildings.
The Port Authority Signs On
For the resources and power to make the project work, Rockefeller turned to the Port of New York Authority. The Port Authority had been chartered in 1921 by New York and New Jersey to build and operate all transportation terminals and facilities within a 25-mile radius of the Statue of Liberty. By 1960, after constructing the Lincoln Tunnel and the George Washington Bridge, the Port Authority was rapidly expanding its influence, with 5,000 employees and more than $1 billion in freight and transportation structures all presided over by its powerful director, Austin J. Tobin.
The Port Authority had just agreed to take over and renovate New Jersey's Hudson and Manhattan commuter railroad, the PATH (Port Authority Trans Hudson) train, built in 1908. The PATH terminal was on the west side of Lower Manhattan, and Tobin's team decided to move the prospective trade center location from east to west, combining the two projects. A region bounded by Vesey, Church, Liberty and West Streets–known as "Radio Row" for its many consumer electronics shops–would have to be razed for the trade center to be built. After a bitter legal battle with representatives of the Radio Row merchants, the Port Authority won the right to continue its plan.
Sights Set on Record-Breaking Height
By this time, the Port Authority had decided that the trade center should replace the 1,250-foot-high Empire State Building, built in 1931, as the world's tallest building. To fulfill the Port Authority's requirement, architect Minoru Yamasaki designed two towers of 110 stories each. Instead of the traditional stacked glass-and-steel box construction of many New York skyscrapers, Yamasaki worked with structural engineers to come up with a revolutionary design: two hollow tubes, supported by closely spaced steel columns encased in aluminum. Floor trusses connected this exterior steel lattice to the central steel core of the building. In this way, the "skin" of the building would be strong enough that internal columns wouldn't be necessary to hold it together.
Construction began in February 1967, after the Port Authority faced down criticism about the towers' safety and viability from many powerful figures, including real estate tycoon (and Empire State Building owner) Lawrence Wien. Wien even ran an ad in The New York Times in May 1968 predicting that a commercial airliner was likely to fly into the towers. Plans had already been made to guard against such an accident–which had happened in July 1945 with a smaller plane at the Empire State–and the towers were designed to be safe in a collision with a fully loaded 707 plane (the largest existing plane at the time). It was assumed such a plane would have to be lost in fog for such an event to occur; a terrorist attack was never envisioned.
Feats of Engineering
Because the ground in lower Manhattan was largely landfill, engineers would have to dig down 70 feet to reach bedrock. Excavating machines dug a three-foot-wide trench down to the bedrock, and as dirt and rock were removed, they were replaced by slurry: a mixture of water and bentonite, a type of clay that expands when wet to plug any hole along the side of the trench. Workers then lowered a 22-ton, seven-story-high steel cage into the trench and filled it with concrete by using a long pipe. As the concrete flowed in, it displaced the bentonite slurry. By making more than 150 of these slurry trench segments, workers enclosed an area two blocks wide and four blocks long. Called the "bathtub," it was used to seal the basements of the towers and keep water from the Hudson River out of the foundation. All in all, 1 million cubic yards of landfill had to be removed. The Port Authority used this landfill to create the $90 million worth of land that would become Battery Park City. To piece the steel frame of the building together, engineers brought in Australian-made "kangaroo" cranes, self-powered cranes powered by diesel motors that could hoist themselves up as the building grew higher. At the end of construction, these cranes had to be disassembled and brought down by elevator. When the towers were finished, each one would have 97 passenger elevators, capable of carrying loads of up to 10,000 pounds at speeds of up to 1,600 feet per minute. In all, the towers were assembled from more than 200,000 pieces of steel manufactured around the country, 3,000 miles of electrical wiring, 425,000 cubic yards of concrete, 40,000 doors, 43,600 windows and six acres of marble.
A Dream Come True
The last piece of steel was put in place on the north tower (One World Trade Center) on December 23, 1970; the south tower (Two World Trade Center) was topped off in July of the next year. Construction went on until April 1973, when the five-acre outdoor plaza, dominated by a 25-foot-tall bronze sculpture by Fritz Koenig, was completed. At the official ribbon cutting ceremony on April 4, Governor Nelson Rockefeller (David's brother) proclaimed triumphantly, "It's not too often that we see a dream come true. Today, we have."
At 1,360 feet, the World Trade Center towers were the tallest buildings in the world for less than a year; they were soon surpassed by Chicago's Sears Tower. Still, the towers held an incomparable mystique. They inspired incredible stunts, beginning in August 1974, when Philippe Petit walked a high wire between the two towers. In May 1977, George Willig earned himself the nickname of "the Human Fly" by hoisting himself to the top of the south tower using homemade climbing devices. The Port Authority loved these stunts because they endeared the towers to the public and made them seem like giant toys. They worked at turning the towers into an attraction, adding the Windows on the World restaurant, which opened on the 107th floor of the north tower in April 1976 and was an immediate hit. By 1983, World Trade Center revenues had jumped to $204 million, and space was in high demand. Smaller importers-exporters were now being pushed out by rising rents, making way for major businesses.
1993 Bombing
The first major test of the trade center's structural integrity came on February 26, 1993, when a bomb with the destructive power equal to 2,200 pounds of TNT exploded in the parking garage of the second floor basement of the north tower. The blast killed six people, injured more than 1,000 others and caused an estimated $600 million in damage. Six Islamic extremists were tried and convicted in connection with the plot.
The towers reopened 20 days after the bombing with new security measures in place, including restrictions to parking lot access and electronic identification badges for building tenants. Over the next eight years, the Port Authority spent a total of $700 million on renovations, with safety upgrades like battery-powered stairway lights and a separate emergency command center in each building. Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani set up a high-tech emergency operations command center, dubbed "the Bunker," at 7 World Trade Center, a 47-story office building adjoining the towers.
The World Trade Center on September 11th
In July 2001, just two months before the terrorist attacks of September 11, the Port Authority agreed to lease the twin towers to Larry Silverstein, a New York City developer. Silverstein agreed to pay the equivalent of $3.2 billion over the next 99 years. At the time, over 99 percent of the 10.4 million square feet controlled by the Port Authority was occupied.
The impact of the two planes that hit the World Trade Center towers on September 11, 2001, was more devastating than any of the building's designers and engineers had ever imagined. The first plane ripped a hole in the north tower from the 94th to the 98th floors, causing massive structural damage and igniting some 3,000 of the 10,000 gallons of jet fuel the plane was carrying. The second plane hit the south tower at an even faster speed, striking the corner and gashing the building from the 84th to the 78th floors.
The heroic efforts of the city's fire and police departments and other emergency services helped 25,000 people escape from the site before the unthinkable occurred. The damage done at each point of impact forced the physical weight of the towers to be redistributed, and the undamaged part below the hole had to support the floors above. At the same time, the fires raging in both buildings weakened the steel trusses holding up each floor. With damage to a greater number of floors lower down on the building, the south tower gave way first, crumbling to the ground at 9:59 a.m., only 56 minutes after being hit. The north tower collapsed less than a half hour later, at 10:28 a.m.
Debris from the falling towers ignited fires in the remaining buildings of the trade center complex, including 7 World Trade, which burned for most of the day before collapsing at 5:20 p.m. Overwhelmed by horror, shock and grief, New Yorkers and people around the world trained their eyes on "Ground Zero," where the fall of a treasured icon of American industry and ingenuity had left a gaping hole in the sky.

Bin Laden family & End of Osama Bin Laden

The bin Laden family (Arabic: بن لادن‎, bin Lādin), also spelled bin Ladin, is a wealthy family intimately connected with the innermost circles of the Saudi royal family. The family was thrown into media spotlight through the activities of one of its members, Osama bin Laden. The financial interests of the bin Laden family are represented by the Saudi Binladin Group, a global oil and equity management conglomerate grossing $5 billion U.S. dollars annually, and one of the largest construction firms in the Islamic world, with offices in London and Geneva. According to an American diplomat, the bin Laden family owns part of Microsoft and Boeing among other companies

The family traces its origins to a poor, uneducated Hadhrami named Awad bin Laden, a Kendah tribesman from the village of Al Rubat, in the Wadi Doan in the Tarim Valley, Hadramout governorate, Yemen. He died in 1919. His son was Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden (died 1967). Mohammed bin Laden was a native of the Shafi`i (Sunni) Hadhramaut coast in southern Yemen and emigrated to Saudi Arabia prior to World War I. He set up a construction company and came to Abdul Aziz ibn Saud's attention through construction projects, later being awarded contracts for major renovations at Mecca, where he made his initial fortune from exclusive rights to all mosque and other religious building construction not only in Saudi Arabia, but as far as Ibn Saud's influence reached. Until his death, Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden had exclusive control over restorations at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. Soon the bin Laden corporate network extended far beyond construction sites.

Mohammed's special intimacy with the monarchy was inherited by the younger bin Laden generation. Mohammed's sons attended Victoria College, Alexandria, Egypt. Their schoolmates included King Hussein of Jordan, Zaid Al Rifai, the Kashoggi brothers (whose father was one of the king's physicians), Kamal Adham (who ran the General Intelligence Directorate under King Faisal), present-day contractors Mohammed Al Attas, Fahd Shobokshi and Ghassan Sakr and actor Omar Sharif.

When Mohammed bin Laden died in 1967, his son Salem bin Laden took over the family enterprises, until his own accidental death in 1988. Salem was one of at least 54 children by various wives.

Bin Ladens and King Fahd

The two closest friends of King Fahd were Prince Mohammed bin Abdullah (son of Abdul Aziz ibn Saud's youngest brother) who died in the early 1980s and Salem bin Laden who died in 1988, when an ultralight aircraft that he was flying flew into powerlines in San Antonio, Texas.

Family members

American and European intelligence officials estimate that all the relatives of the family may number as many as 600. In 1994, the bin Laden family disowned Osama and the Saudi government revoked his passport. The Saudi government also stripped Osama bin Laden of his citizenship, for publicly speaking out against them, after they permitted U.S. troops to be based in Saudi Arabia in preparation for the 1991 Gulf War.

The groupings of the family, based on the nationalities of the wives, include the most prominent "Saudi group", a "Syrian group", a "Lebanese group," and an "Egyptian group". The Egyptian group employs 40,000 people as that country's largest private foreign investor. Osama bin Laden was born the only son of Muhammed bin Laden's tenth wife, Hamida al-Attas, who was of Syrian origin, making Osama a member of the Syrian group.

First generation

  • Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden (born c. 1908 in Hadhramaut) the family patriarch; before World War I, Muhammed, originally poor and uneducated, emigrated from Hadhramaut, on the south coast of Yemen, to the Red Sea port of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where he began to work as a porter. Starting his own business in 1930, Muhammed built his fortune as a building contractor for the Saudi royal family during the 1950s. Married 22 times, with 54 children; Osama bin Laden was born as the 17th child. Hamida al-Attas (born in Syria) Muhammed's 10th wife, and mother of Osama; divorced soon after Osama was born, and remarried Osama's stepfather c. 1958. In 1967 Mohammed was killed in an airplane crash in Saudi Arabia when his American pilot misjudged a landing.
Muhammad al-Attas Osama's stepfather, in whose household Osama was raised at Jeddah; worked at the bin Laden company. The couple had five children, Osama's three half-brothers and one half-sister.
  • Abdallah bin Laden, uncle of OBL; headed SBG, died in Medina, March 21, 2002, at age 75.he also had over 24 children and was married 6 times.

Second generation

  • Salem bin Laden (born 1946) attended Millfield, the English boarding school; took over the family empire in 1967; an amateur rock guitarist in the 1970s; married an English art student, Caroline Carey, whose half brother Ambrose Douglas is the illegitimate eldest son of the Marquess of Queensberry in Scotland; was killed outside San Antonio, Texas in 1988, when an experimental ultralight plane that he was flying got tangled in power lines.
  • Tarek bin Laden, b. 1947; once called "the personification of the dichotomy (conservatism and change) of Saudi Arabia."
  • Bakr bin Laden, succeeded Salem as chairman of the Saudi Binladin Group; major power broker in Jeddah.
  • Hassan bin Laden, senior vice president of the SBG.
  • Yehia bin Laden, also active in the SBG; in 2001 owned 16 percent of Cambridge, MA-based Hybridon, Inc.
  • Mahrous bin Laden was implicated in the Grand Mosque Seizure, carried out by dissidents against the Saudi ruling family at the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, on November 20, 1979. This event shook the Muslim world with the ensuing violence and killing of hundreds at the holiest of Islamic sites. Trucks owned by the family were reported to have been used to smuggle arms into the tightly controlled city. The bin Laden connection was through the son of a Sultan of Yemen who had been radicalized by Syrian members of the Muslim Brotherhood. Mahrous was actually arrested for a time, but in the Saudi government response, he was not beheaded along with 63 others who were, their public executions broadcast on live Saudi television. Later exonerated, he joined the family business, and became manager of the Medina branch of the bin Laden enterprises, and a member of the board.
  • Osama bin Laden (born 1957 in Saudi Arabia, died 2 May 2011 in Pakistan) has claimed to have masterminded the September 11 attacks against the United States. Announced dead by US President Obama on May 2 2011. He was one of the FBI Most Wanted Terrorists.
  • Najwa Ghanem (born c. 1960 in Syria) Osama's first wife, married 1974; a first cousin, and his mother's niece. She co-authored Growing Up bin Laden with her son Omar.
  • (shaikha) al-Attas (born c. 1960), half-sister of Osama, daughter of Hammida Al-Attas and Muhammad al-Attas, married Mohammed Jamal Khalifa. He was the founder of Benevolence International Foundation, in the Philippines in 1988. During this period, Khalifa is believed to have received large donations of cash from outside the country, some of which, intelligence officials suspect, may have been funnelled to him by Al Qaeda. He also ran the International Relations and Information Centre, by which embezzled money was funneled to Ramzi Yousef. In 1993, his business cards were found in the Jersey City, New Jersey apartment that Yousef stayed in while he was involved with the 1993 World Trade Center bombing plot. Khalifa was first arrested on December 14, 1994 in Mountain View, California, placed in solitary confinement and the contents of his luggage were logged and edited. In 1995 Khalifa was arrested in San Francisco on charges of violating United States immigration laws. He was detained while the Justice Department tried but failed to gather enough information to charge him in connection with suspected terrorist activities. Eventually, he was deported on May 5, 1995 to Jordan, which had an outstanding warrant for him on charges stemming from the bombing of movie theatres in Amman in 1994, for which he had been under a possible death sentence, convicted in absentia. His conviction was later overturned, in a new trial during which he was acquitted. In 1996, Khalifa returned to Saudi Arabia, where he was again arrested after 9/11, but later released. He still lives in Saudi Arabia, where after 9/11 he publicly condemned Osama Bin Laden. Mohammed Jamal Khalifa was assassinated in 2007 in Madagascar.
  • Yeslam bin Ladin studied in the 1970s at the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles; settled in Switzerland; became a Swiss citizen c. 2001; Geneva-based head of the family's European holding company, the Saudi Investment Company; was scrutinized by Swiss and American investigators because of a financial stake he has in a Swiss aviation firm; he has claimed to not have had contact with Osama since c. 1981
  • Abdullah bin Laden (born c. 1965); graduate of Harvard Law School; lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts on 9/11, the only relative to remain in the United States, staying in Boston for almost a month.
  • Shafig bin Laden (Arabic: شفيق بن لادن‎), half-brother of Osama's, was a guest of honour at the Carlyle Group's Washington conference at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel on September 11, 2001, and among the 13 members of the bin Ladin family to leave the United States on September 19, 2001 aboard N521DB.
  • Omar Mohammed Awad bin Laden

Third generation

  • Wafah Dufour (born Wafah bin Ladin on May 23, 1978 in Los Angeles, California) is an American model and aspiring singer-songwriter. She spent the early part of her life in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Dufour, her little sisters Najia (1979) and Noor (1987), her mother (1954) and her father (born on October 19, 1950) then moved to Geneva, Switzerland. In 1988, her parents separated. She earned a law diploma at Geneva Law School (Switzerland) and later a master's degree from Columbia Law School in the United States. She lived in Manhattan until around the time of the September 11, 2001, attacks, but was staying in Geneva for summer holiday at the time of the attacks. She currently lives in New York City and is working on her first album.
  • Ola Osama bin Laden (born c. 1976), son of Osama and Najwa. Currently lives in DE Wilmington. Abdallah runs his own firm, called Fame Advertising, in Jeddah; he is closely watched by the Saudi government, which has restricted his travel from the kingdom since 1996; reportedly, he has never disowned his father.
  • Saad bin Laden; (born 1979) son of Osama and Najwa; Saad accompanied Osama on his exile to Sudan from 1991–1996, and then to Afghanistan after that. He is believed to be married to a woman from Yemen. Saad reportedly arrived in Iran in 2002, from Afghanistan with a fake Iranian Passport using the name Saad Mahmoudian, the Customs officer immediately recognized that the passport was fake, he was searched and questioned briefly and notified airport security but did not notitify the Ministry of Intelligence and National Security of Iran (which is also responsible for identifying detained people at airports) as he was supposed to. As a result the officer found nothing suspicious about his entrance and permitted him to leave Tehran. He was believed to have been heavily responsible for the bombing of a Tunisian synagogue on April 11, 2002. He was then implicated in the May 12, 2003, suicide bombing in Riyadh, and the Morocco bombing four days later. He is believed to still be in Iran, but others claim he was either arrested or thrown out by the Iranian government to Afghanistan or Pakistan for being the alleged perpetrator of the 2005 Qom Bombings.
  • Omar Osama bin Laden; (born 1980) son of Osama and Najwa; Omar accompanied Osama on his exile to Sudan from 1991–1996, and then to Afghanistan after that. He returned to Saudi Arabia after an apparent falling-out with his father over Omar's disagreement with violence. For a while Omar ran his own company in Jeddah as a contractor. Omar has one son, Ahmed by his ex wife whom he divorced. In September 2006, he married Zaina they are now said to be living in a secret location in Qatar.
  • Mohammad bin Osama bin Laden (born c. 1983), son of Osama and Najwa, married the daughter of the late al-Qaeda leader Mohammed Atef in January 2001, at Kandahar, Afghanistan, with footage broadcast by Al-Jazeera, where three of Osama's step-siblings and Osama's mother were in attendance.
  • Hamza bin Laden (1991-), son of Osama. Senior member of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.
  • Khaled bin Laden, son of Osama. Killed along with his father at Abbottabad, Pakistan, May 1, 2011.
  • Abdul Aziz bin Laden, manages SBG's Egyptian operations; ranked Number 2 in the 2006 UAE National Superstock Bike Championship.

Family tree

Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden (1908–1967)
His sons were:
  1. Salem bin Laden (1946–1988) married Caroline Carey
  2. Ali bin Laden
  3. Thabet bin Laden (d. 2009)
  4. Mahrous bin Laden
  5. Hassan bin Laden
  6. Omar bin Laden
  7. Bakr bin Laden
  8. Khalid bin Laden
  9. Yeslam bin Ladin (b. 1950) married Carmen bin Ladin (b. 1954)
    1. Wafah Dufour (b. 1978)
    2. Najia Dufour (b. 1979)
    3. Noor Dufour (b. 1987)
  10. Ghalib bin Laden
  11. Yahya bin Laden
  12. Abdul Aziz bin Laden
  13. Issa bin Laden
  14. Tarek bin Laden
  15. Ahmed bin Laden
  16. Ibrahim bin Laden
  17. Shafiq bin Laden
  18. Osama bin Laden (1957-2011) married Najwa Ghanem (b. 1960)
  19. Khalil bin Ladin
  20. Saleh bin Ladin
  21. Haider bin Laden
  22. Saad bin Laden
  23. Abdullah bin Laden
  24. Yasser bin Laden
  25. Mohammad bin Laden (b. 1967)
  26. Harriet Miers

Osama bin Laden children

Osama bin Laden's known children, from his respective wives, include:
  • Najwa Ghanem
    • Abdallah Laden (b. 1976)
    • Abdul Rahman bin Laden (b. 1978)
    • Saad bin Laden (1979–2009)
    • Omar bin Laden (b. 1981)
    • Osman bin Laden (b. 1983)
    • Mohammed bin Laden (b. 1985)
    • Fatima bin Laden (b. 1987)
    • Iman bin Laden (b. 1990)
    • Laden "Bakr" bin Laden (b. 1993)
    • Rukhaiya bin Laden (b. 1997)
    • Nour bin Laden (b. 1999)
  • Khadijah Sharif
    • Ali bin Laden (b. 1986)
    • Amer bin Laden (b. 1990)
    • Aisha bin Laden (b. 1992)
  • Khairiah Sabar
    • Hamza bin Laden (1989–2011)
  • Siham Sabar
    • Kadhija bin Laden (b. 1988)
    • Khalid bin Laden (b. 1989)
    • Miriam bin Laden (b. 1990)
    • Sumaiya bin Laden (b. 1992)
  • Amal al-Sadah
    • Safiyah bin Laden (b. 2001)

The bin Laden flights

At least 13 relatives of Osama bin Laden, accompanied by bodyguards and associates, left the United States on a chartered flight with Ryan International Airlines (Ryan International Flight 441) eight days after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, according to a passenger manifest released on July 21, 2004. The passenger list was made public by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), who obtained the manifest from officials at Boston's Logan International Airport. None of the flights, domestic or international, took place before the reopening of national airspace on the morning of Sept. 13 and the 9/11 Commission found "no evidence of a political intervention".

Among the passengers with the bin Laden surname were Omar Awad bin Laden, who had lived with OBL nephew Abdallah Awad bin Laden who was involved in forming the U.S. branch of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth in Alexandria, and Shafig bin Laden, a half brother of OBL who was reportedly attending the annual investor conference of the Carlyle Group.

Also on board was Akberali Moawalla, an official with the investment company run by Yeslam bin Ladin, another of Osama bin Laden's half brothers. Records show that a passenger, Kholoud Kurdi, lived in Northern Virginia with a bin Laden relative.

The bin Laden flight has received fresh publicity because it was a topic in Michael Moore's controversial documentary, "Fahrenheit 9/11."

The 9/11 Commission found that the "FBI conducted a satisfactory screening of Saudi nationals who left the United States on charter flights. The Saudi government was advised of and agreed to the FBI's requirements that passengers be identified and checked against various databases before the flights departed. The Federal Aviation Administration representative working in the FBI operations center made sure that the FBI was aware of the flights of Saudi nationals and was able to screen the passengers before they were allowed to depart."

The End of Osama Bin Laden

The US claims its biggest and most significant victory in its fight against al-Qaeda since 9/11.

Osama bin Laden, the founder of al-Qaeda, made news headlines after the deadly September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington.

And now, almost 10 years later, the world's most-wanted man is dead, killed by US special forces in Pakistan. His body was buried at sea in a quick and dramatic end to a life which affected so many parts and people of the world.